Methanol and Distillation
The distillation process basically separates liquids that have different boiling points. No new chemical or ingredient is created during this process and only ingredients already present in the mash are separated. For instance, methanol is already created in your mash during fermentation when cellulose is fermented and there is over 1% methanol present in whiskey. However, methanol is poisonous if it is present in higher quantities.
Methanol is formed in extremely miniscule quantities during fermentation of sugar. The quantity is so small that it is almost impossible to measure it. When you use the Turbo Yeast recommended by us here to make alcohols and spirits, then the mash will usually possess 1 millionth or 1 ppm, which is less that what is usually present in any ordinary orange juice and actually one hundred thousandth of what is normally present in any cognac or whiskey.
Preparing for Distillation
You can begin by filling your carbon filter with activated carbon and we would recommend that you use 0.4 to 0.85 mm active stone coal. Next, you need to soak the activated coal filter by passing 10 Liters of warm water through it. You should ensure that the filter is placed in such a manner that the tube of the EasyStill goes directly towards the funnel.
Now you need to pour 4 Liters or less of your prepared mash in the EasyStill based on how much alcohol you wish to prepare. Once the mash is in then close the lid and hit the Start Button to begin fermentation.
The actual distillation process will begin after around 1 hour and 5 minutes of hitting the Start Button. The distilled filter uses the “drip by drip” purification method for extended contact time of 2 to 3 hours and will drip one drop at a time into the carbon filter. This purification process delivers an enhanced result as compared to using an ordinary active charcoal filter and is anyway an automatic process when you use the EasyStill.
You will receive 1.4 Liters of strong spirits after around 3 hours, which will possess 92 proof levels or 46% ABV in case the mash itself is 18% ABV. After you receive 1.4 Liters, then switch off the unit manually since distillation is complete. You will then need to dispose the remaining mash from the unit once it has cooled down. However, in case you do not remember to switch off the unit then the entire 4 Liters of mash will get distilled after which the EasyStill will shut off automatically. In case this occurs, then you can merely use the same distillate for re-distillation since that distillate will possess the same alcohol content as possessed before distillation.
If you want to prepare stronger spirits such as Absinthe then you need to repeat the above distillation process and can even distill 2 or 3 batches together. You can prepare up to 88% ABV using this method.
Cleaning the EasyStill is an easy affair since you can just distill a little amount of plain water and the unit will cleanse from inside. The unit will anyway shut off automatically once the water distillation process is complete.
Do I need to discard the first Output?
The first few drops that are of ½ to 1 centiliter in quantity after distillation usually contain ethyl acetate, acetone, and various aromatics. They are anyway extracted from the mash by the activated carbon filters and need not be discarded. However, traditionally many enthusiasts believe that in case the fore shots are discarded then the life of the charcoal filter gets extended.
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