Sodium carbonate makes a HUGE difference!

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dixiedrifter
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Sodium carbonate makes a HUGE difference!

Post by dixiedrifter » Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:52 pm

Did two identical batches using the same 1x stripped turbo wash in my all glass lab still, one with a heaping teaspoon of sodium carbonate, one without.

Wow! The difference in smell is amazing. The sodium carbonate run smells MUCH better... heck it practically didn't have any smell at all.

I'm now a firm believer and will not run another batch of vodka without it!

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Post by Husker » Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:21 pm

What is the differnece between sodium carbonate, and sodium bicarbonate? Would the 2nd work? (i.e. baking soda).

H.

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Post by dixiedrifter » Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:32 pm

Sodium carbonate is Na2CO3... sodium bicarbonate is NaHCO3 and made by treating sodium carbonate with carbon dioxide (which is actually acidic).

Both should work in theory.

A small amount of lye should accoumplish the same goal, and might even be better at breaking esters due to its higher pH.

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Post by Husker » Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:58 pm

I have several 50lb bags of Lye, and a couple 100 lb bags of KOH (used in biodiesel production), but I am not too sure about adding something like lye to my mash, distilling it and then drinking that. It "may" be fine, but I would rather hear from some other (living) guinnee pig who has done this, before I try it.

H.

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Post by dixiedrifter » Wed Nov 15, 2006 2:05 am

Just gotta remember never to add sodium carbonate or lye to a batch that hasn't been distilled at least once.

That will cause ammonia to be released from unused yeast nutrients and bung up your whole batch.

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Post by Rocky_Creek » Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:30 am

Baking soda works. Probably cheaper.I would not put lye, just cause. Works best when warm. Careful of foaming up in some cases. As he said, use it in second wash if there is to be copper contact. And if you don't have copper, you need to have it.

Not for use in whiskey or rum.
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Post by sherriff Buffoerd pusser » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:27 pm

how much bi-carb should be used for gal striped wash?
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Post by Husker » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:50 pm

sherriff Buffoerd pusser
how much bi-carb should be used for gal striped wash?
Also, when should this be added? Should it be allowed to "work" for a while, or simply put it in, just prior to dumping the low wines into the still for a finishing spirit run?

H.

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Post by AllanD » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:58 pm

I think that unless you live in Wyoming, Utah, California or some other place where you can get reasonably pure sodium carbonate by the simple effort of shoveling it into the back of your pickup truck (from any convieniently nearby dry lake, IOW you get it essentially for free) that the yield increase you are going to see will not be worth the cost of the
Sodium Carbonate.

Yes, it's nice you can increase your yield.

It eliminates "off" smells? stop using turbo-yeasts and using more dilute washes will accomplish the same effect and will only cost you more water.
Additionally NON-turbo yeast is typically cheaper....

But this is just my opinion, I could be wrong...

AllanD

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Post by dixiedrifter » Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:24 pm

Bah.

You can get pure sodium carbonate available at any pool supply place for about $7 for 6 pounds. I'd say that 3-4 tea spoons per gallon would be sufficiant. At that rate a bottle would last a looong time.

Your yields won't go up in quantity, they go up in purity. This is a must have for very pure odor free neutral spirits no matter what yeast your using... if it can clean up a stinky turbo in an all glass still I'd love to see what it could do with a better yeast... as said before its not for whiskey or other flavored spirits.

Just dump it in before the start of your run. It'll stay a powder until the wash heats up then dissolve. By the time your wash goes to boil it will have worked.

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Post by muckanic » Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:32 pm

="AllanD" It eliminates "off" smells? stop using turbo-yeasts and using more dilute washes will accomplish the same effect and will only cost you more water.
The other possibility is to add the sugar progressively instead of all in one hit, and to keep the ferment cool. For a 20% ABV batch, that would mean dividing the sugar into three portions.

How much alkali to use? Well, for poorly soluble carbonates, bicarbonates, and calcium salts generally, the solution should be saturated, ie, there should be some undissolved material present. In other words, don't filter the stuff out before boiling.

Are all alkalis the same in effect? No, here's some approximate pHs for saturated solutions:

NaHCO3 - 9
Na2CO3 - 11
Dunno about CaCO3, but somewhere in the 9-11 range
Ca(OH)2 - 12
NaOH (and possibly KOH) - 14

The problem with hydroxides is not that they might kill you, but that they might corrode your boiler. The problem with bicarbonates is that they may not be strong enough to hydrolyse all esters, particularly if not given a head-start by a couple of weeks contact time.

If I was making vodka, I would be using Na2CO3, as I have said before, and will cease saying coz I'm getting sick of fighting all the ignorant opinions on the parent site.

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Post by markx » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:45 am

For those who might not know....u can turn baking soda (NaHCO3) into the more potent sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) just by heating it. H2O and CO2 will be released and you will be left with Na2CO3.
Last edited by markx on Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by muckanic » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:57 am

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Sodium carbonate, aka washing soda, can be got from the supermarket.

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Post by markx » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:00 am

Shoot.......u are right.......got confused by the nomenclature :oops:
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Post by stoker » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:11 am

for the amount: can't you add bicarb untill no gas is released anymore?
-I have too much blood in my alcohol system-

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Post by dixiedrifter » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:36 pm

Your not exactly neutralizing vinegar vinegar here...

The esters are rather hard to break up and hopefully in a very small quantity so there shouldn't be any visible foaming.

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Post by Rocky_Creek » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:16 pm

Try warm red wine that has been through a malolactic fermentation. You will see plenty of gas coming off.
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Post by stoker » Thu Nov 16, 2006 4:00 pm

bicarb can react with other things then vinegar

what does it whith esters?
-I have too much blood in my alcohol system-

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Post by muckanic » Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:13 pm

As has been indicated already, using alkali to hydrolyse esters is not at all the same thing as neutralising acids.

Calcium carbonate can be obtained in pure form as precipitated chalk from the brew shop. It can be obtained in impure form (along with some MgCO3) as garden lime.

It goes without saying that, for alkali treatment to be completely effective, a boil under total reflux should be performed for 15 mins or so. But column stillers should be shooting for equilibrium anyway.

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Post by hornedrhodent » Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:33 am

="muckanic"
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Sodium carbonate, aka washing soda, can be got from the supermarket.
An expensive way to buy it - Washing soda contais 10 water molecules in its structure. Buy soda ash from the pool shop.

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Post by possum » Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:28 am

Calcium Carbonate... isn't that limestone ? I think my water is loaded with it. Water heater gets full of the stuff.
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Post by stoker » Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:03 am

As has been indicated already, using alkali to hydrolyse esters is not at all the same thing as neutralising acids.

Calcium carbonate can be obtained in pure form as precipitated chalk from the brew shop. It can be obtained in impure form (along with some MgCO3) as garden lime.

It goes without saying that, for alkali treatment to be completely effective, a boil under total reflux should be performed for 15 mins or so. But column stillers should be shooting for equilibrium anyway.
muckanic,
could you write down the reaction between for example: NaHCO3 and ethylacetate (CH3COOCH2CH3)?
ty
-I have too much blood in my alcohol system-

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Post by AllanD » Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:26 pm

Frankly I doubt you'd hydrolize any esters with Hydroxides either, because the hydroxide would react with the ethanol before it broke up any esters.

Frankly the only use for Lye would be if you were trying to
hydrolize PURE esters (Ethyl Acetate) from dehydrated heads
(water will block the hydrolizing reaction as well)

The only thing that's going to be accomplished by neutralizing
the formation of more Ethyl Acetate from Acetic Acid acting on ethanol
during the boil, but this pre-supposes that the acid
present in your wash IS Acetic Acid, and considering that Acetic Acid is a
powerful yeast toxin (that yeast don't naturally produce in any significant quantity), while OTOH yeast do produce SOME ethyl acetate....

I suspect that people are neutralizing another "cogeneric", Butyric
acid (oxidized Butyl Alcohol) and thus they don't smell it in the tails...
(Butyric Acid has a Urine/Vomit/Rancid/Sour smell).

Neutralizing the wash before boiling is probably doing SOMETHING, but it isn't doing what many are WISHING it can do...

This is almost as fun as the people who make BioDiesel
who THINK they are making "Methoxide" by mixing methanol
and Lye... (What they really are doing is taking perfectly good
lye and methanol and making a lot of dirty water)

AllanD

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Post by dixiedrifter » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:36 pm

Umm when you add NaOH to methanol you ARE making methoxide... or at least SOME methoxide as the NaOH, NaOMe, H2O and Me are all exisiting in equilibrium based upon the concentration of H2O.

In fact its possible to make pure NaOEt and anhydrous alcohol just by adding NaOH to Et.

Don't believe me?

Read the patent:

Go to http://www.uspto.gov/patft/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Click on "patent number search".

Punch in "2796443"

Click on "Images" up at the top.

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Post by markx » Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:12 am

Frankly I doubt you'd hydrolize any esters with Hydroxides either, because the hydroxide would react with the ethanol before it broke up any esters.
Basic salts and hydroxides definately DO hydrolyse esthers as do acids. And water does not hinder the hydrolysis reaction, infact it is crucial to it. Without water there will be no hydrolysis of the salt (or dissociation of the acid) and there will be no basic environment to carry out the hyrolysis of esthers.

E.g.

NaHCO3 + H2O <-> Na+ + H2CO3 + OH-

CH3COOCH2CH3 + OH- + Na+ <-> CH3COONa + CH3CH2OH

Ex. 2

First stage hydrolysis of carbonate
Na2CO3 + H2O <-> 2Na+ + HCO3- + OH-

Second stage hyrolysis of carbonate (minor effect)
HCO3- + H2O <-> H2CO3 + OH-


CH3COOCH2CH3 + OH- + Na+ <-> CH3COONa + CH3CH2OH



Hydroxides do not react with alcohols when water is present in the system......the methoxide (ethoxide) equilibrium only reaches real proportions in "very dry" systems. It's very much like the equlibrium between concentrated sulphuric acid and nitric acid where the strongly electrophilic and unstable NO2+ is formed. When water is present the equlibrium will sharply shift to the left and no NO2+ is not formed.

H2SO4+ HNO3 <-> H2O + SO4- + NO2+



NaOH + CH3CH2OH <-> CH3CH2ONa + H2O
When water is present the equlibrium will again shift to the left and no ethoxide is formed.

This is almost as fun as the people who make BioDiesel
who THINK they are making "Methoxide" by mixing methanol
and Lye... (What they really are doing is taking perfectly good
lye and methanol and making a lot of dirty water)
They are making methoxide.....IF the ingredients are water free to begin with as I already stated before.
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Post by decoy » Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:24 pm

ok just to summarise this thread.

calcium carbonate should only be used on a second run.

1-2 tablespoons in a 20lt or 40 galon run.

only to produce nutral spirits.

or could this be used with grain washes..?

i used coral sand in my fishtank to treat water in place of adding calcium carbonate, you can get it in a sand or coarse 1-2cm chunks from fish shops.

could this be used as a substitute if it was suspended at the top of the column in place of rashis rings or packing.

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Post by HookLine » Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:41 pm

So, for distilling purposes, is the main difference between sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate the time it takes? Or does the carbonate form also do a better overall job?

What quantity of carbonate do I use? Similar to bicarbonate?
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Post by Rod » Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:06 pm

The suggestion is to add the chosen stuff ie carbonate or bicarbonate after the first run ,

if you use a super reflux still you only have one run

so when do you add to add

after the run and before it goes thru the carbon filter

if it dissolves it will come out after the run tghru the carbon filter

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Post by schnell » Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:21 pm

add to low/high wines not wash.

if you add it to the wash you'll liberate ammonia, which will give you that nice blue color as your copper reacts and ends up in the distillate. yuk.

also add WATER when you add the base. it's a HYDROLYSIS reaction and water is half the equation.

then redistill it. you'll have a noticeable difference in the ester component.

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Re: Sodium carbonate makes a HUGE difference!

Post by JTabroad » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:30 pm

Hi,
ive just added 2 teaspoons of BiCarb and a little dash of citric acid to a strippin run of neutral from my potstill, now it smells of Ammonia oooops, do you think this will be safe to redistill or should i stay safe and use it as a cleaning solution ?
on the other hand i could always perm my girlfriends hair with it..

Thanks in advance...
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