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10 Differences Between Moonshining and Homebrewing


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Moonshine Is Not Aged
Ryan Beck of Minneapolis has been brewing beer in his home for about seven years and now has it down to a science. © Tom Wallace/ZUMA Press/Corbis
Ryan Beck of Minneapolis has been brewing beer in his home for about seven years and now has it down to a science. © Tom Wallace/ZUMA Press/Corbis

Good wine takes time. It will take about six months to turn the raw ingredients into something drinkable. Beer will be ready faster but even though you only spend about two hours brewing it, it still requires some rest time. You need two weeks to ferment it, one hour to bottle it and two to four more weeks for resting so the beer can carbonate [sources: Homebrew It, Homebrewers Association].

Moonshine, on the other hand, is more of a "distill-and-done" operation. There's no "aging" necessary, unless you need to squirrel it away from the law for a while. You'll spend several days allowing the mash to ferment. Distilling the liquid will take a further few hours [source: Ingliss-Arkel]. But then you're done.

When moonshine exits the still for the last time, it should look as clear as fresh water. And the taste? Some say it tastes like corn; others compare it to rubbing alcohol. It probably depends on the maker. Some distillers add fruit flavors to the moonshine to make it smoother and easier to drink.