smell of methanol and alcohol

Treatment and handling after you are done distilling.

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smell of methanol and alcohol

Postby Uncle Jesse » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:46 pm

from the old message boards. one of these days i will find the almond reference, i hope...

AnalWaste
07/31/03 03:41 PM
subject: smell of methol and alcohol

does the smell of methonal and ethonal differ when preety pure lets say over 85%
could i be able to tell by the small or is there another way.
thanks in adavance

you cant judge a book by its cover
so how do you judge it.


Fourway
07/31/03 06:25 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: AnalWaste]

they smell different yes.
but not very different.

I don't think its the kind of thing you'd want to risk learning through advice from random strangers over the internet.

the easiest way to make sure that you don't have any methanol is to not collect any.

the easiest way to learn to tell the difference between the smells is to smell them both fairly often.


Anonymous
08/11/03 04:19 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

here is very little methanol generated by yeasts when fermenting sugars. This is evident because beer and wine are not toxic. If you throw out the first part of your distillate (foreshots), you will get rid of all of the methanol. This part of the distillate does not taste very good anyway, so you aren't losing anything by ditching it. You can safely taste this part of the distillate as long as you spit it out afterward.

Chuck


Peter
08/19/03 07:37 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: AnalWaste]

a sugar wash will have no methanol. methanol is made from pectin which is found in fruit and some in grains. if you drink beer or wine you are drinking methanol (in small amounts) if you usually drink 6 pints of 5% beer and instead distilled the 6 pints and drank 0.6 pints of 50% spirit it will have no more methanol in it than the beer. distilling does not create methanol it separates it. the only real danger is distilling massive batches of a fruit wash high in pectin and hence methanol. if you were to collect the first bottle and drink it it will be high in methanol. if you collect everything in one huge container it is mixed through and will give no more methanol per % than drinking the wash straight.


Anonymous
08/21/03 05:58 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Peter]

I'm not convinced that there would be zero methanol in a sugar wash. The yeast is somewhat imprecise in its fermentation of sugar which leads to the large variety of organic compounds that are present in a wash in addition to the ethanol. Many of them (the foreshots) are low molecular weight compounds similar to methanol.

Chuck


andrew
08/21/03 02:41 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Anonymous]

Nope -- you can't make methanol without pectins for the yeast to work on. Plain old sugar doesn't have pectins, neither do grains (afaik), only fruit.

You do get stuff other than ethanol from a sugar ferment in the foreshots, heads, and tails, obviously, but it's not methanol.


andrew
08/21/03 02:52 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Anonymous]

Just found the link I was looking for:

http://yarchive.net/med/methanol_poisoning.html

Peter
08/22/03 04:41 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

some grains do have pectin, not very much though


Anonymous
08/22/03 07:28 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Peter]

I'm still not buying that you can't make a single molecule of methanol. Granted the pectin hydrolysis is a major pathway for washes made from fruit or grain. Sugars have lots of hydroxyl groups which are attached to carbon molecules. If you broke off one of the carbons with a hydroxyl group and added hydrogens (available from the water), you would have methanol. As I said before, the yeast is somewhat imprecise in making ethanol.

"Proof" that there is zero methanol generated by a sugar wash would have to be in the form of a chromatogram from a gas chromatograph / mass spectrometer or other such analytical equipment. I assume this data has been generated by the rum making industry, but I have not seen it.

I'm not saying that there would be much methanol, I just find it hard to believe that there is absolutely not one molecule.

Chuck


Anonymous
08/22/03 07:45 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Anonymous]

http://www.restekcorp.com/restek/images/external/59462.pdf

This link shows chromatographs for rum which show a distinct methanol peak.

Chuck


Fourway
08/23/03 10:46 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Anonymous]

Nice research anonomous.
Consider joining the board or at least using a name so that your posts can be more clearly recognized from all the anonymouses popping in to ask RTFM questions.


Fourway
08/24/03 03:32 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

Wierd.. it says the last post was by Andrew in this thread... but there's no post.


Blanchy
08/24/03 05:35 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

Fourway,

I'll stick with a real login from here out. I posted the rum chromatograms which showed the methanol peaks. I have continued doing research and picked up a respected textbook on wine manufacture, "Wine Analysis and Production" which states that methanol is only a product of pectin hydrolysis. I wonder if there is any pectin in cane juice. If anyone can find chromatograms from ethanol manufacture from corn syrup, it would solve this once and for all.

Chuck


Fourway
08/24/03 08:34 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Blanchy]

I was shown cask strength scotch analysis sheets several years back showing really staggering amounts of meoh.

Something a lot of people mistake about the high levels of meoh in fruit mash is that it is all created by the yeast acting on pectin. Unfermented apple juice contains methanol, even ripe apples do.

This is part of the reason that scrumpy (scumble to pratchett fans) is so infamous for the blistering five alarm hangovers that it produces.

It seems perfectly reasonable to me as a not particularly good chemist that the meoh could still be contained in ripe fruit and fresh juice due to the process of pectin hydrolysis that you mention.

what puzzles me is that as indicated by its common name "wood alcohol" methanol is one of the common fluid compounds in most kinds of green wood, and can be extracted through fractionation along with turpentine and a variety of other smelly things from fresh wood heated in a sealed vessel.

does this mean that wood contains pectin? does it indicate that pectin hydrolysis takes place in the wood of live trees? or is there another process by which methanol forms that obviates the pectin step?


Blanchy
08/24/03 10:28 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

The production of wood alcohol by heating wood (green or not) in the absence of air is known as destructive distillation and produces a liquid known colloquially as pyroligneous acid. This "acid" contains methanol, acetone, acetic acid, tars, and turpentine if the wood was a pine. Neither acetic acid or acetone is present in wood to any great degree, yet you can make a pretty good bit of it through this process.

This process works by cleaving the bonds in the cellulose molecules to make new ones and not by extracting existing compounds as a standard distillation does.

Chuck


andrew
08/25/03 02:47 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Blanchy]

Quite likely there is pectin in cane juice, as well as corn syrup -- brown sugar and molasses too -- but pure white table sugar, sucrose, shouldn't.

I could very well be wrong... but afaik there isn't a way to produce meth from sucrose.... <shrugs!>

v. interesting chromatograms in that pdf, btw.

cheers


unclejesse
09/04/03 01:42 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

as far as i know, every mash you do will have some amount of methanol. this is why i always discard as "denatured" the first 150ml of any run i do. use it for household uses.

there is not enough methanol in a run to matter and it passes off quickly before your spirit run. the problem is that many of the whiskies and other spirits require you to re-use your feints. if you're collecting that first 150ml, over time you _could_ build up enough methanol to be harmful. so why take the chance? toss every first 150ml and you're safe.

speaking of nasty things in spirits, the almond flavor accompanying many brandies etc. is actually a small amount of cyanide which can be induced by putting seeds into your fermenting mash.


It was the whiskey talkin', not me.

andrew
09/04/03 11:45 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: unclejesse]

Cyanide doesn't survive the distillation process. The elements can't become a cyanide gas then liquify together.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/13361
(Wal hasn't been wrong yet, but lemme know if you've some contrary evidence.)

Second, methanol is highest in brandies, and non existent (afaik and no evidence to the contrary) in lactose or sucrose vodkas. That's because there's no pectin to create the methanol with.


unclejesse
09/05/03 01:53 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

oh man, you're going to make me look up my source? that could take a while! but i'll try...



It was the whiskey talkin', not me.


andrew
09/05/03 02:24 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: unclejesse]

lol

that'd be cool if you would. it's always nice to get to the bottom of things.


Fourway
09/05/03 07:26 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

Andrew, what contact have you had with lactose vodkas?
I'm extremely interested in this topic.


andrew
09/06/03 01:16 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

Never made it myself -- but the big commercial distilleries here make their 'grain neutral' from lactose. Apart from a few small distilleries like Milford and 42 Below, and of course premium imported vodka, gin, etc, pretty much all our domestic spirits are lactose vodka which has been flavoured or otherwise treated according to the licensor of the product.

The above is probably one of the main reasons traditional distiller's products like flaked maize aren't readily available. Not really sure of how to do it on a small scale -- perhaps make a wash like the trad Mongolian mare's milk beer, then distill it? How does one ferment milk, anyhow?




andrew
09/06/03 02:02 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

ok, my bad:
http://homedistiller.org/wash-sugar.htm#lactose
anchor's casein whey distillery:
http://www.nzdairy.co.nz/public/corporate/macs/anchorethanol.html
and
http://www.distillers.co.nz/


Fourway
09/06/03 05:53 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

is kluyveromyces marxianus yeast available in NZ?


andrew
09/06/03 06:09 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

can't find anywhere obvious via google. will check with my local yeast / enzyme suppliers and let you know.


andrew
09/06/03 07:40 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

the anchor link seems to have gone bung, they have a site here:
http://www.nzmp.com/cda/frontpage/0,,c334829_g500040,00.html


Eats
09/07/03 07:15 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

You need to put the url like this {url=httplink} Namr of page {/url} Then it will work.


unclejesse
09/08/03 12:21 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: andrew]

I took a bunch of decorative indian corn from last thanksgivings' leftovers, planted the kernels and got a nice crop of indian corn this year. plenty for a 5 gallon mash which I intend to do soon.





Wendy
12/22/03 03:24 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: AnalWaste]

Yeh OK so
What you really need to know is whether or not you have
a dangerous amount of methyl in your distilate.You can get these little sticks to put in your pee to see if your diabetic or pregnant or whatever.
Or for your fishtank for nitrates/nitrites etc.
What we need is a methanol/lead one.
Gerd Strand where are you - or similar
Wendy


Peter
12/23/03 02:37 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Wendy]

the owner of hambeltom bard who i think also make Gerts yeast gave a quote here.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/17255

an undistilled sugar wash has about 0.00025% methanol

unfermented orange juice can have 50 times more methanol than a fermented sugar wash! unfermented apple jiuce also has way more methanol.
when a sugar wash is distilled with proper cuts methanol is almost nonexistant
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/17294

Edited by Peter (12/23/03 02:38 AM)


Blanchy
12/23/03 12:54 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Peter]

A little methanol will not hurt you. Red wine drinkers prove that on a daily basis. Distillers take it out a) because they can, b) because if you concentrated it and drank it you would die, and c) because that fraction of the distillate tastes like ass anyway.

Chuck


Fourway
12/23/03 02:39 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Blanchy]

I think whether or not a little methanol can or can't hurt you depends upon your definitions of "a little" and of "hurt".

When the french outlawed Absinthe, they marched officials through infirmary wards filled with palsied, brain damaged and blinded red wine drinkers and claimed that they were victims of Absinthe poisoning when in fact they were just hard core 19th century alcoholics who had consumed such huge quantities of crappy red high meoh load wine that their bodies had lost the race with the waste products and succumbed to meoh poisoning.

The reason that red wine hangovers can be such blistering five alarm affairs is the methanol load... to me that counts as hurt.

"I'm na drunk lang as I'n hold fast to blade a grass n keep me from sliding off the world."
-Grampa


Blanchy
12/23/03 02:59 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

Fourway,

My point was that I think people are getting a little too excited about methanol in their homemade liquors. The stories of people dying from too much methanol are usually due to people adding wood alcohol to their brew to stretch it or boost alcohol content usually for resale. If there has ever been a case of a person dying from not taking the methanol out of their moonshine, I have not heard of it. People getting hangovers is of course another story.

Chuck


Fourway
12/23/03 03:34 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Blanchy]

I'm with you there 100%.
in order for a home distiller to get a fatal or cripling dose of methanol he'd need to run a very large batch of fruit mash (apple or grape preferably) and catch all the heads by themself and swig it all down at a sitting.

"I'm na drunk lang as I'n hold fast to blade a grass n keep me from sliding off the world."
-Grampa


Blanchy
12/23/03 03:40 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

And the stuff they would be drinking would really suck. There are far easier ways to kill yourself.

Chuck


Fourway
12/23/03 09:32 PM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Blanchy]

indeed.
more surefire too... and less mess for others to clean up after...
meoh poisoning deaths usually involve a rather vast amount of vomitus and feces and often go on for several days.

The antidote for acute methanol poisoning sounds fun though... they keep you spinning drunk for five days or so.

"I'm na drunk lang as I'n hold fast to blade a grass n keep me from sliding off the world."
-Grampa


Peter
12/30/03 06:59 AM
Re: smell of methol and alcohol [re: Fourway]

last year a woman got methanol poisoning in teh UK from counterfeit vodka. she had to drink good vodka for days to flush it out. they bottles were loaded with methanol added by criminal gangs. gives moonshine a bad name. most drug/moonshine dealer dont care about customers. most heroin deaths in my country are from contatminated heroin not the heroin itself


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