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What Does the XXX On A Moonshine Jug Mean? (2022 Updated)

Most of us have only seen the symbol “x” in movies or cartoons. Often, “x” is associated with poison. Have you ever seen “xxx” on a bottle of alcohol like moonshine jars? If you did, then you might wonder – what does the xxx on a moonshine jug mean?

To end your curiosity, our team of experts gathered information about the mysterious label.

XXX Label on a Moonshine Jug

XXX Label on a Moonshine Jug

There are many misconceptions about moonshine; a once-illicit beverage created both legally and criminally on the internet. The iconic “XXX” label, and why it’s even there in the first place, is one source of misunderstanding about the liquid’s health hazards. Its reason is straightforward — and has nothing to do with the possibility that it is poisonous.

A vintage jug inscribed with XXX is filled with moonshine. It turns out that the markings correspond directly to the process of moonshine distillation. Moonshiners once employed the XXX mark only to indicate that their alcohol had been passed three times through the still, indicating to purchasers that it was pure and potent alcohol.

Moonshine’s Distillation Process

Moonshine’s Distillation Process

Before introducing more advanced distillation processes such as thump kegs and reflux stills, moonshiners employed a simple pot still – the simplest of all still types. It consists of a boiler for cooking the mash and a condenser for collecting and cooling the alcohol vapor—distillation and fermentation. 

Alcoholic fermentation is a natural metabolic process that uses yeast to convert sugar into acids, fumes, and alcohol. Distillation removes the alcohol from a fermented mixture and gathers the steam before condensing it back into a liquid state. 

Alcohol distillation uses the difference in boiling points between alcohol and water. Because ethanol (alcohol) has a lower boiling point than water, it evaporates first. The condenser cools the alcohol vapor and condenses it into a liquid. When the ethanol in the boiling mixture evaporates, the temperature rises, and the water evaporates [1].

Moonshine’s Special Warning Sign 

Moonshine’s Special Warning Sign 

Because most illegal moonshine is manufactured in improvised stills, it is still harmful. However, you can tell if the moonshine in your palm is still safe to drink. 

According to legends, one technique to test the purity of moonshine is to pour a little amount onto a metal spoon and ignite it. It is harmless if it burns with a blue flame, but it contains lead if it burns with a yellow or red flame, inspiring the adage, “Lead burns red and kills you.” 

The spoon-burning method, on the other hand, is not fully dependable. This test does not identify other toxins in the brew, such as methanol, which burns with a brilliant blue flame that is difficult to see [2].

Does XXX Mean “Poisonous?”

Does XXX Mean “Poisonous?”

No, xxx does not mean poisonous. One of the misconceptions about moonshine on the internet is the “xxx” marks on moonshine jars. Many people are unsure if “xxx” indicates poison or not. But, does moonshine go bad?

The truth about the question of what does “xxx” on a moonshine jug means is that the X on the label signifies how many times the moonshine batch had been distilled. The three Xs on the jug were supposed to indicate that the liquid had finished the three-step procedure.

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FAQs

Do all moonshine jugs have the xxx sign?

No, not all moonshine jugs have an xxx sign. Some jars, labeled with one ‘x’ only, only mean that it went through one-time distillation only. 

How strong is XXX moonshine?

A moonshine with “xxx” markings indicates 100% strong and pure alcohol. On the other hand, a moonshine with “x” or “xx” markings has a 30%-40% alcohol by volume. But, what percent alcohol is moonshine in general?

In Summary

The “xxx” on a moonshine jug means the alcohol underwent a three-time distillation process. The markings do not mean that the moonshine is poisonous. Moonshiners want to inform consumers that the moonshine with “xxx” markings are pure and strong alcohol.

References: 

  1. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Methanol 
  2. https://www.verywellmind.com/moonshine-can-still-cause-health-problems-63205

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