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How Is Moonshine Dangertous? (Solved)

Consumption. While the flammability of the distilling process and the product itself is a danger, more people have died from drinking moonshine than have died by explosions of stills due to the toxins in the brew.

Why is moonshine still extremely dangerous?

  • Illegal moonshine remains dangerous because it is mostly brewed in makeshift stills. It can be dangerous on two levels, both during the distilling process and when consuming it. In terms of consuming the liquid, if the final product is over 100 proof, the moonshine itself is flammable and can be very dangerous.

Contents

What are the dangers of drinking moonshine?

Dangers of Moonshine

  • Methanol – A Deadly Byproduct. The fermentation process used to make moonshine produces alcohol in two forms: methanol and ethanol.
  • Bacteria Levels.
  • Blindness.
  • Alcohol Poisoning Risks.
  • Additives.

What does moonshine do to your body?

Consuming too much alcohol — even the “safe” kind — can cause alcohol poisoning, affecting heart rate and breathing and even leading to coma and death, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Can moonshine paralyze you?

For generations, moonshine has been made in home- made stills, hidden from sight. After all, people go blind from drinking bad moonshine, and it has also been known to cause neurological damage, including paralysis.

Is moonshine worse than vodka?

Physically speaking, there is no real difference between vodka and moonshine. Both are unaged neutral spirits, usually cut with water to increase volume and produce a more drinkable product.

Can you go blind from drinking moonshine?

If you’re drinking moonshine, yes. Today the most common cause of blindness from drinking is methanol. Methanol, otherwise known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, can damage the optic nerve and even kill you in high concentrations.

How much moonshine is safe?

It’s easy to get drunk on moonshine quickly, since it’s so strong. Try to limit yourself to 1 drink per hour if you’re drinking moonshine.

Is homemade moonshine safe to drink?

Illegal moonshine remains dangerous because it is mostly brewed in makeshift stills. It can be dangerous on two levels, both during the distilling process and when consuming it.

Why is moonshine illegal?

So why is moonshine still illegal? Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer.

Is moonshine illegal to drink?

The production of moonshine — or really any spirit — without a license is prohibited by the U.S. government and is very much illegal. Clear whiskey in the style of moonshine might be for sale, but technically speaking, moonshine is moonshine because it’s produced illicitly.

Why does bad moonshine make you blind?

A natural byproduct of the distillation process, methanol is normally removed from liquor. But mistakes happen—a shoddy ‘shiner might leave it in by mistake. A still also could be constructed of poor materials, allowing dangerous chemicals like lead, which has also been linked to blindness, to leach in.

Is Moonshine a vodka?

Commercial liquor labeled as moonshine is typically one of two things: neutral grain spirits or unaged whiskey. White whiskey, in other words, is different from vodka, but some of what gets sold as “moonshine” is legally vodka.

What do they call homemade alcohol in jail?

Pruno, or prison wine, is an alcoholic beverage variously made from apples, oranges, fruit cocktail, fruit juices, hard candy, sugar, high fructose syrup, and possibly other ingredients, including crumbled bread. Bread supposedly provides the yeast for the pruno to ferment.

Is moonshine a whiskey?

Moonshine purists define the spirit as a homemade, unaged whiskey, marked by its clear color, corn base and high alcohol content—sometimes peaking as high as 190 proof. Traditionally, it was produced in a homemade still and bottled in a mason jar.

Is Everclear moonshine?

Both Everclear and Moonshine are unaged spirits; however, Everclear is made from grain and Moonshine from corn. Everclear is a brand name of a neutral-tasting, very potent grain alcohol. Moonshine is a general term used to describe illegally produced corn whiskey.

Can you turn moonshine into whiskey?

When moonshine is aged on oak that has been charred and toasted it is transformed from a harsh, burning distillate into a smooth often sweet whiskey. The amount of time required will depend on if your using chips, cubes or staves.

Moonshine’s Gone Legit But It Still Is Dangerous

Photograph by Scott Olson / Getty Images Home-distilled moonshine, formerly a closely guarded secret of Appalachian backwoods, is still in existence to this day. In fact, it is now officially legal. “White lightning,” as it is referred as, was originally considered an illegal and dangerous chemical by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but it is now approved for sale and controlled by the federal government in select states in the United States. Several other states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky, have followed suit.

Many believe that over a million illegal moonshine stills are currently operating throughout the United States, making the manufacture of clear, high-potency drink more ubiquitous and pervasive than at any other time in history.

What Is Moonshine?

When you make moonshine, you’re fermenting a sugar source to generate ethanol, which is also called as “hooch” or “homebrew.” The traditional method of making moonshine is to boil maize and sugar together. A distillation procedure is used to remove the alcohol from the mash after it has been fermented. One significant distinction between moonshine and other alcoholic beverages such as whiskey or bourbon is that moonshine is not matured. It is the end product of this process that creates an alcoholic beverage with a high proportion of alcohol, often several times larger than 100 proof (50 percent), such as white whiskey.

That is, the ability to purchase commercially made, all-copper moonshine stills on the internet has removed a significant amount of the danger associated with the moonshine distillation process.

Plenty of moonshine is still being produced in stills constructed from vehicle radiator components and other potentially hazardous items.

Impact of Moonshine

Once upon a time, moonshine was a significant financial component of the Appalachian economy, serving as a source of money during difficult economic times and in places where poverty was prevalent. Moonshine, like every other product manufactured in the United States, underwent peaks and troughs in the supply and demand cycle. When the price of sugar increased in the United States beginning in the 1950s, the moonshine industry suffered a severe downturn. The spirit appeared to be slipping away as the United States witnessed a surge in the use of marijuana and prescription medications, which reached epidemic levels in the region.

With the current trend toward increasing costs at the liquor shop, particularly for foreign spirits, moonshining has re-entered the public consciousness.

Tennessee legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages at large box retailers such as Walmart and Sam’s Club the following year.

They are available for purchase for anything from $150 to $11,000, and everything in between. The demand for copper stills, according to one supplier, has more than doubled in the last few years, and he has sold copper stills to every state in the United States.

Potential Dangers

Because illegal moonshine is manufactured in improvised stills, it remains a potentially lethal substance. It can be harmful on two levels, both during the distillation process and while ingesting it.

Distilling Process

Because most illegal moonshine is manufactured in improvised stills, it continues to be a threat. It has the potential to be hazardous on two levels: during the distillation process and when it is consumed.

Consumption

However, while the flammability of the distilling process and the product itself is a concern, more people have died from drinking moonshine than have perished in still explosions owing to the poisons in the brew, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Despite the fact that the majority of stills in use today are of the all-copper form, there are still a significant number of old-fashioned handcrafted stills extant. Traditionally, antique stills have used automobile radiators in the distillation process, and they are more likely to contain lead soldering, which can contaminate the moonshine.

  1. Methanol tainting may develop in bigger quantities of distilled moonshine, and it is especially common in older batches.
  2. The greater the batch size, the greater the amount of methanol.
  3. Methanol is extremely dangerous and can result in blindness or even death if inhaled.
  4. Christopher Holstege, a physician affiliated with the University of Virginia Health System, conducted a research in 2004 in which he examined 48 samples of moonshine acquired by law enforcement from various stills.

How to Test for Purity

According to folklore, one method of determining the purity of moonshine is to pour some onto a metal spoon and light it on fire. Although lead is not harmful when burned with a blue flame, it is harmful when burned with a yellow or red flame, leading the ancient adage, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.” The spoon burning approach, on the other hand, is not fully dependable. Other poisons that may be present in the brew, such as methanol, which burns with a bright blue flame that is difficult to notice, are not detected by this method.

Public health experts are afraid that moonshine poisoning in unwell people may go unnoticed since most healthcare practitioners regard it to be an outmoded practice from years ago.

History of Moonshine

As far as historians can tell, the practice of manufacturing alcohol has been present since the dawn of civilization. Moonshine, in particular, is said to have been brought into the United States by Scotch-Irish immigrants in the late 1700s, notably in the southern Appalachian region. According to Appalachian anthropologists, the Scotch-Irish immigrants who relocated to the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s carried with them their history of home brewing and their formula for the high-potency hooch.

As a result, it may be kept concealed from prying eyes such as the police or hungry neighbors “Jason Sumich, Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University, believes this is correct.

The side of the antique clay jars was frequently marked with the letters “XXX.” Supposedly, each “X” reflected the number of times the drink had gone through the distillation process before it was bottled.

The Dangers Of Moonshine

As far as historians can determine, the practice of manufacturing alcohol has existed since the dawn of time. A special type of whiskey known as moonshine is said to have been brought into the United States by Scotch-Irish immigrants during the late 1700s in the southern Appalachian region. According to Appalachian anthropologists, the Scotch-Irish immigrants who relocated to the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s carried with them their history of home brewing and their formula for the high-potency hooch.

The police and thirsty neighbors will not be able to find it, thus it can be buried “Appalachian State University’s Department of Anthropology’s Jason Sumich believes that Initial packaging for moonshines was clay jugs, followed by mason jars in the latter stages of development.

It was said that the number of “X”s signified the number of times the brew had gone through the distillation process.

How Moonshine Got Its Name

A valid argument might be made to support the claim that the “Moonshine” that you see on the shelves of a liquor store is not in fact moonshine. The distillers gave the whiskey its name during the period of prohibition, when alcoholic beverages were prohibited. People could only make it if they worked in the middle of the night under the light of the moon. This helped to conceal the smoke that would be emitted by the boiling liquor and made it more difficult for local law police to locate them.

The fact is that legitimate moonshiners continue to operate in order to avoid taxes and generate a profit while operating outside of the regulatory framework of the federal government.

Methanol: The Toxic Side Of Moonshine

On the other hand, one may argue that the “Moonshine” that you see on the shelves of a liquor shop isn’t really moonshine at all. While alcohol was outlawed during Prohibition, distillers came up with the phrase “corn whiskey” to describe their product. Working by moonlight, people were only able to make it to work at all throughout the night. Local law enforcement officers would have a harder time identifying them because the smoke from the boiling liquor would be hidden. When you see bottles of moonshine for sale in a liquor store nowadays, they are referring to a white corn-whiskey that has not been matured in the bottle.

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The Explosive Power Of Moonshine

During the fermentation process of any alcoholic beverage, methanol and ethanol, which are both considered to be safe for consumption, are released. Both are very combustible and have the potential to explode if not properly sealed and ventilated throughout the distillation process. In the event of an ethanol gas leak in the still, which is used to manufacture moonshine, a single spark might ignite the ethanol gas, resulting in an explosion. A tank that is boiling off the hazardous alcohol might quickly collapse if there is no ventilation.” Derek Grout was inspecting a collecting tank of his state-of-the-art copper-pot still, which was housed in an aluminum shed surrounded by postcard orchards in Columbia County, New York.

Then, with a chuckle, he said, “I’m just relieved that we didn’t kill ourselves.” ” However, don’t refer to it as moonshine.

Consuming Methanol In Moonshine

When any alcoholic beverage is fermented, methanol and ethanol are released, which are both considered to be safe to ingest. Insufficient sealing and venting can result in an explosion during the distillation process for both of these chemicals. If there is a breach allowing ethanol gas to escape from the still, which is the apparatus used to manufacture moonshine, a single spark might result in a devastating explosion. A tank that is boiling off the poisonous alcohol might quickly collapse if it does not have adequate air.

The tank had buckled as a result of a clog in the drain.

— Toby Cecchini

Drinking Moonshine

Drinking moonshine can be hazardous to one’s health due to the absence of regulation and the lack of a reliable method of testing for methanol.

Stay away from novice distillers or folks you don’t feel comfortable around. It has the potential to mean the difference between life and death. Contact a healthcare professional right away if you would like additional information about treatment alternatives.

Cooper Smith

  • Cooper Smith graduated with honors from Full Sail University with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing for Entertainment. Even though he was first drawn to a career in television, he became aware of a problem in his neighborhood and felt motivated to do more. Now, he employs his expertise to reach out to those who may be in need of assistance and to raise public awareness of the difficulties that our society is now grappling with. Cooper enjoys exploring new places when he is not seated in front of a computer.

Methanol – Will Moonshine Make You Blind?

When a commercial distiller manufactures moonshine (such as Ole’ Smokey or Sugarlands), a very serious safety risk is the possibility of manufacturing a deadly substance. In contrast to popular belief, professionally produced moonshine will not cause blindness or death or even a nasty hangover if some simple safety steps are observed and followed. What may cause someone to become blind from drinking moonshine will be discussed in greater detail in the following article, which will also show how a professional distiller can be absolutely, certainly, 100 percent certain that this will not happen.

Our distillation apparatus is intended solely for legal reasons, and the information contained in this paper is intended solely for educational purposes.

Methanol Toxicity

Making moonshine in a commercial setting (think Ole’ Smokey or Sugarlands) poses serious safety concerns since it can result in a product that is toxic. In contrast to popular belief, commercially produced moonshine will not bring blindness or death or even a nasty hangover if some simple safety steps are observed and observed. As shown in the next essay, there are several factors that may lead someone to go blind after drinking moonshine. We’ll also discuss how a professional distiller can be totally confident that such an event would not occur.

Let’s get started.

For additional information on the laws of distillation, please see our entire legal statement (PDF).

How is Methanol Produced?

When a commercial distiller manufactures moonshine (such as Ole’ Smokey or Sugarlands), a very serious safety risk is the possibility of manufacturing a hazardous product. Commercially distilled moonshine will not, however, cause blindness, death, or even a terrible hangover if a few easy safety procedures are observed. In the next essay, we’ll describe how moonshine may lead someone to become blind, as well as how a commercial distiller can be absolutely, certainly, 100 percent certain that this will not happen.

Our distillation apparatus is intended solely for legal reasons, and the information included in this page is provided solely for educational purposes. For additional information on the laws of distillation, please see our entire legal overview.

Why is Methanol A Concern for Distillers?

So why is wine possibly unsafe to consume after it has been distilled, even if it contains methanol and does not represent a risk of methanol poisoning? The distinction is that the methanol concentration in a given amount of wine (say, 5 gallons) is uniformly distributed across the whole volume of wine. More than 5 gallons, or 28 bottles, would be required for someone to drink a quantity that may be considered potentially harmful. Because methanol has a lower boiling point than ethanol and water, it is concentrated at the beginning of the distillation process.

Methyl alcohol has a boiling point of around 148 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much lower than that of ethanol (the good stuff).

This is why professional distillers always discard the very first drop of shine that they make from each manufacturing run they undertake (more on this below).

  • There could be as much as 8 milliliters of methyl alcohol in the first jar after distilling 5 gallons of wine with the abovementioned methanol concentration (329 mg/L), which could be potentially hazardous in high concentrations
  • If the wine contained the abovementioned methanol concentration (329 mg/L) and was distilled, there could be as much as 5 gallon of methyl alcohol in the first jar after distilling
  • If you scale this up to a 100-gallon batch that is distilled all at the same time in a large still, a commercial distiller may possibly be in for a very huge problem if the methanol is not dumped during the process. The distillation of 100 gallons of wine with 329 mg/L of methanol might result in a concentration of 40ml of methanol, which could be lethal if consumed in its whole
  • Nevertheless, it is not recommended.

How to Remove Methanol from Moonshine

The temperature of the still is one manner in which a professional distiller may assess whether or not methanol is present. methanol is created by the still if anything is produced by the still before the wash temperature reaches 174 degrees. It will be discarded by a commercial distiller. Again, methanol boils at a lower temperature than ethanol and will concentrate at the start of the distillation process, just as it did previously. Commercial distillers have also discovered that simply discarding a standard amount of product per batch, based on the batch size, is sufficient to keep things safe.

How much of the first product should be discarded:

  • 1 gallon batch – discard the first 2/3 of a shot glass from the beginning of the batch
  • 5 gallon batch – discard the first 1/3 of a pint jar from the beginning of the batch
  • In a ten gallon batch, discard the first 3/4 of a pint jar of the mixture.

It’s a good idea to always follow this rule of thumb, regardless of the current temperature. Even though the first batch does not include methanol, the first batch that comes out of the still tastes and smells like rubbing alcohol. Nobody will be impressed by this, as it is by far the weakest material produced over the whole course of the show. It is impossible for a professional distiller to consume or sell the first product generated by a still. For more detail on this subject, please see our article ” Making Moonshine – The Dummies’ Guide “.

Check out the 10 most critical safety recommendations for distillers for much more information about safety.

What is Moonshine? (How It’s Made & Dangers)

The following rule of thumb should be followed regardless of the current temperature. The first liquid to emerge from the still, methanol or not, tastes and smells just like rubbing alcohol. Nobody will be impressed by this, as it is by far the weakest material produced over the whole run. In the commercial distilling industry, the initial product produced by a still would never be consumed or sold by anybody.

For more detail on this topic, please see our article ” Making Moonshine – The Dummies’ Guide “. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Visit the 10 most critical safety recommendations for distillers for further safety advice.

What is Moonshine Made From?

Moonshine, like whiskey, is commonly manufactured from fermentable sugar, although it may also be made from other substances such as cornmeal and yeast. Moonshine is a type of distilled spirit that is similar to rum. The fermentation process used to generate moonshine results in the production of both ethanol (drinkable) and methanol (a wood alcohol that can be toxic).

ALCOHOL REHAB HELP

The primary component in moonshine, like with whiskey, is fermentable sugar, although it may also be manufactured from other substances such as cornmeal and yeast. Moonshine is a type of alcoholic beverage. Methanol and ethanol are produced during the fermentation process used to generate moonshine (a wood alcohol that can be toxic).

Why is Moonshine Production Illegal in the United States?

Moonshine is not considered to be an unlawful alcoholic beverage. Throughout American history, moonshine has been considered unlawful for the purpose of tax avoidance. Making moonshine, on the other hand, is not legally prohibited in the United States if you have the appropriate permissions. Some producers are permitted to create moonshine if the United States government is aware of their activities. Having said that, manufacturing moonshine at home is prohibited due to the use of potentially hazardous components and a lack of quality control.

In reality, distilling your own alcohol at home, regardless of the type, is a potentially dangerous practice.

What are the Side Effects of Drinking Moonshine?

Drinking moonshine, like any other alcoholic beverage, may be detrimental to your health. For example, the following health problems might arise as a result of alcohol consumption: 3

  • It has been shown that drinking alcohol increases your chance of developing some malignancies. It is possible to raise your chance of developing fatty liver disease by consuming alcohol. Drinking alcohol can raise your chances of developing heart disease. Alcohol can have a negative impact on your brain and other organs. Alcohol might raise your chances of dying as a result of physical injuries or automobile accidents.

In reality, excessive alcohol use is responsible for over 95,000 fatalities every year. 7 Furthermore, moonshine can be toxic, resulting in illness, blindness, or a combination of the two.

Is Moonshine Dangerous? What are the Risks?

Boiling the fermented sugar is the first step in the distillation process that results in concentrated ethanol. However, the boiling point of ethanol is 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit, but the boiling point of methanol is a far lower temperature: 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Methanol vaporizes more quickly and has the potential to accumulate at dangerous concentrations. A simple separation and disposal process is possible with the appropriate equipment. However, without it, it is impossible to dispose of the methanol.

(6) Formaldehyde subsequently decomposes into formic acid, which is very toxic.

5Moonshine that has been distilled in lead pipes has the potential to cause blindness.

It is possible for poisonous germs to develop in a moonshine still, which can cause you to become unwell. 6However, any alcoholic spirits that are not properly prepared might harbor germs.

ALCOHOL REHAB HELP

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Does Drinking Moonshine Increase Your Alcohol Tolerance?

Drinking any type of alcohol on a regular basis, even moonshine, will develop your tolerance to alcohol. If you drink extensively and for an extended amount of time, alcohol will most likely have less of an effect on you. 1 This indicates that the same amount of moonshine will have a lessening impact over time when consumed in small doses. In other words, more moonshine is required to achieve the same result as before. There are five different forms of alcohol tolerance that can develop as a result of chronic alcohol consumption:

  1. When you consume large amounts of any type of alcohol on a regular basis, even moonshine, you will develop a greater tolerance to it. The effects of alcohol are likely to be less severe if you drink extensively and for an extended length of time. 1 Thus, the same amount of moonshine will have a diminishing impact as the amount consumed over a longer time period of time. For better or worse, more moonshine is required to get the desired result. It is possible to develop five different forms of alcohol tolerance with extended alcohol consumption:

Symptoms of Moonshine Overdose (Alcohol Intoxication)

Overdosing on alcoholic beverages, including moonshine, is more likely if you binge drink frequently. The term “binge drinking” refers to a habit of drinking that causes your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to rise to 0.08 percent or higher. 9 This usually occurs after four to five drinks in about two hours for women and after four to five drinks in about two hours for males. 9 Overdosing on moonshine or any other alcoholic beverage may be deadly. If you have reason to believe that someone you know has overdosed on alcohol, get emergency medical assistance as soon as possible.

This indicates that they have an excessive amount of alcohol in their system.

2 The following are some of the signs and symptoms of an alcohol overdose: 2

  • Confusion and stupor
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting with or without vomiting
  • No gag response
  • Seizures
  • Breathing difficulties (slow or gapped breathing)
  • Slowing of the heart rate
  • Reaction time is slow
  • Body temperature that is too low
  • Skin that is clammy

Signs You Have a Drinking Problem

If you are afraid that you may have a drinking problem, you are one of millions of other people in the United States who share your fear. Approximately 18 million individuals in the United States are affected by alcohol consumption disorder (AUD). 3 This refers to a pattern of drinking that is distressing or harmful to one’s health. The severity of your AUD symptoms will determine how serious your situation is. However, the following are the most common indications and symptoms of AUD: 3

  • In the event that you are afraid that you may have a drinking issue, you are one of millions of other Americans who are in the same situation. Alcohol consumption disorder affects around 18 million persons in the United States (AUD). 3 Drinking in a way that is distressing or harmful is what this phrase alludes to. It depends on how bad your case of AUD is that the symptoms will differ. Signs and symptoms of AUD, on the other hand, are often as follows: 3
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If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of AUD listed above, you should seek professional assistance. Attempting to detox from alcohol on one’s own, or stopping cold turkey, can be hazardous and even fatal. Either of these options can result in serious withdrawal symptoms that necessitate medical treatment or expert supervision in most cases. If you have been drinking heavily for a long length of time and then quit or considerably reduce your intake, you may experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

In any case, it has the potential to be quite dangerous.

  • Body tremors, mood swings, irritation, hallucinations, unconsciousness, and seizures are all symptoms of schizophrenia.

Treatment Options/Resources for Alcohol MisuseAddiction

Please be aware that assistance is available if you or someone you know is battling with alcohol misuse or addiction. For example, rehabilitation institutions that provide both inpatient and outpatient services are accessible around the country. Rehab will give you with medical doctors and mental health experts that will assist you on your journey to recovery and help you overcome your addiction. Another alternative is to seek therapy. Consider cognitive-behavioral therapy, which may assist you in identifying the triggers that lead to binge drinking and developing more healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stressful situations.

There are a variety of other holistic remedies accessible.

Additionally, you and your doctor may decide to utilize drugs to help you overcome your alcoholism.

At the time of writing, these are the only drugs that have been approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in this manner.

8 There is no addiction to any of them, and they may all be taken either alone or in conjunction with other methods of therapy. Whatever path you choose, don’t hesitate to contact a reputable specialist for assistance right away. Before it consumes or takes your life, get professional assistance.

Dangers of Moonshine

  • Although moonshine may provide you with the “kick” you’re seeking for in a drink, that “kick” might be detrimental to your health. As long as you aren’t aware of who’s creating it or how it is being manufactured, the risks associated with moonshine exceed the benefits.

Unlawful alcoholic beverages are referred to by several names, including moonshine, white lightning, hooch, and rotgut. It is possible that the term “rotgut” best describes how harmful a brew may be if specific measures are not followed before consumption. The majority of the time, the hazards of moonshine are found during the production process, where shortcuts are taken and “enhancements” are performed. While there’s nothing wrong with a nice, stiff drink every now and again, when it comes to drinking moonshine, there are a few things to keep in mind.

What Is Moonshine?

Among the many names for illicit alcohol are moonshine, white lightning, hooch, and rottgut. It is possible that the term “rotgut” best describes how harmful a brew may be if certain procedures are not followed. The majority of the time, the hazards of moonshine are found during the production process, where shortcuts are taken and “enhancements” are added. The use of moonshine is not without its risks. While nothing can replace a nice, hard drink, a few precautions should be observed.

Dangers of Moonshine

Unlawful alcoholic beverages are referred to by many names, including moonshine, white lightning, hooch, and rotgut. It is possible that the term “rotgut” best describes how harmful a brew may be if certain safeguards are not taken. The majority of the time, the hazards of moonshine are found in the production process, when shortcuts are taken and “enhancements” are added. While there’s nothing wrong with a nice, hard drink every now and then, there are a few things to keep in mind while drinking moonshine.

Methanol – A Deadly Byproduct

The fermentation method used to manufacture moonshine results in the production of two types of alcohol: methanol and ethanol. Ethanol is the drinking form of the compound. Methanol, often known as wood alcohol, is a byproduct that can be harmful if it is present in sufficient quantities in the completed product. By boiling the fermented product, the distillation process generates concentrated ethanol, which is then used in other applications. Because ethanol has a boiling temperature of 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit and methanol has a boiling point of 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit, moonshiners have difficulty producing their products.

When done correctly, it only produces in minute amounts and can be readily removed from and thrown once it has formed.

What makes methanol so deadly is that it is converted by the human body into formaldehyde, which is a component used in the production of embalming fluid.

When consumed in sufficient quantities, death is a distinct possibility. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the risks associated with drinking moonshine are related to the quantity of methanol that may be present.

Bacteria Levels

The sanitation techniques used in a moonshine distillery have a significant impact on the quality of the drink that comes out of the facility. During the fermentation process, it is essential that the vats utilized be sanitized on a regular basis in order to prevent hazardous germs from growing within the vats. It is possible that these bacteria will become a source of additional methanol that will find its way into the end product. Another method in which dangerous bacteria might infiltrate the fermentation process is as a result of unanticipated temperature or environmental fluctuations.

Botulism, a kind of food poisoning, is caused by harmful bacteria that can create a toxin that can be lethal if consumed.

Blindness

Moonshine use can result in permanent blindness, which is yet another side effect of taking methanol and one of the most serious consequences of drinking moonshine. Methanol not only causes cell death, but it also has the potential to inflict lasting harm to portions of the body’s central nervous system, including the brain. It is possible that the optic nerve, which is responsible for vision, will be damaged during the operation, resulting in irreversible blindness.

Alcohol Poisoning Risks

Anyone who consumes alcoholic beverages is aware that the amount of alcohol in each drink varies depending on the type of beverage consumed. Alcohol by volume, sometimes known as ABV, is a measure of how powerful certain types of beverages are. For example, the alcohol level of gin can range between 35 and 40 percent, whereas the alcohol content of whiskey can range between 55 and 60 percent. Because government rules require the ABV percentage of alcoholic beverages to be shown on the package, you always know what you’re getting with legally produced alcoholic beverages.

The “kick” or intensity of the drink is one of the things that makes homemade liquor so appealing.

They can have an alcohol concentration of up to 75 percent and be as potent as 150 proof (150 proof is equivalent to 150 percent alcohol).

Among the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning to be on the lookout for are:

  • Vomiting, aggressive behavior, slurred speech, and comatose-like behavior are all possible symptoms.

Additives

Some distillers attempt to increase the “kick” in their brew by utilizing additives to make their moonshine taste stronger in order to increase their profit margins. Distributors with a poor reputation for customer service engage in this technique. Various substances, such as rubbing alcohol, lye, paint thinner, and even methanol, have been employed to achieve this result. These risks associated with moonshine are self-explanatory. The brewing process is another method through which additives might make their way into the finished product.

Because of the high temperatures involved in the process, metal pollutants, antifreeze, and a variety of other harmful compounds can be released during the brewing process.

Treatment Considerations

The “kick” in certain distillers’ brews is increased by the use of chemicals, which makes the moonshine taste stronger in order to increase their profit margins. Distributors with a poor reputation for their products engage in this approach. Various substances, such as rubbing alcohol, lye, paint thinner, and even methanol, have been used to do this. It is unnecessary to elaborate on the risks of moonshine. The brewing process is another method through which chemicals might make their way into the finished product.

Because of the high temperatures involved in the operation, metal pollutants, antifreeze, and a variety of other harmful compounds might be released during the brewing procedure.

Sources –

  • Acute bilateral blindness caused by accidental methanol intoxication during fire ‘eating’ was reported in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov– British Journal of Ophthalmology)
  • “Can Drinking Moonshine Really Make You Go Blind” was reported in the Popular Science magazine
  • “Pruno: A Recipe for Botulism” was reported in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov– Centers for Disease Control

The following medical disclaimer applies: Sunshine Behavioral Health is committed to assisting those who are struggling with substance misuse, addiction, mental health illnesses, or a combination of these issues. This is accomplished via the provision of compassionate care and evidence-based material that addresses health, treatment, and rehabilitation. A team of licensed medical experts reviews the content we post on our website. The information in this material is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice.

Talk with one of our Treatment Specialists!

The following medical disclaimer applies: Sunshine Behavioral Health is dedicated to assisting those who are struggling with substance misuse, addiction, mental health illnesses, or a combination of these issues. Compassionate care and evidence-based information that addresses health, treatment, and rehabilitation are provided to accomplish this goal. The content on this website is reviewed by licensed medical experts. A qualified medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice should always be sought in conjunction with the content.

Moonshine Dangers: Knowing The Risks

There are a plethora of alcoholic beverage alternatives available these days. Moonshine, on the other hand, has seen a rebirth in recent years, and it’s one of the reasons why. Perhaps you’ve even seen some on television or in stores and were intrigued by what you saw. Even so, it’s critical to be aware of the many hazards that exist in the world. You’ll be able to make better decisions about your drinking this way…

Legal vs. illegal

The majority of people identify moonshine with illicit activity. It is common for shows on television to follow persons who operate illicit stills, and as a result, it is not uncommon to find moonshine for sale at liquor stores. This type of moonshine, on the other hand, is not only legal, but it also comes with a significant distinction. Legal moonshine isn’t necessarily “genuine” moonshine in the traditional sense.

The whiskey is actually a white corn whiskey that has not yet been matured. It’s also produced in sanitary conditions and held to the same standards as other alcoholic beverages. In contrast, it is with illegal moonshine that you will come face to face with the true moonshine hazards.

Impurities

The myriad contaminants that might arise in a moonshine drink are the most obvious concerns associated with it. Unlawful moonshine is produced in home-built stills that are not subjected to any type of government sanitation regulations or standards of hygiene. A lot of fouling and residue from prior batches may accumulate as a consequence, which may find their way into your beverage. Furthermore, the raw ingredients used in the production of moonshine might be contaminated. For example, the water is frequently sourced from surrounding streams or rivers and is not thoroughly filtered before use.

All of this implies that after drinking your homemade moonshine, you might not be in the best of spirits afterwards.

Methanol risks

The methanol concentration in moonshine is perhaps the most dangerous of the moonshine risks. Methylethanol, the true alcohol component in your beverages, is the considerably more harmful counterpart to ethanol. Methylethanol is very toxic. When ingested, methanol can be practically invisible until your body begins to digest the substance. Then the true threats might begin to manifest themselves. If you consume more than 10 mL, you run the risk of irreversibly damaging your optic nerve. Drinking more than 30 mL is lethal, and it is equivalent to extremely severe alcohol poisoning.

As a result, every drink becomes a gamble that you will not want to accept.

Is It Safe to Drink Moonshine?

Because of the drinking culture that has grown in the United States over the last several decades, liquor stores and bars have stocked their shelves with a broad selection of specialized wines, beers, and spirits. The rebirth of moonshine is one of the most rapidly spreading crazes nowadays. This long taboo, home-distilled beverage from Appalachia’s backwoods is now officially legal! In several states, the selling of marijuana is controlled by the federal government. What precisely is moonshine, and how does it differ from other spirits?

  • Is drinking moonshine a risky proposition in the first place?
  • Moonshine, often known as “hooch” or “homebrew,” is a type of alcoholic beverage created from a mash of maize, sugar, yeast, and water.
  • It contains a significant amount of alcohol, reaching up to 190 proof at times.
  • It was initially introduced to the United States in the 18th century by Scottish and Irish immigrants from the United Kingdom.
  • In time, the government grew more interested in taxing as the movement’s popularity increased.
  • This is done in order to conceal the smoke that would be emitted by the boiling liquor from the eyes of local law enforcement officers.
  • What is it about moonshine that people find so appealing?

Because it is essentially whiskey, you can mix it with anything you like, including Coke, ginger ale, lemonade, iced tea, and more!

The options are virtually limitless!

You’ve definitely heard horror stories about the perils of drinking moonshine and other illegally made alcoholic beverages before.

Alcohol vapors are produced during the distillation process, and they are very flammable.

Despite the fact that the majority of stills in operation today are of the all-copper sort, there are still a few of older vehicles around.

You might be interested:  What Year Did Moonshine Start?

Unfortunately, lead may seep out of the radiators and connections when they are not properly maintained.

Lead poisoning can result in memory loss, enlargement of the brain, paralysis, and even death if not treated promptly.

The fact that methanol vaporizes at a lower temperature than ethanol means that it is the first liquid generated during the distillation process.

Methanol is an extremely toxic substance.

Methanol has a harmful potential that can be unnoticeable with only a few milliliters.

However, consuming 10 mL or more of methanol, even if it is divided across many beverages, might cause irreversible damage to your optic nerve, resulting in partial or total blindness.

What is the best way to determine which moonshine is safe to consume?

If the liquid burns with a blue flame, it is more likely to be safe to consume it.

However, the presence of methanol, which burns with a colored flame, cannot be detected with this spoon test.

In its most basic form, moonshine is just a powerful alcoholic beverage with a very harsh flavor or “kick” to it due to the fact that it has not been matured.

Only purchase from reliable liquor retailers. If you’re in Colorado, stop into Village Warehouse Wine & Spirits in Avon, which is close to Edwards and Vail ski resorts. Combining excellent food with a delicious drink while lounging in the mountains is a winning combination!

Making Moonshine is Safer Than You Think

The drinking culture that has grown in the United States over the last several decades has resulted in a vast selection of specialized wines, beers, and spirits being available at liquor stores and bars. The rebirth of moonshine is one of the most rapidly expanding crazes nowadays. Now you can get your hands on this heretofore secretive, hand-crafted beverage from the Appalachian mountains. There are several states in the United States where the sale of marijuana is controlled by the federal government.

  1. And how does it manage to win over multiple artisan distillers while being one of the most unlawful beverages available in the United States?
  2. Is drinking moonshine a risky endeavor?
  3. In order to make moonshine, a mash of maize, sugar, yeast, and water is used, which is also known as “hooch” or “homebrew.” Moonshine, in contrast to whiskey and bourbon, does not undergo any aging before consumption.
  4. Produced in a handmade moonshine still and bottled in mason jars, it is the traditional method of preservation.
  5. Within a short period of time, it had become a staple of Southern culture.
  6. As the name implies, it was first made at 3 a.m.
  7. To keep local law enforcement officers from seeing the smoke that would be emitted by the boiling liquor, this is done.

Moonshine is a popular alcoholic beverage for several reasons.

Being mostly whiskey, you may mix it with a variety of other beverages like as Coke, ginger ale, lemonade, iced tea, and more!

You can also add blackberry, blueberry, cinnamon, and tangerine juice to the mix.

Drinking moonshine is considered to be risky.

Because it is made in improvised stills, illegal moonshine continues to be a potentially lethal beverage.

Consequently, moonshine stills should be performed outside because of the great risk of explosion.

Lead-based solder is used to join the various components of these antique handcrafted stills..

Lead is harmful to the body’s organs and structures.

There has been evidence of methanol contamination occurring in bigger quantities of distilled moonshine.

The amount of ethanol produced increases with the size of the batch.

After being processed in the body, it has the potential to induce significant adverse effects.

You’ll just get a hangover as a result of this experience.

It takes 30 milliliters to be fatal.

One method of determining the purity of moonshine whiskey is to pour some onto a metal spoon and ignite it.

If it generates a yellow or red flame, this is a sign of the presence of lead.

Due to the large volume of moonshine generated on a regular basis, it is inevitable that some of it will be contaminated.

Avoid novice distillers and vendors if you want to be sure of the quality!

Purchase only from well-known liquor stores and supermarkets. In Colorado, visit Village Warehouse Wine and Spirits in Avon, which is close to Edwards and Vail. They have a great selection of wines and spirits. While lounging in the mountains, enjoy your scrumptious meal with a refreshing drink!

Can an Alcohol Still Cause a Fire or Explosion?

The answer to this question is comparable to the answer to the question, “Can a stove or an oven generate a fire or an explosion?” The answer to this question is “Yes.” Because, despite the fact that catching fire is theoretically possible in both of these scenarios, the equipment is not the source of the fire: the fire is created by a reckless individual in both instances. Despite this, stoves and ovens may be found in virtually every home, apartment, and even campers and recreational vehicles.

  1. “Residential New Zealand Fire Statistics,” a research released a few years ago, compared the causes of home fires that happened between 1986 and 2005, according to the authors.
  2. Residential fires caused by distillation equipment accounted for less than 0.14 percent of all fires in the country.
  3. Not even close to a half-percentage point.
  4. Between 1997 and 2003, the New Zealand Fire Service undertook a different research, titled “Human Behaviour Contributing To Unintentional Residential Fire Deaths,” in which they examined all deaths caused by residential fires that occurred between those years.
  5. Among the most common causes of fires in this case were unattended cooking, irresponsible smoking, and candles left burning unattended.
  6. Historically, distillation has been accomplished using pressure cookers and turkey fryers, which are both sealed and require pressure release valves to function properly.
  7. That’s an issue when individuals use pressure cookers or turkey fryers wrongly, which weren’t intended to be used for distilling in the first place.
  8. The fact that today’s mash-tanks are built to be open to the atmosphere at all times eliminates the possibility of an explosion.

Can Home Distilled Moonshine Make Me Go Blind?

This urban legend dates back to the days of moonshiners during the Prohibition era. To manufacture more moonshine to sell, bootleggers would actually add methanol (methyl alcohol—the ingredient that might cause you to go blind) to the batch of whiskey they’d previously distilled. As a result, they didn’t really care what others were drinking as long as they were purchasing their moonshine, because more moonshine meant more profit for them. Because they are attempting to produce high-quality, artisan spirits that they would enjoy themselves rather than sell to generate some additional money, home distillers are increasingly turning away from the practice of adding methanol.

However, because it occurs in such little quantities, it poses no danger to your health.

The use of home-distilled spirits has resulted in zero incidents of methanol poisoning in New Zealand, the country that has legalized the practice of home distillation.

To make this happen, we must educate the public on the fact that utilizing a home still to manufacture your own moonshine is far safer than we have been lead to think.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact us through Facebook. Also, please SHARE this material with your friends and skeptics alike. Let us work together to minimize the negative connotations associated with moonshine.

Moonshine: Its Nature, Illegality, Dangers, and Prevention. Important Facts

Moonshine is slang for distilled spirits that have been produced without the permission of the government. It’s possible that the phrase came up since so much of the distillation, packaging, and distribution took place at night. Alternatively, it might have arisen from “moonraker.” Smuggler was an early English term for someone who smuggled contraband. Overview I.Can you tell me what moonshine is? Moonshine is prohibited under the law. Moonshine is extremely hazardous to one’s health. IV. Poisoning by the government!

  1. A Retrospective Resources (number seven).
  2. Moonshine is referred described as “white” because of its transparent appearance.
  3. This hue is obtained by the process of aging in wooden barrels.
  4. As a result, everything is always crystal clear.
  5. Farmers growing maize in hilly locations of the United States have historically found it difficult to carry their crops to market.
  6. The crop, on the other hand, could be moved much more readily if it were turned into moonshine.

II. Moonshine is Illegal

In the United States, it is entirely legal to brew beer or create wine in small amounts at your house. It’s something that millions of people do. Making distilled spirits at home, on the other hand, is against the law. The reason for this is purely pecuniary. Beer and wine are subject to lower taxes than distilled spirits, which are subject to extremely high levies. Taxes account for more than half of the total retail price of a bottle of distilled spirits. Indeed, the federal government receives around 14 times more revenue from the sale of distilled spirits than the producers earn from their production.

The high level of taxes has caused moonshiners to make hundreds of thousands of litres of the illicit substance each year in the United States alone.

III. Moonshine is Dangerous

When it comes to distilling homemade booze, moonshiners generally employ used automobile radiators. They also frequently employ lead-based solder to connect various components. Unfortunately, lead seeps out of the radiators and electrical connections with time. No amount of lead is required by the human body. Lead, on the other hand, has no physiological role in the body. In addition, exposure to excessive lead can result in lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can result in memory loss, enlargement of the brain, paralysis, and even death if not treated promptly.

An investigation of moonshine manufactured in 48 distinct stills was conducted by the researchers.

More over half of the samples tested positive for dangerously high levels of lead.

1 The results of another investigation looked at 115 suspected moonshine samples that had been confiscated by local law enforcement. There were samples from nine different states. Thirty-three out of the forty-three samples contained dangerously high concentrations of lead. 2

It’s Dangerous to Moonshiners

However, there are risks associated with moonshining that go beyond simply ingesting their own product. They may be subjected to penalties, forfeiture of property, and imprisonment. Fire is a significant threat to moonshiners. They generate a flammable liquid that is similar to gasoline. Nonetheless, they do it in the presence of tremendous heat or even flames. In addition, if their still explodes, they may be seriously hurt or killed. Making this toxic substance is a perilous piece of job. Government experts believe that moonshining is a severe health threat because to the lead poisoning that occurs throughout the process.

The problem is caused by the undergrounding of moonshining operations.

IV. Government Poisoning!

During National Prohibition, the federal government poisoned industrial alcohol that was manufactured lawfully in the United States. This was done in order to keep it from becoming unlawfully intoxicated. The plot is as follows. It was permissible to distill alcohol for industrial reasons during the time of the prohibition. A large number of items had alcohol as a component. Fuels, paints, solvents, and pharmaceuticals were among the items confiscated. In addition, it was employed in a variety of industrial procedures.

  1. Some of the compounds were potentially harmful.
  2. This did not deter bootleggers, though.
  3. Then they re-distilled it to get rid of the toxins and other additions in the first place.
  4. When the government objected, it ordered distillers to increase the amount of poisons they added to the whiskey.
  5. According to one senator, it amounted to “legalized murder.” The administration, on the other hand, would not back down.
  6. In the intervening years, more than 10,000 Americans have perished as a result of the government’s poisoning campaign.
  7. More information may be found at Government Poisoned Alcohol.

Indeed, because of the substantial health risks associated with moonshine, many customers prefer to pay exorbitant taxes rather than risk their health by consuming it. As a result, the threats really help to generate a lot of income. This is precisely what the administration desires at all times.

V. The Solution

Simple measures may be taken to alleviate the issues created by moonshine. Reduce the taxes levied on distilled spirits that are legitimately manufactured. This would lessen the motivation for people to purchase the potentially risky alternative beverage. Alternatively, home distillation of spirits for personal use might be made lawful. When Canada cut its extremely high cigarette tax, the country’s overall revenue climbed. This is due to the fact that it has reduced smuggling from the United States.

VI. A Look Back

NASCAR racing got its start as a result of moonshine running. So, here’s what transpired. When National Prohibition was instituted in 1920, the demand for alcoholic beverages surged considerably, particularly in urban areas. For moonshiners to get their product into these burgeoning markets, they required “runners” to transport it. Law enforcement officers had a tough time discovering the stills, which were buried deep within the mountains. In order to do so, the “revenuers” concentrated on catching the runners.

  • They increased the number of carburetors in the automobile in order for it to burn more gasoline and go faster.
  • They could opt to include superchargers or turbochargers in their modifications.
  • Even after the repeal of prohibition, the demand for moonshine remained high, and thus the business persisted.
  • Their driving abilities contributed to making NASCAR one of the most popular spectator sports in the world.

VII. Resources

Carter, T., and colleagues, Ozarks Spirits. Moonshiners and revenuers are two different types of people. Southwest Missouri State University Press, Springfield, Missouri, 2002. Magilla Entertainment (Video) (Firm). Seasons 12 and 13 of Moonshiners. Gaiam Publishing Company, Louisville, Colorado, 2013. (Video) Nelson, D. Moonshiners, bootleggers, and rumrunners are all types of criminals. Motorbooks, Osceola, Wisconsin, 1995. Pierce, D., et al. Corn straight from a jar. Moonshining in the Great Smoky Mountains is a popular pastime.

Powell, G.

Xlibris Publishing Company, 2008.

Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2011.

Lewis R.

Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2008. P. Sutton and colleagues Sutton, the popcorn man. It’s been a hellish existence. Sucker Punch Publishing Company, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2014. Racers in the NASCAR Cup Series (Video) White, B. Motorbooks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2009.

References

  1. Tsai, M., and Tsai, M. What is the legal basis for prohibiting moonshine? Morgan, B., and colleagues (Morgan, B., and colleagues, 2007)
  2. Slate website, October 18, 2007
  3. Moonshine that has been tainted with lead. Vet Human Toxicol, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 89-90, 2004.
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