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What Percent Alcohol is Moonshine? (2024 Updated)

What Percent Alcohol is Moonshine

Last Updated on March 11, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Have you ever been curious about the alcohol proof of your homemade moonshine? Is it strong enough for you to enjoy it with your friends, or do you think your moonshine needs a bit more kick and power?

Well, you’re in luck because our team of experts did comprehensive research to unravel what percent alcohol is moonshine. 

Moonshine: An Overview

Homemade Moonshine

Moonshine is an alcoholic beverage created in secret to escape high taxes or the outright prohibition on alcoholic beverages. The phrase “moonshine” originates in the United Kingdom, where it was first used as a verb to describe any late-night task or activity. 

Because illegal whiskey still operators had to operate out of sight of law enforcement, these backwoods brewers came to be known as moonshiners. Thus the name became theirs uniquely.

How Strong is Moonshine?

How Strong is Moonshine?

The average alcohol by volume (ABV) of moonshine is 40%, although it can range from 60% to 80%. Because unskilled hands frequently manufacture moonshine, its alcohol concentration can vary widely and possibly reach dangerous levels. 

Alcohol’s freezing point, how it affects you when you drink it, and other factors are all affected by its alcohol level.

Brand Size Alcohol By Volume Level
Sugarlands Silver Cloud Tennessee Sour Mash Moonshine 750  ml 50% 
Sugarlands Jim Tom Hedrick’s Unaged Rye 750  ml  50% 
Sugarlands Appalachian Apple Pie Moonshine 750  ml 50% 
Ole Smoky Blue Flame Moonshine 750  ml  64% 
Saint Luna Charcoal Filtered Moonshine 750  ml 50% 
Copperfish Cornish Moonshine 70  ml  40% 
Ole Smoky White Lightnin’ Moonshine 750  ml  50% 
Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine 750  ml  20% 
Sugarlands Root Beer Moonshine 750  ml 35% 
Ole Smoky Peach Moonshine 750  ml  20%

Can Moonshine Be Dangerous?

Ole Smoky Moonshine

Moonshine can be hazardous on two levels: during the distillation process and when consumed. What does the label “XXX” on a moonshine jug mean?

During the distillation process, alcohol fumes are created, which are extremely flammable [1]. The flammable fumes are one of the main reasons why moonshine stills are usually found outside, despite making them more visible to law authorities. If you’re trapped inside, the risk of vaporous explosions is too large. 

Methanol’s hazardous potential is undetected at first taste. It will merely make individuals drunker. However, methanol may be exceedingly harmful to a person’s health once it has been metabolized. It just takes ten milliliters (ml) of methanol to permanently damage the optic nerve and result in partial, if not full, blindness.

Also Read: Difference Between Moonshine & Vodka


Can homemade moonshine kill you?

Yes, homemade moonshine can kill you if you consume too much. But, can moonshine go bad? Since moonshine is not distilled properly, it contains pure alcohol, which is very toxic. Moonshine containing high quantities of methanol can cause blindness or even death [2].

Is moonshine stronger than other alcohol?

Yes, moonshine is stronger than other alcohol if it is made appropriately. Because it hasn’t been aged, it is just extremely powerful alcohol with a very strong flavor or “kick.” It’s generally quite strong, up to 150 proof (about 75 percent alcohol). What do you think is the difference between moonshine and whiskey?

How much alcohol is in a shot of moonshine?

Usually, 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of distilled spirits or liquor contains 80-proof or 40% alcohol by volume. However, it depends on the variety. But, is moonshine legal in Texas or not?

Can you drink moonshine straight?

Yes, you can drink moonshine straight. Moonshine is usually consumed straight from the jar. It’s also available in shot. Some alcohol experts recommend drinking it by shots or mixing it with cocktails. But, what does moonshine taste like?

What percent alcohol is moonshine distilled?

The alcohol content of moonshine can vary widely, as it is often produced in small-scale, homemade settings without regulatory oversight. Generally, the alcohol by volume (ABV) of moonshine falls within the range of 40% to 60%, although it can sometimes be higher. This percentage is comparable to commercially available spirits like vodka or whiskey. However, due to the lack of standardized production methods and controls, the strength of moonshine is not consistent, and individuals producing it may not have precise measurements or tools to determine the exact alcohol content. The term “moonshine” itself refers more to the illicit or homemade nature of the distilled alcohol rather than a specific range of alcohol content.

Is moonshine stronger than regular alcohol?

The strength of moonshine, compared to “regular” or commercially produced alcohol, depends on the specific product and how it is produced. Moonshine can indeed be stronger than some commercially available spirits, but it can also have comparable alcohol content. The perception of moonshine as exceptionally strong may stem from its historical association with clandestine, homemade production, often lacking standardized measures. Commercially produced spirits typically adhere to regulated alcohol by volume (ABV) standards. While moonshine can be potent, the alcohol content of legally produced spirits varies widely, and some may have higher ABV levels than certain moonshines. It’s essential to recognize that “regular” alcohol encompasses a broad range of beverages, and the strength of moonshine is not universally stronger but can vary based on individual production methods.

Why is moonshine so strong?

Moonshine is often perceived as strong due to its high alcohol content, which can vary but generally falls within the range of 40% to 60% alcohol by volume (ABV). The perceived strength of moonshine is attributed to its historical roots in clandestine, homemade distillation processes. In the absence of regulatory oversight and standardized production methods, moonshiners may use less sophisticated equipment, resulting in a product with a higher concentration of alcohol. Additionally, the lack of precise measurements and quality control in homemade distillation contributes to the variability in strength.

The term “moonshine” itself doesn’t refer to a specific alcohol content but rather to the illicit or homemade nature of the distilled beverage. Commercially produced spirits, including whiskey and vodka, often have lower or comparable alcohol content to moonshine. While moonshine can be potent, its strength is not inherently tied to a specific percentage; rather, it reflects the historical practices of homemade distillation, which lacked precision and adherence to regulated standards.

What alcohol is 100-proof?

Alcohol that is 100-proof contains 50% alcohol by volume (ABV). The term “proof” is a measure of the strength of an alcoholic beverage and is calculated as twice the ABV. In the case of 100-proof alcohol, the ABV is 50%. Various spirits, including whiskey, rum, gin, and vodka, are available in 100-proof versions. It’s important to note that 100-proof alcohol is considered strong, and consuming it should be approached with caution, as it has a higher alcohol content than standard spirits. The choice of 100-proof alcohol often depends on personal preference and the desired intensity of the drink. Some individuals appreciate the robust flavor and higher alcohol content, while others may prefer spirits with lower proof for a milder taste and experience

Why is moonshine illegal?

Moonshine is often illegal due to the lack of adherence to regulatory standards, safety concerns, and historical associations with illicit activities. Historically, moonshine became synonymous with homemade distilled alcohol, produced during periods like Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933) when the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages were banned. The underground production of moonshine during this time often involved unsafe practices and unregulated, homemade stills, leading to the association of moonshine with health risks.

In modern times, the illegal status of moonshine persists because its production often occurs without proper licensing, quality controls, and safety measures. Homemade distillation can pose significant risks, including the production of poorly made, potentially harmful spirits with high alcohol content. Authorities regulate the production of alcoholic beverages to ensure consumer safety, product consistency, and the collection of appropriate taxes. Engaging in the illegal production of moonshine can lead to legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

Why is moonshine so high in alcohol?

Moonshine is often high in alcohol due to the historical and often clandestine methods of production. The term “moonshine” originally referred to illegally produced or homemade distilled alcohol, particularly during Prohibition. The lack of regulatory oversight and standardized production methods allowed moonshiners to use less sophisticated equipment and less precise measurements, resulting in a product with a higher concentration of alcohol.

Commercially produced spirits, such as whiskey or vodka, undergo regulated distillation processes with precise control over factors like temperature and distillation stages, resulting in consistent alcohol content. In contrast, moonshine production, historically and in some modern cases, involves less precise methods, leading to a product that can be stronger and more variable in alcohol content. The perception of moonshine’s strength is tied to its historical association with homemade distillation practices that prioritize simplicity over precision.

Is vodka just moonshine?

While both vodka and moonshine are distilled spirits, they are distinct categories with differences in production methods, ingredients, and regulations. Vodka is a neutral spirit, typically made from fermented grains or potatoes, and undergoes multiple distillations to achieve a clean and neutral flavor. It is then filtered to remove impurities, resulting in a smooth, odorless, and colorless spirit.

On the other hand, moonshine is a term often used to describe illegally produced or homemade distilled alcohol. Moonshine can be made from various ingredients, including grains, fruits, or sugarcane, and its production lacks the standardized processes and regulations followed in the commercial production of vodka. Moonshine may have a more varied flavor profile, often retaining some of the characteristics of its raw ingredients.

In essence, while both vodka and moonshine involve distillation, vodka is a regulated and commercial spirit with a distinct production process and flavor profile, whereas moonshine is often associated with homemade or illicitly produced spirits, showcasing more diversity in production methods and flavors.

Is moonshine 100 proof?

The alcohol content of moonshine can vary widely, and it is not necessarily 100 proof. The term “moonshine” refers more to the illicit or homemade nature of the distilled beverage rather than a specific alcohol content. Moonshine can range in proof, typically falling between 40% and 60% alcohol by volume (80 to 120 proof), although it can be higher.

The perception of moonshine as being exceptionally strong often stems from its historical association with clandestine, homemade production, which lacks the precision and regulation found in commercial distillation. However, not all moonshine is 100 proof, and the actual alcohol content depends on factors such as the ingredients used, the distillation process, and the skill of the distiller. It’s crucial to note that the strength of moonshine can vary widely and is not universally standardized, unlike commercially produced spirits with regulated alcohol content

Which is stronger, moonshine or vodka?

The strength of both moonshine and vodka can vary, but moonshine is often perceived as stronger due to its historical association with homemade, unregulated production. Moonshine is a colloquial term for illegally produced or homemade distilled alcohol, and its alcohol content typically falls within the range of 40% to 60% alcohol by volume (80 to 120 proof). However, it can sometimes be even higher.

On the other hand, vodka is a commercially produced spirit with standardized production processes, and its alcohol content is typically around 40% ABV (80 proof). While both moonshine and vodka can have high alcohol content, the perception of moonshine’s strength is influenced by its historical production methods, which often lacked precision and regulation.

In summary, moonshine is often considered stronger than vodka due to its variability and historical association with homemade, sometimes high-proof production.

Why is it called moonshine?

The term “moonshine” has historical roots and is believed to have originated during times of alcohol prohibition, such as in the United States during the 1920s and early 1930s. Moonshine refers to illegally produced or homemade distilled alcohol, and the name is thought to come from the practice of producing spirits at night, under the light of the moon, to evade law enforcement.

During prohibition, individuals engaged in clandestine distillation in hidden locations to avoid detection. The term “moonshine” captures the secretive and illicit nature of this homemade alcohol production. While the origins of the term are not definitively traced, it has become synonymous with homemade spirits produced outside legal and regulated channels. Today, the term is also used more broadly to describe legal, craft-distilled spirits with a rustic or nostalgic appeal, emphasizing its historical connection to clandestine production.

What proof is Jack Daniels?

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40%, making it 80 proof. This is the standard strength for many distilled spirits, including whiskey. Jack Daniel’s undergoes a specific charcoal mellowing process known as the Lincoln County Process, contributing to its distinct flavor profile.

What is the world’s strongest alcohol?

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, “Spirytus Rektyfikowany” from Poland holds the title of one of the world’s strongest alcohols. It is a rectified spirit with an extremely high alcohol content, often reaching around 95% ABV or 190 proof. However, it’s essential to note that the availability of spirits may vary, and new products could emerge.

What is the purest alcohol?

The purest form of alcohol is typically represented by ethanol or ethyl alcohol. Absolute or anhydrous ethanol contains 100% alcohol without any water content. However, achieving absolute purity is challenging due to the hygroscopic nature of ethanol, meaning it readily absorbs water from the atmosphere. Laboratory-grade ethanol often reaches high levels of purity, such as 99.9%, making it suitable for scientific and industrial purposes.

Is moonshine a strong alcohol?

Moonshine can indeed be a strong alcohol, often ranging between 40% and 60% ABV (80 to 120 proof), although it can be even higher. The perception of moonshine as strong is rooted in its historical association with homemade, unregulated production methods, which may lack precision and consistency. The strength of moonshine can vary widely based on factors such as ingredients, distillation processes, and the skill of the distiller. While it is often considered strong, it’s crucial to note that commercially produced spirits, including whiskey and vodka, can also have comparable or higher alcohol content. The term “moonshine” primarily emphasizes its clandestine or homemade nature rather than a specific level of strength.

So, What Percent Alcohol is Moonshine?

The moonshine’s alcohol by volume (ABV) is 40%, although it may range from 60% to 80% ABV. The distillation process determines the alcohol concentration of a spirit. 

Because unskilled hands often make moonshine, its alcohol level may vary widely and possibly reach a threatening level. We hope that we answered about what percent of alcohol is moonshine. 


  1. How Spirits Are Made?
  2. Is Moonshine Safe?
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