What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

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What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Whether or not you add water to whiskey defines you as a whiskey drinker. While many dedicated whiskey drinkers are firmly opposed to “diluting” a glass of neat whiskey, others believe that adding a few drops of water to a dram opens up its flavors and aromas. This theory inspired companies in Scotland and Kentucky to market waters specifically designed to mix with bourbon and scotch.

The thinking is that the best water for a particular whiskey is one that comes from the same source as that whiskey. While that logic makes sense, we were still skeptical. It got us thinking: Does the type of water you dash into your whiskey actually make a difference? We decided to set up an experiment.

We tested eight different waters (five specialty waters, three readily available options), tasting each on its own and splashed into a standard overproof whiskey, to find out exactly how each water affected the spirit’s aroma and flavor. Here’s what happened.

Disclaimer: We did not taste each of the specialty waters with the particular whiskeys for which they were designed. The results of this test should be taken as general tasting notes and not as a reflection of the precise purpose or effectiveness of these waters.

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Unfiltered NYC Tap Water

New York City’s tap water has been lauded as some of the best in the nation, and we can attest to its mild flavor and smooth mouthfeel compared with tap water from, say, Kansas (this particular writer’s home state). Its pH is about 7.

2—just slightly above what is considered neutral. On its own, the flavor is clean with mild minerality. But in whiskey, the tap water did little to enhance the flavor.

It softened the blow of the ethanol at first sip, but didn’t bring forward or open up any of the sweeter or warmer tones in the whiskey.

Distilled Water

The pH of distilled water is supposedly about the same as that of tap water, although various tests on the subject have proven otherwise, including one done by spirits writer Camper English who measured it coming in at a pH of 5.6.

With only our tongues to judge, we found that it didn’t have much flavor one way or the other. The distilled water softened the whiskey on the palate a little better than the tap water, but didn’t do much to open up or alter the flavor.

Evian Natural Spring Water

We found this bottled water to be fairly similar to tap water. It’s light on the palate and faintly chalky with a pH of 7.4. In the whiskey, it mellowed the spice and started to round out the spirit’s sweet notes. But it also imparted some minerality to the dram.

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What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Uisge Source Islay

Each bottling of Uisge Source is meant to complement a different variety of scotch. This one, which is sourced from the Ardilistry Spring, is meant to pair well with Islay whisky.

These whiskies often have a smokier character, thanks to the peated barley process, and this water shares some of those qualities. When sipped by itself it has a mild earthy flavor.

The brand doesn’t disclose the exact pH levels of each of its waters on its website, though it does indicate that the water comes in close to a pH of 6, and attributes this higher acidity to its natural peat filtration.

When added to whiskey, it tamed the ethanol flavors, rounding it out and enhancing the rich, leathery notes of the whiskey. We were pretty impressed with this particular water’s ability to improve the overall flavor.

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Uisge Source Speyside

If we had to choose any of Uisge Source’s waters to sip on a daily basis, we’d pick this one. It’s low in minerality with a silky texture, coming in closer to 8 on the pH scale.

Its smooth and stoney flavor can be attributed to its origins: the Cairngorms Well in the Speyside region of Scotland. The water naturally filters through hard rock, including granite. Though we loved it straight, it did not open the whisky up as much as we were hoping.

Perhaps our overproof whisky was too much for it. We found its effects quite similar to that of the tap water.

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Uisge Source Highland

As its name suggests, this water—and the variety of scotch it’s meant to complement—hails from the northern region of Scotland. It’s sourced from St.

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Colman’s Well in Ross-shire and is supposedly very similar to the water used by the region’s distilleries.

On its own, it has a light minerality and a slight stoniness, thanks to the sandstone and limestone through which it naturally flows. When added to whiskey, the flavors remained largely unchanged.

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Franklin & Sons Ltd. Scottish Artesian Water

This Scottish Highlands-sourced water—which comes from the springs near Balmoral Castle in the Cairngorms National Park—breaks everything down right on the label, from the calcium, magnesium and chloride content of the water to the pH at source, which comes in at 6.1.

It has a softer minerality than Uisge’s Highland water, though it’s noticeably more mineral-heavy than distilled water. Rather than relegating itself to one type of whisky, Franklin & Sons claims it helps “release the true character of the finest spirits.

” A splash of this water in whisky enhanced the whisky’s natural sweetness and smoothed the flavor significantly more than the other Highland water as well as the other more widely available waters.

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Old Limestone Mixing Water

The term “branch water” or “bourbon and branch” comes from an old Southern tradition of serving Kentucky bourbon with fresh spring water. That’s the basic idea behind Old Limestone’s water, which is bottled with a pH of 5.6.

Sipped straight, the limestone flavor shines through.

In a glass of whiskey, Old Limestone helped to round out and soften the flavors, seemingly without altering its flavor, but bringing some of the sweeter caramel flavors to the forefront.

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

The Verdict

The type of water you splash into your whiskey really does make a difference. We were surprised by the extreme differences between each of the waters in this tasting, both on their own and in the whiskey.

The specialty waters that shared some of the whiskey’s characteristics definitely helped the whiskey open up, so it seems these potentially gimmicky products are actually delivering on their promise.

We also noticed that we tended to favor the waters with a lower pH.

The bottom line: If we had to choose a water to pair with our whiskey, we’d certainly prefer to use one from the region in which the whiskey was made—but we also wouldn’t turn our nose up at tap or bottled water. As long as the whiskey’s good, we’re good.

Best Water for Distilling Whiskey | Distillery Water Treatment

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

The water quality in vodka, whiskey, gin, rum and other distilled spirits plays a huge role in the finished product. Without a proper filtration process, you could be letting unwanted minerals and bacteria alter the taste and look of your drink.

Besco Commercial Water Treatment has over 200 combined years of experience in industrial water systems. Our skilled technicians can install a customized water filtration system that will allow you to use the most optimized water for distillation.

The types of water needed for scotch whisky is different than the kind of water needed for vodka. That’s why having a professional water treatment company work with you is vital.

We know that you are the experts in your industry. We will use our knowledge of water quality to work with you and create the perfect solution.

Water affects so much of the distillation process. It plays a vital role in the mashing, cooling and reduction processes. If you overlook a water quality issue for too long, it will even have a major impact on your distilling equipment, plumbing and bottles.

Best Water for Whiskey Making

The importance of water quality for distilling whiskey cannot be overstated. It plays an important role throughout the entire process.

Water, yeast and barley are the three pillars of whiskey making. Of those three, water is considered the lifeblood of the product. It is heavily involved in the following processes:

  1. The steeping of green barley before it is malted.
  2. The mashing of malted barley grist and flour at high temperatures.
  3. The fermentation stage where yeast and water are added inside the washback.
  4. The cooling of the distilled spirit though tubs or condensers.
  5. Diluting the spirit.

Having contaminated water will affect every stage of that process. Unwanted minerals can change the taste, odor and color of your product.

During fermentation and mashing, an organic chemical called Oxalic Acid is produced in very small amounts. It’s a harmless substance in those small amounts and is often found in vegetables.

Many distilleries use water sourced locally, and it often contains Calcium. While Calcium is good for your body, it creates a white, clumpy substance when it is mixed with Oxalic Acid (called Calcium Oxalate).

Calcium Oxalate isn’t soluble in alcohol or water and is often called “floc”. By using a reverse osmosis water filter system to eliminate the Calcium, your master distiller will be able to use perfectly crafted water every single day.

Water Softeners for Distilleries

What Kind Of Water To Cut Moonshine

Distillery water usage is very unique. In most cases, you want water to have a pH between 7 and 8. If it below 6.5 pH, it is considered acidic while if it is above 8.5 pH, it is considered basic.

Most distillers will tell you that pH levels of 5.5 produce the perfect acidic environment for the fermentation process. Hard water, which is water that contains a lot of minerals, keeps the pH level high.

By installing a reverse osmosis system, the water will have calcium and other minerals removed which will make the water more acidic. By making the water more acidic, it will lower the pH into your preferred range around 5.5 pH.

More specifically, the mashing and fermentation process need low levels of pH and calcium carbonate. High levels of calcium carbonate keep the pH too high, which in turn stop the yeast from interaction with sugars in the mash. It also breeds an environment which makes it easier for bacteria to grow.

Industrial Water Treatment for Distilleries

Installing a water treatment system in your distillery is one of the best investments you can make. It will increase the quality and consistency of your product while also keeping your equipment and facility in good condition.

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For more information on what water treatment system is best for your business, call us directly at (800) 964-0257. You can also fill out our online contact form and one of our water treatment specialists will reach out to you shortly after.

3 Tips To Create Better Moonshine

Distilling your own moonshine is a fun and rewarding activity with deep roots seeded into our nation’s history.

The process of distilling moonshine has changed very little over the years, but distilling moonshine has never been easier thanks to the advancements of modern technology.

Even people with no previous experience can throw up a still using some basic tools and materials and begin distilling their own moonshine. Keep reading to learn 3 important tips on how to create better moonshine.

#1 – Use Distilled and Not Tap Water

One of the most important tips I can give to moonshiners is to always use distilled water for making moonshine wash. It’s no secret that tap water contains a plethora of chemicals, some of which includes chlorine, chlorate, bromate and fluoride.

Using tap water in your still will result in some of these potentially harmful and taste-changing chemicals to transfer over to the moonshine. Rather than taking the risk of ruining your batch of moonshine, invest in a couple jugs of distilled water.

The cost of distilled water is a small price to pay for a smoother, cleaner batch of moonshine.

#2 – Discard First Batch

Another key tip is to discard your first batch of moonshine. Rather than drinking your first batch, pour it down the drain and begin a second one. Doing so will result in a higher quality beverage that’s more flavorful and contains a higher alcohol content.

Of course, the first batch of moonshine from a still is also known to contain a greater amount of the toxic chemical known as methanol. Drinking too much methanol could result in serious, life-threatening health complications.

To prevent this from occurring, toss out your first batch of moonshine.

Some people may not want to throw out an entire batch of moonshine, but this is necessary to remove the unwanted chemicals. Whether you are new to the hobby, or if you’ve been doing it for years, you should always pour out the first batch of moonshine from a still.

#3 – Store Moonshine In Glass Jars

A third important tip for creating better moonshine is to store your beverage in glass jars. Newcomers oftentimes use plastic jugs to store their moonshine simply because it’s cheaper. Although moonshine won’t melt the plastic, there’s a good chance that some of the plastic’s chemicals will transfer into the moonshine, affecting its flavor and aroma.

What is the best type of water for distilling Whisky?

What is the best type of water for distilling Whisky?

(This note was added 16/01/2018.
If you are reading this blog post, can you please use the “Contact Me” below and explain to me why this article is one of my most read articles. I am completely baffled!)

This is not an article about how different types of water added
to your glass of whisky can affect the taste. For instance, tap water verses
Mineral water or water sourced from different regions. (However, it does sound
interesting and so I might deal with this in a future post.)

The Whisky Water Myth

Furthermore, this is not an article about whether specific
flavours in the water source used to distil the spirit can be tasted in the
whisky. If you have ever been to Scotland then you will soon find out that the Scots
have a mean sense of humour, so don't believe the distillery tour guide if
he/she tells you that that peaty flavour in your glass comes from the peaty
water in the spring at the back of the distillery, even if they do say it with
a completely straight face.

Bruichladdich's Legendary Distiller Jim McEwan. Known for his very special Scots sense of humour.

Photo taken from:

Bruichladdich Legendary Distiller Jim McEwan To Retire After 52 Years

Just look for the sparkle in their eye, it's a sure

These are photos of the River Livet, just right outside The
Glenlivet Distillery. As you can see, the water is very very peaty. In fact, pouring the water directly
into a glass, the thick golden brown water could very well be mistaken for whisky!

However, as everyone
knows, the standard expressions of The Glenlivet whisky are not peated at all and they
don’t even use the water from the Livet River for distilling. They use a water
source called Josie’s Well.

You will also often read, especially in American Whiskey
blogs about Bourbon distilleries, of the mystical influence upon their whiskey from that underground stream….
but it’s all marketing nonsense, piffle, twaddle, bunk, hogwash, bosh, malarkey, drivel, claptrap (take your pick), and a complete myth!

The Speyside region is famous for its water. In fact the name comes from the main river in the region, The River Spey.

As beautifully scenic and clear as the river is, its water is not suitable for making whisky…..

Water, Water everywhere but not a drop to distil.

This blog post is actually about the challenge faced by The
Milk and Honey distillery, the first large commercial whisky distillery in
Israel, to obtain the right kind of water for the distilling process.

The Ayalon River, Tel Aviv

Why can’t you use regular tap water from the mains in
Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?

Distillers will tell you that Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) and
pH levels in the water are very important during the mashing and fermentation
stage and determine how the yeast interacts with the barley grist and flour
mash which will affect sugar absorption and the speed of alcohol production as
well as levels of unwanted bacteria in the wort.

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Never mind the Milk and Honey! What about the Water?

One of the major problems faced by Beer Brewers and
therefore spirit distillers in Israel is the water source.

How to Distill Water

If you fear that your tap water may not be ideal for drinking, or if you are in the great outdoors and running low on clean drinking water, this is the instructable for you! Learn how to distill water in your own kitchen with just a pot and some ice. No Laboratory or fancy equipment required. This method can also be easily adapted if you are in the wilderness.

Distilled water is not only great in preventing mineral build-up in machinery, but it also converts any water source, be it river water, lake water, salt water, or waste water (i.

e urine) into clean drinking water.

Distillation will remove bacteria, viruses, cysts, heavy metals, radionuclides, organics, inorganics, and particulates, leaving all chemicals, toxins and waste behind and creating pure, clean water.

Distillation is literally the method seen in nature, whereby: the sun heats the water on the earth's surface, the water is turned into a vapor (evaporation) and rises, leaving contaminants behind, to form clouds. As the upper atmosphere drops in temperature the vapors cool and convert back to water to form water droplets. Then once the droplets fall as rain (precipitation) the cycle starts over again.

Different types of methods can be used to distill water.

Essentially, distillation entails boiling the water to produce vapor, leaving behind any and all contaminants, which luckily, have a higher boiling point than H20.

Once the water entirely vaporizes, that vapor is put into a clean container where it condenses back into pure water. So merely boiling the water will not distill it, it will only potentially remove few toxins.

What is the best water to make moonshine with?

One of the most important tips I can give to moonshiners is to always use distilled water for making moonshine wash. It’s no secret that tap water contains a plethora of chemicals, some of which includes chlorine, chlorate, bromate and fluoride.

How strong is homemade moonshine?

Moonshine usually has an ABV of 40%, but can sometimes be as high as 60%-80% ABV. Alcohol content can be converted to proof by multiplying it by two. So, 40% ABV is 80-proof. The distilling process is the key to a spirit’s alcohol content.

How much moonshine will a 1 gallon still make?

A 1 gallon run will yield 3-6 cups of alcohol. A 5 gallon run will yield 1-2 gallons of alcohol. A 8 gallon run will yield 1.5-3 gallons of alcohol.

How long does it take to make homemade moonshine?

As you can see, the process of fermenting and distilling moonshine is quite time-consuming. In general, you can expect it to take between 1-3 weeks to make moonshine, as the mash must ferment and the distillation process must be continued until the final shine is safe for consumption.

Can I use tap water for distilling?

The process of distilling is simple. Heat tap water to the point that it turns to vapor. When the vapor condenses back to water, it leaves behind any mineral residue. The resulting condensed liquid is distilled water.

What kind of water do you use for distilling?

In most cases, you want water to have a pH between 7 and 8. If it below 6.5 pH, it is considered acidic while if it is above 8.5 pH, it is considered basic. Most distillers will tell you that pH levels of 5.5 produce the perfect acidic environment for the fermentation process.

Can you use tap water to make mash?

You use tap water for your mash because it’s easily available, and really, what’s the difference? Tap water can contain impurities and chemicals, both of which can affect the aroma and taste of your moonshine. Serious moonshiners who want to create high-quality hooch know only to use distilled water.

Can you use distilled water for mash?

The kind of water that you use for mashing is significant, but distilling fine spirits is about more than having good water. Using bad water, however, is an easy way to derail the productive steps you’ve otherwise made.

What is the average proof of homemade moonshine?

On average, a proof moonshine could range somewhere between 100 to 150 proof. When you convert that alcohol by volume, 150 proof is equivalent to 75% alcohol by volume. Now that’s high!

Is moonshine stronger than whiskey?

Moonshine is also higher in proof and alcoholic content than whiskey set to a specific proof by authorities.

How can you tell how strong moonshine is?

Physically speaking, there is no real difference between vodka and moonshine. Both are unaged neutral spirits, usually cut with water to increase volume and produce a more drinkable product.

How much moonshine will a 2 gallon still make?

Standard Yields: Most standard distillation runs will yield about: 3 – 6 cups of alcohol from a 1 gallon copper still. 1/2 – 1 gallon of alcohol from a 2.5 gallon copper still. 1 – 2 gallons of alcohol from a 5 gallon copper still.

How much mash do I need for a 5 gallon still?

This means that for a 5 gallon mash you will use 1-1/4 gallons of backset and 3-3/4 gallons of water. Since you will be running your still for hours, you do not want to leave the fermenter empty. Put your 3-3/4 gallons of water back into the fermenter so your yeast won’t die while you distill.

How much mash does it take to make 5 gallons of moonshine?

So for a 5 gallon mash (which is recommended for your first batches of moonshine) you would use 5 gallons of water, 5 pounds of corn meal, and 5 pounds of sugar.

How much head do you throw away when distilling?

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