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Re: BOILING TEMPS

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  • Scotto
    where are you taking your readings and with what device. what still are you using and is it insulated-- picture maybe???
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 3, 2011
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      where are you taking your readings and with what device. what still are you using and is it insulated-- picture maybe???

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "kekedog13" <kekedog13@...> wrote:
      >
      > I read that to ensure that you don't get methanol you should not keep any runoff that occurs below 173 degrees because methanol boils at 148, and ethanol boils at 173.And that you should discard the first 50 ml that comes out. However nothing happened until it reached close to 200. It set at 175 to 190 for a long time with no production until I turned it up and it reached a temp much above the 173 boiling point of ethanol. Also would too high of a temp only result in water being distilled into your catch jar? Please infuse me with your knowledge o wise one. Thanks MarkL.
      >
    • tgfoitwoods
      Mark, It sounds like you just got bit by the most common misconception of beginning distillers. When you say methanol boils at 148 (F) it sounds like you
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 3, 2011
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        Mark,

        It sounds like you just got bit by the most common misconception of beginning distillers. When you say "methanol boils at 148 (F)" it sounds like you believe that all methanol boils at 148F, when actually only pure methanol boils at 148F. In fact, when you mix methanol with other stuff, like ethanol and water and ethyl acetate and acetone and all the stuff you have in your still wash, that mixture boils exactly at whatever the hell temperature it wants to, determined by the math of Raoult's law complicated by the formation of azeotropes between and among the liquids in the mixture.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoult%27s_law
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azeotrope

        The practical application of this is if the mixture of ethanol, methanol, water, ethyl acetate, and acetone in your (potstill, I'm assuming, by the symptoms) has a boiling point of 200F (and it sounds like yours did), you can heat that wash to 148, or 173, or any other temperature less than 200, and absolutely nothing will boil. In terms of practical distillation, nothing at all will happen.

        On the other hand, after the still wash temperature comes to the boiling point of that particular liquid mixture, all of the liquid will boil, and all the components will evaporate, comparative rates determined by Roault's law. As the boiling changes the respective concentrations of the liquid components in the wash, the boiling point will change, and the condensed vapors will progress from foreshots to heads, hearts, and tails, and that's what distilling is all about.

        As far as nothing happening as you raised the heat input, I suspect that you have a lot of heat loss from the still boiler and head, combined with a low heat input at first. Until the input exceeds the radiated and convected losses, nothing comes out the end of the condenser.

        Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller Making Fine Spirits

        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "kekedog13" <kekedog13@...> wrote:
        >
        > I read that to ensure that you don't get methanol you should not keep any runoff that occurs below 173 degrees because methanol boils at 148, and ethanol boils at 173.And that you should discard the first 50 ml that comes out. However nothing happened until it reached close to 200. It set at 175 to 190 for a long time with no production until I turned it up and it reached a temp much above the 173 boiling point of ethanol. Also would too high of a temp only result in water being distilled into your catch jar? Please infuse me with your knowledge o wise one. Thanks MarkL.
        >
      • M L
        Hi. Im using a pot still made from a stock pot that is not insulated and my thermometer in dipping into the mash.MarkL. ... where are you taking your readings
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 3, 2011
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          Hi. Im using a pot still made from a stock pot that is not insulated and my thermometer in dipping into the mash.MarkL.

          --- On Sat, 12/3/11, Scotto <slowpoke59ds@...> wrote:

          where are you taking your readings and with what device. what still are you using and is it insulated-- picture maybe???
        • M L
          Thanks for you re reply, This all makes perfect sense. But can you tell me why if all these substances are boiling the methanol will all be gone in the first
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 3, 2011
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            Thanks for you're reply, This all makes perfect sense. But can you tell me why if all these substances are boiling the methanol will all be gone in the first 50 ml. and not be in the run off after the first little bit that comes out?The whole gonig blind from methanol thing is a bit scary. MarkL.
          • tgfoitwoods
            Mark, Another great misconception, or set of them. The truth is that the first drop out of a potstill has exactly the same compounds in it as the last drop out
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 5, 2011
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              Mark,

              Another great misconception, or set of them. The truth is that the first drop out of a potstill has exactly the same compounds in it as the last drop out of the still; only the relative concentrations of these compounds will change continuously throughout the still run. That means that if there is methanol in your wash (more about that later) there will be  methanol in every drop out of that still run. The methanol will never "all be gone".

              In spite of that, there's good news on a couple of fronts. First, most washes don't have any methanol in them to start with. Methanol typically comes from fermenting fruit with pectin in it. Raspberries and apples are some of the worst offenders. Looking at methanol contents of legal commercial spirits, Calvados, French apple brandy, has the highest methanol concentration I've seen. Even then, it has less methanol than nature's finest fresh-squeezed orange juice. Yup, Minute Maid has methanol, but in tiny amounts.

              Good news #2: Even if you start with a tiny bit of apple or raspberry methanol in your wash, the rate of methanol evaporation is greater than the rate of ethanol and water evaporation, so that first little bit out of the still has more methanol (and ethyl acetate and acetone, which taste bad and give you the bad head in the morning), and you will be happier discarding that first bit. Because much of the methanol is in that first bit, there's much less in the rest of your run.

              But (I can hear you say) "How come methanol has such a scary name?" During American Prohibition, there was so much money to be made selling illegal booze, that unscrupulous bootleggers "extended" their ethanol-based spirits by tipping the f*cking methanol can into the f*cking booze, and people went blind and died. Because this frightened people (still does 80 years later, surprisingly), it played right into the hands of government agencies enforcing prohibition, so that the methanol story was blown hugely out of proportion.

              The upshot of all this is: if you don't want methanol poisoning from your booze, don't tip hte f*cking methanol can into your f*cking booze. (I'm not putting you down; I'm trying to stamp out a persistent myth)

              Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller Making Fine Spirits

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, M L <kekedog13@...> wrote:
              >
              > Thanks for you're reply, This all makes perfect sense. But can you tell me why if all these substances are boiling the methanol will all be gone in the first 50 ml. and not be in the run off after the first little bit that comes out?The whole gonig blind from methanol thing is a bit scary. MarkL.
              >
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