A 1980s Mash Recipe for Corn Liquor
Moonshiners judge the strength of alcohol by the bead of bubbles that forms after the liquor is shaken.
Moonshiners judge the strength of alcohol by the bead of bubbles that forms after
the liquor is shaken.

These ingredients are for one 55-gallon mash barrel.  (Most moonshiners use a 48”x48”x32” wooden mash box, and recipe amounts are adjusted accordingly.) 

  • 50 lbs. of plain white cornmeal.  (The meal should not be self-rising, and it should be ground slowly at the mill so the meal does not get too hot.)
  • 25 lbs. of rye meal.
  • 12.5 lbs. of ground barley malt.
  • 25 lbs. of sugar.  (The sugar is only used if the weather is too hot.)
  • 2 packages of yeast.

Heat 18 gallons of water to 172 degrees and pour into the barrel.  Add the corn meal to the water and mix until fine--no lumps.  Add the rye meal and mix until fine.  Let mixture sit for 1.5 hours.  Transfer a few gallons of the mixture into a separate bucket and stir in 11 lbs. of malt.  Mix well and pour back into the barrel.  Again mix well.

Sprinkle 1.5 lbs of malt on the top surface of the barrel mixture and let sit for 45 minutes.  When the malt on the surface cracks, begin stirring the mash, working gradually to the bottom of the barrel.  Stir until the temperature of the mash drops to the point you can stir with your bare hand.  Fill the remainder of the barrel with water, keeping the mash between 85 and 90 degrees.  (If the weather is too hot, add the sugar to keep the mash temperature in the proper range.)

Put a small amount of mash in a separate bucket and mix in two packages of yeast.  When the mixture begins foaming up, pour it back into the mash barrel.  Stir well and cover, but not tightly.  In about three hours the entire barrel will be fermenting.  In about three days the mash will be ready to distill.

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