Applejack moonshine is probably as old as the USA, and it?s darn good drinkin’ if you ask us. Making this one, however, is a bit different from what you?re probably used to as a moonshiner.
How to Make Applejack?
Instead of using your beloved moonshine still, you?ll be exploring the fascinating world of freeze distillation, which is rumored to have started vodka production in the first place.
Here, instead of making liquor evaporate at a higher temperature than water, you?ll be actually freezing the water and removing it from cider to make the drink more fermented. Best part is that you won?t have to deal with managing the cuts or any of that standard distilling business.
Does it takes patience and practice, yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
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You’ll want to use a good quality cider as the base for this recipe, we’ve used this stuff? before with great results:
- 5 gallons Unpasteurized Apple Cider
- 5 pounds Table or Cane Sugar (granulated)
- 1 packet of Yeast (preferably Cider Yeast, check out our guide on yeast)
Equipment - See our guide here!
- Boiling Pot
- Fermentation Bucket
- Mixing Spoon
- Siphon Tube
- Strainer/Filter (optional)
- Storage Vessel (5 gal is ideal size)
- Freezer w/ space for 5-gallon storage vessel
- Pour one gallon of apple cider into the boiling pot, heat it up to about 160?F then mix in the sugar until dissolved completely.
- Mix the resulting syrup with the remaining 4 gallons of apple cider in a sanitized fermentation bucket.
- Let mixture cool to below 75 degrees and then add yeast.
- Cover the bucket with an airtight lid, place the airlock and let ferment for a minimum of five days until complete stop of any activity in the fermenter. The airlock shouldn't have any movement for 1-2 days.
- After fermentation is complete, separate the liquid from the yeast by siphoning off the liquid into a separate storage vessel.
- Put the vessel with the strained cider into the freezer.
- Check back periodically for ice crystal formation atop of the liquid and remove them.
Typically, ice formation will slow significantly around 30-40% ABV.
Hand-Picked Equipment for this Recipe
Fail to plan, plan to fail!
Every beginner starts a mash or even a simple infusion recipe then realizes halfway through they forgot something crucial. We’ve been there too. Refer to our Equipment section in the recipe above to make sure you’ve got everything you need. We’ve highlighted a few specific things that come in handy with this freeze-distillation here too:
Cider Yeast is Important!
Cider Yeast contains a few different strains that are more effective at fermenting the cider base. We can’t guarantee how things’ll turn out if you use a standard bread or distiller’s yeast. We’ve always stuck to the pro’s recommendations for this recipe.
Picking out the frozen ice with your hands invites all sorts of new bacteria, skin oils, and whatnot into your hard work. Even with clean or sanitized hands. Especially since you’ll be dipping in there many times to remove the ice.
We recommend you sterilize (run it through the dishwasher) a metal scoop specifically intended for food and use that each time. We use one of these for many things around our distillation but it’s perfect for scooping out your ice and leaving behind the good stuff!
Save Your Back
Since you’ll be pulling the mixture out of the freezer and placing it back each time you want to remove the ice, it’s best to use a plastic storage vessel for this part. You certainly want it to be clean and sanitary since it’ll be housing your final product, but using a glass jug that weighs 40lb empty will be hazardous to deal with.
We typically like to use glass for fermentation and storing our shine, but this is definitely a time to invest in one of these plastic fermentation containers:
The upside is, you’ll have a backup fermentation bucket should you have a problem with your glass ones or get caught short of hand in the middle of prepping your mash!
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10 thoughts on “Applejack Moonshine”
Does this need to be distilled somehow to remove methanol from the fermentation process?
A friend of mine used to make applejack using cider, lemons, rasains,sugar,oranhe’s and sugar. Mixed in a 35 gallon barrel. I had the recipe but lost it and he has since died. Does this sound familiar to anyone? He always had it in a oak barrel after it had fermented.
Years ago I made Apple Jack using either apple juice or cider can’t remember which…….you would pour 1!3 of the juice off then put in some yeast let ferment a few days then add the rest of the juice. Can you help me in this method? I guess you used an airlock while fermenting…..well these random memories hum-m-m well, it was good.What do you think
Was he from NC? If I know who you’re talking about . Good rest his sole
Can this be put in mason jars and left at room temp to store?
I believe that this is going to give you a baaad hangover ?
How much is left at the end of the 5 gallons?
Will there be any problem adding cinnamon sticks to this recipe?
Wow looks yummy. I shall be trying this moonshine recipe
Does the cider/sugar mixture stop “working” because the yeast is “used up”? If the remaining mixture still contains a lot of sugar, can an additional package of yeast be added to increase the alcohol content? Will the mixture start to “work” again?