(to mostly my questions, but here they are) ....
I've had some time off, which conveniently coincided with some massive flushes, enabling me to play with extracts more than I've been able for a very long time. Some questions I had:
How long does this stuff need to steep?
According to the three separate 10gram / 100ml batches I made, two days is sufficient. It's possible that a shorter soak would work, but two days is plenty short for me, as I used to believe a much longer soak was needed. I was wrong there.
How effective is the extraction? What should I do with the leftover mush material?
The extraction is extremely effective. After the two day soak, I strained the mush out using a piece of old t-shirt material about the size of my hand, soaked in regular ethanol, then squeezed all I could from the material. I returned that material to a dish to dry, and weighed it. Each time, to my surprise, it weighed in within a tenth of a gram to the original cracker-dry weight before extraction.
I took one 10gram batch and returned it to a jar with 20mls of 75% ethanol and let that soak for a week. I ingested 10mls of this batch and about thirty minutes later became quite tired to the point of lethargy. There were no other effects. I suppose I should try that a few more times for science, but I'm feeling pretty good with the results. After straining, throw that shit away.
I can't get any ethanol over 75% ! Fuck! Do I need to move to South Carolina or some other economically depressed southern clime where motorcycle helmets are a myth, strippers really strip, and military-grade explosives are available over the counter at 3am?
No. I've special-ordered a case of 90% Everclear, as it has many uses around the house (you can drink it too!) but the 75% works quite well. I've noticed perhaps a hint of the negative effects I'm trying to avoid (stomach upset, watery eyes, yawning, etc.) but it's almost negligible ... almost. I'm still (ta ha ... still) looking forward to a pure(er) ethanol product, and I'll update when I have some new data.
How about those "crystals of the gods?" Bet we'd love to vape that stuff, eh Soliver?
No. Those crystals are not active, and I'm not even sure it's proper to call them "crystals." In fact, using the 75% ethanol, I didn't even get any - they may be exclusive to higher-proof liquors? But you may rest assured that some years ago, I tried every ingestion method conceivable, and there's just nothing to 'em.
What's the shelf life for this stuff?
My last batch was first-dose fresh ten years after producing it - I stored it in the freezer, which I'm not sure is necessary, but "cool" and "dark" are two terms that always pop up when long-term-storing pretty much anything, and the freezer is a fun place to store stuff, so why not? Just don't put it back in a liquor bottle or those people renting your place on "Air B&B" while you're out of town may have an unpleasant evening indeed.
I think that covers most of the questions I had / have / have had in the past.