- I wish people would do some G-E-N-U-I-N-=E research before spreading
half-truths, assumptions and downright fallacies. Particularly the
newcomers to the hobby. Please read the Homedistiller.org site.
The information is here in the archives, and on Tony's
Homedistiller.org site. We each have 2 eyes, 2 ears, & 1 mouth.
Please use them in that proportion. Rapid accumulation of quality
knowledge will be your reward. Then we can all get on with the
business of happy hobby distilling, instead of ploughing old ground.
This is a direct extract from Tony's site, a resource with many
thousands of hours input by a chemical engineer and distilling
enthusiast. He is also our mentor, for those who came in late.
A simple (but effective) rule of thumb for this is to throw away the
first 50 mL you collect (per 20 L mash used) for a reflux still. If
using a potstill, make it more like 100-200 mL. Do this, and you
have removed all the hazardous foreshots, including the methanol. To
get a really clean distinction between the foreshots and the rest of
the alcohol, increase the reflux ratio to the point where you're
taking off this first 50 mL at a very slow rate (eg 1 drop per
second). This will give a very stable equilibrium within the column
to allow all the methanol to collect at the top of the column and be
in this first portion.
If you are doing a double or triple distillation with a pot still,
don't worry about removing the heads & tails on the first pass. Wait
for the second run, when they are more distinct & easier to
seperate. Once you have removed them, they are gone, so much less
will need to be discarded from the subsequent runs, other than that
dictated by taste, and any improved seperation that may result from
running a more pure distillate through the still.
How dangerous are the various fusel oils ? I've got some of them
The ones with toxicity data listed are ...
Methanol : usual fatal dose 100-250 mL
1-Pentanol : LD50 (rat) 3030 mg/kg
3-Pentanol : LD50 (rat) 1870 mg/kg
Compare this to the amounts present in distilled spirits. The data
in Wheeler & Willmotts "Spirits unlimited - a complete guide to home
distilling" gives :
Home distilled spirit (untreated): methanol 0.0067%, ethanol
99.632%, fusils 0.361%
Commercial vodka: methanol 0.013%, ethanol 99.507%, fusils 0.48%
Poor quality home distilled spirit : methanol 0.0186%, ethanol
98.453%, and fusils 1.528%
If you're talking about untreated spirits as being dangerous, then
to reach the LD50's that are published, you'd need to consume 149 L
to be affected by the methanol, or for a 90kg bloke, about 58 L for
the pentanol, from the "good" homemade stuff. That would be one hell
of a session ! Even on their "poor quality" brew you'd need 11 L for
the fusels. Stock standard pissed-as-a-newt high-school-student
alcohol poisoning is the greater problem.
Now their "home distilled spirit" was at a time when their best
design was only putting out roughly 75% pure ethanol. What's the
story from like a Nixon-Stone or Euro doing 95%+ purity ?
Compare that to the levels of methanol etc that you get via other
Methanol & Other Impurities
Methanol is formed when fermenting beverages high in pectins - eg
grapes and berries. Starting with a grain or sugar based wort, in a
clean fermentor with a yeast culture from a well aereated source
will result in small/none formed.
Carl from Hambletonbard (makers of Alcotec yeasts) details ..
Methanol, you will typically get around 2 or 3 parts per million (or
milligrams per litre if you prefer) of methanol produced during
fermentation of a standard 6kg type Alcotec - this is extremely low
even compared to commercial products. We don't have a great deal of
data on methanol because whenever we have tested for it we have got
extremely low results.
Mike explains about the pectin ..
The methanol comes from the pectin, which mainly composed of methyl
esters of galactose. When pectin breaks down, by enzymes introduced
by microorganisms, or deliberately introduced, the methyl esters
combine with water to produce methanol, so the aim should be to
leave the pectin well alone if you can.
I think Jack would agree that what he means is that fermenting at a
high temperature, or adding pectin enzyme, or trying for an abv
higher than 12% all increase the risk of methanol being produced, so
his advice about low temperature fermentation, adding no exra
enzymes, and a target lower than 12%abv is all good stuff.
You are already being exposed to methanol from other sources. Some
fruit juices are naturally high in methanol - for example apple
juice can have 0.2-0.3% methanol, or if derived from pulp by
enzymatic degradation, the levels can be 2 to 3 times higher.
Johan found ..
orange juice contains 10 to 50 times as much methanol as sugarmash.
The lethal dose of methanol is at least 100 ml that is equal to
about 80000 mg or you need 27000 liters of mash at least to get that
I hope (read PRAY) that will finally put this to bed, at least until
the next guy with half an idea wants to have an ill-informed say.
- --- In email@example.com, "adam" <bluwater2828@...> wrote:
>Do it on the spirit run, save time on the stripping run.
> I have been doing stripping runs and collecting that then removing my methanol when I spirit run. Should I remove the methanol from durring beer striping or spirit runs. Or both?