We’ve all been in a situation when we discover a bottle of wine stashed away in the kitchen cabinets and question if it is safe to consume. Fortunately, there isn’t a general time limit when this bottle is moonshine.
Moonshines are claimed to last for years when not opened; however, it is advised to be aware of when not to consume the beverage for safety and quality.
Here are some things alcohol enthusiasts need to know about the lifespan of moonshine, whether it spoils, and how to identify whether it’s unsafe to consume.
Moonshine, like other alcoholic beverages, may be kept on the shelf unopened for an infinite period — it is distilled until no sugars are left. Traditional moonshine is good as long as the distillation process is complete and no sugar is present. Nevertheless, keep in mind that not all moonshines are made equally.
Moonshine does not need to be refrigerated and has a long shelf life due to its high alcohol content. However, it would be best if you consumed it as soon as possible within the year of manufacturing. After that, the moonshine’s flavor will start to degrade.
It is preferable to consume any unsealed bottles of moonshine right away. Moonshine has a longer shelf life than other simple spirits, lasting up to six months after opening. However, once a bottle of moonshine is opened, the shelf life is only 2-3 years.
Moonshine that contains fruits does not go bad. However, flavored moonshine has a shorter shelf life due to the addition of sugars, which are present in fruit-infused beverages, making it not in its purest form. Nevertheless, there are several moonshine recipes available that cocktail enthusiasts like.
It’s better to drink flavored moonshine with fruit bits or additional sweeteners during the first two to three months of purchase. The quality of the moonshine may deteriorate beyond that point.
Do you have any doubts about whether your moonshine has gone bad? Here are some obvious warning signs to be on the lookout for:
One aspect to pay attention to is the color of your beverage. If the moonshine seems to have an unusual color or texture, don’t drink it.
If you’re still unsure, perform the spoon test by putting some moonshine on a spoon and lighting it on fire. A blue flame indicates that the alcohol is safe to consume, while a red or yellow flame indicates that the alcohol contains lead and should not be consumed.
If the container is sealed and kept in a secure location (assuming that the manufacturer properly distilled the moonshine), it won’t hurt you to take a sip to evaluate the flavor.
Although technically safe to drink, moonshine that “goes bad” will have an unpleasant taste.
When a bottle of moonshine is opened and then closed again, the alcohol evaporates slowly from air exposure. This process is long and might not be obvious immediately, but it will become self-evident after a few years.
If the alcohol is kept in a warm environment, the process can be accelerated. If the alcohol content is lower, the spirit will taste weaker and not be as potent overall, but that shouldn’t be your main concern when it comes to aging and flavoring moonshine.
The term “oxidation” describes the chemical process that alters the alcohol’s atomic structure and is aided by exposure to air. Oxidation causes flavored beverages to spoil and lose their flavor like fruit-infused moonshine.
If moonshine is stored incorrectly, it will lose its alcohol potency, taste bad, and be unfit for consumption.
People will only become drunker if they consume bad moonshine. However, consuming large amounts of spoiled moonshine exposes one to methanol, which can be very dangerous to one’s health once metabolized.
One of two things can happen when methanol is found in a bad batch of moonshine, either it can harm your optic nerve, leaving you permanently blind, or it can cause death. For this reason, you should immediately seek medical attention if you drink bad moonshine.
Although moonshine doesn’t spoil like other foods and beverages in the heat, it can still be affected. This is mainly due to chemistry, as the chemical components contained within the strong distilled spirits change over time when exposed to light and warmth. This can lead to a difference in flavor, without diluting or decreasing the alcohol content. As such, proper storage of your moonshine is key; if you’d like to enjoy it at its original taste, then you’ll want to make sure that the temperature doesn’t get too hot and that your moonshine is stored away from direct sunlight and humidity.
Generally speaking, however, pure moonshine will remain unaffected by consistent heat if kept properly sealed in a container devoid of air. Since bacteria need air to grow they won’t be able to contaminate the product with their presence; meaning as long as you don’t open your bottle of shine it’s highly unlikely for it to go bad before you decide to drink it. By following these simple steps of storing your moonshine correctly, there should be nothing standing between you and a happy evening sipping pearly white liquor under the stars!
It is possible to freeze moonshine. Bottles of moonshine can freeze at a temperature of -235 °F, which is lower than the temperature of a regular freezer. Moonshine typically has an alcohol content of approximately 40%, necessitating a frigid environment to allow it to freeze completely.
Moonshine is an especially strong spirit, traditionally made from corn mash or other grains and sugar. These spirits don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, although it can help extend the shelf life of a flavored version that has already been opened. Refrigeration helps slow down the oxidation process and reduce the risk of sugars spoiling too quickly. Of course, most people will want to save refrigerator space for their more essential food items.
Unopened flavored moonshines can still last many years without the need for refrigeration. For this reason, a fridge is only truly necessary if you’ve already opened your drink; otherwise, traditional storage methods are perfectly adequate. In any case, making sure your moonshine is stored in dark cool conditions – whether that’s in the refrigerator or not – is always a good idea to ensure its quality remains as best as possible over time.
Properly storing moonshine is a critical step to ensuring its quality and flavor. To keep it in its best state, store it in a cold, dark place away from direct sunlight. Light and heat can diminish the flavor of the liquor. Specific storage containers should also be used, such as tiny bottles or glass vessels so as to reduce air exposure that could lead to oxidation: a process where oxygen reduces the atomic makeup of alcohol.
While traditional moonshine was stored in wooden barrels for long-term storage, modern manufacturers are using glass jars when commercially selling the product. However, it is important to note that flavored moonshines may be more prone to bacterial growth compared to standard moonshine due to their absence of additives and sugar concentration levels. As such, these products should be consumed much sooner than unflavored versions. Taking all steps for proper storage of moonshine will help ensure that it retains its distinctive characteristics and flavor for years after it has been stored safely.
That’s all there is to it — as long as you’ve stored your bottle of genuine moonshine properly and purchased it from a reputable seller, its shelf life is unbounded.
If you’re an enthusiast living in Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, Sevierville, or Gatlinburg and likes to keep an ample supply of your preferred alcoholic beverage on hand, look no further than Tennessee Shine Co. Our company offers several moonshine varieties, boasting sophisticated flavors linked to recipes handed down through generations.
Browse Tennessee Shine Co’s entire selection! You can also find drinks categorized by type here.
Featured Image: Reece with a C / Shutterstock
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