Testing for Methanol, Methanol content in 10% wash?

Distillation methods and improvements.

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decoy
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Testing for Methanol, Methanol content in 10% wash?

Post by decoy » Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:46 pm

Directed at people that are good at chemistry or have access to or know of equipment that can test for methanol.

Is there a simple way to test for methanol, or somwhere were a sample can be taken to be tested, ie a university etc..

Under introduction/safty etc... the claim is that if you stick to a sugar or grain wash and keep it under 10% alcohol, the claim is that there is next to no methanol and that fruit juice contains 10x more methanol..

cheers.

rectifier
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Post by rectifier » Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:52 am

Did 2 years of chemistry in university, and unfortunately, methanol testing is pretty much out of the reach of the average joe, i.e. one without a GC/MS or similar equipment.

I was worried at first about methanol. The fact is, your wash hardly contains any methanol, and it also contains the antidote to methanol - that is, ethanol.

Remember, distillation is a purifying process. It doesn't create anything that wasn't in your wash to begin with. If you don't drink a bottle of foreshots/heads, you won't be concentrating methanol.

I have heard of people who bottle straight out of the still as it comes out. In this case, you could end up with a bottle of heads with a high methanol/acetone/ethyl acetate content.

Thus, the best way to ensure low methanol content (and good flavor) is to separate your batch into different bottles as you go along. Then, determine which bottles you like the smell of, and dump them all together into one big jug.
Not only will this let you select the best cuts for your palate, but it will dilute any methanol there was in the first bottles to almost immeasurable amounts in the large volume of hearts.

The first bottle, the one that contains methanol, will also contain acetone and some other light compounds with similar boiling points and very distinct smells. It will literally smell like paint thinner, like poison. You will sniff it and know not to drink it! So throw it out or use it as fuel for your camp stove.
The heads will smell sweet, this is ethyl acetate which boils lower than ethanol, and the smell will diminish as you go towards the hearts. The hearts will smell like almost pure alcohol.
You learn as you do it to cut well.

rectifier
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Post by rectifier » Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:54 am

Remember, the big jug is the traditional method of storing your hooch, too. Don't forget to draw on the X's for how many times it's been distilled!

decoy
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Post by decoy » Sat Jan 14, 2006 1:44 am

I should have elaborated a bit more... sorry..

I am set on building a bigger and better mouse trap.. I Can Do IT :twisted: ..

but seriously.. I am set on making a continuous plate still i have a few ideas that i will post soon as far as seperating the heads in a continuous process as well for experianced members to comment on.

this post is to help me try and identifi methanol, the only way i can think of is to mesure the temperature of the final plate which would contain the methanol.. or look at finding somone with some sort of test equipment etc..

I have a few ideas on seperating the methanol.. but are ther other chemicals i should take into consideration that fall in the temperature range of ethanol that i may have over looked.

I would preffer not to have people flame ridicule laugh etc at me..

what i would like is for people with technical knowledge to point out things i have overlooked and ither tell me what to take into consideration or to point me in the right direction were i can look up info on how to find out more.

If i fail you's can ad me to the pile of other loosers, but if i am successful its a win win situation for all...

The only price you pay is the time to read and reply to my stupid posts..

cheers

Guest

Post by Guest » Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:48 am

ok, sorry Decoy, i forgot you were working on removing methanol in a continuous still. That was kind of an generic reply from me to a thread about methanol fears.

Anyways, yes, "constant heads" does not mean so much methanol (present in very small amounts) as it does ethyl acetate, the main heads constitiuent. Its boiling point is Very close to ethanol's, in fact it is about 1 deg C off. This is why you will need lots of HETP to separate the two.

There are lots of other light organics to think about, however if you can take off ethyl acetate above the ethanol, all of them will end up there with it.

Spiritmaker

Meth

Post by Spiritmaker » Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:01 pm

OK guys, you have opened that ol can of worms for me. I understand that distillation doesn't seperate anything that wasn't in th wash to begin with, but that brings me to my question! I read an article on-line (can't remember now just where it was posted) , by Jessie Dukes, "Master Bootlegger" in which he flatly stated that if you leave the mash (corn) sit (ferment) for more than 4-5 days, you will only be making more methanol and not ethyl! I can appreciate that certain fruits, grapes for example, DO produce more meth than a simple sugar wash but what about grains, particularly "corn"? Personally I have always been cautious about fermenting my washes anyway, but I have on occasion allowed some to set for several weeks (of course this is common with wine), but when it comes to corn, I just wondered if there is really anything to this story? What do you guys think? I haven't found anything to substantiate this anywhere else but his article.
Thanks,
Spiritmaker

decoy
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Post by decoy » Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:55 am

on this site in the area it were it says to use salt.

it sugests to use bicarb to nutrelise the acetic acid and prevent the creation of ethyl acetate..

there are claims that bicarb will pit or react with the copper...

what would hapen if calcium in the form of coral or shelgrit was used to run the wash thru to nutrlise the acid...

also of the bat question is salt soluable in ethanol..?

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Post by knuklehead » Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:39 am

So THM, secondary fermentation on grains is not necessarily a bad thing?
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Post by Tater » Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:01 pm

When I do grain I fermint it out compleatly as well
I use a pot still.Sometimes with a thumper

possum
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Post by possum » Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:04 pm

Hey theholymackerell...

any tips for handeling the Seething Mass Of Porage style mashes that you use? Siphoning these brews/mashes is 99% imposible, and I wonder what you do to keep infection and spoilage and spillage, and burning of the mash to a minimum.

I'm sure a dose of commonsense is required, but I belive there are some tricks or things to keep in mind when doing them.

P.S. oat whiskey is on my list when the fermenters are empty again... have recipe, but ferment space is limited for me, as is private time in the kitchen with my copper cooker.
Hey guys!!! Watch this.... OUCH!

junkyard dawg

Post by junkyard dawg » Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:39 pm

hey possum or thm, I was looking for that oatmeal recipe, ya'll know where its at?

possum
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Post by possum » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:25 pm

:D Thanks a bundle...I will run on low heat,with a tea cosy(spaceblanket is a great idea, I was using a couple of dry towles untill I get the kicking fiberblanket insulation).

I guess I'll ferment it all in the plastic fermenter, as the carbouy is harder to empty.
Hey guys!!! Watch this.... OUCH!

possum
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Post by possum » Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:32 pm

Gently...right.
We blasted black ale onto my cousin's very high ceiling after trying a new yeast and wort combo.

I'll be fermenting around 62-65 deg F, so the action is slower.

My sour mash was way too thick the first(sweet) generation, so I saved the cooked grain, and have been adding back to each generation along with the hot backset and sugar...in the plastick bucket fermenter.


Sorry to hijack you thread decoy, but the methanol, ferment on the grain/secondary ferment fitted in with my reaserch needs


thanks all
Hey guys!!! Watch this.... OUCH!

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