Sutton's moonshine recipe

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Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby M8Harry » Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:46 am

Hi all,

While im waiting for 5 star to get their quality stock back in, im doing a lot of research on what I plan to make when i get my new still (Cant wait!!)
I have always wanted to make corn whiskey and when people try my neutral they all call it moonshine and I really want to make a genuine moonshine just for kicks so I can give them a taste of the real thing and so I can tick that off my list of things to make. (its a big list) I have been a bit of a fan of Popcorn Sutton and I have dong a little reading up on him and his legacy and it turns out he published a basic recipe that's what this post is all about. I plan to scale it down to 60 Liters to start with and if I like it I might put down 200L in my new big fermenter when its finished.

My questions to the brains trust are as follows:
1) The recipe calls for using the wild yeast on the grains to trigger fermentation, is this safe? any red flags or additional precautions i should take before putting a batch down?
2) Yeast aside does anyone see any issues or potential problems with whats listed below?
Please try not to laugh too loudly, I would rather ask a n00b question here than stuff up horribly wrong and put more negative stigma on our hobby. I found these 2 versions on a website claiming its his recipe but the comments go back and forth yes it is no its not, hence the call out for a bit of guidance.

Here is the recipe in full

Mr. Sutton published “Me and My Likker,” an anecdote of his life and moonshining practices. In his book, a couple of times he mentioned a basic moonshine recipe, with a few different variations that he used when he was "putting up a barrel of beer". Here's Popcorn's recipe from his book:

Version 1
25 pounds coarse ground white corn meal, enough to fill half of your barrel/container

50 pounds of sugar – 1 pound of sugar per gallon of water of total volume

1 gallon of malt – can be corn, barley, rye or a combination.


Boil the water and pour over the cornmeal to cook. Allow them to cool to the touch. Add sugar and malt and stir in well. Leave it for a day. The following day the mix should be bubbling on top, stir it one last time and then leave it.

You see here that we did not mention any addition of yeast, Popcorn said that the malt (any kind or combination of corn, barley, rye) is what makes it work — so he's using it here as alternative to distiller's yeast. Also, he's after the idea that wild yeast will start the fermentation within the mash.

After a couple of days, when all activities in the mash has stopped, it should be ready to be distilled. Use a siphon or a bucket to transfer the wash to the still.

Version 2
25lbs yellow corn. 25lbs malted yellow corn. Cook the corn to get the starch out and mix together. Add up to 50 lbs sugar and load into barrel .add water to fill.No Yeast.Absolutely No Yeast. Fermentation takes 2 weeks to 4 weeks. Then run off

Thanks for your help and guidance
Last edited by M8Harry on Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby The Stig » Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:50 am

Can’t help sorry but, I’m also a fan
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby M8Harry » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:01 am

Im leaning towards version 2 as in the movie they made on him he even says at around 44 mins in "all thats in this (the mash) is yellow sweet corn, yellow corn malt, sugar and water"
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby Georgio » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:48 am

I would be adding yeast and using version 1...its pretty cold down your way this time of year....not sure how well inoculated your batch will get this time of year with wild yeast (unless you have some going already). I have tried something similar and purchased malted was a waste of time and $$$ as the corn gets to such a high temp the malt enzyme is denatured anyway. I would just use good old cracked corn. Twice through a pot or a single run through one of 5 star's magic bubbler's, some decent cuts and some oak...... :obscene-drinkingdrunk:

I too enjoyed the movie and TV show, but after working on this craft for several years now I am not too sure that they tell you everything you need to know to make a fine corn whiskey.
Last edited by Georgio on Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby Lesgold » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:09 am

Pretty similar to a BWKO or a UJSSM. The major difference is the addition of yeast. The fine grind on the corn could be interesting. Looks like the quantity of corn is also more than in these recipes. Did he go for generations and a sour mash or was it just a sweet moonshine? Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby bluc » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:43 am

Nothing wrong using wild yeast as long as you get a good strain. Results can be un predicatble. Good luck :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby M8Harry » Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:09 pm

Thanks for the input people, its appreciated.

Im going to do a bit of reading on how to put together a grain bill for this and ill post in the thread a plan of action and get a feel from you guys if I am heading the right way. This all grain stuff is new territory for me but an exciting challenge. This project will be a slow burn as I have a 200L fermenter to finish, life, work and all the shit that goes with it. But im not giving up so time will tell.

thanks again.
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby dist » Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:35 pm

I did my version of a sweet corn mash with good results. It's aging on some french oak now.

Here is the recipe.

For 30L fermenter:
4kg cracked corn (the kind you buy at pet shops, dirt cheap)
1kg malt barley (used maris otter cause that's what I had on hand)
4.5kg sugar

Cook corn and malt on the stove, until reaches about 74c. Close lid and let it rest until temp drops down to 30c.
Can take a while to cool down.
When it cools, transfer to fermenter, add sugar and top water until 27L mark.

For yeast, I made a combo of some sugar, water and wheat bran and left in the backyard for a week.
After about 5 days, it started foaming, so that's what I used. Didn't know if that's going to work, but it did.

OG 1058
FG 1002

Did a single run in a reflux column, got some nice product.
Tastes like banana lemon. I liked it so much I didn't do second run (first run was slow with cuts, etc)

All in all, it was a good experiment that paid off, but obviously with wild yeast it very much depends on env conditions.
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Re: Sutton's moonshine recipe

Postby Shaun » Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:47 pm

Sounds very interesting.
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