Although most of us fancy the idea of home brewing, finding the best moonshine stills is a lot more challenging than simply walking into a store and picking it from the shelf. You have to know the best price for a still and what defines a good still kit among other factors. Considering the cost, kit sizes, ease of use, rating and reviews by customers, we have compiled a list of six best moonshine still kits 2018 to choose from. Go through the list to find the brand that is most affordable and suits your budget best.
Comparison of the Top-Rated Moonshine Still Kits
DIY 3 Gal Home Distiller Moonshine Still by Ama_TrulyStep
The DIY 3 gallon home distiller is a great distillation equipment manufactured under the high-quality standards of Ama TrulyStep. They have been in the industry for quite some time now, and their high-quality, durable stills have given them an irrefutable reputation in this market. For those buying a moonshine still for the first time, worry not, after purchasing a DIY 3 gal home distiller you will be provided with online video tutorials to help you get started. The distiller comes with stainless steel cooling pipes, a cooling coil made of copper or stainless steel. In addition, it is argon welded to its make hence it doesn’t pose any human health risk associated with other solder construction. You can also use this still to distill whiskey ethanol, alcohol, brandy, wine and for water distillation.
- Compact design
- Well priced affordable moonshine stills
- Easy to use
- Good instructions and videos available
- Easy to clean stainless steel
- Simple to assemble
- Stainless steel is not of the highest quality
- Cooling unit gets extremely
- Cooling hose a bit short for some people
5 Gallon Copper “Moonshine” Still Kit by Clawhammer Supply
In comparison to other kits, the copper moonshine still kit is perfect for those who love a touch of traditional home brewing. The 5-gallon copper model is a bit old-school in its design, but that only makes the brewing much more fun. Although you may have to give it a little elbow grease to keep it up and running all this effort will be rewarded once you taste the final product. This device comes with all its components, so all you’ve got to do is a little soldering. However, you do not need any experience to set it up. More so, for help with the setting up, an online guide is also provided to help you through it. We purposely included this model on this list owing to it being a durability and high-quality moonshine still.
- Traditional retro design
- Durable top-rated moonshine still
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Online video instructions
- Good customer service
- Assembly takes time
- Assembly is a bit challenging for some people
- Not the cheapest still
2 Gallon Moonshine Still Spirits Kit by Seeutek
This complete set of an alcohol distillation kit is ideal for first time home brewers. Just like the other models, we have already listed for you, this spirits kit by Seeutek is easy to set up and use. The manufacturer tests all the components and functionality of this product before shipping ensuring it suits your personal requirements. You can use this spirit still to distill a whole lot of other stuff including fruit wine, water, brandy and even plant extract for medicinal use. One of the reasons this distiller made it to our list is because it can be heated over a range of sources such as stovetop and cooker.
- Value for money
- Great for a beginner
- Dial reading thermometer that displays Fahrenheit and Celsius
- Quality stainless steel, copper and brass
- Easy to assemble
- Instructions not clear
- Most people need to make minor modifications
- Some workmanship including welding not perfect
8 Gal Stainless Steel Home Brewing Kit by OLizee
Olizee has been manufacturing quality home-brewing stills for quite some time now. And for all this while not a single negative review has ever been given on its products. The same level of ingenuity and perfection was used in manufacturing the 8 gals stainless steel moonshine still. In addition, the still comes with all its components including a thermometer, four clamps, thumper keg, silicon hoses, an air valve, copper cup and cooler and a stainless steel cup. You are also provided with some recipes to get you started. This 8-gallon kit is stainless steel constructed and welded to avoid copper or solder welding which may pose a health risk.
- Compact small moonshine still
- Good build and design
- Excellent customer service
- Thumper keg included
- Fast distillation
- High purity end product
- Easy to assemble
- Not ideal for induction or stove-top distilling
- Some found the thermometer to be inaccurate
5 Gal Water Alcohol Whiskey Moonshine Still Kit by KMM
Similar to the top-rated moonshine kits previously listed, this 5-gallon moonshine still can distill fruit wine, alcohol, and purify water and plant extracts. It also comes with a detailed recipe for several distillation processes. In addition, the manufacturer provides you with a cleaning manual to ensure you avoid buildup and rust hence extending its lifespan. Most customer reviews you will come across never fail to mention the extra fermentation lock which has a rubber stopper that is included in the kit. This still kit is made of good quality stainless steel. It uses a very thick and durable copper in the onion and worm. With its rubber gaskets fully sealing any leakages, one can tell this beauty was exquisitely constructed with a lot of attention going into its details.
- Good instructions
- Quality stainless steel
- Easy to clean
- Well-built moonshine machine
- Thermometer only reads in Celsius
- Slow to cool
5 Gallon Copper Alembic
The 5-gallon copper alembic still is meticulously handcrafted making it stand the test of time. It differs slightly from some of our previous models because it is soldered. The soldering ensures it is perfectly sealed and since the soldering is done using a lead-free material, it passes the health safety standards. This one is highly recommended for its standout ability to get rid of sulfides which give the final product a best taste and smell. This Alembic product is perfect for; moonshine, traditional rum, scotch, Irish whiskey, Bourbon, Vodka and Tennessee whiskey.
- Quality coppers
- Produces great flavor and aroma
- Cool retro design
- Celsius and Fahrenheit thermometer
- Good instructions
- Some people experienced leaks
What to Consider Before Purchasing a Moonshine Distiller
There are a number of ways through which alcohol can be distilled, and as such, you will come across various types of moonshine kits made in different shapes and materials. Note that, there are different designs which can facilitate the fermentation process during alcohol distillation while others will make it easy to add fruit flavors during distillation. We have stills made for outdoor distilling while others are highly portable to facilitate home brewing in any location. There are moonshine kits of varying sizes so don’t purchase a mini model that is too small or one that is too large.
You also need to be careful when buying distiller yeast for the fermentation of ethanol to ensure you produce a high yield of alcohol. Lastly, for a perfect easy distillation, get help from a distiller’s workbook: a complete guide to all distillation process you can ever wish to perform as DIY including home brewing of alcohol. It is a perfect manuscript for both beginners and expert distillers.
The market is always crowded with lots of home alcohol stills which combine a range of the aspects aforementioned making it quite challenging to get the choice right. If you have already decided on a cheap home still kit you would want to purchase, consider the above factors to ensure you get the best brands of ones in the market.
Moonshine initially referred to a spirit, normally whiskey that was made illegally to avoid government taxes or prohibition. It was typically made from corn mash but a wide range of ingredients was used. The end result was a potent clear spirit that was transported by bootleggers.
Unlike commercial products that are aged in oak barrels, giving them color, flavor and removing some of the harshnesses, shine is ready to drink immediately. It became a thriving business in many parts of America and was known for regular run-ins with the authorities.
Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and the profits for moonshiners all but disappeared. As the commercial distilleries grew, they were able to buy ingredients in such large volumes that they received massive discounts. Moonshiners could not compete and the practice slowly came to an end.
Moonshining used to be an illegal activity carried out under cover of darkness. Today, it is a popular and growing hobby. Many people experiment in their homes to make a unique brew to enjoy with friends.
If you have the right equipment and decent instructions, it is relatively easy to do. It might take a bit of experimenting along the way but you will have fun as you learn. The best part is, the moonshine kits and the materials needed are relatively inexpensive. For a few hundred dollars you can be up and be running in no time.
You can make a decent whiskey, rum, vodka, brandy, wine or beer in the comfort of your own home. The process is pretty much the same no matter what you are brewing and comes down to two main elements, fermentation and distillation.
Fermentation is a chemical reaction that takes place as yeast breaks down to the sugar. This results in alcohol. This is then evaporated by distillation. The alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water and the distillation process involves capturing the steam which condenses and forms a liquid again.
Fermentation is a natural metabolic action that consumes the sugar in a carbohydrate turning it into an acid or alcohol. It is the same process used to make yogurt and cheese. A living microorganism yeast is used to start the conversion of the sugar into alcohol.
The next stage in the process is to remove the water from the mixture known as wash. This will turn the 10% mixture into a spirit. Alcohol boils at 173°F while water at 212°F. The still allows you to condense the vapor of the alcohol as the mixture boils and leave you with the alcohol spirit.
The importance of yeast and fermentable sugar
It is clear from the above that yeast is a critical part of the process. It is responsible for converting sugar into alcohol as the wash ferments. The quality of the yeast will affect the taste and aroma of the final product that you produce so make sure you get it right.
Optimum conditions for yeast
In order for yeast to perform at optimal levels, there are a number of important conditions that must be present:
- Stable and correct temperature
- Correct pH
If yeast is stressed, it will most likely have a negative effect on the end product and result in an unpleasant tasting spirit. The following could occur if the yeast gets stressed:
- Fusel alcohols
- Too sweet
- Too dry
Types of yeast used in moonshine fermentation
The type of yeast you select will depend on a number of factors:
- Type of carbohydrate being fermented
- Final alcohol content desired
- Fermentation temperature
Ensure you select the correct yeast for optimal fermentation. This will ensure good flavor and aroma.
Types of yeast
- Generic Distillers
- Wine Yeast
- Ale Yeast
- Bread Yeast
- Turbo Yeast
Also important is yeast nutrients. These are needed to feed the yeast to keep it healthy and speed the process up. Some recipes will not require nutrients and too many could spoil the taste of the final product.
Another essential element is sugar. The sugar can either come from the fermentation of cereal mash or fruit or can be the actual ingredient in the form of a sugar wash.
Types of sugar
There are two types of sugar, simple sugar like fructose and glucose and compound sugars like maltose and sucrose. The sugars found in honey, sugar cane, fruit and vegetables is fructose and glucose are from plant juice and fruit. Maltose is formed from fermented grains such as barley, rye and corn and sucrose from sugar beet roots and stems of sugar cane.
You can also use processed sugar such as raw, brown and white sugar. Molasses is a byproduct of sugar and is used to make rum.
All the elements of the moonshine process, as well as all ingredients, are important. If you want a smooth end product with a pleasant flavor and aroma, you have to get all of these rights. Fortunately, that is not difficult.
The great thing about making moonshine is you get to experiment and try different variations and combinations. You might make a few mistakes along the way but ultimately you will produce a unique drink that is custom made to your liking.