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Moonshine History Poison additives to NOT put in your own Homemade Still

Posted on: October 4th, 2014 by Gweedo Decker

Mass production is something that all business firms crave and compete for, be it a sports equipment company or some restaurant. Mass

Historical homemade copper still, figure 1

Historical homemade copper still, figure 1

production is thought of as a necessary ingredient in the recipe of success by most of the CEOs around the globe, however, the question arises; can mass production compensate for the quality, and purity in our case, of the product? If your answer is in negative, then surely, you are in the right perspective. With this, it is reasonable enough to say that purity is what customers look for, or in other cases, the quality of the product. Because no one wants to flock together bier bottles if they are contaminated and lethal. See? Plus, the fact that you would be using homemade stills in lieu of industrial ones will going to make you even more concerned about the purity of the distillate.

Not at all intended to horrify you, but let me take you through a little journey to enlighten you about the dirty tricks they have got up their sleeves. (By ‘they’, I am pointing towards those hundreds of thousands of small distilleries which employ homemade stills that go as far as adding unfit to consume substances to their ethanol for the sake of taste)  Before I go to the tricks, it is no wonder that people as filthy and inhumane do not find it inappropriate to use sickening and mind blowing (in a negative sense, I mean) equipment, or to be more specific, filthy, a tad horrifying homemade stills. They would add all kinds of noxious, deadly and venomous substances to make up for the poor quality and interestingly, to improve the appearance and other physical and chemical characteristics of the ethanol. Disgusting and terrifying at the same time, they would even go as far as adding just simply repelling manure and fertilizer to the mash just to speed up the fermentation process. To elaborate on the ‘toxic, deadly and venomous substances’, as I mentioned earlier, the list goes on like this; you would find Common lye, a corrosive alkali, leading the list, added to imply a higher proof of  spirit. Our next magic ingredient would be a blend of cleaning products manufactured by a company called Clorox® again followed by our next special ingredient known as Sterno®, a company which makes burning gel. Our list ends at two more toxic materials, namely, rubbing ethanol and paint thinner. All these “ingredients” would simply be added to cover up the hard-to-swallow, the often present, fusel oils.

By this time, I think, or ‘believe’ would a better word to use here, that you have started to realize the importance of purity and quality of ANY product, let alone food items. If not, then I have something more for you. During the same frame of time, in which the above mentioned crimes took place, something very shocking was unmasked. A disease of rare kind, named “Jake Leg” was diagnosed in people numbering from around 35,000 to 50,000. As the name hints, the the disease paralyzes the legs and the feet of the patient. “There are thousands of diseases on Earth, what are you trying to imply?” you ask. Surprisingly, the disease’s causes and origins were more or less related to our topic here. The latter was traced down to a chemical called triorthocreysl phosphate, which was an ingredient used by a popular drug store. A tincture of Jamaica Ginger, the tonic being 90% ethanol was mixed in with wood ethanol, also known as methanol, to magnify the effect, but very dangerous……methanol kills and blinds.

These drastic and extreme outcomes of irresponsible distilling coupled with incapable equipment is what makes me concerned regarding the

Homemade copper still figure  1

Homemade copper still figure 1

purity of the distillate you extract using the homemade stills you will manufacture. So what’s in a pure spirit? To start with, contents of the mash and distillate purity are related to each other. Here’s an inside look,or rather more of a chemical breakdown, of a typical distillate excluding water and ethyl ethanol, produced after a molasses based bier breaks down. The distillate instills in itself, 0.152% of organic acids, 0.071% of Esters, 0.015% of Aldehydes, 0.00019% of Furfurol, 0.412% of higher ethanols and 0.0006% of nitrogenous substances. After adding up all these percentages, we find that they account for less than 1%, where no methanol is present and neither do we find the presence of any component in toxic levels. Due to the negligible amount of these above mentioned substances, measure of purity mainly depends on the volume of water present in the distillate. But how do we estimate that? There are many ways of doing this, but the best option is to use a hydrometer to determine how much water is present in the distillate. Just like everything has its limitation, so does the hydrometer in the event of this experiment. The hydrometer is not capable of measuring the minor amounts of other impurities present in the distillate (ethanol), which the human senses of odor and taste can easily do. You can also check out the following link to gain more insight on this topic:

Companies are coming to realize about the necessity of producing a pure product. No company wants its products to be banned because of the maladies caused to the consumers. However, at the same time, no company wants its sales to drop either. Does purity has something to do with sales? Yes, it does. It is a simple observation that while the customers want a chemically pure product, they do not compromise on taste. Perhaps that is the reason why some companies are ahead of others. Many times, the betterment of taste, unfortunately, depends on the addition of ingredients which are unfit to consume from the health point of view. Nevertheless, I hope that the distillate you extract using the stills in this guide is pure as it should be. Good luck to your venture of manufacturing homemade stills producing ethanol that is pure, yet, tastes good! For more information, visit can educate you to be able to make your own moonshine that is pure and free of all additives :))

Note: Remember, the distillation of ethyl-alcohols is illegal without a permit per federal moonshine laws and is inherently dangerous because of ethanol’s flammability (never operate a homemade still indoors). For more moonshine laws and other moonshine still permit information, visit: Sorry, ya even need a license for personal use due TTB federal distillation laws.

For more info on your own homemade copper still plans for home, see