Learning how to distil a good spirit has taken me many years and throughout those years I’ve gathered knowledge from friends, internet forums and books. For me books have always been a great tools for learning new skills, they are often well researched, easier to read and reference then online sources. Many of you might not have friends with a prolific knowledge of distilling moonshine and the credibility of a persons opinion on an online forum must always be questioned. For these reason’s I always recommend anyone serious about making their own moonshine to purchase at least some of the books listed below.
Top 5 Distilling Books For Making Moonshine
Making Pure Corn Whiskey – A Profesional Guide For Amateur and Micro Distillers by Ian Smiley
This is and excellent book for anyone starting out. The principles of the distilling process are explained in a straight forward manner that anyone can understand. There is a small section on the history of making moonshine and some fantastic whiskey mash recipes at the end of the book. Many amateur distillers struggle with making cut’s during their spirit run. Ian does a great job at explaining the method for making cut’s between foreshots, heads, middle run and tails and explains how these cut’s can alter the taste/profile of the whisky. By time your finished this book you’ll have a vast understanding of how to not only make your own whiskey but also build your own high separation fractionating still that can be used to make that whiskey.
If you understand the basics distillation principles and have a thirst for more then this book is for you. It goes into extensive detail of the chemical and mechanical process occurring during the distillation process. It covers extensively different still designs and proper operation of each design and even touches on botanicals extracts and essential oil production. For someone new to distilling this book’s would be overwhelming in my opinion. Start with “Making Pure Corn Whiskey by Ian Smiley”
Making Fine Spirits – by Zymurgy Bob
If your brand new to distilling and are looking to produce a high quality naturally flavored spirit such as whiskey, brandy or rum from a traditional pot still this is a great book to get you started. With plans to build a small coffee pot still and detailed instructions on how to run it. You’ll learn how to make a tasty brandy from a store bought wine. In the later chapters of this book you’ll learn how to build a larger 5 Gallon and 15 Gallon pot still and design and ferment washes to make the finest spirits.
If you’re planning to build your own reflux still this book is a must read. It outlines Automatic Reflux Control (ARC) design which is the newest technique in amateur distillation. ARC takes the guesswork out of controlling the still and is perfect for anyone who wants to create a great spirit with minimum effort. There are great illustrations included to help you understand the Reflux still designs. If you purchase this book you will also get access to the ARC forum which is run by the author and provides support related questions are answered to the book, new research presented and support given in still building and operating problems.
The Alaskan Bootlegger’s Bible – Making Beer, Wine, Liqueurs and Moonshine whiskey by Leon W. Kania
This book is an easy read and combines Alaskan tales and bootlegger’s lore with valuable information about how to make beer, wine, liqueur and whiskey. It also contains detailed information on how to make the equipment required including plans to make your own cappers, kegs, scales and even a malt factory from an old freezer. In total the book contains 8 different types of stills with fantastic illustrations making it so easy to build these at home. If you’re only going to buy one of these books this is it.
If you read these five books you’ll be fully prepared to start making your own moonshine. You’ll have not only the knowledge but you’ll be able to build and operate your own still. If you’ve read another book that you think should make it on this list I’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below with the books title, author and a short review on the book.