You have recently come into possession of an old bottle of moonshine. Is it safe to drink it at this point? Recently, I’ve been pondering this very question in my own head. Because I was given conflicting information from a variety of sources, I decided to investigate the matter on my own and came up with the following conclusion:
So, does moonshine go bad? In a nutshell, moonshine, much like other types of simple spirits, does not really deteriorate over time. This indicates that moonshine has a shelf life that is essentially infinite, unless you are dealing with a flavored variant (which can spoil as a result of its high sugar density).
In the following section, I will go over everything you need to know about moonshine and its shelf life in order for you to get the most out of your spirits and make the most of your drinking experience. Continue reading to discover whether or not your moonshine is still drinkable (or whether you should just throw it away!).
How Long Does It Take for Moonshine to Lose Its Flavor?
You don’t need to worry about whether or not your moonshine is still drinkable nine times out of ten. The reason for this is that the majority of moonshine has an indefinite shelf life, which means that as long as it is kept sealed, it will never truly become spoiled.
Why? In point of fact, it’s not that hard. Moonshine, in contrast to the vast majority of other types of alcohol, is distilled multiple times. Moonshine that has successfully completed the distillation process does not contain any sugars and will not go bad as a result. In essence, this particular kind of pure moonshine can be stored for as long as is required (making the drink well worth the investment, legal issues aside).
Moonshine sold commercially, in particular, has a propensity to be flavored with additional sugars, which shortens the moonshine’s shelf life. Even though these moonshine beverages can be stored for a number of years without going bad, they eventually will, so the sooner you drink them after purchasing them, the better.
How Can Someone Tell When Their Moonshine Has Gone Bad?
Having trouble determining whether or not your moonshine has gone bad? There are a few typical warning signs that you should keep an eye out for. First, let’s take a look at the following:
- Foul Taste
If the bottle of moonshine that you have is properly stored and sealed, it won’t hurt you to take a taste of it and judge how it tastes (assuming it was distilled correctly, that is). Even if it is not technically harmful, moonshine that has “gone bad” will have a particularly unpleasant flavor. If the moonshine that you just opened tastes worse than you were anticipating, this is an indication that it has been sitting around for quite some time.
- Open Container
You should have some trepidation about drinking moonshine or any other spirit that has been stored in an open container. Even though the flavor of moonshine is not negatively impacted by oxidation in the same way that ageable alcohols are, the process can still have an effect on the moonshine’s flavor.
What Are the Consequences of Consuming Adulterated Moonshine?
Despite the fact that moonshine does not undergo aging, it is still possible to consume a batch that is spoiled or even fatal. Moonshine that has been ill-prepared poses a risk to human health from the moment it is distilled until the moment it is discarded, regardless of how many years have passed. In most cases, this is because of the high amount of methanol that is present in shine that has not been distilled properly. If you are unfamiliar with either the terms or moonshine in general, it is essential that you understand the distinction between the two primary chemicals that are found in alcohol:
Methanol is an extremely harmful type of alcohol that has only one carbon atom, and it is capable of causing severe sickness and even leading to death. If you’ve ever heard of moonshiners going blind, then you already have some idea of the effects that methanol can have on the human body. Even worse, the substance can kill even in small doses, which means that drinking bad moonshine that is full of methanol can really cause a lot of problems for you. [Case in point:] [Case in point:]
The distillation process produces ethanol, which is considered to be the superior type of alcohol. This fluid, which contains two atoms of carbon, has the potential to be harmful if consumed too quickly (anyone who has ever had their stomach pumped will be able to tell you this), but it is generally safe to consume in moderation. The high proof of moonshine is due to the presence of ethanol, which also contributes to the beverage’s low freezing point. To review, the presence of methanol in a subpar batch of moonshine can result in two separate outcomes:
When consumed, methanol causes damage to the optic nerve, which results in permanent blindness (and even sometimes during the distillation process).
Because methanol lacks a discernible flavor, it is possible to drink a potentially lethal batch of moonshine without realizing it until it is too late.
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Should Moonshine Always Be Kept in the Refrigerator?
Even though putting moonshine in the refrigerator won’t hurt it, doing so isn’t necessary because these strong spirits don’t need to be chilled. It is preferable to save the space in your refrigerator for items that are more essential; however, refrigeration does have its advantages, including the elimination of light and heat. This recommendation holds true regardless of whether you have a standard refrigerator or a wine refrigerator.
Moonshine in its purest form is the only exception to this rule. If you have already opened the bottle of the flavored option that you have purchased, storing it in the refrigerator will help to extend the amount of time that it will remain usable. Because of the cool temperature and the darkness inside the refrigerator, the oxidation process will be slowed down, which will prevent the sugars from going bad too quickly.
It is important to keep in mind that unopened flavored moonshines can still last for years, even if they are not stored in the refrigerator; therefore, this is really only required for drinks that have already been opened.
Does Moonshine Expire When Exposed to Heat?
Pure moonshine does not “go bad” in the heat, at least not in the conventional sense, provided that it has been properly proofed, stored, and sealed. Strong distilled spirits never actually go bad because they lack the components necessary for the growth of bacteria; however, they do degrade over time, particularly when they are exposed to light and warmth.
Moonshine won’t spoil even if it’s exposed to high temperatures, but the flavor might alter as a result of the heat. This is due to the fact that the chemicals that compose the moonshine will eventually become dislodged and separated, after which they will eventually recombine in a different arrangement. Because of this, the alcohol content won’t be diluted in any way, which might not be a big deal if you aren’t going for a specific flavor.
Moonshine should be kept in a cool, dark place that does not get too hot in order to preserve its flavor. This is especially important if you have a particular flavor profile in mind. A wine cellar is the best place to store shine, but if you don’t have one, you should think about using a cool pantry, cabinet space, or basement area instead. These are all places where you can protect shine from unfavorable environmental influences.
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Does Moonshine Freeze?
It’s one thing to keep an eye on the temperature of your moonshine and make sure it doesn’t get too hot. Another step is to make sure that it doesn’t freeze. Given that moonshine typically has a high alcohol by volume (ABV), the second option is, thankfully, much less difficult.
Even if you live in Siberia or some other extremely cold climate, you will have a difficult time getting moonshine to freeze anywhere in your house, despite the fact that it is technically possible. It would take temperatures of -113 degrees Celsius (-235 degrees Fahrenheit) to actually freeze your shine if it were made with traditional moonshine, which contains approximately 40 percent alcohol, also known as 80 proof.
Does Moonshine Containing Fruit Eventually Become Putrid?
If it’s made correctly and kept in the right conditions, pure moonshine won’t go bad at all; however, fruit-flavored moonshine is an entirely different kettle of fish. Moonshine made with fruit typically has a significantly higher concentration of sugar than more refined spirits, which are typically distilled to the point where there is no remaining sugar after the process. This indicates that they are guaranteed to become spoiled at some point in time or another, particularly if they were improperly stored. Let’s take a look at the reasons why mixing moonshine with fruit would cause it to go bad:
- Alcohol Evaporation
When an alcohol container is opened and then closed again, the alcohol inside will slowly evaporate over time because it is exposed to air. This is a slow process that might not be noticeable in the short term, but it has the potential to become very obvious over the course of several years.
If the alcohol is kept in a warm place that also has a lot of light, then this process can be sped up significantly. The spirit will have a weaker flavor and won’t be as potent overall if it has a lower alcohol content, but this should be the least of your concerns when it comes to the aging of flavored moonshine and the possibility of it going bad.
Oxidation is the most pressing concern at the moment. Oxidation is the process by which the atomic structure of alcohol is altered as a result of a chemical reaction that is facilitated by exposure to air. Oxidation is the culprit behind flavored beverages, such as fruit-infused moonshine, turning sour and losing their pleasant flavor over time.
If it is not properly stored, this fruit moonshine will become undrinkable, have a foul taste, and have a reduced capacity as an alcoholic beverage.
Does moonshine ever go bad?
The fact that moonshine typically does not go bad is a welcome piece of information. However, there are a few things that could affect the quality of your moonshine, and those things are: Clear whiskey that has not been aged is another name for moonshine. Moonshine can be broken down into two primary categories. These beverages may be consumed in their unflavored or flavored forms. The two primary kinds of moonshine cannot be stored for the same amount of time at the same temperature.
Moonshine in its Regular Form
This is a spirit with no added flavoring. This moonshine goes through multiple distillation processes until there is no sugar remaining. It is the most unadulterated form of moonshine, and as long as the bottle is kept sealed, it can be kept for an indefinite amount of time. When a bottle of traditional moonshine is opened, the alcohol may begin to evaporate. On the bright side, the liquid that is left over in the bottle won’t spoil, so you won’t have to worry about it being harmful to your health. It either completely loses its flavor or undergoes a change in taste. Rum, whiskey, brandy, gin, and vodka are all examples of spirits that are considered to be examples of plain moonshine.
Moonshine with Added Flavors
Moonshiners are notorious for their love of experimenting with new and unique spirit flavors. Apple pie moonshine, cherry pie moonshine, jalapeno peach moonshine, and key lime moonshine are just a few tasty examples of moonshine with a dessert twist. These moonshine beverages have a distinct flavor due to the sugars and flavorings that have been added after distillation. Moonshine with added flavors that has not been opened will not change significantly and will not spoil.
The alcohol in the bottle of moonshine, if it hasn’t been opened yet, will keep the fruit from going bad and preserve it. However, the alcohol can cause these fruits to become much more concentrated, and as a result, it is typically best to throw away the fruit. When moonshine is opened, it has the potential to spoil because the alcohol in the moonshine will evaporate, leaving the fruit exposed to the risk of rotting. However, there is a very low probability that this will take place in the near future. An unopened bottle of moonshine has a shelf life that is in the multiple decades range.
Does the aging process make moonshine taste better?
There are some alcoholic beverages, like wine, that can become significantly more enjoyable after being aged for a number of years. Moonshiners are left wondering whether or not their own spirit, if it is aged for a long period of time, will also improve in quality. The purpose of storing wine and other alcoholic beverages in barrels made of wood is to allow the beverages to take on some of the aroma and flavor of the wood during the aging process. The flavor of the liquors will change over time due to the aromatic compounds that are extracted from the wood.
Moonshine is typically kept in glass jars rather than wooden barrels, so there is less of a chance that its flavor will significantly alter over time. In point of fact, oxidation of moonshine that has been opened can cause the flavor to deteriorate, and if your moonshine is exposed to sunlight while it is being stored, it can end up tasting very unpleasant. Since there is little chance that your moonshine will get any better if you put it on a shelf, it is probably best to consume it quickly and enjoy it while it is still good.
How exactly does one go about storing moonshine?
The storage of moonshine does not require refrigeration; however, placing moonshine in a refrigerator will not compromise the quality of the spirit. Light, heat, and oxygen, if the bottle containing your moonshine is broken open, are the only things that have the potential to alter its flavor. Moonshine can have its flavor altered if any of these components are allowed to come into contact with it.
The moonshine you have should be kept in a location that is cool, dark, and does not get any direct sunlight. This is the best way to keep it. There is a good chance that moonshine won’t go bad even if it is warmed or exposed to light. It is possible that it will have a different flavor, possibly even an unpleasant one, but it will not become undrinkable.