Does Moonshine Go Bad? (How To Check?)

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Moonshine is one of the most popular liquors as it has an inviting taste and a high alcohol-proof. This liquor can be made of a variety of grains and fruits. However, more often than not, Moonshine is made of corn.

You will also find out Moonshine is made illegally since there are no regulations. Its name comes from the fact that Moonshine is usually made at night, hidden from the eyes of law enforcement people. 

If you have an unopened bottle of Moonshine, you might be curious to find out whether this liquor would go bad or not over time. The short answer is that unopened bottles of plain Moonshine have no expiration date. Flavored moonshine might come with an expiration date as it contains additives with a limited shelf-life. 

But you need to know more about how to store your liquor to make the most out of it anytime you want. 

How long can Moonshine last?

Moonshine that comes in sealed, unopened bottles will resist forever as long as no extra sugars are added. 

Unopened bottles of Moonshine

Plain moonshine will not go bad as long as they are stored correctly. The more sugar and additives are added to your Moonshine, the shorter its shelf life will be. 

Plain Moonshine is known as standard Moonshine. It is an unaged type of whiskey, distilled until there is no sugar content. This production process allows standard Moonshine to last with no time limit as long as the bottle is not opened. 

On the other hand, Moonshine, which contains flavors, also contains sugar. So, it will come with an expiration date. Also, once you open the bottle, this type of liquor is more prone to go.

But even so, even flavored Moonshine, like an apple or lime moonshine, can last for a long period of time before they go bad. 

Opened bottles of Moonshine

Once you open your bottle of Moonshine, the clock starts ticking, and you will not be able to store it forever. Opened bottles of this spirit usually go bad within six months if the Moonshine is a standard type.

For flavored types of Moonshine, you can expect this time frame to be even shorter. 

Once air gets inside the bottle, its taste will modify, and it will get worse over time, so it is recommended to consume your Moonshine as soon as you open it.

Storing opened bottles of Moonshine can compromise its quality to the point that you might not be able to consume it anymore. 


Does Moonshine get stronger the longer it sits?

Because whiskey, such as bourbon, gets stronger the more it is aged, many people think the same about Moonshine as it is stored.

However, storing Moonshine is not the same as aging whiskey. Moonshine is usually stored in bottles, while whiskey is aged in oak barrels. Therefore, storing your Moonshine will not give it the same effects as aging gives to whiskey.

So, your Moonshine will not get stronger nor taste or look better the longer it sits. This is why it is recommended to consume it as soon as you open the bottle to enjoy the most out of it. 

Moonshine will go bad the more time it sits after you open the bottle. Its color and taste will change, two important hints regarding its quality. 

Also check: Does Gin Go Bad?

Does Moonshine have to be refrigerated?

While Moonshine might not require to be stored in the refrigerator once you open the bottle, this will not harm it either. The cold temperature will not alter the qualities of your Moonshine, nor will it help it preserve its qualities longer. 

The elements that alter your moonshine spirit and will affect its quality are the oxygen that enters the bottle once it is opened, heat and light.

So, as long as you ensure that your Moonshine is not directly exposed to these three elements, you can count on its perfect condition.

The best and most secure way to store your Moonshine is in a cold and dark place. This is why many people choose the refrigerator, and they are not wrong. However, your Moonshine will sit just as finer in a dark, cool basement if you have such a space in your house too. 

When it comes to flavored Moonshine, refrigerating it might be a great option as it decreases the oxidation process. The cold temperature in your fridge will reduce the spoiling process of the additives and sugars in the flavored Moonshine.

So, placing your opened bottle of flavored Moonshine in the fridge until you finish it is not a bad idea. 

Unopened bottles of both standard Moonshine and flavored Moonshine don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator as it will make no difference to the properties of the spirits. 

Does homemade Moonshine go bad

Moonshine is mostly homemade. It is considered an illegal type of liquor, and an unaged whiskey, as farmers in their backyard make most moonshine spirits.

It was highly popular during the prohibition when alcohol was not allowed on the market, but it is still a much appreciated drink today. 

Saying that Moonshine goes bad once the bottle is opened. As long as you store it in a sealed bottle that will not allow the oxygen to get in touch with your liquor, you can count on your Moonshine to stay good for an undefined period. 

Remember, though, that Moonshine will not get better the longer it sits, nor will it get stronger in terms of alcohol content. So, storing your Moonshine shouldn’t have any of these objectives.

You can store it for as long as you wish, as long as you know that its properties will not change for the better. Once you open the bottle of Moonshine, though, its quality will start deteriorating the longer it sits. 

How long does unopened Moonshine last

Unopened bottles of Moonshine will have an indefinite shelf life as long as they are sealed and distilled correctly. If you store such a bottle in your own house, you can count on it being just as good years ahead if you don’t open it or expose it to heat or light. 

Flavored Moonshine, however, can come with a life shelf of two to three years, depending on the manufacturer. Both flavored and standard moonshine types should be stored in the same conditions if you want them to maintain their properties for as long as possible. 

More: Does Rum Expire or Go Bad?

How to tell if Moonshine is bad

If you have a bottle of Moonshine and you are not sure whether it is good to consume it, there are certain signs you can look for before you decide it went bad. The main aspects that will change in your Moonshine are the color and the taste. 

1. Foul taste 

The taste of your Moonshine would change drastically if it went bad. A good moonshine has a flavor of both alcohol and corn. Since this liquor is made by individuals such as farmers and is not regulated, its taste will also differ according to the ingredients used and how well the liquor was distilled. 

If your Moonshine tastes sour, bitter, or simply different than it used to taste initially, you are safe to assume that it is not safe to consume it anymore.

2. Different color 

The change in color is the second sign that your Moonshine might be going bad. This spirit tends to have a clear color when it is freshly made. As farmers define Moonshine, it is an unaged whiskey which is why it has a clear color. 

Moonshine that went bad might have different colors, such as yellow, brown, or even pink or green. Depending on the ingredients used to make the Moonshine, you can decide if its color is off based on how it used to be as it was fresh.

How long can you store, and how to store

If you are wondering how to store Moonshine correctly, you should know that this is not complicated as long as you consider some simple aspects.

Assuming you will not finish the entire bottle in one sitting unless you enjoy it with a group of people, you will have to store your bottle the right way so you can enjoy it for a longer period at optimum quality.

Here are a few aspects that you need to keep in mind to make the most out of your moonshine! 

Heat and direct sunlight

You shouldn’t store your bottle of Moonshine, be it standard or flavored, in direct sunlight or heat. The heat affects the molecules inside the spirit, modifying its taste.

A different taste doesn’t necessarily mean that your Moonshine is gone bad or become undrinkable. But it will not have the same flavor you love and might be of your taste. Some people, however, don’t mind if their Moonshine tastes differently, so this might not be a problem for everyone. 

Storing your Moonshine in direct sunlight is not recommended either. This can affect its color and overall appearance. Also, the UV rays could get through the container, regardless of its material, and heat the spirit. This will have the same effect that heat has in the long term. 

Can you freeze Moonshine?

You might think that freezing your opened bottle of Moonshine will stop them from going bad. And while freezing most things tends to stop time from affecting them, it doesn’t work the same with Moonshine.

The ABV of this spirit is around 40%, and some spirits even come with higher alcohol content. This type of liquor requires at least -235 degrees F to freeze. This temperature is not average for the regular freezers most people have in their homes. 

If you manage to freeze your Moonshine, you might be surprised that the water in it will freeze faster than the alcohol content. When you defrost it so you can enjoy it again, your spirit will be stronger than it initially was due to this process.

But it will not stay good for a longer period of time because you chose to store it in the freezer. Plus, storing your moonshine in the freezer might not only affect its alcohol strength but also its taste and not everyone likes that. It will not make your spirit go bad, though, so you can still give it a try if you want to see for yourself. 

With that being said, your best option is to store your bottles of Moonshine in a place where there is no direct sunlight and no heat and ensure you don’t keep opened bottles for more than six months. 

When in doubt, try the spoon test.

Not all moonshine that tastes differently or looks differently then when it was freshly made, it is undrinkable. Sometimes the change in color oor taste can be harmless.

Other times, these differences could mean that your moonshine is not safe for consumption anymore. Luckily, there is an easy way to test your moonshine by using a lighter and a spoon. 

The spoon test is an easy and accessible way to decide if your Moonshine is good to drink or if it is gone bad and you should toss the bottle entirely.

All you have to do is pour a little moonshine into a spoon and light it on fire. If you obtain a blue flame, your Moonshine is good to drink. If the flame is yellow or red, your Moonshine is bad as it might contain lead, and you shouldn’t consume it. Do this experiment with caution and only on a small quantity of Moonshine. 

Final thoughts 

As popular as Moonshine can be, it is also important to consume it while it is in its optimum state. Since there are no regulations for this spirit, you will have to decide on many aspects regarding its safety and properties.

It is recommended to only purchase your Moonshine from sources you trust and consume it without trying to save it for longer. Note the differences between the plain Moonshine and flavored Moonshine presented above and store your spirit accordingly. 

Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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