There are many phases to the moonshining process and sometimes even the smallest mistake can destroy the whole thing.
If we don’t control the gas burner it might explode - or a nosey rat might just bite its way into our barrel of sweet apple mash!
Before distillation can take place, we need to create our mash - the thing that will be later distilled. There are many different types of those, main ones being based on fruit or grains. You can’t make rye whiskey without rye - same as a cherry bounce brandy would be no good without cherries!
Grains - these you have to wet first and keep them for some time in warmth, so that they can sprout.
Fruit - you want to be as ripe as possible.
When you later add water and yeast the latter’s enzymes cause the whole thing to ferment. Fermented mash is the thing you then distill in the pot still by heating it up and making the mash start to evaporate. The vapors are then liquified again and you get your alcohol.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Of course, the process described above is all about the very, very basics - as it’s been aforementioned, true moonshinin’ requires a ton of skill! An experienced moonshiner might, for example, add a thump keg which will cause the liquified vapors to evaporate again (and liquify again too), creating a stronger alcohol. There are even whole column stills made out of chambers that do that as well, one after another! And that’s not all. The alcohol you get might be later aged (and the outcome of this depends on what kind of barrel you use for that!), redistilled with different kinds of botanicals, fortified or diluted…
And all those things you’ll be able to do in our game!
Mill and press ingredients before making them into a mash; control the temperature of fermentation; even harvest yeast!
You’ll also learn how to use different types of stills; and how to make your product perfect via all sorts of post-distillation processes.
And, most of all: you’ll be able to experiment and discover, and create all sorts of different recipes!