How to Make Applejack Moonshine [Full Recipe]

by Karl | Updated: May 31, 2021

All right. Well, there’s still a little bit of snow on the trees. We’re going to make some apple Jack today.

So, Applejack, what is it? And why do we do it?

Apple Jack is basically where you make hard apple cider and then you freeze concentrate it by letting it freeze, draining off the liquid that doesn’t freeze because it’s full of alcohol and then discarding the water and ice.

And you do that two or three times. And what ends up happening is you get a much higher alcohol content, but you also get really strong flavors and, um, a really tasty little drink.

Now here’s the one warning. Let’s say you turn this into hard apple cider, and then you freeze it and you turn it into applejack. If you drank this whole gallon of hard apple cider at, let’s say 6%, six and a half percent alcohol, you would probably have the worst hangover of your life.

The same goes for apple Jack, because it’s concentrated now all of the methanol and the fusel oils and things that are normally discarded during normal heat distillation, they’re still in there.

And you may be asking yourself, is that toxic? Is it dangerous?

Well, no, it’s not any more dangerous than drinking an entire gallon of hard apple cider. Not advisable, but it’s not going to kill you.

Where did apple Jack come from?

Back in colonial times when, uh, apple farmers would, uh, have a lot of apple cider pressed and ready to go, it would be in barrels. The yeast that was naturally on the apples would ferment the juice.

So you’d end up with hard cider, but then winter comes rolling around. So your barrels freeze up. So you pop open the top of your barrel and there’s this big ring of ice around the inside.

And then this pool of really dark cider, it smells great, really strong, really sweet, and very rich. And so when the colonial guys figured this out, they would, you know, dip something right out of the center and start drinking it.

Let me tell you, it tastes really good. It’s ridiculously smooth and super delicious, but that’s a problem because it’s so concentrated and it’s not heat distilled. So all the bad stuff that can give you a hangover is still in it.

The colonials dubbed a term specific for the hangover that you get when you drink too much applejack. It’s called apple palsy.

It’s awful. Just think of the worst hanger over the you’ve ever had. And then magnify that by two or three times, because the worst hangover you’ve ever had didn’t have that much, didn’t have that much sugar didn’t have that much methanol, all the things that can really add to a really bad time.

Apple Jack is not a guzzler. It’s a sipper, little shot glass. And trust me, I’ve never had a hangover on it because I only have maybe two shots of it. And I just, I just enjoy them like a Brandy or a cognac or whatever rich people do.

Since I’m not a rich people, this is what I’m going to make and it’s delicious and it’s, uh, it’s totally worth it. So let’s get started.

How to Actually Make Applejack

You’re going to dump out about two quarts or your apple juice so that you have room for all the sugar we’re going to add. So you’re just going to go get some dark brown sugar, and we’re going to put about three cups of it into a bowl, pour some of our juice into that bowl so that we can stir together and easily pour that into the jug.

And then top it back up with juice, add our yeast, some pectic enzyme to help clear it. And some yeast nutrient to keep the fermentation healthy, throw the airlock on and put it away until it finishes fermenting.

The juice itself has, um, an alcohol potential of around 6 – 6/5 percent. The amount of sugar that we’re adding is going to bring it up to about 14%. I tend to, to go for around 14 or 15% alcohol.

The last time I made apple jack and made the initial fermentation go up to about 18 and a half percent alcohol. After all the freezing processes, the apple Jack came out really syrupy. It was not very good. So I tend to go to around 14 or 15% alcohol, uh, in the initial fermentation and you get a much better product. All right.

So now that we’ve got, uh, three cups of brown sugar mixed in, we’ve got the yeast nutrient and the pectic enzyme and it’s air locked and we’ve got it topped up with juice size. We can get the yeast in there.

I’m using some of the distiller’s active, dry yeast. I’m using that because it’s got a very high alcohol tolerance. And so won’t crap out when, uh, the sugar content is so high.

So we’re going to put this into a dark area and let it, uh, ferment and do its thing until it’s completely dried out. So the apple Jack has finished fermenting out. It actually went down further than I’ve had anything ferment out before this went down to 0.995. So super dry.

And it’s got a nice Amber color, not too dark from the sugar, and it is super, super dry. Wow.

Actually makes a pretty decent apple wine. So if you want it to just de-gas this and bottle it, and you’d be doing something really tasty. For being just a bottled apple juice with some sugar in it, this is actually really surprisingly good. It’s very tart.

So really apple-y, the flavor is going to be really intense when we finally finish a freeze distilling this.

Yeah. Some, uh, age on that, maybe a year or two in a bottle, and then it would be a pretty decent wine, but I’m impatient. And I also want it to be a whole lot stronger.

So we’re going to jack it. That doesn’t sound right. We’re going to freeze distill it. So we’ve got our bottling bucket. And since I’m going to freeze this, I’m not worried about contamination. So I’ll just dump this right back in.

The wine is bone dry. So you want to add some sweetness and flavor with a can of apple juice concentrate. And siphon your apple wine into mix it.

So now that you’ve got all of your super strong apple wine and the concentrated apple juice together, I’m going to bottle it into some empty water bottles and then chuck it in the freezer for a couple of days.

It’s all about sanitation and safety folks, because this is going to get concentrated several times over and over. It’s going to be pretty close to whiskey strength.

I know that sounds hard to believe, especially with a freezer, but it actually is going to work because my space is really limited. I mean, the freezer is jam packed. There’s just no other room. I’ll sanitize those bottles before I actually start to drain them, uh, that way, any sort of contamination then maybe on the outside from the frozen meats and so forth is not going to go into our final product.

There’s not really too much to worry about with oxidation and normal, like homebrewing levels of sanitation, because this is all going to get super concentrated and frozen. So before it ever has any chance to grow anything or, you know, for any funky flavors to develop, it’s going to change drastically.

So we don’t really have to worry too much about that. All right. So we’re just going to let that chill for, um, two days and then we’ll drain it and do it again. And then again, and then again, and then again, until it won’t freeze anymore.

All right. So we’re finally done with our apple Jack. For all that work, this is all I got left. Your question might be, is all that work worth it for this tiny little bit? The answer is yes.

Okay. So you remember what I said about this being full of methanol and fusel oils. If you drink too much, you’re going to have the worst hangover you’ve ever had.

Remember the term apple palsy. It’s a thing. So let’s give it a taste and find out what kind of flavors we’ve got going on.

Lots of apple and you can smell the molasses from the brown sugar. It smells almost like it’s got a little bit of spice to it. It’s, there’s a lot of layers here. It’s really rich.

Well, it’s a, um, honey character to it and tons of fruit, tons of apple right up front. It’s very boozy. It’s it’s going to punch you in the face. It’s pretty good. Yeah.

Yeah. Definitely worth it. It’s a really good little thing. I mean, it’s super smooth. There is no bite to it whatsoever. It’s got to, you know, the warming that you can feel going down into your chest and your arms. It’s crazy smooth.

And that’s, I think the problem with it, if you don’t know ahead of time, that there are some serious consequences to drinking a lot of this, you could end up drinking a lot of it because it’s so good. It’s got the sweetness and the apple flavor almost of like eating a piece of apple pie.

Then the, uh, the smoothness and the alcohol is really tempting. So it, it just, you have want to drink more of it. You just have to limit yourself to two shot glasses and don’t drink any more than that, you know, but, uh, is it worth it?

Absolutely.

So I hope you enjoyed that. I hope you learned something. And if you have any questions, go ahead and post them down in the comments section. If you learned anything, if you enjoyed this video, do me a favor, hit that like button. It really helps out the channel.

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Continue Reading: How to Make Moonshine at home

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