Can you drink the heads of moonshine?

Answered by Jason Smith

Well, let me tell you about my experience with moonshine and the heads. When I first started distilling my own moonshine, I was curious about whether or not the heads could be consumed. I had heard mixed opinions on the matter, so I decided to do some research and experimentation of my own.

The heads of moonshine are the initial portion of the distillate that comes off the still. They contain volatile compounds such as methanol, acetone, and other undesirable substances. These compounds can be harmful when consumed in large quantities, so it is generally advised to separate the heads from the rest of the distillate.

During my distilling process, I would collect the initial distillate in a separate container and set it aside. This initial portion is what is known as the heads. After the distillation process, I would often notice a distinct smell and taste in the heads. It had a harsh, almost chemical-like aroma. This was a clear indication that these compounds were present.

Now, some people argue that small amounts of the heads can be consumed without any harm. They believe that as long as you drink it in moderation, the potential risks are low. However, I personally err on the side of caution when it comes to the heads of moonshine.

Rather than taking the risk of consuming potentially harmful substances, I prefer to dispose of the heads. It’s not worth the potential health consequences, especially considering that the hearts, the middle portion of the distillate, contain the desired ethanol and flavors.

In some cases, though, distillers who are experienced and have the necessary equipment and knowledge may choose to redistill the heads. By doing so, they can separate out more alcohol from the heads and potentially salvage some of the usable portions.

However, I must emphasize that if you are not an experienced distiller, attempting to redistill the heads can be dangerous. It requires careful attention to temperature, proper equipment, and knowledge of the distillation process. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly.

While there may be differing opinions on the consumption of the heads of moonshine, I personally choose to dispose of them. The potential risks associated with the compounds present in the heads outweigh any potential benefits. It’s always better to prioritize safety when it comes to consuming alcohol, especially when it is homemade.