What Proof is Moonshine?

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It is common knowledge that moonshine is a strong type of alcohol. But what proof is moonshine, and why should you care?

As moonshine distillers, we at Tennessee Shine Co. take proofing moonshine very seriously. We understand how important it is to know how much alcohol you are consuming so you can safely enjoy your drinks. This article will tell you everything you need to know about proof moonshine and how to ensure you are getting the best quality moonshine available.

Moonshine Alcohol Percentage (AKA, Moonshine Proof)

In terms of alcohol content, the word “proof” means alcohol percentage. The more alcohol in a beverage, the stronger the drink and the higher the proof. Before getting to the question of what proof is moonshine, though, let’s talk a little more about where the concept of proof came from in the first place.

Why do we call it “proof?”

Here is a fun story about why we use the word “proof” to mean moonshine alcohol content.

It goes back to Renaissance England, around the 16th century. Back then, drinks that contained alcohol were taxed based on how much alcohol was in them. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the fancy equipment we have today to measure alcohol content accurately, so they resorted to the next best thing – setting the drinks on fire.

Yep, you read that right.

Tax collectors in England would try lighting beverages on fire to see if they really were alcoholic. If the drink caught on fire, that was “proof” that it contained liquor. It was considered “under-proof” and taxed differently if it didn’t.

The trial-by-fire method of measuring alcohol percentage was abandoned about 100 years later. In the 17th century, the government started using more scientific methods to determine whether or not a drink contained alcohol. They tested the density of the drink and compared it with the density of water to figure out what the alcohol content was. If the drink had 12/13 of the gravity of water at the same temperature, it was considered 100 proof, equivalent to 57.15% ABV by today’s standards (which is a pretty strong drink).

The U.S. developed its own method of testing proof in the 1840s by measuring the percentage of alcohol in a drink. For example, if a drink was 50% alcohol by volume, it was determined to be 100 proof.

Bottles of Tennessee Shone Company moonshine in a shelf in the Sevierville, TN location.

What determines moonshine proof?

While moonshine is generally considered to be a type of whiskey, moonshine taste and proof can vary from one batch to another for a few reasons.

The first is the ingredients used to make the moonshine. In general, moonshine can be made from grain or fruit. That is why there are so many different flavors and combinations available!

The ingredients used to make moonshine will significantly affect the taste. So, make sure you are drinking moonshine made from stuff you like – you will be able to taste it.

Moonshine proof is determined by the alcohol content or concentration in the final product, typically measured using a hydrometer, which measures the specific gravity of the liquid. The higher the alcohol content, the higher the proof and the more the liquid will deviate from the specific gravity of water.

The most common measurement used to determine the proof of alcohol is the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage, which is usually expressed as a number on a scale that ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being 100% alcohol.

Is moonshine 100% alcohol?

No. That would be insane, and we don’t recommend trying to drink anything that is 100% alcohol. It is unsafe for consumption and could lead to serious health issues. If someone is bragging that they made 100% alcohol moonshine, knock the bottle out of their hands and into the trash.

What is moonshine made from?

As we said earlier, moonshine can be made from nearly any grain or fruit. However, some work better than others. Our favorite moonshine ingredients include strawberries, cherries, peaches, blackberries, and apples.

Can You Buy Moonshine?

Absolutely! We highly recommend buying moonshine from a qualified distiller (like us!) to make sure your moonshine has been distilled the right way.

Time to Have a Moonshine Adventure

Ready to get your hands on some delicious, professionally distilled moonshine? Then come down to Tennessee Shine Co. to try all our tasty flavors. If you can’t see us all the way, you can find our products at several outlets nationwide. Find your Tennesee Shine Co. seller here!