Newton senior making ‘moonshine to go’ busted

Police seize 200 gallons of distilled booze from a Surrey man's home.

A Surrey senior has been arrested for allegedly selling moonshine out of his basement window.

A 65-year-old man in the 12500 block of 70 Avenue was taken into custody after police found five large barrels containing about 200 gallons of home-made spirits in his home. He had allegedly been brewing it in a trailer in the back of the house.

A search of the home found another 30 containers of distilled liquor, police say.

Police believe the man was selling the spirits to walk-up customers through the basement window of the back of his home.

A member of the community reported it to police, prompting the surveillance and the search of the property on Wednesday just before 10 a.m.

The man is facing several charges, including production and packaging of spirits, possessing a still, sale of alcohol and possession of bulk alcohol.

The City of Surrey bylaw department is also “actively engaged” in the investigation, addressing bylaw infractions, the RCMP release states.

Other charges are also being considered.

Watch www.surreyleader.com for updates as they become known.

@diakiw

Moonshine Facts

• Moonshine is any distilled spirit made in an unlicensed still.  As with all distilled spirits, yeast ferments a sugar source to produce alcohol; the alcohol is then extracted through by means of distillation.

• Because of its illegal nature, spirit (moonshine) is rarely aged in barrels like proper whisky, and it sometimes contains impurities and off flavors. On rare occasions, it may contain dangerous levels of toxic alcohols such as methanol. The off flavors may come from improper mashing, fermentation and/or distillation, and unsuitable storage containers.

• Spirit (moonshine) is usually done using small-scale stills. Typically, the still is built by the spirit (moonshine) producer, thus avoiding the legal ramifications of obtaining a still commercially. The pot still is made of copper or stainless steel, and a water filled barrel with a copper tubing coil for a condenser.

• Poorly produced spirit (moonshine) can be contaminated with toxins, mainly from materials used in construction of the still. Although methanol is not produced in toxic amounts by fermentation of sugars from grain starches, contamination is still possible by unscrupulous distillers using cheap methanol to increase the apparent strength of the product.

• A common, folk test for the quality of spirit (moonshine) was to pour a small quantity of it into a spoon and set it alight. The theory was that a safe distillate burns with a blue flame, but a tainted distillate burns with a yellow flame. Practitioners of this simple test also held that if a radiator coil had been used as a condenser, then there would be lead in the distillate, which would give a reddish flame. This led to the phrase, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.”

~Fact box provided by the RCMP