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Guide to urban moonshining

Read a good book? Any topic is a good one. If it is about moonshine of other spirits, beer, or wine then that is a bonus.

Guide to urban moonshining

Postby goinbroke2 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:57 pm

Just bought (and read) the book by the Kings county distillery "guide to urban moonshining".
Typical whisky book, starts out "what is whisky" and then about the history of whisky. The end of the book is "how to drink whisky" or more accurately, recipes for drinks with anecdotal stories attached.
Example, "a Manhattan, once I was in a poker game..." or "whisky highball, I lived in a small apartment where the roof leaked and..." Good little stories, but I bought the book more for the "how to" part of the "guide to moonshining" not how to make a cocktail. :doh:

The meat of the book is unfortunately small, it goes through the steps of mashing, fermenting and strip run/spirit run. Even goes into cuts, I just found it too..I don't know..basic? It talks about doing the cuts but not about letting them air for 24-48hr's. Sure you can go right into cuts but I think it was more oversight on their part than anything else. Same as checking the abv during the run it says to pull some distillate and check it with a hydrometer...no mention of a parrot though..anywhere. Again, I think it was an oversight.

I think I'm looking at it as someone who's done lots of distilling and see while the basic's are there so you can technically say the book does have instructions on how to do it, I find them a little too basic. A true beginner would require more info or at the very least would take longer to produce good alcohol than if they had more detail about the production of it and less on recipes and the same old stories of the whisky rebellion or whatever.

Maybe I'm too picky.

There are really good parts too though, the info on setting up a distillery and the questions you should be asking yourself for your business plan are excellent. There is even a recipe (yes I read the whole book) for hillbilly bread using your spent grains after fermenting. Never thought of doing that. (and about 6hr's before reading that part I threw out 20lb's of spent oats/rye) :x

So..would I recommend it? Yes.

Is it the end-all and be-all home distiller book? No.

It is a nice hardcover book which is an easy read and further promotes the "mainstream" of today's hobby distillers.
I'll be reading it again, and again, and again. :wink:
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Re: Guide to urban moonshining

Postby okie » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:24 am

For me, knowledge is always ongoing and everyday I like to learn something new. That being said, my take is we as members of the forums probably are the most up to date on this subject. I can't imagine someone at Jack Daniels, just as an example, who has always done things that way knows what we as members here do.

It's great knowing we have a great group of very knowledgeable and experienced people who share their knowledge. It's worth much more than the price of a book. :rkn:
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Re: Guide to urban moonshining

Postby punkin » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:59 am

Thanks for the review GB2. Indepth and useful.
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Re: Guide to urban moonshining

Postby dad300 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:07 pm

+1 thanks for the review...

Parrots - Hmmm...Doubt it was an oversight. When a moonshiner starts his illicit still, what he gets is what he gets.

On the small equipment most of us have the parrot holds far too much distillate (say 8-12 oz), takes a lot of interpretation (doing temp calcs in your head) and provides a point for smearing.

On a big plated still, over a 250 gallon boiler, it could tell you something.

I tend to believe that after a few runs, you're going to know or should know what is coming off, when and how fast it should come off.

Collect in as small a vessel as you can stand and let it go. If something goes wrong, you're going to rerun it...

We used to use our spent grains to bake into dog treats. Now she adds salt, herbs and bakes crackers for me.
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Re: Guide to urban moonshining

Postby DavidWatkins » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:06 pm

+1 on the parrot leading to smearing in some cases. Not as useful on a pot still as a reflux still. It's understandable that they'd leave parrot discussions out of a beginners guide where people are running a boiler of 15 gallons or less.

Personally, I use my spirit hydrometer for proofing, not distilling. I run my still and collect based 100% on taste. After I've made cuts and decided what to keep and what to send to the feints bucket, I'll blend and proof with the aid of the hydrometer
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Re: Guide to urban moonshining

Postby goinbroke2 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:16 pm

I run a 15gal pot still and I always use my parrot, maybe that's just me...I have a thermometer right with the hydrometer and I pretty much adj water flow to keep it 60-70*.
Course the one pic I find has it at 80* LOL

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Re: Guide to urban moonshining

Postby goinbroke2 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:21 pm

I didn't take it as they "left it out" though, it was kind of a quick slam-bam-thankya-maam type of explanation and it was unintentionally left out. There were a few other things I though "hmm, why didn't they expand on that?"

Like I said though, a good read and worth the price. (course I paid $27 at the local book store and then saw it on amazon for $17 :(
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