Classic Bread Vodka

As lately as hundred years ago bread vodka was used as a cure for many diseases. This drink was popular in Russia and Ukraine—in both countries there were enough raw materials for it. But then this fragrant moonshine was forgotten. But we still have the chance to revive the traditions of their ancestors with this classic recipe of yeast free vodka. The best part is that it’s as easy to make as ordinary moonshine.

Beer vodka (or moonshine) is a strong alcoholic beverage (at least 32% ABV) made from wheat, barley, oats or rye with wild yeast and addition of sugar. It has a characteristic aftertaste that is not found in other types of moonshine.

In the USSR, getting your hands on yeast was always difficult, that’s why so many brewers made bread moonshine instead of sugar moonshine. This recipe does not require any yeast, which is very convenient and enhances the taste.

Correctly made bread moonshine has a barely noticeable grain flavor. It should only be consumed well-chilled. If you’re using wheat as a raw material, the taste will be very mild, if rye—it will be more saturated and spicy. Some recipes also include spices: cloves, coriander, cinnamon, and anise. But we’re going for the classic, so we won’t be adding anything.


  • Wheat (rye) — 8.8 lbs/4 kilos
  • Sugar — 11 lbs/5 kilos
  • Water — 20 liters

Bread Vodka Recipe

  1. Growing yeast.Wash 8.8 lbs/4 kilos of wheat in running water and then fill a 25 liters vessel with an even layer. After that fill the vessel with water so it’s 0.7 inches/2 cm above the level of wheat. Add 28 oz/800 grams of sugar and stir. Leave watered wheat for 4-5 days in a dark place (don’t cover the vessel with a lid). As soon as fermentation begins (you’ll notice an acidic smell), you can be sure that the yeast is ready.
  1. Preparing main syrup. Dilute sugar in 15-17 liters of warm water (2.2 lbs/1 kilo per 5 liters). Pour the prepared syrup into the container with grain. Close the lid and install an airlock. It’s crucial to maintain the fermentation temperature at 22-28°C. After 4-6 days, the wort will be ready for distillation (fermentation will stop and it won’t be sweet).
  2. Distillation. Decant the prepared bread wash (filter it) and pour it into a wash still. Then distill it in a moonshine still of any design. 17 liters of wash usually yield up to 3 liters of 79% ABV bread moonshine.

You can use the yeast you prepared can be used up to 4 times. You’ll have to add sugar syrup to the wheat container and decant prepared wash after 5-7 days.

  1. Dilution and cleaning.Dilute the prepared bread vodka with water up to 52-40%.

The finished product requires cleaning to get rid of unpleasant odors, fusel oils, and other impurities. To do this, you need to dissolve several crystals of potassium permanganate in a glass and add it to the bottle with bread vodka. After a few days, you’ll notice black flakes. Alternatively, you can use any other cleaning method or run second distillation.

After adding potassium permanganate you should filter your moonshine using a special filter: put cotton wool and pounded absorbent into a watering pot in several layers. Put 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of soda onto the top layer of cotton wool. Then pour the bread vodka through a thin tube into the filter. After successfully filtering 3 liters, replace the filter with a new one. Before consuming I advise you to let the vodka mature for 3-5 days, this will improve the taste.

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