Distilling Moonshine – Moonshine is distilled by separating the alcohol by evaporating it from a fermented mixture of corn and sugar mash at a high temperature. The steam from the process is then collected and condensed back into a liquid alcohol form.
- Distilling moonshine is dangerous because of methanol.
- Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is a byproduct of the distilling produce and is released in the vapors during evaporation.
- To give you an idea of how flammable and dangerous this chemical is, methanol is a primary main ingredient in fuel, pesticides, paint thinners, and more.
The vapors that are released during distillation are also highly flammable, which is why most if not all moonshine distilleries are located outside. Despite the increased risk of legal detection, the threat of vaporous explosions and fires is too great when the process is conducted indoors.
Why is distilling dangerous?
6. Keep a fire extinguisher handy – When distilling, the biggest single risk, as one might gather from reading the other safety rules in this article, is fire. Distilling not only involves the presence of a heat source for heating the wash, but also potentially explosive alcohol vapor and highly flammable ethyl alcohol.
A heat source malfunction, a leaky still, or a spilled collection vessel containing high proof alcohol could lead to a disaster. Commercial distilleries typically require fire suppression system. In the event that local code does not require fire suppression, a fire extinguisher (or several) would be a MUST HAVE item.
Like an oil fire on a stove top, alcohol fueled fires should be put out with a fire extinguisher. Having a bucket of water on hand is not sufficient and could actually make the problem worse.
What kills people in moonshine?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Outbreaks of methanol poisoning have occurred when methanol is used to adulterate moonshine (bootleg liquor). Methanol is toxic to humans via ingestion due to metabolism. If as little as 10 ml of pure methanol is ingested, for example, it can break down into formic acid, which can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve, and 30 ml is potentially fatal, although the median lethal dose is typically 100 ml (3.4 fl oz) (i.e.1–2 ml/kg body weight) of pure methanol.
Why is moonshine illegal in USA?
You can make your own wine and beer, can’t you? – Moonshine Two Georgia men pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of operating a moonshine still in the Chattahoochee National Forest, One of the bootleggers faces up to 35 years in prison for his crimes: making the brew, selling it, and not paying taxes on the proceeds.
- Back in college, the Explainer had friends who brewed their own beer, and that wasn’t against the law.
- So why is moonshine still illegal? Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine.
- Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer.
No one knows exactly how much money changes hands in the moonshine trade, but it’s certainly enough for the missing taxes to make a difference: In 2000, an ATF investigation busted one Virginia store that sold enough raw materials to moonshiners to make 1.4 million gallons of liquor, worth an estimated $19.6 million in lost government revenue.
In 2005, almost $5 billion of federal excise taxes on alcohol came from legally produced spirits. Until 1978, it was illegal to home-brew liquour or beer—and the rules on wine-making were somewhat ambiguous. * But a growing number of oenophiles and beer connoisseurs wanted to make their own, and they helped pressure Congress to decriminalize home-brews across the country.
Today, federal rules say a household with two adults can brew up to 200 gallons of wine and the same amount of beer each year. (A few states have their own laws prohibiting the practice.) The 1978 law didn’t legalize moonshining, though; you still can’t brew spirits for private consumption.
- It is kosher, however, to own a still and process alcohol—but only if you’re using the alcohol as fuel and you have a permit from the ATF.
- In some states, you can purchase a legal version of moonshine from commercial distillers.) Despite the Appalachian stereotypes, not everyone swigs moonshine just for fast, cheap intoxication.
Some folks are accustomed to the taste of unaged whiskey, and they prefer the buzz that comes with it. These days, moonshine is even going upscale, as a new breed of amateur distillers in California, New England, and the Northwest are taking an artisanal approach to the hobby.
Government prosecutors point out that moonshine poses serious health risks, including heavy-metal toxicity. So, how dangerous is it? There’s no inspection of the manufacturing process, so quality—and levels of contamination —vary. (There are some informal and imprecise ways to test the purity of hooch: You can light some on fire and check for a blue flame or shake the pint and look for clear liquid drops that dissipate quickly.) Aside from drinking too much and doing something dumb—oh, like attacking somebody with a chain saw and fire extinguisher — the biggest risk is lead poisoning, since a homemade still might consist of car radiators or pipes that were dangerously soldered together.
One study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in September 2003 found that more than half of moonshine drinkers have enough lead in their bloodstream to exceed what the CDC calls a “level of concern.” Got a question about today’s news? Ask the Explainer,
- Explainer thanks Michael Birdwell of Tennessee Technological University; Brent Morgan of the Georgia Poison Center; Art Resnick of the U.S.
- Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau; and Matthew Rowley, author of Moonshine,
- Correction, Oct.26, 2007: The original version stated that it was illegal to brew any alcoholic beverage at home.
Before 1978, wine-making was effectively permitted by the government. ( Return to the corrected sentence.)
Can homemade moonshine make you sick?
Other Side Effects Of Moonshine – Methanol vaporizes faster and can become concentrated in toxic amounts. With the right equipment, it can easily be separated and tossed out. But, without it, the methanol is difficult to discard. The dangerous part happens when the body converts methanol to formaldehyde, which is an ingredient in embalming fluid.
Why is the first distillate discarded?
The first couple of drops of a distillation are always discarded because they may contain some lower boiling impurities. At this point, the distillate should be dropping into the receiving flask at a rate of 10 drops per minute.
What is the first part of moonshine?
Is It Dangerous To Distill At Home Or Make Moonshine ?
Creating A Mash – The first thing you’ll need for making moonshine is a mash. This part of the process will depend on the flavor you want.
- Weigh and measure out all your ingredients.
- Place your mash pot on your heat source and turn it on.
- Pour in 5 gallons of water and boil it to 165 °F.
- Once it reaches 165 °F, turn off your heat source.
- Immediately stir in your measured amount of flaked corn maize.
- Stir the mixture continuously for 7 minutes.
- Check the temperature and keep stirring several times. Do this for 30 seconds every 5 minutes until the product cools down to 152 °F.
- Once cooled to 152 °F, stir in your measured amount of crushed malted barley
- Check the temperature again. Stir for 30 seconds every 20 minutes until the mixture has cooled down to 70 °F. While this can take hours, you can also opt to speed this up by using an immersion cooler.
- Once cooled to the proper temperature, add yeast.
- Aerate the mixture by transferring it back and forth between separate containers for 5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into your fermentation bucket.
Note that the ingredients we mentioned above will differ, depending on the recipe you follow if you are making something other than the classic corn-barley-yeast moonshine.