Pressure cookers are often used for cooking a variety of food, but you can also use it for producing moonshine or brandy. Before we dive into this pressure cooker still recipe, let’s look at the components that go into making a pressure cooker still.
You will need the following equipment:
*Never use an aluminum pressure cooker - aluminum corrodes and deteriorates quickly and may be unsafe when attaching copper tubing.
How to Set Up a Pressure Cooker Still
Take the pressure cooker and attach one end of the straight copper tubing to the vent. Take the other end of the straight copper tubing and run it through a sink so that cold water surrounds the tubing. Continue running the copper tubing into the copper or steel bucket.
Once the copper tubing has entered the bucket, it will need to be coiled. Coiled copper tubing helps the alcohol cool before it enters the bucket, so this is an essential requirement to follow when setting up a still.
Pressure cooker → Sink → Large Bucket
How to Use a Pressure Cooker Still: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you know how to set up a pressure cooker still, let’s go over how to use it. Before getting started, make sure you have your pressure cooker still assembled. You will need to create the sour mash that goes into the pressure cooker about 5 days prior. Don’t worry - the recipe below will show you exactly how to make the sour mash that will be going into the pressure cooker.
Step 1: Add the Sour Mash to the Pressure Cooker
The sour mash is what is used to create the liquor. You will add the sour mash directly into the pressure cooker and turn the pressure cooker on to 173°F. Once the sour mash has reached 173°F, steam will be created and pulled through the copper tubing that has been inserted at the vent of the pressure cooker.
Step 2: Cool the Sour Mash
As the alcohol steam is pulled from the pressure cooker through the copper tubing, it will need to be cooled. This is what turns the sour mash into drinkable liquor and may be the most important step in the process. The steam will be cooled as it travels through the copper tubing that is submerged in cold water. As the hot steam cools off, it will condense and will follow the copper tubing into the third and final stage.
Step 3: Fill the Bucket
The copper tubing that goes from the cold water into the bucket will give you the finished product. The condensed steam will travel the coiled copper tubing before exiting into the bucket. The coiled copper tubing will further help the condensed steam cool before it exits and fills the bucket.
- Fill a 20-gallon copper or steel drum with 10 gallons of water and heat the water to 120°F by placing it over an open flame.
- Add the cornmeal a little at a time, stirring as you go. Next, add the sugar and stir until it has completely dissolved.
- Keep the container heated to 145°F for approximately 30 minutes. This will cook the mixture to create the mash.
- After 30 minutes, take the container off the heat and begin cooling it. You can do this by placing the container in a tub of cold water.
- Once the mixture has been cooled, add the malt and yeast. If the mash is thick, you can add warm water to the mash to thin it out.
- Store the container of mash in a warm, safe area for approximately 5 days. On the 5th day, the mash has now turned into a sour mash. The sour mash is what you will pour into the pressure cooker. Strain the sour mash with a cheesecloth to remove any debris that may have entered the mash during fermenting.
- With your pressure cooker still set up, fill the pressure cooker about ¾ full of the sour mash and heat the pressure cooker to 173°F. The steam will be created and will move throughout the copper tubing and finally into the collection bucket. At this point, you will need to collect about ½ of a cup of the liquid in the collection bucket and discard it. This first distill is highly toxic and can be fatal.
- Finish distilling the sour mash and collect it in the bucket. Once you have completed the first batch, it will need to be distilled one more time. The first batch will contain too much water and have a low alcohol content. Before you add this batch back into the pressure cooker, clean the pressure cooker and dry completely. Then you can add the batch.
- Repeat the distilling process one more time, including discarding the first ½ cup that has been produced. Then continue until all the moonshine has been collected in the bucket.
- Test the proof. It should be somewhere around 140 proof. You can test this by taking a small amount of the moonshine in a sealed jar and shaking it to see how many bubbles are produced. If the bubbles are large and disappear quickly, the proof is too high and will need to be taken down. You will do this by adding water to the moonshine until the bubbles are small and do not disappear for several minutes. This method indicates you have taken the moonshine down to 100-proof.
Now that you know how to make traditional corn mash moonshine using a pressure cooker setup, the possibilities are endless! Flavor the moonshine with your favorite fruit or even place it in your own personal whiskey barrel to create a caramelized color and mellower flavor.