Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

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HuckFinn
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Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by HuckFinn » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:52 pm

So we've all heard of the "burn test" with different color indications on a spoon meaning different issues with blue representing that you are good to go.

I am seeing videos / evidence that this is a myth and all ethanol/methanol burns blue. Thus if you want absolute certainty that there is no methanol present you must utilize test strips. Could someone please verify / confirm this for me? What is the best method, particularly for a newbie, to ensure with confidence that everything is safe.

Thank you

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by seabass » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:05 pm

Burning it won't tell you anything about methanol. If you want to avoid methanol poisoning, all you need to do is not add anything containing methanol to your alcohol.

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by HuckFinn » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:09 pm

Said differently, how do you then provide certainty that you made a safe cut separating the fore-shots away?

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by seabass » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:19 pm

Foreshots don't have any more methanol than any other cuts. If you put too much foreshots or heads in, it'll taste like ass and give you a headache. You'll only get methanol poisoning from something dumb like adding denatured alcohol thinking you can distill it out. You can't do that. It sticks to water and ethanol keeping it from fractioning out in the foreshots.

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by shadylane » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:47 pm

Turn off the lights, methanol burns the prettiest blue.
The only thing a burn test will show, is if something is flammable

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by bluefish_dist » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:53 pm

To make methanol you need a sugar source with pectins. If you ferment grains and straight sugars, there is hardly any methanol. No need to be concerned. Fruits are different.
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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by MartinCash » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:58 am

The flame test is like running your still by ABV or temperature. A useful imput, or perhaps not, once you know how your recipe performs.

You should do your cuts by taste.

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by gwizard » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:25 pm

In principle, it works. I put some foreshots in the campfire the other day, bright yellow flame. Then the other day I used some heads and flame was blue. You probably won't get those results when you're running, just because you don't produce enough pure methanol, so it would be all blue, but when combined and concentrated, you might.

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by bluefish_dist » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:36 pm

gwizard wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:25 pm
In principle, it works. I put some foreshots in the campfire the other day, bright yellow flame. Then the other day I used some heads and flame was blue. You probably won't get those results when you're running, just because you don't produce enough pure methanol, so it would be all blue, but when combined and concentrated, you might.
First, grains and sugars don’t produce much methanol and if they do it’s concentrated in the tails not the heads. Recent tests have proven this. IMHO methanol in home made spirits is a myth based on prohibition era denatured spirits being sold for drinking. In that era ethanol was denatured with methanol. They form an azeotrope and can not be separated by normal distillation. This makes industrial ethanol poison. People died during prohibition from drinking denatured alcohol sold to drink. Now they no longer use methanol for denaturing.
Last edited by bluefish_dist on Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by MartinCash » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:02 pm

Yeah, the whole yellow flame and methanol is a total urban legend. Methanol burns with a blue flame also. What you're seeing is acetone, ethyl acetate, etc.

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by shadylane » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:25 pm

"Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't"

You heard right
The burn test is an urban myth
That's not only wrong, it's possibly dangerously wrong :shock:

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by NZChris » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:12 pm

Anyone who relays this myth is most likely telling you a whole lot of other stuff that isn't correct or optimal for distilling too, so treat eveything that they've told you with suspicion until you have done the homework that they should have done before publishing their unresearched drivel on their Youtube, book, forum, whatever.

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by gwizard » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:24 pm

MartinCash wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:02 pm
Yeah, the whole yellow flame and methanol is a total urban legend. Methanol burns with a blue flame also. What you're seeing is acetone, ethyl acetate, etc.
Thank you for the correction. I am now wiser :D

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by Cschmidtke » Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:40 pm

I roll my still temps up really slow and pull the first 400 mils off of a 20g batch that’s more than enough to get rid of the foreshots I have never once had a hang over from my brew. Must be doing something right.

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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by Truckinbutch » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:08 pm

HuckFinn wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:52 pm
So we've all heard of the "burn test" with different color indications on a spoon meaning different issues with blue representing that you are good to go.

I am seeing videos / evidence that this is a myth and all ethanol/methanol burns blue. Thus if you want absolute certainty that there is no methanol present you must utilize test strips. Could someone please verify / confirm this for me? What is the best method, particularly for a newbie, to ensure with confidence that everything is safe.

Thank you
I came here years ago with the same misconception . Feller named Rad strapped my legs and got my attention . I miss him .
All these other folks are telling you right without being as brutally honest as Rad was .
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Re: Does the burn test actually work? Hearing that it doesn't

Post by Setsumi » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:06 pm

Truckinbutch wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:08 pm
HuckFinn wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:52 pm
So we've all heard of the "burn test" with different color indications on a spoon meaning different issues with blue representing that you are good to go.

I am seeing videos / evidence that this is a myth and all ethanol/methanol burns blue. Thus if you want absolute certainty that there is no methanol present you must utilize test strips. Could someone please verify / confirm this for me? What is the best method, particularly for a newbie, to ensure with confidence that everything is safe.

Thank you
I came here years ago with the same misconception . Feller named Rad strapped my legs and got my attention . I miss him .
All these other folks are telling you right without being as brutally honest as Rad was .
i miss him too.
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