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A Look Into Moonshining Essay

691 words - 3 pages

A Look into moonshine
Hooch, white lightning, mountain dew, moonshine, etc, they are all names for the illeagally made liquor brewed in the mid-Atlantic and southern rural regions of US. The idea of making moonshine came about because the government put such high taxes on liquor it was more cost effective just for the citizens to make their own. There are many variations of the liquor, and just about anything can be thrown into the mix. The styles of making the liquor and the taste change with each region you go even though the makers use practically the same ingredients and the same base of producing the product.
The making of illegal liquor has been around the US ever since the colonists first came over, but with them came the taxes. The first ruling n liquor was in 1633 when Massachusets colony passed legislation requiring a permkit to sell and produce liquor. What is a little funny about the whole timing of this is both George Washington and ...view middle of the document...

The 18th amendment lead to a period of organized crime and illegal drinking in the 192
Making moonshine is a difficult process to do but the science behind it is quite simple actually, it cycles around fermentation and distillation. The shine is made by mixing the ingredients into what is called the mash, the 2 most important and are found in every mash, are sugar and yeast and left to ferment. The reason for these 2 are because the yeast reacts with the sugar in a chemical reaction to produce carbon dioxide and Ethyl alcohol (the alcohol that gets people drunk). The carbon dioxide is lost to the environment and what is left is a wine like drink with fairly low alcohol content, between 6-20%. The strength of the mash is determined by the yeast used and the sugar content (higher sugar higher alcohol content). From there the shiners (makers of moonshine) will use a process of distillation to separate the alcohol from the mash to make the product more potent. In distillation the fermented mash is heated to evaporated the Ethyl alcohol which evaporats at 173 degrees farenheight. The vapor is then in a cold tube and comes out more potent. The reason it becomes more potent is because the alcohol that is produced in the mash is being condensed into a smaller size with the same amount of alcohol. The stuff that comes out can be anywhere from 50-99% depending on how well it is made.
Distilation may be the only way to produce a strong finished product there are serious dangers that the process brings. First, there is a dangerous chemical in the mash that is produced, and boils at a lower temperature than ethyl alcohol, methanol. Although methanol is an alcohol, it is not the good kind and is the reason people would go blind from drinking it. Methanol boils at 143 degrees farenheight and is usually the first to start flowing, so the first few gallons are discarded. Another important danger is because during distillation there is an open flame and both methanol and ethyl alcohol are very flammable. Leaks in the still or gas escaping could cause the whole still and the shiners working it to go up in flames. Finally there is the silly thing of being caught which always looms above a shiner, and being caught mean some serious consequences.

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