Categories Moonshine

What Part Og The Moonshine Is Toxic?

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. As little as 10 ml of pure methanol could blind someone and as little as 30 ml could kill someone.

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

Contents

Are the heads of moonshine poisonous?

The first stuff that comes out of the still is the bad stuff. The foreshots contain methanol and other poisons that you don’t want in your product. Not only do foreshots contain very little ethanol, but they’re also the reason why you get that headache when you’re hungover.

Can you drink the heads of moonshine?

These contain the most volatile alcohols and should not be ingested, as they contain methanol and other undesirables. Commercial distillers always discard the foreshots and never consume them.

How do you stop methanol when making moonshine?

Always use a collection pot made of glass, never of plastic and preferably of small mouth. And remember to place this vessel away from any fire or other form of heat. Always dispose of the first bit of moonshine, in order to avoid contamination with methanol (which has a lower boiling point than ethanol).

Where does methanol come from in moonshine?

Methanol is a common contaminant of moonshine, which is typically made from fermenting a “mash” of corn, sugar, and yeast for a few days and then distilling the mixture. During the fermentation process, the enzymes in the yeast convert the sugar into energy for the cell.

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.”

Can moonshine give you methanol poisoning?

Outbreaks of methanol poisoning have occurred when methanol is used to adulterate moonshine (bootleg liquor). Methanol is extremely toxic to humans.

Does moonshine go bad?

Although different sources will say different things, the answer for whether moonshine can go bad or not is clear – a bottle of unflavored moonshine, much like other plain spirits, has an indefinite shelf life.

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.

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.

Does homemade alcohol contains methanol?

The real danger comes with home distilling, which is illegal in the United States but was popular during Prohibition. Homemade spirits such as moonshine, hooch and white dog can easily be made the wrong way and have added toxic methanol, DeGroff said.

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.

Why do moonshiners throw out the first jar?

This means that methanol (148F boiling temp) will start to boil before the ethanol (174F boiling temp). This is why commercial distillers always throw out the first bit of shine they produce from each production run (more on this below).

Why is moonshine called white lightning?

White lightning, a white whiskey made surreptitiously and illegally, was once produced in great quantities in South Carolina. It got its name from its color and the kick it delivers when consumed.

When did moonshine become illegal?

Fast forward to the Civil War era, and making moonshine without paying taxes was officially deemed illegal. In 1862 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’s (ATF) passed the 1862 Revenue Act.

Why does moonshine make you blind?

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.

Throw Away the First Cut: Popcorn Sutton & the Chemistry of Moonshine

This is a delight if you’re in the mood for some Americana, as well as a chemical lesson that could or might not be relevant. Nobody embodies Americana quite like Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, who became famous both for his prowess in the production of moonshine and for his contempt for the federal government during his lifetime. The combination of these factors put Sutton in constant conflict with the police, particularly when it came to moonshining and bootlegging(1), but he managed to avoid prison until 2009, when he was found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and a large amount of untaxed alcohol.

Popcorn Sutton and his still, courtesy of Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton.

You’re familiar with the phrase.

Distillation is a procedure in which liquids are progressively heated in a flask or jar over several hours.

  1. The vapor flows via a cooling condenser, which transforms it back to its liquid state, which is then collected and disposed of properly.
  2. Besides separating mixtures of liquids with various boiling points, this approach is also effective at extracting liquids from mixes of solids and other liquids.
  3. The crude soup-like stuff in this scenario is referred to as a mash, and it is this combination that allows alcohol to be produced during fermentation.
  4. Co-distillation, in which two liquids with different boiling points come out together, is not rare, despite the fact that their boiling points are different.
  5. (See Fig.
  6. One of Popcorn Sutton’s stills is currently available for purchase on eBay.
  7. As a result of yeast’s anaerobic metabolization of carbohydrates, alcohol is produced, as well as a variety of metabolites, some of which are toxic.

As seen in Figure 1, fermentation is “messy,” and variances in boiling point are important in distillation.

Figure 1: Chemical composition of moonshine as a function of the temperature at which it is distilled.

The remainder of the science is as follows.

It is only in the absence of oxygen that the first step, glycolysis, may take place.

Pitruvic acid next passes through an enzyme decarboxylation reaction (this is why gas is produced during fermentation – CO 2), which changes it to the acetaldehyde that we see in the final product.

Yeast is capable of a wide range of impressive feats.

In the fermentation route, there is nothing that implies that it should be present.

Because pectin may be present in fruits, when berries or other fruits are utilized as a sugar source, methanol is produced.

Moonshine has traditionally been manufactured using maize, which contains pectin.

Despite this, a large number of fatal instances of methanol poisoning have been observed.

What exactly are they?

It’s a good thing that you can now brew your own alcoholic beverages.

Notes: (1) The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that it was customarily manufactured at night to avoid detection by police authorities.

(2) It is estimated that a deadly dosage of methanol is between 10 and 30 mL.

It takes 790 packages of aspartame to equal 10 mL of methanol, yet people are still crazy about it despite decades of evidence that it is completely harmless.

It’s enough to make you want to drink something. (3) Those who are addicted to alcohol are disqualified. Sorry. (4) Hank Campbell is well-known for being inexpensive. As a result, instead of receiving a bottle of Jack, you will receive Jack.

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.

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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.

  • When it comes to moonshine toxicity, greed might be a contributing factor in some circumstances. If producers want to boost the amount of their moonshine, they either don’t remove the methanol or use 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 toxic. According to Kosar, “alarmingly frequently, there are accounts — typically originating in regions of Asia — about individuals going out and purchasing illicit alcoholic beverages and then having a party, and then hours into the party, people suddenly start fainting and experiencing convulsions.” Alcohol with high concentrations of methanol can potentially cause blindness. According to a 1922 story in The New York Times that referenced a report by the United States National Committee for the Prevention of Blindness, methanol caused 130 fatalities and 22 incidents of blindness in just six months during Prohibition. Even when moonshine does not contain dangerous quantities of methanol, it is impossible for a casual drinker to determine how potent a batch may be without testing it – an ambiguity that might result in unintentional alcohol poisoning for the drinker. Keeping an eye out for illegal alcoholic beverages is the most effective method for consumers to be safe, according to Kosar. Do not drink moonshine unless you are a close friend of the person who is generating it and have complete confidence in their ability to manufacture it, he said. The following is a note from the editors: To correct the boiling points of ethanol and methanol, as well as to note the legal production of commercial moonshine, this story has been updated. It has also been added that, while chemical tests for methanol in moonshine are available, most casual drinkers do not have these tests on hand while consuming the beverages mentioned in this story.

In certain instances, greed is the root cause of the toxicity of moonshine. Unscrupulous makers that wish to boost the amount of their moonshine either don’t remove the methanol or add a cheap, hazardous alcohol like isopropyl, which is found in rubbing alcohol, according to Kosar. Even though this strategy may increase revenues, it also considerably increases the likelihood that the drink may 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 having a party, and then hours into the party, people simply start fainting and having convulsions.” Drinking alcohol with high concentrations of methanol can potentially cause blindness.

Even when 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 might result in unintentional alcohol poisoning.

Don’t drink moonshine unless you’re a close friend of the person who makes it and have complete confidence in their ability to make it, he said.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct boiling points of ethanol and methanol, as well as to include information about the legal production of commercial moonshine.

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

The Dangers Of Moonshine

In certain circumstances, greed is the root cause of the toxicity of moonshine. Unscrupulous makers that wish to boost the amount of their moonshine either do not remove the methanol or add a cheap, hazardous alcohol like isopropyl, which is found in rubbing alcohol, according to Kosar. Although this strategy may increase earnings, it considerably increases the likelihood that the drink may be deadly. “With worrying frequency, there are reports — frequently coming from regions of Asia — where people go out and buy illicit alcohol, they throw a party, and then hours into the party, people suddenly start fainting and having convulsions,” Kosar added.

Even when moonshine does not contain dangerous quantities of methanol, it is impossible for a casual drinker to determine how potent a batch may be without testing it – an ambiguity that might result in unintentional alcohol poisoning.

“Unless you’re a close friend of the person who is manufacturing the moonshine and have complete confidence in their ability to manufacture it, don’t drink it,” he said.

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

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

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard horror stories about the hazards of illegally brewed booze like moonshine. Methanol, on the other hand, is the genuine perpetrator of these true stories.

Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, is produced as a byproduct of the distillation procedure. In addition to serving as a primary element in gasoline, insecticides, paint thinners, and other products, the use of methanol should not be taken lightly.

The Explosive Power Of Moonshine

There have probably been some warnings regarding the hazards of illegally made liquor, whether it is moonshine or another type of alcoholic beverage. Methanol, on the other hand, is the main offender in these genuine instances. It is a byproduct of the distillation process and is also known as methyl alcohol. The ingestion of methanol, which is a primary component in gasoline, insecticides, paint thinners, and other products, should not be handled lightly.

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.

Cooper Smith
  • When you take your first taste of methanol, you won’t be able to tell that it has harmful properties. It will only serve to make folks even more inebriated. However, after the methanol has been digested, it may have a very detrimental effect on the body. It just takes 10 milliliters (ml) of methanol to permanently damage the optic nerve, resulting in partial, if not full, blindness. Methanol in concentrations of 30 mL is deadly. A common shot glass in the United States holds 40 mL, as a point of comparison. If less than 10 mL of methanol is ingested, the worst that can happen is that someone will have a hangover (albeit, quite possibly the worst hangover of their life). A person who swallows 10 ml or more of methanol, even if it is spread out over several drinks, might suffer irreversible harm or even death. While there are techniques in place today to remove the harmful alcohol that is visually indistinguishable from water, some illicit Moonshiners may inject methanol back in to give their product a higher strength. Obviously, there is no way to tell if illicit alcohol includes methanol if there is no regulation.

Moonshine’s Gone Legit But It Still Is Dangerous

When you take your first drink of methanol, you won’t notice that it has a serious potential. It will only serve to make them more inebriated. However, when it has been metabolized, methanol may have a very damaging effect on a person’s health. It just takes 10 milliliters (mL) of methanol to permanently damage the optic nerve, resulting in partial, if not full, blindness. 30 mL of methanol is deadly. As a point of comparison, a normal shot glass in the United States holds 40 mL. If less than 10 mL of methanol is drunk, the worst that may happen is a hangover (albeit, quite possibly the worst hangover of their life).

While there are techniques in place today to remove the harmful alcohol that is visually indistinguishable from water, some illicit Moonshiners may pour methanol back in to produce a higher strength. Obviously, without regulation, there is no way to tell if illegal alcohol includes methanol.

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.

Potential Dangers

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 widespread. Moonshine suffered peaks and troughs in the supply and demand chain, much like any other item manufactured in the United States. When the price of sugar increased in the United States beginning in the 1950s, the moonshine industry suffered a severe downturn.. Because to an upsurge in the use of marijuana and prescription medicines at epidemic proportions in the United States, it appeared that the spirit was becoming a disappearing tradition.

With the current trend toward increasing costs at the liquor shop, particularly for foreign spirits, moonshining has once again risen to the forefront of public discussion and debate.

Tennessee legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages at big-box retailers such as Walmart and Sam’s Club the next year, in 2007.

Depending on the model, they can cost anywhere from $150 to $11,000, or even more! One salesman said that the demand for his copper stills had more than doubled in recent years, and that he had sent stills to every state in the United States of America.

Distilling Process

Once upon a time, moonshine was a significant financial component of the Appalachian economy, serving as a source of money during hard economic times and in places where poverty was prevalent. Moonshine, like every other item produced in the United States, saw peaks and troughs in the supply and demand cycle. When the price of sugar increased in the United States starting in the 1950s, the moonshine industry suffered a severe downturn. The spirit appeared to be slipping away as the United States suffered a surge in the use of marijuana and the prescription of opioids, 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-emerged into the limelight.

Tennessee began selling legal booze at large box retailers like Walmart and Sam’s Club the following year.

The prices range from $150 to $11,000, with a wide variety in between.

Consumption

Moonshine was historically a significant financial component of the Appalachian economy, serving as a source of revenue during difficult economic times and in places where poverty was prevalent. Moonshine underwent peaks and troughs in the supply and demand chain, much like any other item produced in the United States. When the price of sugar increased in the United States beginning in the 1950s, the production of moonshine suffered a severe decline. The spirit appeared to be slipping away as the United States saw a surge in the use of marijuana and prescription opioids, which reached epidemic levels in the region.

With the current trend toward increasing costs at the liquor shop, particularly for foreign spirits, moonshining has once again risen to the forefront of public discussion.

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

They range in price from $150 to $11,000, with a wide range in between. One salesman said that demand for his copper stills had more than quadrupled in recent years, and that he had sent stills to every state in the United States.

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.

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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 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.

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. It is believed by Appalachian anthropologists that the Scotch-Irish immigrants who arrived in the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s carried with them their history of home brewing and the family recipe for a high-potency alcoholic beverage known as hooch. “‘Night work’ refers to the fact that it is carried out at night so that the smoke from the still will not be seen to onlookers. 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. “XXX” was commonly found on the side of antique clay jars, indicating their age. It was said that the number of “X”s signified the number of times the brew had gone through the distillation process.

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 fermentation method that is used to generate moonshine produces two types of alcohol: methanol and ethanol. Methanol is the primary alcohol produced by the process. It’s the drinking form of ethanol. A byproduct known as wood alcohol is a hazardous substance that can leach into the finished product if it is present in high concentrations. Because the fermented product is boiled, the distillation procedure that follows yields concentrated ethanol. Because ethanol has a boiling point of 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit and methanol has a boiling point of 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit, moonshiners have difficulty producing their products at high temperatures.

When done correctly, it only produces in minute amounts and can be readily separated from and disposed after being separated.

The fact that methanol is so harmful is because it is converted by the human body into formaldehyde, which is an element used in the production of embalming fluid, which is very toxic.

The danger of mortality when consumed in big quantities exists. Most of the hazards associated with drinking moonshine are due to the high concentrations of methanol that may be found in the beverage.

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

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 (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.

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Analysis of moonshine for contaminants

Some moonshine products in the past had potentially harmful pollutants, which was the goal of this study. Despite the fact that moonshine manufacturing persists in the United States, no research have been conducted since the early 1960s to determine the composition of moonshine. We hypothesize that moonshine continues to contain high levels of pollutants that are potentially hazardous. Fourty-eight samples of moonshine that had been illicitly produced were collected from law enforcement organizations.

  1. The amount of lead in the sample was evaluated using atomic absorption spectrophotometry and a graphite tube atomizer, respectively.
  2. The results showed that the ethanol level ranged from 10.5 percent to 66.0 percent, with a mean value of 41.2 percent (see table).
  3. A total of 29 out of 48 samples (60 percent) revealed lead amounts more than or equal to the EPA water limit of 15 parts per billion (ppb).
  4. There were no measurable quantities of acetone, isopropanol, or ethylene glycol in any of the samples.
  5. Extrapolations based on the reported lead content of moonshine show that persistent moonshine drinkers may have higher lead concentrations in their bloodstreams.

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Scientists Link Moonshine to Toxic Levels of Lead

As soon as people hear about the dangers of lead poisoning, they immediately think of youngsters choking on broken pieces of old house paint and visitors bringing back lead-contaminated pottery from Mexico. Moonshine, according to a physician from the University of Virginia Health System, is another another possible hazard to consider, albeit one that is extremely infrequent in the United States. It is largely produced and consumed in rural and mountainous regions, but toxicology experts are warning that the lead solder used to construct certain moonshine stills in Virginia may and does harm those who come into contact with it.

  • According to Holstege, this can result in dangerous quantities of lead being ingested by humans.
  • “It’s the people who utilize it on a regular basis.” Following the discovery of a moonshine still concealed in a shed on a wooded piece of a Fairfax County homeowner’s property in the Fair Oaks region, the research gained particular local importance last week.
  • Analyses of samples collected from the home-made distillery are now being carried out.
  • Doctors at Emory University’s School of Medicine in Atlanta discovered in 2001 that a startling percentage of emergency department patients were moonshine users who, as a result of the liquor, had previously undetected increased levels of lead in their bloodstreams.
  • Despite the fact that the fatality rate has decreased significantly in recent years, the data indicated that moonshine continues to be a source of high-dose lead exposure among adults.
  • The drink is produced in large quantities in the United States each year, with much of it occurring in south-central Virginia.
  • Moonshine, whose name comes from the fact that it is produced under the cover of night with just the moon as a guide, can be produced for as low as $3 a gallon, has a proof of 130 proof or higher, and is sold free of taxes – all of which make it a very appealing commodity in some markets.
  • As he explained, “we’ve seen the moonshine concerns come up again and time again.” “It’s still being consumed by the public.
  • The evidence is quite strong – it will knock you out.
  • According to the findings of the University of Virginia research, which evaluated 48 moonshine samples taken from Virginia stills over a five-year period, 43 samples contained lead levels ranging from 599 parts per billion to 599 parts per billion.
  • “Hopefully, this will raise awareness among the general population that there are still risks connected with drinking moonshine,” he stated.

The repercussions of lead poisoning are numerous and include harm to the brain and nerve system as well as anemia, high blood pressure, and renal difficulties, to mention a few of the conditions it may cause.

Moonshine Poisoning Is Still a Massive, Deadly Problem Worldwide

Photo courtesy of vonindivia Flickr Moonshine’s standing in the First World—specifically, in the United States—has deteriorated from being a ubiquitous substance during Prohibition to somewhat of a laughing stock. We could conceive of it as a treasured regional product of Appalachia, or as a strong, old-timey whiskey brewed in backyards by elderly guys in the deep South, among other things. However, in many places of the world, moonshine—an unregulated alcoholic beverage brewed under dubious conditions—isn’t only a quirk of hill-dwelling culture: it’s also a serious problem.

  1. In India, it is referred to as arrack, which means “country liquor.” Moonshine production has not yet followed in the footsteps of other once-dangerous technologies, and users continue to face a high level of risk.
  2. In Mumbai, ninety-seven persons (some accounts indicate 99) were murdered over the weekend as a result of ingesting illegal homemade moonshine laced with high doses of methanol, a colorless type of alcohol that is exceedingly poisonous when consumed.
  3. In addition, it has a flavor that is similar to its drinkable chemical relative, but it is exceedingly hazardous when taken, resulting in blindness, unconsciousness, and/or death if consumed in large quantities.
  4. More than 1,000 liters of arrack were recovered, and seven people—five men and two women—were detained for allegedly running illegal “drinking dens” in Mumbai’s Laxmi Nagar slums, including culpable homicide and poisoning.
  5. Some people held one specific individual, Francis D’Mello, responsible for the deaths that occurred in one of the improvised bars.
  6. This is not the first time that a genuine massacre has taken place in India as a result of illicit moonshine activities, as was the case in 2008.
  7. Contrary to all of the horror stories, bootleg liquor continues to be popular in India, as well as in other poor countries where legitimate alcoholic beverages can cost up to seven times as much as their handmade equivalents.
  8. Despite the fact that these mass killings are caused by traffic, they continue to be all too prevalent in many regions of the world.

The only hope is that one’s appearance will be terrifying enough to deter those who buy or sell this cheap wine, which is all far too expensive when one considers its genuine prices.

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You might be interested:  How Long Does It Take To Make Moonshine In A Still?

How to Test Moonshine?

The process of making moonshine alcohol is a pleasant hobby that can involve the entire family (or simply a “father and son” or “father, son and grandchild” activity), or it might involve a small group of friends. The process of making your own moonshine alcohol may expose you to an entire community of individuals who share your love for the same thing. It is a rewarding experience that does not cause harm, is entertaining, and does not involve a large financial commitment. Nonetheless, if you want to get the most enjoyment out of your homemade moonshine, you must pay close attention to the way it is prepared and tested to see whether or not it is any good.

Copper is not only a traditional method of making moonshine, but it also has numerous advantages, such as the ability to absorb sulfur-containing syntheses, the ability to reduce bacterial contamination, the ability to transfer heat efficiently, and the ability to improve the overall quality of the product.

  • Lead may create health problems, and once it enters your body, it is extremely difficult to get rid of.
  • Natural substances should always be used (water, sugar, yeast).
  • Clean it well with water before using it, as this will help you to see if there are any leaks in it that might allow the alcohol vapor to escape, resulting in a waste of your time and money and time and money.
  • If you are unable to do so, assume that the leak is still not completely sealed or that you have discovered further leaks, and then stop everything and do not restart until the leak has been repaired (s).
  • Also, keep in mind to keep this vessel away from any open flames or other sources of heat.
  • As a result of the terrible smell and taste of your moonshine, you may have contracted methanol contamination, which should be avoided because it is dangerous.
  • You should not drink it if you notice a strange, chemical odor.
  • 2.The spoon test is the most accurate.
  • You should not consume your alcohol if it is:a)Red, which indicates that lead has been added to it.
  • c)Blue: This is the greatest color to obtain since it indicates that you have achieved your goal of producing nice, safe moonshine alcohol.

Once again, do not consume it. There are no better ways to make quality moonshine alcohol than to adhere to the guidelines outlined above and to always rely on the spoon test, which will never fail to yield suitable results. Posted byJason Stone on the internet

Can moonshine make you blind? – Truth vs. Myth

Moonshine Blindness is a condition that occurs when there is too much moonlight in the sky. One of the most often asked concerns we receive from those who are new to the distilling industry is, “Is it true that moonshine may cause you to become blind?” While it is true that moonshine will not cause you to become blind, excessive amounts of methanol will. So long as you do not completely botch the batch, you should not wind up with methanol concentrations that are high enough to cause harm (other than give you a bad hangover).

Methanol Toxicity

Methanol (also known as methyl alcohol) is the noxious substance that has produced a slew of health problems and contributed to the widespread belief that moonshine is responsible for the phenomenon of night blindness. So, what is the mechanism through which methanol causes blindness? Methanol, in its purest form, is extremely hazardous. During the liver’s processing of methanol, enzymes break it down into a variety of distinct chemicals, including formic acid and formaldehyde. It is believed that the formic acid is harmful to the optic nerve and is the major cause of moonshine blindness, whilst the formaldehyde is toxic to the rest of your neurological system and causes a variety of health problems.

How does Methanol end up in my wash?

Methanol is an organic chemical that may be found in naturally occurring quantities in various fruits and vegetables, among other things. This compound can also be created as a by-product by the yeast during the fermentation process, which occurs most frequently in fruit washes with a high pectin concentration (you can use apectic enzymeto try and remove as much of the pectin as possible). Because methanol is a naturally occurring molecule, however, it may be found in both beer and wine, which contributes to the urban legend about moonshine’s hazards.

It is clear from the examples above that if you are distilling a fruit-based wash, it has the potential to contain far more methanol.

If wine/beer have methanol in them also, why do people make such a big deal out of moonshine?

In various fruits and vegetables, methanol is an organic molecule that occurs naturally. The compound can also be created as a by-product by the yeast during the fermentation process, which occurs most frequently in fruit washes with a high pectin concentration (you can use apectic enzymeto try and remove as much of the pectin as possible). In contrast to this, because it is a naturally occurring chemical, methanol may be found in both beer and wine, thereby perpetuating the urban legend that moonshine is dangerous to consume.

Clearly (and as previously said), when distilling a fruit-based wash, the potential methanol content is far higher, hence you may want to be more liberal with your foreshots in order to avoid over-distillation (we will discuss foreshots more later).

So, if my wash alone doesn’t have much methanol in it, why should I care so much about it?

Methanol is one of the primary components of alcoholic drinks that contributes to the development of severe hangovers. Consider the following example:-Have you ever noticed how awful red wine hangovers can be? Now look up at the methanol concentrations that I stated before……………….. – Notice how the hangovers from high-quality vodka aren’t nearly as awful as they could be? Because they are obsessed with quality, it is likely that they are doing an excellent job of eliminating all of the undesirable elements.

But believe me when I say that you may absolutely drink too much of it….

6 Common Distilling Myths and the Facts Behind Them

When it comes to distilling and distilled spirits, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. Many are completely innocuous, while others might cost businesses millions of dollars or even cause illness and death. Here are six commonly held beliefs, as well as the actual facts that support them.

1.) WHISKEY STONES COOL BETTER

Another popular distillation myth revolves around the use of whiskey stones in the process. It is theoretically possible to place the stones in your freezer, then add them to your drink, where they will serve to cold the beverage without diluting it. It turns out, however, that they are not particularly good at their jobs. Ice cools by converting from a solid to a liquid state, a process that draws heat from the beverage it is placed in. Moreover, it is a process that your whiskey stones will not be able to duplicate (until your whiskey reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or higher!) Plus, according to scientists, adding water can improve the taste of the drink as well!

2.) KNOCKS AND DENTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

It is believed that whiskey stones are responsible for a number of classic distillation myths. If you place the stones in your freezer for a couple of hours before adding them to your drink, the stones will chill the liquid without diluting it. They don’t seem to be up to the task, as it turns out. Ice cools by converting from a solid to a liquid state, a process that draws heat from the beverage it is placed in to cool. Moreover, it is a process that your whiskey stones will not be able to recreate (until your whiskey reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or higher!) Aside from that, adding water, according to scientists, can make it taste even better!

3.) LONGER AGED WHISKEY IS ALWAYS BETTER

Isn’t it true that older whiskey is usually better and so deserves higher prices? So, in order to address this topic, let’s take a small step back and consider how whiskey obtains its flavor. Technically speaking, whiskey distillation takes only a few days and may be served immediately after distillation. Although it would be entirely transparent, it would have a mild flavor that reminded me of malted barley combined with rubbing alcohol. This isn’t exactly what we consider to be whiskey. This sort of environment, together with the whiskey’s traditional smoky taste and golden-brown color, contribute to the whiskey’s classic smokey flavor and golden-brown hue.

At the same time, the wood begins to contribute to the overall taste of the dish.

Just because a whiskey has been matured for a longer period of time does not always imply that it tastes better.

In the words of Dave Pickerell, former master distiller of Maker’s Mark, “It takes a village to make a whiskey.” “It is conceivable for a spirit to become old beyond recognition. Occasionally older is preferable, but sometimes older is just preferable.”

4.) MOONSHINE LEADS TO BLINDNESS

Another widely held belief is that moonshine may induce blindness. Is it possible to get blind after drinking moonshine? Both yes and no. Certainly, if it’s prepared poorly and/or in ancient lead pipes, it has the potential to cause blindness.

Methanol

m ethanol (methyl alcohol) is extremely hazardous and can be found in large concentrations in moonshine if the distillation process is not done properly (see below). The methyl alcohol is broken down by our liver producing formaldehyde and formaldehyde esters. And it is the formic acid that has the potential to harm our eyes. As a result, when moonshine with high quantities of methanol is distilled incorrectly, it might result in blindness.

Lead Poisoning

m ethanol (methyl alcohol) is extremely hazardous and can be found in large concentrations in moonshine if the distillation process is not done correctly (see below). We produce formaldehyde andformic acid as a result of the breakdown of methyl alcohol by our liver. Our eyes are particularly sensitive to theformic acid. Moonshine containing high quantities of methanol can, therefore, cause blindness when it is incorrectly distilled.

5.) ONLY CERTAIN VODKAS ARE GLUTEN FREE

If the moonshine is not correctly distilled, it may include significant concentrations of methanol (methyl alcohol), which is extremely hazardous. The methyl alcohol is broken down by our liver producing formaldehyde andformic acid. And it is theformic acid that has the potential to harm our eyes. As a result, when moonshine with high quantities of methanol is distilled incorrectly, it might induce blindness.

6.) MORE DISTILLATIONS GUARANTEES BETTER VODKA

It is true that better-tasting vodka is more likely to have been distilled more than once. Is it true that distilling vodka more and more produces better and better-tasting vodka as time goes on? No, not at all. Every time vodka is distilled, there are fewer and fewer contaminants in the finished product. As a result, you might claim that it becomes “cleaner” and “smoother” with each distillation. However, over-distilling vodka can have the same effect as maturing whiskey for an excessive amount of time.

If a vodka manufacturer boasts that their vodka has been distilled hundreds of times, it may also be attempting to conceal the low-quality raw materials from which it is obtained.

Both are attempts to overcompensate for a poor quality product and conceal it.

Related Distillery Posts You Might Be Interested In

  • How to Start a Craft Distillery
  • What You Need to Know. I’m wondering how much it would cost to start a craft distillery. For a new craft distillery, market research is extremely important. Exactly What Are the Legal Requirements for Establishing a Distillery? What is the distinction between whiskey and bourbon, as well as between bourbon and Scotch
  • Spirits that age quickly vs those that age slowly
  • Why Breweries Might Want to Include Distilled Spirits in Their Recipes

About Paul Hughes, OSU Fermentation Science Instructor

Paul Hughes, Ph.D., has joined the faculty of Oregon State University in order to start a distilled spirits department. Paul possesses a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration on innovation, and he travels the world teaching, training, and consulting on various topics. Two textbooks (one on beer, one on whiskey) as well as more than 60 peer-reviewed and conference articles have been published by him, and he has been granted four patents.

At the five-day Distillery Startup Workshop, Paul teaches real tools and practices that students may use to effectively start and operate their own artisan distillery business.

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