>So, my question is in two parts. First, is the distillate from a refracting
>column suppose to be hot?
It depends on your condenser setup, but for most designs, I would expect
the product to be cooler than its condensation temperature. If it is
right at its boiling point, you run the risk of losing product as vapour.
The cooler the product, the less product is lost.
>And second, does it make a difference to the product quality if it is?
I would expect it to have little impact. More volatile components will be
lost more readily, so your heads (and the first of your ethanol) will be
lower in methanol, and your tails (and the last of your ethanol) will have
more higher alcohols, but I don't expect this to be a significant effect.
Cooling your product further may be a good idea.