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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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  • 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

  • Not his recipe. Watching the show they might give hints but never reveal the whole thing. All shiners will either give there recipe to an apprentice or take to the grave.

    Mike on

  • Theres no way to get his recipe, this kinda might be close . But he went to his grave with it..I sure would to have loved to have some popcorns whiskey. RIP popcorn

    Gator on

  • I would say this is not his recipe.. Watch his videos… he states “Stream Water, Yellow Corn, Yellow Corn Malt and sugar”. No mention of yeast as he depended on the wild yeasts to take charge and produce the alcohol. He would probably keep some of the old mash(sour mash) back to use as a started for his next batch of likker. With the sour mash he wouldn’t need to add anything else but the stream water, corn, corn malt and sugar.

    Randy Faulkner on

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