Confiscated Moonshine Still, Rutherford County, NC. Alkaline-glazed Jugs, Catawba Valley Region. Collection of L.A. and Suzan Rhyne. 1. Still Pot   2. Still Cap   3. Doubler   4. Condenser   5. Worm Inside   6. Product

Confiscated Moonshine Still, Rutherford County, NC. Alkaline-glazed Jugs, Catawba Valley Region. Collection of L.A. and Suzan Rhyne.

1. Still Pot   2. Still Cap   3. Doubler   4. Condenser   5. Worm Inside   6. Product

MAKING DISTILLED ALCOHOL

Step One: Fermenting
Distilling begins by fermenting a batch of mash. Typically, mash is made from corn, rye, or other grain, mixed with water, sugar, and yeast. Put aside in a warm space for several days, the concoction creates a fermented liquid containing up to ten percent alcohol.

Step Two: Cooking
Fermented mash is poured into a still pot, or cooker, where it is heated to about 180˚F. Evaporation separates the alcohol from the mash. Alcohol-laden steam rises in the pot and is carried through a still cap and pipe to a second container, called a doubler.

Step Three: Doubling
As the vapor passes through an empty vessel, called a doubler, fine particles fall away, further purifying the steam before it travels through another pipe to the still’s condenser.

Step Four: Condensing
Vaporized alcohol enters the condenser where it travels through a coil of copper tubing, called a worm. Cold water surrounding the worm causes the alcohol to condense into a liquid that may be as much as 100 proof, or fifty percent alcohol.

Step Five: Collecting
Before there were Mason jars and plastic milk containers, pottery jugs of various shapes and sizes were used to hold and transport distilled alcohol.

Step Six: Consuming
This step requires no explanation!