Easy to make distillary?

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I picked up this idea from misc.survialism. It sounds as though it should work to distill suspect water and maybe make brandy out of wine.

Using a standard pressure cooker, affix copper tubing to the pressure release outlet. Boil the contents. Steam goes through the copper tubing and comes out distilled.

Does anyone think it would work? Any ideas to refine the process without getting too complicated?

Bill in South Carolina

-- Bill Solorzano (notaclue@webtv.net), January 12, 1999


Take great care. The correct mix of alcohol vapour and air can blow up your house and loved ones as effectively as a similar natural gas and air mix.

Operating an unlicensed still is illegal. Partly this is to protect government revenues, but there's also an element of protecting the public from flying masonry (and from methyl alcohol poisoning, another danger from DIY strong booze).

Since there are books about how to make your own illegal drugs, surely there's one on something as mundane as moonshine?

Distilling water is of course safe, but much more wasteful of fuel than simply boiling it.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), January 12, 1999.

If you are looking to distill alchohol, a much safer way is to build a solar still. I picked up a book from amazon.com called Solar Fuel by Dennis E. Smith that outlines it all. Fairly simple process from simple materials. I was going to have all the materials to build one on had, just in case.

-- Booster C. (booster@cable.com), January 12, 1999.


The first Foxfire book has an excellent section on "distilling". I would also second the previous comments about taking care not to blow up your house. If you want to distill water, a solar still is far simpler and will not require you to provide fuel.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), January 12, 1999.

If you're gonna distill the good stuff, make DAMNED SURE you are brewing ETHYL alcohol and not METHYL alcohol!!!


Quick Trivia: What is the preferred initial treatment (pre- hoispital, pre-machine dialysis) for methyl (wood) alcohol poisoning??

BOURBON or WHISKY preferrably 100 proof or better! The liver goes to work on this and the hospital then goes to work on the other.

-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 12, 1999.

Wood alcohol is produced by the destructive distillation of wood. IOW - heating wood in a still until it decomposes.

A much more pratical size of still is easily made by using a 55 gallon drum for the cooker (make sure it is a WELDED drum, not soldered) and attaching the right size coupling to the small hole to accomodate the 'worm' or coil of copper cooling pipe. The best ones are made using a drum with a lid that can clamp into place - it is hard to clean the others. All coating should be removed from the inside of the drum and it should be heated at least once filled with a weak acid mixture - vinegar and water or some such. The worm must be long enough to cool the vapor and stretch far enough to avoid vapor catching on fire. Alcohol boils at 180 degrees or a bit more. Use a thermometer. You should throw away the first quart or so that comes off of a 30 gallon batch, it is full of nasty esters that you don't want. The last quart or so as the temp goes up is also pretty bad, and watered down to boot. Corn used for making mash should be sprouted first, then dried and crushed. Sugar must be added, also brewers yeast and water. The cleaner you keep things, the better the final product will taste. Don't count on making oak barrels, just add charred oak chips to a jug of the stuff and let it age. Course I really haven't had any experience with this. ;)

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), January 12, 1999.

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