On tonight’s episode of Moonshiners on Discovery, we get a full-on copper still tutorial with Tim and Tickle, who show us carefully how to construct a water-tight vessel to hold mash and make the beloved white lightening.
Our Moonshiners exclusive is literally a mash barrel tutorial that shows you step by step how to make one from scratch.
How to build a new still on Moonshiners
Tim notes that every still he has ever built is also a challenge and that the process is as methodical as making moonshine. Tickle also shows how the copper metal wrap is crucial to be double secured with alternating rows of screws.
“Reckon I know what the mash feels like all up in this place…Now would be a bad time to rip a fart, I tell you what it would…couldn’t get away from it,” Tickle says as he is shown crouching down and tightly wedged inside the still.
Explaining his methodology, Tickle says, “We’re using screws with this being copper all the way around [as] we wanted a little bit more holding power. [And] just running one line of screws around it, that’s not gonna cut it. You have to stagger the second row to be in between those that gives you more holding power over the length and the width of that joint… and that right there is how you make a watertight pot.”
Distillers all over the world swear by wood type and copper stills for making the best mash and ultimately finished product, whether its simple moonshine or a single malt scotch.
The artistry is in the blending, aging and the nuances the wood actually imparts on the fermented mash as it is turned into a spirit over time.
This is one of the reasons American white oak is prized not only by shiners, but by whiskey makes all over the globe. Especially ones that age bourbon, or Spanish oloroso sherry or even wine.
Tim is enjoying the entire process as it reminds him of the work his own father did in making pots from scratch. l”Every still I have built has been different and you have to act on changes.”
The two men address cracks and figure out how to make the pot seaworthy to hold liquid.
Admiring their work, Tickle says: ” It looks like the purtiest still I have ever seen.”
Tickle notes how the process has really impressed Tim and says: “And back here working with Tim and we’re back in the woods I think Tim’s really enjoying it it’s bringing him back to his roots.”
Agreeing with Tickle, Tim says of their DIY copper still: “I mean, it brings me back to being with my dad when we were shiners.”
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Also on tonight’s episode, Tickle and Tim put fire to their first backwoods run in a decade. With 250 gallons of mash on the brink of expiring, Mark and Digger accidentally torpedo their own operation.
And a minor screw up for Josh triggers a domino effect that puts his entire site in jeopardy.
Moonshiners airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Discovery.