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Popcorn Sutton Recipe

Popcorn Sutton Recipe

Discovery Channel's "Moonshiners" broke new ground in the long tales of moonshining in the U.S. The tv series surged in popularity with its portrayal of individuals who produce illicit alcohol, what's known to us as moonshine.  
Among the guys featured in the show, a great Appalachian bootlegger named Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton had the limelight. In 1999 (prior to his life being featured in the show), Mr. Sutton published “Me and My Likker,” an anecdote of his life and moonshining practices. In his book, a couple of times he mentioned a basic moonshine recipe, with a few different variations that he used when he was "putting up a barrel of beer". Here's Popcorn's recipe from his book:


25 pounds coarse ground white corn meal, enough to fill half of your barrel/container  

50 pounds of sugar – 1 pound of sugar per gallon of water of total volume  

1 gallon of malt – can be corn, barley, rye or a combination. 


Boil the water and pour over the cornmeal to cook.  Allow them to cool to the touch. Add sugar and malt and stir in well. Leave it for a day. The following day the mix should be bubbling on top, stir it one last time and then leave it.

You see here that we did not mention any addition of yeast, Popcorn said that the malt (any kind or combination of corn, barley, rye) is what makes it work — so he's using it here as alternative to distiller's yeast. Also, he's after the idea that wild yeast will start the fermentation within the mash.  

After a couple of days, when all activities in the mash has stopped, it should be ready to be distilled. Use a siphon or a bucket to transfer the wash to the still.

For instructions on how to distill, click here.


Posted by Jason Stone on

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  • I’ve done this recipe it gives you a wash of about 3.5 to 5.0 percent return, the natural, or wild yeasts are not strong enough to fully ferment the sugars. one 50 pound bag of malted corn is only going to produce about a gallon of good shine. no sugar or yeast added
    add 100 pounds of sugar and a jar of fleishmans bread yeast. you’ll get a 10 – 12 percent return with good flavor, if ran slow and cold

    Jesse on

  • How do you make moonshine can you get happily ever divorce that’s what I kind of want to make for my sister who busted up my relationship with my girlfriend

    Jacob early brent on

  • Can anyone give me starter points
    Kevin on

  • Popcorn Suttons true recipe.. 25lbs yellow corn. 25lbs malted yellow corn. Cook the corn to get the starch out and mix together. Add up to 50 lbs sugar and load into barrel .add water to fill.No Yeast.Absolutely No Yeast. Fermentation takes 2 weeks to 4 weeks. Then run off.

    Jk on

  • Not Suttons recipe. He did use 50lb yellow corn . He also cooked the cracked corn to get the starch to pudding up. After cooling a bit he added malt anf used 50 pd sugar to the barrel.

    Jk on

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