Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: moonshine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    kansas.. The Great Plains!
    Posts
    66

    Question

    Ok This should probably go under tailgater but
    Some people tell me making moonshine is still illegal,is this true??I dont intend to make any but just got intrested in the history of it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
    Posts
    92

    Post

    Yep, distilling alcohol for consumption is very illegal. Merely possessing a still above 1 cubic foot in capacity is a felony with a max penalty of 5 yrs and $5k. If you are going to do it, make a still rather than buying one, don't talk about it, and ABSOLUTELY don't sell it.

    See www.homedistiller.org for information. They are based in New Zealand, the only first-world country where home distilling is legal.
    <a href=\"http://www.slezakfarms.com\" target=\"_blank\">http://www.slezakfarms.com</a>

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    kansas.. The Great Plains!
    Posts
    66

    Post

    Like I said I dont intend to do it. but why is mead making and beer ok. Is it because its dangerous?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
    Posts
    92

    Post

    Because excise taxes are higher on liquor than on beer and wine. It's all about the tax dollars.
    <a href=\"http://www.slezakfarms.com\" target=\"_blank\">http://www.slezakfarms.com</a>

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    There also used to be a real problem with people getting messed up from bad hooch. Plumbing was soldered with lead, old radiators were being used, lack of knowledge and care in the process lead to blindness and worse. Lots of people died.

    There should be a solution for small home distilling, but as Scott said, it all boils down to (pun intended) tax money.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Post

    Don't mess with what The Man sees as HIS income by birthright, he'll stomp on you. It amazes me how many folks on some of the other groups openly discuss that they distill. Granted, you'd think Big Brother would have bigger fish to fry. Then again we recently spent a few million tax dollars investigating an adulterer whose behavior didn't cut into their bottom line either. Caveat distillor.

    Anyway there's a good book "The lore of stillbuilding" available through your LHBS, I forget the author. I'm sure a search would yield lots of good sources.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Milford, NH
    Posts
    32

    Post

    In addition to the dissolved lead problem, the more serious issue is the generation of methyl alcohol versus ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is the intoxicant in beer, wine, mead, and commercially distilled beverages. Methyl alcohol is highly poisonous, causing blindness and death. The evaporation of methyl alcohol occurs at higher temperatures than ethyl alcohol. If the distillation process is not carefully controlled, methyl alcohol can be produced. So BATFE claims that consumer safety is the real issue. But those of us that know, know it's really about DOLLAR$.

    There is an alternate, illegal, method of distillation referred to as "Freezer Brandy". Place a bottle of wine or mead in the freezer. When the contents have turned to slush, strain the contents, discarding the icy slush. The remaining liquid is significantly higher in alcohol. The process can be repeated for additional refinement. The process works because the freezing temperature of alcohol is lower than that of water, even sugar saturated water.

    NOTE: The above is for historical reference only.

    Kevin
    How many legs would a horse have if you count the tail as a leg? Four: saying it doesn\'t make it true. A. Lincoln

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
    Posts
    92

    Post

    The methanol issue seems to be a red herring though.

    Legally, ethyl alcohol that has had methanol added to make it unsafe for human consumption is exempt from liquor taxes. It is made and used for industrial purposes. Unscrupulous moonshiners would buy this cheap adulterated alcohol and dilute their homemade stuff with it, creating a toxic beverage. People got sick and died from it.

    But if you are making mead, wine, etc from fruit or honey, very little methanol is created in the fermentation. I did some research awhile ago to see how much methanol is produced in a 5 gallon batch of homebrew, and the total amount is something like 1/50th of the amount needed to even produce symptoms, much less death. So even when distilling, you've got to be working with 250 gallons of booze before there is enough methanol in total to even cause a problem. It's really only a danger when introduced intentionally or when distilling on a large scale.

    I believe chemistbert mentioned awhile back that chemically it is difficult to make methanol with a yeast fermentation, and I've been meaning to do some research to find out the details. I don't know enough about fermentation chemistry to give any details off the top of my head.
    <a href=\"http://www.slezakfarms.com\" target=\"_blank\">http://www.slezakfarms.com</a>

  9. #9

    Post

    It would still be fun to try to distill. Fun to play with the gadgets. Fun to improve the taste.

    But I have a nursing license, a mortgage, a wife. I also do not want to do time. And I suspect that as a homebrewer that buys large bags of malt, a small scale farmer with poultry and pigs that buys grains, and as a beekeeper that buy LARGE quantity of sugar I would receive more than my share of inspection by BATF.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
    Posts
    581

    Post

    Yes I did say that in fact. This is mainly due to the very tiny volume of mash that is made by someone running for personal consumption. The big boys do things differently than sugar, water, yeast, distill that you would at home. That is why comercial vodka (read moonshine) is actually higher in MeOH than that made at home. But even at "high" concentrations you would die from ethanol toxicity before you would go blind.
    Remember that you can not distill the MeOH out of denatured alcohol. It forms a bond that can not be broken using regular plate distillation.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    945

    Post

    http://www.beeequipment.com/shop.asp

    Check out item #350 (hit "search products" and type 350 in the product code). I'm not sure if it exceeds the 1 cubic foot limit. But disclaimer or not, that ad looks to be asking for trouble.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads