R Ranson wrote:There are a lot of legal issues around distilling, which seem to vary drastically depending on where you live.
As close as you can get it to pure, yes. Which will be about 97.5%, or 195 proof.
R Ranson wrote:alcohol for burning is like super-proof alcohol, right?
R Ranson wrote: Does each task require it's own still or style of still?
R Ranson wrote:Where do I start learning about using a still?
John Wolfram wrote:It's actually pretty easy to get a fuel distiller's license in the US. I've got mine. The only real snag is that you need to have an outbuilding for the still like a detached garage or some sort of shed. If you're in an apartment, you're out of luck. Once a year around the end of January you have to report to the ATF (TTB or whatever they're called now) how much fuel alcohol you made. Back in the day, you would actually be PAID $1 per gallon you made, but those days are long gone.
R Ranson wrote:As to distilling alcohol... I'm still trying to find the official stance on this. My hypothetical friends who hypothetically might possibly have a still that hypothetically might possibly be used to distil some very delicious vodka with their excess farm produce... these friends say that it's perfectly legal to still for home consumption in Canada without having to register or have a licence. Before I take the step to buy or make a still, I'm going to need something stronger than hypothetical hearsay.
Is home distillation legal?
The answer depends upon your location and what is being distilled. Generally, distillling water or extracting essential oils by distillation is unregulated.
Some countries permit the home distillation of alcohol for liquor without a licence. In Canada it is not permitted. Some countries permit home distillation by licensed operators for the production of alcohol as a fuel.
Mike Cantrell wrote: Neat! We're straying a little from R Ranson's questions, but I think it will be beneficial to lots of other readers.
How do they keep you from drinking it?
Mike Cantrell wrote: How much do you produce in an average year?
Mike Cantrell wrote:Did you build your still yourself? How big is it?
R Ranson wrote: what about drinks like snaps,
R Ranson wrote: sherries,
R Ranson wrote: and the softer hard liquor?
I think this must be Canadian for what we call "schnapps".
James Johnstone wrote:It is not, in most areas, despite depictions in the movies, illegal to own a piece of hand-crafted rustic artwork that just so happens, should anyone choose to break the law and use it to do so, to be useful in the production of distilled alcohol.
Ann Torrence wrote:Rather than hinging on being an alcohol-related business, a certain individual threw a whole bunch of accusations that the water demands and waste disposal issues in the distillation process were unacceptably high.
I'm wondering if you more theoretically knowledgeable folks can address the environmental costs on both the input and output sides of the process.
R Ranson wrote:
All this organic matter from the mash and cleaning the still... that's bound to be useful to someone. Perhaps an innovative farmer would be able to help you with this? It makes sense to parter this kind of traditional craft with a farm.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
As far as I know, licensing of distillation only concerns itself with ethanol... therefore, distillation of other materials is not regulated.
The stills used for extracting essential oils are substantially different than those used for making ethanol. The condensers can be similar. Stills for extracting essential oils aim to get as much steam out of the pot as quickly as possible. Stills made for concentrating ethanol aim to slow the process down to get higher concentrations of alcohol. Stills for purifying water can be of either type depending on whether you are only interested in removing dissolved solids, or if you also want to remove volatile compounds.
I am certain that I wouldn't want to attempt distillation of vinegar at my place. Glacial acetic acid is highly noxious. I didn't even like working with it in a properly equipped laboratory with full protective gear.
Drinking a little bit of distilled water is not generally fatal. Drinking only this kind of water will be fatal because it is highly hypotonic as you've found out. Let me simplify and explain why this is the case.
Salt balance in the body is largely maintained by passive diffusion. Salts diffuse from areas of relatively high concentration (eg, stomach) down to areas of low concentration. For example, if you have just eaten a meal, the stomach contents are relatively higher in salt concentration compared to the surrounding tissue and the blood. Salt diffuses out of the stomach and into the stomach lining, intestines and blood. Tissues have to make sure they don't get too much salt or they will take in too much water and burst, so they have active transport mechanisms to remove excess salts and they go into the blood as well. Now that the excess salts are carried in the blood, they ultimately get filtered at the kidneys and excreted in urine. The kidneys are able to filter the salt by taking advantage of this gradient moving salt once again from high to low concentrations. The exact details are not important for this discussion, other than to know the kidneys need a highly concentrated store of salt to function.
Distilled water on the other hand, has no salt. It is pure water. Distilled water will pull salt out of the tissues because now it is the absolute lowest concentration of salt. Tissues will also take in a lot of this water because it too passively diffuses and it is hypotonic. When this happens in the blood, red blood cells tend to burst because they can't tolerate a terribly large change in tonicity, and so some red blood cells die. The other problem is also that the salt control mechanisms in the kidneys malfunction because too much salt gets leeched out of them and passed in your urine.
After drinking too much distilled water, electrolytes and important minerals get leeched out of your body and this creates electrical abnormalities in your body leading to irregular and weak heart beats (from hyponatremia and hypokalemia), poor muscle strength, high blood pressure and fatigue. Distilled water as mentioned, is fairly acidity (can be as low as pH 3 when freshly distilled) and leads to acidification of the blood (acidosis).
There is no exact amount of water that one needs to drink to die. This mode of death is related to hyperhydration/water intoxication. This can happen from over-hydrating with regular tap water, but will take longer than distilled water because of the salt content in tap water.
In Russia Rakhmanin carried out a one-year experiment with rats using low mineral water. Negative effects were found. These rats had an
increase of extracellular body water, increased sodium concentration in the blood, increased urine output, and increased losses of sodium and chloride ions in the urine (3). There were also hormonal changes including reduced secretions of tri-iodothyronine and aldosterone, and increased secretion of cortisol, and morphological changes in the kidneys. There was evidence of reduce skeletal ossification of rat fetuses of the dams given distilled water during the one-year study as well. Many of these same findings were repeated in human volunteer studies—increased urine production (almost 20%), increased body water volume, increased sodium concentration in the blood, decreased potassium concentration in the blood, and increased elimination of sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium ions from the body (3).
The physiological mechanism for these changes is understood. It is theorized that the pure water causes an influx of sodium ions into the gut. Whenever there is excess sodium in the gut it causes a cascade of responses in order to maintain balance in electrolytes, as shown in a current anatomy and physiology textbook (4). The excess sodium in the gut increases blood sodium levels and pulls water from intracellular fluid into the bloodstream. This increased volume then raises levels of atrial natriuretic peptide, decreases formation of angiotensin II, and decreases aldosterone secretions by the adrenal cortex. These three responses cause a greater loss of sodium and chloride ions and water through the kidneys into the urine in order to reduce blood volume. This cascade of homeostatic control was designed to take into account different levels of electrolyte intake, and works well, especially for elevated intakes. However, when no sodium was initially taken in, yet more was excreted this creates a problem that has to be re-corrected, which the body happily does, though not perfectly. So, there is some hard data showing that there are extra losses of minerals as a result a drinking low mineral water. In spite of these homeostatic controls, minerals really can be removed from the body by distilled water. This is a major finding, because advocates of distilled water claim that the minerals in the body are protected in some way from being taken out by distilled water. It is a nice idea, but these animal and human studies argue that it really doesn’t work that way.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Here In the USA there is only one state (Missouri) that allows home distillation for home use only.
Distilling in the USA is Illegal
Bryant RedHawk wrote:I'm in the process of being legal now. Lots of headaches but will be worth it in the end.