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What Alcohol Is Poisonous Moonshine?

Methanol: The Toxic Side Of Moonshine Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is a byproduct of the distilling process. A principle ingredient in fuel, pesticides, paint thinners, and much more, consuming methanol isn’t something that should be taken lightly.

  • Methyl alcohol (methanol) is the bad stuff that could be found in moonshine (or any distilled spirit for that matter). Pure methanol is very dangerous and it is definitely able to cause blindness and even kill people.


Can moonshine be poisonous?

After fermentation, moonshine is distilled to concentrate the ethanol and other volatile flavor ingredients. Moonshine can therefore be more potent than legal beverages, and a batch of moonshine can quickly turn toxic, Andrews said.

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 kind of alcohol is moonshine?

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 the first part of moonshine poisonous?

Always discard the “foreshots.” For this reason, commercial distillers will do one of two things: They will discard the first bit of alcohol produced by the still. This part of the run, known as the foreshots, smells like high powered solvent, tastes even worse, and is potentially poisonous.

How can you tell if moonshine is poisonous?

How to Test for Purity. Folklore tells us one way to test the purity of moonshine is to pour some in a metal spoon and set it on fire. 6 If it burns with a blue flame it is safe, but if it burns with a yellow or red flame, it contains lead, prompting the old saying, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.”

What percentage of alcohol is moonshine?

Moonshine is usually distilled to 40% ABV, and seldom above 66% based on 48 samples. For example a conventional pot stills commonly produce 40% ABV, and top out between 60-80% ABV after multiple distillations. However, ethanol can be dried to 95% ABV by heating 3A molecular sieves such as 3A zeolite.

What makes 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.

Can moonshine damage your liver?

Drinking moonshine, like any alcohol, can take a toll on your health. For example, the following health issues can occur from alcohol use: Alcohol can increase your risk of certain cancers. Alcohol can increase your risk of fatty liver disease.

How are you supposed to drink moonshine?

How should you drink moonshine? “We always drink it straight from the jar, but encourage you to get creative by mixin’ your own recipe. A Southern classic is our Front Porch Peach Tea, which is 2 parts Ole Smoky Peach Moonshine, 1 part sweet tea and 1 part Lemonade, with peach and mint for garnish.”

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.

Is moonshine a different drunk?

9. Moonshine: 0-100 Real Quick Drunk. You will be fine one second, then, very shortly after drinking, you’ll be HAMMERED. You’ll feel yourself soaring above the legal limit as you begin to move less like a sober person and more like a marionette controlled by the jerky-handed puppet master known as moonshine.

What is the difference between brandy and moonshine?

Brandy comes from many countries, and is distilled from grapes. It can be bottom shelf or top shelf. Moonshine generally refers to homemade alcohol typically made from corn. You can have home made brandy.

How do you test alcohol for methanol?

To test for the presence of methanol, you can apply sodium dichromate to a sample of the solution. To do so, mix 8 mL of a sodium dichromate solution with 4 mL of sulfuric acid. Swirl gently to mix, then add 10 drops of the mixed solution to a test tube or other small container containing the alcohol.

How can you tell the difference between methanol and ethanol?

Ethanol has a heavy, burning smell and emits bright blue flame. Methanol is unpredictable and has a characteristic odour. When burning it gives off light white flame. Ethanol is typically prepared by the fermentation of food crops from factories.

How do you make methanol?

On an industrial scale, methanol is predominantly produced from natural gas by reforming the gas with steam and then converting and distilling the resulting synthesized gas mixture to create pure methanol. The result is a clear, liquid, organic chemical that is water soluble and readily biodegradable.

Is It Safe to Drink Moonshine?

During a raid on a bootlegging operation in Tennessee in 1929, officials posed next to a partially demolished distillery, which was producing a mediocre white moonshine at the time. (Photo courtesy of Bettmann/Getty Images.) Despite the fact that a glass of clear moonshine looks just like a glass of water, this unlawful alcoholic beverage is famed for its power — as well as the dangers involved with consuming it. What exactly is moonshine? According to experts, moonshine is any sort of distilled whiskey that is produced without the involvement of the government.

Moonshine is produced and consumed by people all over the world, particularly in countries where alcohol is outlawed or where legal alcohol is unreasonably costly or difficult to procure.

As a result, what causes this to happen, and how can you know if a glass of moonshine is safe, is discussed.

The ingredients used to make moonshine vary greatly based on what is readily accessible.

However, according to Kevin Kosar, author of “Moonshine: A Global History,” moonshine may also be manufactured from grapes, plums, or apricots (in Armenia), barley (in Egypt), palm tree sap (in Myanmar), bananas (in Uganda), and cashew fruit (in India) (Reaktion Books, 2017).

In the event that you can coax sugar from something, you’re well on your approach to producing a drink “According to Kosar, a spokesperson for Live Science.

Potent potables

Fermentation creates two types of alcohol: ethanol and methanol, which is also known as wood alcohol. Ethanol is the most often produced form of alcohol. According to studies published by the American Chemical Society, methanol is liberated from pectin and is consequently more plentiful in fermented fruits. Despite the fact that ethanol is widely regarded to be safe for use, both ethanol and methanol depress the central nervous system and impair brain function. ethanol Alcohol poisoning, even from “safe” alcohol, can result from excessive consumption, impacting heart rate and respiration and potentially resulting in coma and death, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Alcohol Poisoning page.

  • methanol is metabolized in the human body to formaldehyde, which is the same molecule found in embalming fluid, and then to formic acid, which is very poisonous to cells, according to Andrews, who spoke with Live Science.
  • Candy is nice, but whiskey is more expedient.
  • The image is courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images.
  • ethanol, on the other hand, boils at 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit (78.37 degrees Celsius), whereas methanol boils at 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) (64.7 degrees C).
  • The manufacturing of regulated alcoholic beverages, including commercial moonshine, is closely supervised.
  • However, there are no uniform criteria or safety inspections that can be enforced in the case of unlicensed moonshine producers.
  • Unsterilized fermentation vats can encourage the development of bacteria that pump out methanol, resulting in a greater concentration of methanol than planned, according to Andrews, who detailed how this might happen.
  • Several years might have passed before the liquor was contaminated, according to Andrews.

“But then something happens in the environment that has an effect on the bacteria that are conducting the fermentation in the first place. There is now a larger concentration of methanol present, and the individual who made it would never be aware of it.”

Poison for profit

In certain circumstances, the toxicity of moonshine is due to avarice on the part of the distiller. If makers want to boost the amount of their moonshine, they either don’t remove the methanol or add a cheap, hazardous alcohol such as isopropyl, which is present in rubbing alcohol, according to Kosar. Despite the fact that this strategy may increase earnings, it considerably increases the likelihood that the drink will be deadly. According to Kosar, “alarmingly frequently, there are accounts — typically originating in regions of Asia — about individuals going out and purchasing unlawful alcoholic beverages and then throwing a party, and then hours into the party, people simply start fainting and having convulsions.” Drinking alcohol with high concentrations of methanol can also cause blindness: According to a 1922 story in The New York Times, methanol was responsible for 130 deaths and 22 incidents of blindness in just six months during Prohibition, according to a report by the United States National Committee for the Prevention of Blindness (NCPB).

In spite of the fact that moonshine does not contain dangerous quantities of methanol, it is impossible for a casual drinker to determine how powerful a batch may be without testing it – an ambiguity that may result in an unintentional alcohol poisoning.

Do not consume moonshine unless you are a close friend of the person who is generating it and have complete confidence in their ability to create it, he said.

It has also been updated to reflect that, while chemical tests for methanol in moonshine are available, most casual drinkers do not have these tests on hand while consuming these beverages.

  • Exactly why does alcohol make you feel sleepy at first, and then alert? Is it true that drinking alcohol warms your body? Which is worse for your brain: alcohol or marijuana
  • Which is worse for your brain: alcohol or marijuana

The original version of this article appeared on Live Science. Mindy Weisberger is a senior writer at Live Science, where she covers a wide range of topics such as climate change, paleontology, strange animal behavior, and space exploration. Ms. Mindy has a Master of Fine Arts in Film from Columbia University, and previous to joining Live Science, she worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she produced, scripted, and directed media. Her movies about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity, and evolution have been exhibited in museums and scientific centers across the world, and she has received accolades such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence for them.

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. We encourage you to read our comprehensive legal statement for further information on the legality of distillation.

Methanol Toxicity

When it comes to moonshine, the dangerous stuff to look out for is methyl alcohol (methanol) (or any distilled spirit for that matter). Purified methanol is extremely hazardous, and it has been proven to cause blindness and even death in some cases. Pure methanol at concentrations as low as 10 mL can cause blindness, and as high as 30 mL can cause death in severe cases. A shot glass holds 30 milliliters of liquid, which is the same quantity of liquid as 30 milliliters.

How is Methanol Produced?

Methanol can be found in naturally occurring quantities in various fruits and vegetables. It is also possible that it will be created as an accidental consequence of the fermentation process. methanol is more likely to be found in spirits distilled from fruits such as apples, oranges, and grapes than in others. Methanol may be found in small amounts in both beer and wine. According to studies, wine may contain as much as 329 mg/L of alcohol, whereas lager may have as little as 16 mg/L of alcohol.

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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 just dumping a set quantity of product every batch, dependent on the batch size, is sufficient to keep things safe.

When distilling wash, the rule of thumb is to discard 1/3 of a pint jar for every 5 gallons of wash that is being produced. 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.

Moonshine’s Gone Legit But It Still Is Dangerous

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 “.

Visit the 10 most critical safety recommendations for distillers for further safety advice.

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 has the potential to be hazardous on two levels: during the distillation process and when it is consumed.

Distilling Process

The distillation process itself generates flammable alcohol vapors, which are released during the operation. The presence of flammable vapors is one of the primary reasons that moonshine stills are nearly always situated outside, despite the fact that this makes them more visible to law authorities. The danger of vaporous explosions is too large to be contained within the building. When it comes to eating the liquid, if the end result has a proof more than 100, the moonshine itself is incredibly flammable and may be quite hazardous.


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.

  • Methanol tainting may develop in bigger quantities of distilled moonshine, and it is especially common in older batches.
  • The greater the batch size, the greater the amount of methanol.
  • Methanol is extremely dangerous and can result in blindness or even death if inhaled.
  • 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

However, while the flammability of the distilling process and the product itself is a concern, more people have died from drinking moonshine than from explosions of stills caused by 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 in use. During the distillation process, antique stills make use of automobile radiators, which are prone to include lead soldering, which might contaminate the moonshine.

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

There will be more methanol produced in a larger batch.

Due to its toxic nature, methanol has the potential to inflict permanent blindness and even death.

Dr. 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 seized by law enforcement from various stills. In 43 of the samples, the doctor discovered lead contamination.

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 practice of home brewing as well as their formula for high-potency hooch, which was popular during the time period.

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

Because of the drinking culture that has grown in this century, liquor stores and bars have stocked their shelves with a broad selection of speciality liquors, beers, and wines to satisfy the needs of its customers. One of the newest crazes is the return of moonshine production and consumption. The government previously prohibited the booze of the Prohibition era due to a lack of controls and the fact that its brewers were evading taxes. So, what has changed in the last several years?

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 tougher time identifying them since 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.

The fact is that legitimate moonshiners continue to operate in order to avoid taxes and generate a profit while operating outside of the reach of the law.

The Explosive Power Of Moonshine

You may make the argument that the “Moonshine” that you find on the shelves of a liquor store isn’t truly moonshine. The distillers gave the whiskey its name during the Prohibition era, when alcoholic beverages were prohibited. People could only make it if they worked through 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 detect them. 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 any way.

Consuming Methanol In Moonshine

When you take your first taste of methanol, you won’t be able to recognize its potentially hazardous nature. People will just become more inebriated as a result of this. Although not immediately dangerous, methanol’s toxic effects on the human body can be severe once it has been broken down by the body. A single drop of methanol (10 milliliters (ml) in the eye is all it takes to permanently damage the optic nerve and cause partial or total blindness. Methanol in concentrations of 30 mL or more is deadly.

Methanol, even in little amounts spread across several beverages, can cause lasting injury or death if consumed in excess of 10 milliliters (ml).

There is no way to tell if illicit alcohol includes methanol, of course, unless there is government control.

Drinking Moonshine

A sip of methanol has no discernible harm, and this is true even after a few sips. People will just become more inebriated as a result of this policy. Although not immediately dangerous, methanol’s toxic effects on the human body can be severe once it has been broken down by the liver. Only 10 milliliters (mL) of methanol is required for irreversible optic nerve injury, resulting in partial, if not total, vision loss. Methanol in concentrations of 30 mL or more is fatal. A common shot glass in the United States carries 40 milliliters, as a point of reference In the event that someone consumes less than 10 ml of methanol, the most severe side effect they will suffer is a hangover (albeit, quite possibly the worst hangover of their life).

However, while there are techniques in place today to remove the harmful alcohol that is visually indistinguishable from water, some illegal Moonshiners may inject methanol back in to give their product a higher strength than is necessary.

There is no way to tell whether illegal alcohol includes methanol if there is no regulation in place.

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

Moonshine, often known as hooch, is a sort of high-proof liquor with a high alcohol concentration. It is frequently regarded an unaged whiskey because of its high proof and high alcohol content.

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).


Rehabilitation services to assist you or a loved one in overcoming an alcohol use disorder are available. Call (855) 772-9047 right now.

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.


Boiling the fermented sugar is part of 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 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a significantly lower temperature. Methanol vaporizes more quickly and has the potential to accumulate in dangerous concentrations if not handled correctly. It may be simply separated and disposed of with the proper equipment. However, without it, it is impossible to get rid of the methanol completely.

  1. This is followed by the formation of formic acid, which is extremely dangerous to human beings.
  2. 5.
  3. Five, since many amateur moonshine distillers do not adhere to strict regulations, it is not always feasible to ensure that the alcoholic liquid is of high quality.
  4. Any alcoholic spirits that are not properly prepared, on the other hand, might harbor germs.

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. Functional tolerance refers to the process by which your brain adjusts to compensate for the effects of alcohol on your behavior and bodily functioning
  2. It is also known as physiological tolerance. Acute tolerance occurs when impairment is most obvious immediately after the start of a drinking session and becomes less noticeable later on, even though your blood alcohol content (BAC) remains the same. Drinking alcohol in the same setting over a long period of time can lead to increased tolerance to alcohol, which is referred to as environment-dependent tolerance. In the case of drinking at home, for example, you may have a higher tolerance if you consistently consume alcoholic beverages there
  3. You can accomplish a task while under the influence of alcohol or drugs because you have “practiced” it many times before
  4. This is known as learnt tolerance. Metabolic tolerance refers to your body’s ability to eliminate alcohol at a faster and faster rate as time goes on. The enzymes in your liver that break it down can do so more quickly, which means they can limit the length of the intoxicating effects that alcohol would normally have on your system.

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

  • Alcohol cravings
  • Drinking alone on a regular basis
  • Drinking as a coping mechanism
  • Needing to consume more alcohol to attain the same desired benefits
  • And other symptoms. Drinking despite the fact that drinking may have a negative impact on one’s physical, mental, emotional, and/or financial well-being
  • Making it acceptable for alcohol use to interfere with day-to-day activities
  • Allowing alcohol use to negatively impact personal and professional relationships
  • Developing medical issues associated with alcohol use
  • Having a compromised immune system is defined as

Having alcohol cravings; drinking alone on a regular basis; consuming alcohol as a coping mechanism; needing to consume more alcohol in order to attain the desired results; Drinking despite the fact that drinking may have a negative impact on one’s physical, mental, emotional, and/or financial health; Making it acceptable for alcohol consumption to interfere with day-to-day activities; allowing alcohol use to negatively impact personal and professional relationships Acquiring medical issues associated with alcoholism.

Insufficiency of the immunological system;

  • 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.
  • Whatever path you choose, don’t hesitate to contact a reputable specialist for assistance right away.

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?

When compared to other alcoholic beverages, moonshine is distinguished by the absence of official control. As a result, moonshine is no longer lawful. It also means that you never truly know what you’re drinking until you get home. If you don’t know who manufactured the moonshine, you’re putting yourself in a dangerous situation by consuming it. Moonshine, on the other hand, is produced all over the world, particularly in countries where alcohol is either prohibited or too costly to purchase.

Additionally, while manufacturing your own moonshine may be a difficult undertaking, it is not unusual for harmful amounts of homemade brew to be produced.

As straightforward as this may appear, manufacturing methods can differ significantly from one another. At this point, the risks associated with the production of moonshine come into play.

Dangers of Moonshine

Moonshine distilleries are exempt from following any rules or regulations, and they are also exempt from paying any taxes. Equipment maintenance and sanitizing practices can all fall by the wayside if there is no monitoring in place. Brews made under these conditions have the potential to be hazardous. Drinking moonshine has a number of risks, some of which are as follows:

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.

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.


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).

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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.


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

A big likelihood exists that you’re seeking for a more potent version of your favorite moonshine than you’re used to drinking at home. While not all moonshine is harmful, ingesting alcoholic beverages with a high alcohol concentration on a regular basis might result in major health consequences. When the body is unable to metabolize these higher alcoholic beverages at a quick enough rate, diseases such as liver disease and diabetes can readily arise. Another unintended consequence is the development of alcoholism.

The same is true for your mind, which means you begin to believe that you must alcohol in order to cope with daily life.

When it comes to moonshine, alcohol dependency may develop much more quickly if you’re using 150 proof alcohol on a daily basis. When this occurs, it may be necessary to consider seeking therapy assistance.

Sources –

  • Acute bilateral blindness caused by accidental methanol intoxication during fire ‘eating’ was reported in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (– 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 (– 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!

Call 949-276-2886 at any time of day or night.

The History of Poisoned Alcohol Includes an Unlikely Culprit: The U.S. Government

This week, there were two bizarre outbreaks of death by drinking that grabbed headlines: scores of people died in Mozambique after drinking potentially poisoned beer, while another huge group died in India after drinking tainted whiskey. The concept of ” poisoned ” or contaminated unlicensed alcohol may strike American readers as something that only people in other parts of the world need to be concerned about. However, the United States has a long history of deaths from poisoned alcohol — and that’s not even counting the thousands of deaths per year that can be traced to alcohol poisoning from supposedly safe, legal drinks even today.

  • Methanol (wood alcohol) is found in a variety of industrial goods, such as formaldehyde and gasoline, and is both cheaper and stronger than ethanol (the alcohol you drink).
  • Either intentionally marketed to consumers to lower the expense of manufacturing alcohol or mistakenly consumed by a well-intentioned but uninformed moonshiner, consuming methanol can result in blindness, respiratory paralysis, or death if consumed in large quantities.
  • However, there was one significant difference between alcohol-related deaths during Prohibition and those that are currently in the news: in the 1920s, the United States government was, in a sense, accountable for the poison.
  • Unsurprisingly, individuals continued to consume alcoholic beverages despite the new ban.

Despite the fact that industrial alcohol had been “denatured” for years by the addition of toxic or unappetizing chemicals to it — the idea was originally to prevent people from evading beverage taxes by drinking commercial-use alcohol instead — it was still possible to purify the liquid so that it was safe to consume.

  • 10, 1927, issue: that year, a new recipe for denaturing industrial-grade alcohol was created, thereby doubling the poisonousness of the product as a result of its denaturing properties.
  • (In case you weren’t aware, “blind drink” isn’t simply a figure of phrase; it’s a real thing.) The notion of making alcohol lethal when making it illegal had failed to deter drinkers was not universally embraced, with New Jersey Senator Edward I.
  • Wayne B.
  • “The individual who consumes this industrial booze is committing suicide on purpose…
  • At a later date that year, Seymour M.

As TIME magazine wrote after a 1928 event in which 33 individuals died in Manhattan in three days, largely as a result of drinking wood alcohol: “Everyone expected the involvement and help of Federal forces, who had been active in Manhattan recently and were expected to intervene.” But no one could have predicted what transpired in the end.

“Inasmuch as wood alcohol is not a beverage but a recognized poison (analogous to prussic acid or iodine) and its use and sale are not prohibited by any Federal statutes, we respectfully report that the subject matter is for the consideration of the State authorities rather than of the Federal authorities in those specific instances.” The selling of poisons is regulated by state law, and those who use or sell poisons improperly are subject to criminal prosecution.

After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, there was no longer any need for Americans to put their lives in danger by consuming what may turn out to be lethal methanol. However, as this week’s news reveals, the threat of “poison hooch” continues to loom large. More TIME Magazine’s Must-Read Stories

  • Amanda Gorman discusses the most important lesson she’s learned this year. What Really Concerns Doctors in the United States About Omicron
  • Reuniting Families who have been separated under Trump is a costly endeavor. Whether or not the United States government should pay
  • The ten best films in the year 2021
  • The Foster Care System in the United States is a Dangerous Place for Trans Teens. They are now waging a campaign for change. You’re apprehensive about returning to the office. Here Are 8 Ways to Make It Easier on Yourself: Information about Digital World, the company that is funding President Donald Trump’s new social media platform, “TRUTH Social”

Write to Lily Rothman at l[email protected] She will respond.

A drink to die for? Avoiding methanol poisoning

It is not visible, nor can it be smelled or tasted. So, how would you know whether a poisoned Bali cocktail or a home-distilled spirit includes methanol? What are the signs of contamination? Published on September 10, 2013 Although you cannot see, smell, or taste it, even a tiny bit of it can make you very unwell or even kill you if you consume it. The molecule in question is called methanol, and it has lately been connected to a number of deaths in Australia and other parts of the world. But what precisely is methanol, how is it manufactured, and, more crucially, how would you know if you’ve consumed it are all questions that need to be answered.

What is methanol?

Methanol is the simplest type of alcohol and is also known as acetic acid. It is chemically linked to ethanol, the sort of alcohol that is typically found in beer, wine, and spirits – but it is far more poisonous than ethanol. The possibility of it being present in cocktails created from home-distilled spirits poses a major health risk to those who consume them. Methanol is manufactured in extremely tiny amounts during fermentation, which is the process by which alcohol is produced from plant products such as grape juice or cereal grains.

Although there are trace levels in wine and beer, Leigh Schmidtke, a senior professor in wine microbiology and production at Charles Sturt University, argues that these amounts are insignificant and will not cause difficulties when the products are prepared at home.

Commercially produced spirits are quite safe to consume since manufacturers employ methods that are particularly intended to ensure that methanol is removed from the ethanol during production.

In Schmidtke’s opinion, “there are no genuinely safe techniques to distinguish between methanol and ethanol at home.”

Who is at risk?

Travellers, particularly those who visit to countries where home-brewed spirits are readily accessible, such as Indonesia or Thailand, are believed to be the group of Australians most at risk of methanol poisoning. Even while travelers are not always aware of the source of alcohol in drinks they are provided, the safest strategy is to refrain from consuming any locally made alcoholic beverages. He believed he was drinking imported vodka and lime, according to the family of Perth carpenter Liam Davies, who died in Lombok after drinking what was assumed to be a harmless cocktail that contained methanol.) Because commercially distilled spirits are expensive, it is suspected that locally produced bootleg liquor is occasionally added to or swapped for professionally distilled spirits in beverages offered in bars to save money.

  • Additionally, complaints have surfaced of tainted home-made spirits that were kept and served in commercial spirit bottles.
  • On the internet, you may easily get the necessary equipment and instructions.
  • “Of course, going out and purchasing something is far more convenient.
  • All of the information on how to do it securely is available on the internet; it’s just that some individuals don’t follow the instructions and end up in danger.
  • If they recognize the problem immediately, it is curable.
  • Professor Gordian Fulde, head of the Emergency Department at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, says he has only encountered a few of people who have suffered from methanol poisoning in the last several years.

Recent reports of methanol poisoning in Australia include: Tasmanian police and health officials issued warnings to the public about the hazards of consuming home-distilled spirits in August 2013, following the deaths of two individuals who were related to a batch of moonshine that was circulating in a village on the state’s east coast.

Vincent Summers, 21; Joel Lynam, 21; and Bryan Wilmot, 30 — three men from Queensland, Australia, died as a result of drinking home-made grappa in June 2013.

Liam Davies, a 19-year-old carpenter from Perth, died after consuming a cocktail laced with methanol in the Indonesian island of Lombok.

Jamie Johnston, an Australian nurse, experienced irreversible brain injury after ingesting a cocktail containing the methanolin Lombok substance.

After consuming a cocktail containing methanol while on schoolies in Bali, a Sydney lady, 18, came home permanently blind after consuming the beverage. A man from remote New South Wales, aged 18, suffers temporary blindness after drinking a methanol-laced beverage in Bali, as well.

How is methanol harmful?

Travellers, particularly those going to countries where home-brewed spirits are readily accessible, such as Indonesia or Thailand, are regarded to be the group most at risk of methanol poisoning in Australia. Even if travelers are not always aware of the source of alcohol in drinks they are provided, it is best not to consume any locally made alcoholic beverages. He believed he was drinking foreign vodka and lime, according to the family of Perth carpenter Liam Davies who died in Lombok after drinking a cocktail that contained methanol.

  • Additionally, allegations have surfaced of tainted home-made spirits that were kept and served in commercial spirit bottles.
  • On the internet, you may easily find the necessary equipment and directions.
  • However, However, it’s more or less a recreational activity in nature.
  • Getting poisoned is quite simple.
  • But if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, it’s sort of goodbye in a matter of hours if you don’t already know.” It is considered that such instances are extremely unusual, despite reports of a handful of fatalities this year.
  • The Queensland Poisons Information Centre received 30,000 queries each year, just a few of which were about suspected methanol contamination in home-brewed beer.
  • After further testing, it was discovered that neither of the males had any methanol in their blood stream.
  • The victims were Vincent Summers, 21, Joel Lynam, 21, and Bryan Wilmot, 30.
  • The cocktail Liam Davies, 19, of Perth, had been poisoned with methanol on the Indonesian island of Lombok.
  • Michael Denton, a New Zealander who played rugby for Perth, died in Lombok, Indonesia, in December 2011 after drinking a methanol-laced cocktail.

After consuming a cocktail containing methanol while on schoolies in Bali, a Sydney lady, 18, came home permanently blind. Also in Bali, an 18-year-old man from remote New South Wales suffers from temporary blindness after drinking a methanol-laced cocktail.

  • Symptoms of kidney failure include: heart and circulation difficulties, liver damage, visual abnormalities such as blurred vision, tunnel vision, changes in color perception, and temporary or permanent blindness, as well as nerve and brain damage.

“As time goes on, you begin to lose your vision, you begin to lose the integrity of your thought processes, and it is possible that other organs are impacted. A really uncomfortable procedure, to put it mildly “Professor Chris Winder is a toxicologist who works in the United Kingdom.

What are the signs of methanol poisoning?

When it comes to the early indicators of methanol poisoning, they might be difficult to distinguish from the effects of alcohol in general. Within an hour, you may have minor symptoms that are comparable to those of alcohol intoxication, such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach discomfort. After 12 to 24 hours, more severe symptoms such as headache, dizziness, vertigo, and blurred vision may manifest themselves, such as nausea and vomiting. “The terrible part is that it takes 12 to 24 hours, and a lot of the time, individuals have been drinking heavily and sleeping,” Gordian Fulde explains.

In the event that eye problems such as impaired vision or difficulties seeing at bright lights arise, “they are in serious peril,” according to Fulde.

How is methanol poisoning treated?

First and foremost, all experts advise seeking medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect you have been poisoned by methanol or other chemicals. “People are aware of what it feels like to be intoxicated by alcohol, and if they see something that does not feel like regular alcohol intoxication, they should seek medical attention,” explains Paul Haber. Hospitalized patients who suffer from methanol poisoning are treated with ethanol, which reduces the amount of toxicity they suffer since it limits the creation of formic acid.

This medication, like ethanol, works by preventing the conversion of methanol into harmful chemicals in the human body.

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