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Distillation of pure alcohol from vodka


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#1 kandahar

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 10:44 AM

I live in the uk.
Can't get everclear.
I want to extract psilocybin into a small volume of alcohol.
Can pure alcohol be extracted easily from a clean spirit like vodka?
Has anyone tried?
Many thanks kandahar

#2 Hippie3

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 11:49 AM

yes, to a degree.
one can only get to about 95% pure though,
alcohol is very hygroscopic [water-loving]
and will suck it out of the very air.
it's dangerous, as you may know.
build a still if you plan on doing much.
Mycotopia Web Archive: build a still
&
Mycotopia Web Archive: Amazing Still pdf

#3 kandahar

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 01:23 AM

thanks hip
anybody attemped this tek? any tips?

#4 danzick

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 11:40 PM

yep, and relatively straight forward. As Hippie3 pointed out you can't get better than 95% (190 proof) because water and alcohol form an azeotrope at 95%/5% and that has a boiling point lower than pure ethanol. Make a still and give it a go, just be safe and don't burn your house down or blow yourself up.

#5 TVCasualty

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 08:36 AM

If for some reason you absolutely had to get the last 5% of the water out, you can do it with a molecular sieve.

Passing wet vapors (from a still) through a bed of corn grits will pull nearly all the water out, to up to 98-99% pure, but that is not very practical for home hobbyists, who should just buy a 10 pound bag of 3A (3 angstrom) Zeolite for a few bucks (it's reusable for years). It will produce 100% ethanol, and is used by homebrewers of E85 fuel which has to be 100% pure if mixed with gasoline.

#6 danzick

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 09:28 AM

If for some reason you absolutely had to get the last 5% of the water out, you can do it with a molecular sieve.

Passing wet vapors (from a still) through a bed of corn grits will pull nearly all the water out, to up to 98-99% pure, but that is not very practical for home hobbyists, who should just buy a 10 pound bag of 3A (3 angstrom) Zeolite for a few bucks (it's reusable for years). It will produce 100% ethanol, and is used by homebrewers of E85 fuel which has to be 100% pure if mixed with gasoline.


That is really an EXCELLENT tip!!!

#7 Dexter

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 03:27 PM

Can you use the "Amazing still" to re-still store bought spirits to higher alcohol levels?

#8 TVCasualty

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 08:31 AM

Sure, to a point. You can also distill bad batches of homebrew beer, or any other source of alcohol mixed with something of a higher boiling point. For psilocybin extractions, 190 proof (95%) is plenty strong, and to get from an 80 proof vodka to 190 proof, I'd first try putting the vodka in a large jug (going for a large surface area) and hanging a bag of silica gel or epsom salts inside. There are large, coarse grades of silica available, or just use a very fine-mesh bag. Seal the jug with the dessicant hanging inside above the alcohol for awhile (how long depends on temp/amount of dessicant/etc) and eventually you will get to 95% with no heat.

An old moonshiner's trick for reducing the volume of mash they had to distill was to leave barrels of fermented mash (often called beer) outside when the temperature was expected to drop well below freezing. In the morning, they would remove a layer of ice from the top of the beer in the barrel, and repeat it again the next night. This only works up to a certain % (notice how vodka doesn't freeze but a bottle of beer does), but it greatly reduces the amount of fuel and labor needed to distill the batch to completion, so long as it's winter...

#9 kandahar

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 02:29 PM

thanks guys for the advice :headbang:

#10 BillyGoat

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 04:18 PM

You guys are crazy.

#11 mycot

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 10:45 PM

Years ago something called Applejack was made from an apple cider.
The cider was frozen and what didnt freeze was poured off giving the high alchohol content cider called applejack.

#12 mycot

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 10:52 PM

As for the pure stuff I think I remember reading somewhere. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong).
CaO + H2O -> Ca(OH)2

#13 TVCasualty

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 10:15 AM

As for the pure stuff I think I remember reading somewhere. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong).
CaO + H2O -> Ca(OH)2



That would require an extra filtration step after the reaction, to get all the resultant calcium hydroxide out of the alcohol, plus it is a reaction that generates a good bit of heat:

CaO + H2O -> Ca(OH)2 + 488 BTU/lb of CaO

I think 488 BTU's is equivalent to somewhere around 100-150 watts, though I'm not sure about the unit conversion. I don't know if heat is an issue but it appears that the wetter the alcohol, the hotter it will get if using quicklime (CaO) to dehydrate, possibly hot enough to begin evaporating the alcohol... Hmmm, maybe some kind of internally self-heating still could exploit this reaction? There's the self-heating can idea that uses this concept for food... interesting!

#14 Myc

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 12:19 PM

:eusa_eh: I am curious now. Isn't the only chemical difference between ether and ethanol a water molecule? In other words they are chemically identical except the alcohol contains a water molecule.
I realize this has no direct bearing on the thread but was wondering if one could do an ether extraction. Or I could just be dead wrong so that's why I asked.

#15 mycot

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 11:13 PM

Diethyl ether and ethanol are solvents with quite different solvent and physical properties.

Going on about the pure stuff,(not necessary for most purposes) I beleive that the alcohol should first be brought to high concentration via distillation(preferably with a fractionating column) so that the CaO is used only to get the last bit of water out.
Rather than being filtered or decanted the mixture is redistilled with a Calcium chloride drying tube at the air inlet.

#16 Dipole

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:41 AM

Even if ether can extract mushrooms you would not be able to use it as an edible liquid like alcohol. Besides the anesthetic strength, there is a strange thing about ether. After enough exposure the smell of ether becomes nauseating.

#17 mycot

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:48 PM

Besides its extremely dangerous flamability ether is indeed a strange substance.
After enough exposure one is unable to smell it oneself while everyone else can smell it strongly on you for quite some hours.
Vogel's Practical Organic Chemistry for one gives directions for use of CaO in drying of alcohols.

#18 beheada

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 05:58 PM

A quick note. You may want to bake the epsom salts if you use them as a dessicant. When you buy them in the store, they are the hydrated version. Sling'em on a pan, bake'em, then go to the dessication idea. That way they'll absorb the H2O.

Also if you're distilling alcohol, wouldn't it behoove him to do a fractional distillation, or at least have some form of temperature control? Just collect the first fractions up to a certain temp, since the bottom fraction should be ethanol. What say you great Chem Wizards?

One other note, which I haven't checked the still link that this guy plans to build... but: My girlfriend makes essential oils with a ghetto oil extractor I made for her. I got the idea off of some guy's idea for extracting catnip alkaloid. Anyway, if you have a big cooking pot and you put a brick in the middle of it, then put a small wide-mouth bowl on the brick you have a still. Just take the lid of the pot which should be round on top and turn it upside down so the dome is over the inside bowl. Now put ice on top of that to aid in recondensation. Drill a hole, insert rubber stopper w/ hole for therm, place thermometer through hole and you have a discreet small still that'll hide away in your kitchen.

:horse:




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