In order to make dried fruit moonshine you can use unnecessary or substandard raw materials which have expired. Even slightly moldy fruits can be used (boiling them will destroy the mold), but you should cut away the rotten parts to avoid bitterness. Following the described method will let you produce a fragrant distillate with light fruit notes.
Theory. Any dried fruits are suitable for making moonshine: prunes, figs, dried apricots, dates, raisins, apples, pears, cherries, etc. You can mix different types of fruits in one brew, getting the original flavor and flavor tones. Just remember that prunes give bright smoky notes which are very prominent when combined with apples and pears.
During the drying process, the pulp gets dehydrated, but fructose and dry substances that play a major role in creating taste and aroma of the drink remain. To start the fermentation it’s enough to dissolve fructose in water – make a compote, then add baker’s or wine yeast (or you can make a ferment). The total sugar content of the must should not exceed 20%.
The yield of dried fruit moonshine depends on the sugar content of the raw materials, so it’s difficult to predict the volumes in advance. The sweeter the pulp is, the more beverage you will end up with. To increase the yield, you can add beet sugar – 2.2 lbs/1 kg will give additional 1.1-1.2 liters of moonshine (40%). However, sugar slightly spoils the fruity aroma. You’ll have to choose between quantity and quality.
On distillers, dry or pressed baker’s yeast, the brew from dried fruits ferments for 4-10 days, but such yeast degrades the aroma. For fruit brews, it is advisable to use store bought or wild wine yeast (present on the surface of raisins or berries). With such yeast, the brew ferments longer (25-60 days), but the organoleptic properties of the beverage remain.
- Dried fruits – 6.6 lbs/3 kg
- Water – 18 liters and additional 4 liters per 2.2 lbs/kilo of sugar
- Sugar – 2.2-6.6 lbs/1-3 kg (at will)
- Yeast – 3.5 oz/100 gr pressed (0.7 oz/20 gr dry) baker’s yeast or wine yeast depending on the volume of the must or ferment (3% of the volume)
- Citric acid – 0.3 oz/10 grams
Citric acid is needed to stabilize the acidity of the must, which promotes fermentation. I recommend adding citric acid if you add more than 2.2 lbs/1 kg of sugar.
If necessary, the homemade raisins and fresh berries ferment can be cooked for 3-5 days before working with raw materials.
Dried Fruit Mash Recipe
- Grind dried fruits with a blender or in any other way. The smaller the pieces, the better the release of sugar which increases the yield of moonshine.
Warning! It is desirable to remove pits first. If you can’t do that you shouldn’t use a blender for the raw materials. Just use them right away so that the pits remain intact and don’t make the mash bitter.
- Put the dried fruits in a cooking pot, add sugar (at will), cover it with water in ratio 1:4 – pour 4 liters of water per 2.2 lbs/1 kg of raw materials (along with sugar). Stir the mixture.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the dried fruits don’t stick to the bottom and burn.
- Remove the cooking pot from the heat and add the remaining water and citric acid. Mix them up.
- When the must cool down to 28-29°C add the ferment or pre-diluted yeast.
- Pour the mash into a fermenter, leaving at least 25% of the space free for foam and carbon dioxide. Install a water seal of any design. You can use a medical glove with a hole in one finger.
Glove instead of classic Airlock
- Put the dried fruits mash in a dark place with a temperature of 18-28°C. Depending on the yeast used, after 4-60 days, the water seal will stop releasing gas (the glove will deflate), and the mash won’t be sweet anymore and will become slightly bitter. There will be sediment at the bottom. These signs indicate that fermentation is over.
Making Dried Fruit Moonshine
- Filter the fermented mash through gauze, squeeze the pulp dry. Without the filtration the remains of the pulp will burn, spoiling the taste of the beverage.
- Distillate the mash for the first time at maximum speed without dividing it into fractions. Stop collecting the product when ABV becomes less than 30%.
- Measure ABV of the obtained distillate. Calculate the amount of pure alcohol – multiply the volume in liters by ABV in percent and then divide by 100.
- Dilute the beverage with water to 18-20 degrees and then perform second distillation. Collect the first 12-15% of the yield from the amount of pure alcohol in a separate container. This harmful stinky fraction is called “foreshots” and can only be used for technical purposes.
- Collect the main product (“middle run”) until ABV falls below 45% and then finish the distillation or collect “tails” separately.
- Dilute the obtained dried fruit moonshine with water until you get the desired ABV (usually 40-45%) and then bottle for storage.
- Hermetically seal the bottles, leave them for 2-3 days in a dark, cool place to stabilize the taste before tasting.