Does Moonshine Mash Need To Be Airtight? Read This

Making moonshine, a strong homemade distilled alcohol, can be a complex process. A great-tasting moonshine depends on storing and processing the mash correctly. One step to consider is whether moonshine mash must be stored in an airtight container. 

Moonshine mash can be stored in an airtight container. The container should be able to expel carbon dioxide to reduce pressure build-up. If the container is not airtight, try to prevent oxygen from entering it, as this can impact the moonshine’s taste. 

Read this article to understand more about the kind of containers in which moonshine mash should be stored. I’ll also explore the process of making moonshine mash, focusing on the types of containers to use. 

What Are Suitable Containers for Storing Moonshine Mash?

Suitable containers for storing moonshine mash include airtight containers with lids or  open containers. If you don’t store it in an airtight container, cover it with a piece of cheesecloth. You can use food grade plastic, glass, or stainless steel containers. 

Here is some more information on the containers you can use for storing moonshine mash:

  • Airtight container with lid. You can use an airtight container with room for an airlock to expel the carbon dioxide. Alternatively, you can open it regularly to expel the carbon dioxide.Your airtight container can be in food grade plastic, glass, or stainless steel. 
  • Open container. You can place the mash into a container with no lid. This will allow carbon dioxide to escape the container freely. However, you should cover the container with cheesecloth to prevent bugs from getting in. 

One of the best tools for making moonshine mash is the airlock. Here are some excellent airlock options (available on Amazon.com) that you may consider purchasing: 

  • Twin Bubble Airlock.: This is a twin airlock that is designed for beer and wine fermentation. It can be easily attached to bucket lids and other containers. It is easy to use and pocket-friendly. 
  • Three-Piece Airlock.: If you use a gallon jug container to store your mash, it is best to use this airlock. It fits easily into a jug, and has an easy-to-use stopper feature.

You can also buy a complete moonshine-making kit which will include an airlock. 

To further understand how to choose the most suitable moonshine mash container, it is helpful to consider how you make it. 

How To Make Moonshine Mash

Here are the ingredients I recommend if you want to make moonshine mash: 

  • 6 gallons (22 liters) of water
  • 8.5 pounds (3.9 kilograms) of corn maize 
  • 1.5 pounds (700 grams) of malted barley
  • Yeast
  • A fermentation bucket or container 
  • A heat source 
  • A thermometer
  • A long spoon 

Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing moonshine mash with a focus on the type of container used: 

  1. Heat the water to 165 °F (73 °C). Fill a large vessel with water and heat it until the water reaches 165 °F (73 °C). Turn off the heat. 
  2. Stir in the flaked corn maize. As soon as the temperature reaches 165 degrees, gently stir in the corn maize. Continuously stir the mixture for 5 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Add the malted barley. Monitor the temperature of the mixture. Once the temperature reaches 150 °F (65 °C), stir in the barley. Continue stirring the barley for 2 minutes. 
  4. Allow your mixture to stand for an hour and a half. At this stage, you can keep the mixture in the aluminum container you cooked it in. Make sure you cover the container. 
  5. Cover another aluminum container with cheesecloth. Pour the mash through the cheesecloth to separate the solids from the liquid. 
  6. Sterilize two aluminum containers. For 5 minutes, pour the mash back and forth between the two containers to aerate it.
  7. Pour the mash into a fermentation container. Decide whether you are choosing an airtight or non-airtight container and install an airlock before pouring in the mash. 
  8. Add yeast. Once the mash is in the container, stir in the yeast. Then, seal the container and allow it to stand. 

Once the mash is prepared, allow it to sit in its container for at least three weeks. 

Should You Air Out Your Moonshine?

If you use an airtight container, you may wonder whether you should open it during fermentation. 

You can air out your moonshine but it will introduce oxygen to the mixture. The oxygen may affect the way the yeast ferments, which will change the moonshine’s flavor profile.  

However, if you want to air out your moonshine mash to change the flavor profile, here’s what you should do: 

  1. Dislodge the airlock on your container.
  2. Gently open the container to allow air to enter the moonshine mash. 
  3. Stir the moonshine mash to allow air to enter the whole mixture. 
  4. Allow the mash to sit for 30 minutes before resealing the container. 
  5. Reinstall the airlock. 

I find it best to air the mash on a cooler day, so that only a minimal amount of mash evaporates. It is also best to air it out 24 to 48 hours before you begin distilling the moonshine. 

Other Storage Tips for Improving the Flavor of Your Moonshine Mash

The container you use has a significant impact on the moonshine’s flavor. Other storage aspects that impact the taste are the area in which you keep the mash and the amount of light it’s exposed to. 

The following table has a breakdown of what you need to consider when storing moonshine: 

What you should do What you shouldn’t do 
TemperatureStore your moonshine mash in a cool area. Don’t freeze your moonshine as this will negatively impact its flavor profile. 
Light exposure Make sure your moonshine mash is in a room with artificial light so you can monitor its progress. Keep your moonshine mash out of direct sunlight. This can cause it to evaporate as well as oxidize.
Type of containerIt’s best to ferment your moonshine mash in a glass container.Don’t ferment your mash in a wooden or low grade plastic container. 

Making the best moonshine mash will come with practice. 

Experiment with different containers, amounts of oxygen exposure, and even types of airlocks. The more moonshine you make, the more you will refine your technique and preferences. 

Conclusion

The container you use to store your moonshine mash can be airtight. However, you should ensure there’s provision for the carbon dioxide to escape. Producing excellent moonshine mash also depends on the type of container you use and the steps you follow. 

About HomeBrewAdvice

Hello, my name is Simon. Together with a group of writers I write about brewing beer and making wine. We all share a passion for the great things in life, such as making stuff from scratch.

The business of HomeBrewAdvice is to bring you great information, stories and product reviews from brewing at home, and making wine


Knowing how to properly store your moonshine after opening it is just as important as...
Moonshine has a fascinating history in the United States, and in the past, it was part of...
Homebrewing alcoholic beverages is a complicated, scientific, and precise process that...
Moonshine making is a historically illicit business but it is a thriving one in modern...
Whether you are well versed in home distilling or not, you probably know that owning your...
Making your own moonshine can be quite tricky—especially if it’s your first time...