Copper Still Furnace - Tennessee Moonshine

First Foxfire book's image and explanation of an abandoned copper still furnace used for making moonshine

We enjoy our adult beverages out here on the farm, typically in the form of a cold beer after a long day. Every once in a while a margarita might show up, or a particular NY friend (you know who you are) might drop by with enough white wine to put down an army. Lots of the old-timers in our area talk about moonshine and how that’s the first alcohol they ever tasted and it was pretty much all they drank growing up. That was before they had electricity, running water, etc. Very cool stories.

One such story was told to us. The story goes as such:

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Getting a Six-Pack on a Weekly Basis

If you're a facebook fan you'll know that I started chiseling away at my six-pack a couple weeks ago. I’m not talking about a Mike “The Situation” six-pack, I’m talking about beer. About a year ago I started home-brewing on an ultra-micro scale. In fact, it would be difficult to brew at a smaller scale. I brew one gallon at time, which equates to about 6-8 beers per batch. It’s not that I don’t want brew more beer, it’s that we live in a 600 sq ft apartment and don’t have room. My closet is already full of canning equipment, preserved jars of everything, sacks of espresso beans, liquores of who knows what, and oh yeah, my clothes. A 2 sq. ft. corner holds a case of aging beers, two one gallon carboys (one fermenting, one dry-hopping) and a little space for the blow-off tube. In that amount of space I get a six-pack every week. 

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Attack of the Spider Mites, Revenge of the Hop Rhizome

Chinook Rhizome Re-Sprouting Hop Vines

As you can see, my hop plant has re-emerged, and with it my hopes to one day brew with homegrown hops. Earlier this year spider mites attacked and devastated my lone hop plant (of the Chinook variety). You can see the carnage on top of the soil where the new shoots are sprouting. Everything was going fine, the plant was growing extremely fast, I already trellised it up and across the window (it was probably a good 15-20ft long if I unravelled it), and then one day the bottom leaves started to turn brown.Before Mite Hop Plant

Pretty soon more leaves were turning brown. One by one, all the way up the twine trellis, each leaf was slowly decimated. I could see the little bugs under the leaves, but no matter how many times I sprayed them with soapy water or smushed them between my fingers I couldn’t defeat them. Then one week they must have multiplied because in a flash all of the growth was brown and leaves were sent raining onto the sill below. 

So, in denial, I forgot about it. It’s summertime and summertime is not brewing time. Too hot for brewing in the apartment and too

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