Distillate Strength

You can use the graph below (thanks to Grant D) to relate a liquid's % alcohol and its boiling point. It also shows the % alcohol of the condensed vapour. (The data for the graph (and heaps of other stuff) is on my Calculation page if you're interested in drawing it yourself.)

For example: A liquid of 10% alcohol will boil at 93 degrees (ie the point on the blue line directly above 10 on the Alc by Vol axis). If you head horizontally from the 93 degree point until you hit the red line, then drop down to the alcohol axis, it strikes 55%.

So, for a simple still, a 10% alcohol wash will boil at (initially) 93 degrees and the vapour, once condensed, will contain 55% alcohol by volume. Likewise, redistilling a 40% spirit should result in a brew around 80%.

Alcohol liquid - vapour curves

At % alcohol (liquid) the vapour will be % alcohol

Note that only 96.5% ethanol can be obtained by regular distillation of alcohol & water. Absolute ethanol (100%) is made by distilling with benzene (poisonous) (an azeotropic mixture of benzene, alcohol & water distills at 65C and removes the last few percent of water), by vacuum distillation, or by chemical means (eg using drying agents like molecular seives - which with holes of 3 Angstrom (one Angstrom is one ten billionth of a meter) can seperate water (which has a diameter of 2.5 Angstroms) from ethanol (which has a diameter of 4.5 Angstroms)). Update Phil advises me that most major commercial distilleries in Australia use Cyclohexane rather than Benzene.

http://homedistiller.org     This page last modified Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:51:05 -0800