Plastic bottle's and Alcohol

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Plastic bottle's and Alcohol

Postby TEC » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:49 pm

I've just been sippin' on some non-commercial whiskey and it got me thinkin' about all of the commercial whiskey/sprits sold in plastic bottle's. In all of the research I have done, I cannot recall any information about plastic\alcohol%\temp\time of contact solubility formulas. Has anyone ran across information related to this?

Thank You

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Postby whitepony32 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:00 am

I can't tell you that I know any technical information on the plastic bottle issue, but I do have a best friend who also distills moonshine. He puts his in the plastic bottles that bottled water comes in... when people are over to visit, it just looks like bottled water. So far, he has been doing this for about 10 years and no troubles yet.
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Postby knuklehead » Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:46 am

That is a really bad idea putting home made spirits in plastic bottles.
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Postby TEC » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:10 am

As for myself, I have no intention of using plastic for anything that has to do with alcohol. I'm just curious about technical information on the subject. Like what if someone bought some form of sprit in a plastic bottle and on their way home, had some other business to take care of and the bottle sat in the car for hours on a 100 F + day?
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Postby jbrew9999 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:22 pm

The general rule is: NO PLASTIC.

But, I've gotta believe that commercial distillers package their products in "safe" bottles so I would think that old plastic liqour bottles would be good for spirits that are of the same proof or lower than what came in the bottle. I sure wouldn't trust higher proof spirit in the bottles and I have no reason to expect plastic water bottles to be safe.

I've seen high proof spirits 'melt' plastic in a matter of minutes, so I definitely agree that unknown plastic is bad.
Last edited by jbrew9999 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Postby The Chemist » Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:26 pm

Plastic is fine, as long as it's ONLY polycarbonate AND THERE IS 40% OR LESS ALCOHOL. Don't use it to build a still, don't put high proof alcohol in it (even polycarbonate).
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Postby Uncle Fred » Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:30 pm

Anhydrous Isopropyl alcohol 99% comes in plastic 1 gallon jugs that are made from HDPE (high density polyethylene I believe). I also read something about this type of plastic being safe on Tony's site.
I'm sure this stuff wouldn't disolve, but who knows if it would impart any taste to your hard earned product.
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Postby ponyboy » Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:34 pm

Those bottle are made of PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate). I would agree only put 40% or less alcohol in them. They are also oxygen permeable.

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:08 pm

I just went to check on a plastic milk jug that's full of 85% moonshine, it's been there for 5 plus months, still smells and taste the same.

Postby possum » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:17 pm

I never, Never,NEVER put spirits in plastic.Ever. That said, I have seen the 200proof lab reagent ethanol in 1 gallon containers that look like nalganeeen bottles(and drank it after dilluting). I dont know what they are really made of. I USE GLASS EVERY TIME. I personally like the asthetics of glass, and the way that flavors dont linger or leach to or from glass.
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Postby knuklehead » Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:59 pm

Me too, only ever use glass. Commercial liquor bottles are meant to be filled, sold then emptied once. The don't wash and reuse them as far as I know. I wouldn't even use them at home since I wash and reuse bottles all the time. My first test cylinder was apparently rated to tolerate 97% alcohol and it held up good for a while, then it started to cloud over to the point I couldn't see through it anymore. I just feel a whole lot more comfortable just putting product, even 80 proof in glass.
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Postby junkyard dawg » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:31 pm

I'm the same way, no plastic ever. Thing about plastic is you never know...
did plastisizer get leached out? If you do this a while you'll see it happen. Ever see high proof alcohol cloud hit a plastic hydrometer jar? You'll go to glass too. Sure plactic gets used all the time, but its best to eliminate the unknowns where you can. Since using plastic can easily spoil many hours of work, its easy to cross it off the list.
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Postby TEC » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:52 pm

I agree with everything everyone has said about the downfalls of using plastic in the distillation and storage of alcohol...

I was just looking for some documentation about the commercial use of plastic to store alcohol for human consumption. I take it by the responses that I am not the only one that has not been able to find much on this subject. I'm sure it exists somewhere, but I have not had much luck coming up with the proper search criteria.

Ya know it really is a moot question given the fact that none of us want to take any chances when glass is so available, just something I was curious about while I was doin' a little sippin'

Thanks for all of the input
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Postby new_moonshiner » Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:00 pm

So I guess using the 5 gal. water bottles to let a wash clear for a day or two would be a no no then.... :( Not that im cheap but glass isn't that easy to get here ...
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Postby Uncle Jesse » Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:03 pm

I spoke to a guy at the ATTB and he said there is some plastic bottle type which is OK for distilled spirits. He said he has seen 1.75L containers on the shelf made of plastic. I wish I could recall the name he used for the plastic type. At any rate, he said he's never seen a 750ml bottle for sale in plastic, and the only brands he'd seen were not exactly top shelf.

So, it appears there is some plastic, somewhere, approved for use with distilled spirits. As for the upper end of proof they will safely hold, or where you can get these bottles, I have no idea.,, and are rip-off artists. Beware before you buy.
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Postby wineo » Fri Mar 30, 2007 5:51 pm

All I know is,when I first started distilling,I filled up a polycarb.hydrometer jar with warm distillate{from wine},and the thing turned white,and cracked all over.I could also smell the glue they used to put on the base.
this was the first runnings of distilled wine,and probably had methanal in it,but after seeing that thing get ate,NO MORE PLASTICS FOR ME!
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Postby old_red_eye » Sat Mar 31, 2007 5:35 am


In my province, most store-bought spirits comes in plastic bottles.
This is true for pints, quarts and the larger 40 oz'ers.

The distillers seem to use both, for example I can get Captain Morgan
in plastic pints, plastic or glass quarts and plastic 40 oz'ers.

There are very few glass pints here anymore, most are plastic.
I would guess the quarts are about 50/50 glass/plastic.
Many larger size bottles have also gone plastic.

Some of this is due to marketing and, I imagine, some is due to provincial
regulations and taxes. If I travel to my neighboring province, it is completely
different. They have mostly glass.

We have about 95% plastic cola bottles, and another province has all cans.

Weird regulations. :?
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Postby triggernum5 » Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:17 am

IIRC, in another thread The Chemist stated that any ETOH sample he has analyzed that had come into contact with plastic contained atleast traces of phthalates.. I'm on record admitting that my palette isn't sophiticated enough to tell the difference between liquor stored in each, and haven't personally noticed extra ill effects the next morning drinking ~150proof from 2L sodapop bottles, thinner water bottles, or thicker plastic mickeys.. When I give bottles to ppl I give it to them in plastic (Or a corked beer bottle) because I like to stock up on glass empties for long term storage.. Plastic is more porous than most ppl could comprehend..
Here in Canada atleast the bottles I mentioned are PolyEthylene Terephthlate (PETE Resin Code 1).. I don't know what kind of obtainable vessel might be made from PolyCarbonate but I wish I did..

Edit: Actually The Chemist may have said even distilled water samples contained traces.. Don't recall 100%
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Postby Big J » Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:59 pm

new_moonshiner wrote:So I guess using the 5 gal. water bottles to let a wash clear for a day or two would be a no no then.... :( Not that im cheap but glass isn't that easy to get here ...

Its ok to let your un-distilled wash sit in plastic. I, and I think most people, ferment in plastic buckets. Its only questionable for high ABV distilled spirits.

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