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 email@example.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.