DISCUSSION Alcohol Distillation How to Distill Spirits at Home



DISCUSSION Alcohol Distillation How to Distill Spirits at Home

In this DISCUSSION Alcohol Distillation How to Distill Spirits at Home users exchange experiences on the distillation of alcohol, stills construction, mash preparation, alcoholic fermentation, diluting alcohol, and other related topics. In short: how to make alcohol at home.


Methanol
by Alan on 2004-Aug-04 18:03:33
Region: CH
 
Does anybody know what to do to prevent the production of methanol during fermentation?
....1-dash RE: Methanol
....by Willi on 2004-Sep-14 13:00:02
....Region: Bavaria
 
Yes, to work as clean as possible, no rotten fruits, no leaves etc.
Methanol derives from woody parts of the mash. So when you make a mash from marc (the residue of filterpressing grapes for making wine), the mash and also the distillate will contain a relatively high amount of methanol, because of the lots of pits. You can test this very easily: compare a very cheap grappa with an expensive one. The cheap one has a high amount of Methanol, therefore it will taste much hotter than the expensive one.
....1-dash RE: Methanol
....by Bernard Deham on 2005-Feb-16 03:21:42
....Region: Thailand
 
It is unfortunatly not possible to separate methanol from ethanol, the percentage of methanol depends upon the material (kind of fruits) you are using.
For instance avoid apples with a high amount of pectine.
........1-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
........by Dave on 2006-Feb-24 11:05:04
........Region: Australia
 
It is very easy to separate methanol from ethanol.

Methanol has a lower boiling point (65 deg C) than ethanol (78 deg c), and it therefore comes out of the still as "heads".

Just discard the first part of the distillate (that will smell like nail polish), or wait until the temprature is > 75 deg C, and Bob's you're uncle!
............1-dash1-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
............by Harrell Sellers on 2006-Jul-11 15:53:52
............Region: USA - South Dakota
 
The above post is correct. If you're just making ethanol, then you should distill more than once. The second (and third and fourth) distillation is to separate the aldehydes, ketones and methanol from the ethanol. Watch your temperature carefully. Do it slowly. You should see a plateau in your temp. vs. time curve when the methanol starts coming off. Toss it.
................1-dash1-dash1-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
................by Butch Taylor on 2008-Feb-26 17:01:49
................Region: USA
 
The above information for making the distillation "cut" the minimize the carry over of methanol to the product is dependent on temperature and patience. In distilling with a reflux column you want to drive the heat under the pot to get a slow gentle reflux in the distillation column. By doing it with patience the plateau the previous post indicated will very easy to spot. Butch
............1-dash1-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
............by Michael Williams on 2011-Jul-08 22:42:20
............Region: UK
 
I'm afraid it's not that easy. Ethanol and methanol form a so-called azeotrope when mixed. I'll spare you the technical details; it basically means the two liquids together have a different boiling point than the separate compounds.
If you try to achieve separation through distillation, both alcohols will evaporate at the same temperature, meaning you won't get any separation. The same effect occurs with a certain volumetric mixture of alcohol and water, which prevents you from getting 99.9% pure alcohol through distillation.
Also, methanol doesn't really smell like nail-polish in my opinion; I believe you're confusing it with acetone on that point.
Dieses Forum ist übersiedelt nach https://www.malle-schmickl.at/.
This forum has been moved to https://www.malle-schmickl.com/.
................1-dash1-dash1-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
................by Ton on 2011-Sep-06 07:58:47
................Region: Netherlands
 
Methanol is NOT an azeotrope with ethanol, nor water according to:

Chris Barsby, “ Methanol Brochure” Alberta
Gas Chemicals Ltd. Technical memo
No.850220, March 7, 1985
....................5-dash RE: Methanol
....................by Bernard Deham on 2012-Apr-02 16:00:58
....................Region: Thailand
 
So dear Einstein, you manage to get a 100% vol alcohol by normal destillation because water and ethanol do not form an azeotrope mixture...
You must be the only and unique one on the earth!
Tell us the secret, please...
............1-dash1-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
............by Bernard Deham on 2012-Apr-02 15:55:39
............Region: Thailand
 
I've just discovered this message. Of course eliminating heads, as everybody knows, eliminates part of unwanted components like methanol, but far away from all of them. So I consider this kind of message completely irresponsible and unprofessional.
It is, with usualal stills, IMPOSSIBLE to completely eliminate methanol from your destillate. To avoid methanol, produce ethanol from a mash containing sugar, no fruits! All fruit spirits like Williams etc. contain methanol, up to 5%... Nobody dies from it, just a hanghover if you drink too much of that stuff.
................1-dash1-dash1-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
................by mike on 2013-May-11 13:08:25
................Region: usa
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azeotrope_(data)

if i understand this properly, and we assume our what your distilling is a mixture of some percentage of methanol, some percentage ethanol and some percentage water (and some random shit)

this shows that methanol forms no azeotrope with either water or ethanol, suggesting it should come off the heads of the distilate, however ethanol and water do form an azeotrope at 95.5% so that the best your going to do with a stil..

also as a little parity:
http://www.solvent--recycling.com/azeotrope_1.html

specifically lists water and methanol as "non-azeotrope", as they are a firm specializing in solvent recovery (in this case recovery methanol from water) i would suspect they would say something about loss here.

not a professional, just geeky
....................5-dash RE: Methanol
....................by flow in on 2013-Jul-14 07:42:32
....................Region: new zealand
 
geeks rule the world 🙂

if you have a reflux column and you drive it gently, with well controlled top temperature (i have counter current cooling in mine to nail it to the spot), then you should get all (or beyond measurement of what's left, anyway) the meths off by holding the top just above the boiling point of meths.

the water/ethanol (the azeotrope limited mixture) that is left will be held further down the column.

you'd also get a bunch of esters and acetones and other lighter and yuckky things coming off. bring the temperature too high and you'll lose the volatiles that define the flavour (for whiskeys, rums and other such things).

if you have a column like mine then you'll notice temperature fluctuations increase as you run out of the lighter fractions.

npo matter how good the column, unless you play with pressures too, you'll never get over the azeotrope minima at 94ish percent for ethyl alcohol.
........................5-dash1-dash RE: Methanol
........................by GIORGOS on 2013-Jul-23 13:04:14
........................Region: GREECE
 
actually, modern distillate analysis shows that distillation of fruit mashes is a very complex procedure;and the law "the first to come out is the one with the lower boiling point" does not apply. In the case of methanol, to be correct, a particularity in chemical properties of this substance, produces the effect that this substance is actually more difficult to separate from water than alcohol. This means that, in the contrary of what most people believes, the excess of methanol is actually a tail product, rather than a head product (but methanol is product during the entire proccess).

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