Moonshine Still – Fermentation Chemical Boiling Points
Formaldehydes and aldehydes 0-60 C- head
Esters : 60-80 C head
methanol bp:64.7C- head
ethanol bp: 78.5 C body
Isobutyl Alcohol bp:108 C -tail
Methyl butanols bp:113-128 C tail
Pentanols bp: 115-138 C tail
Isopentyl-alcohol bp: 132 C tail
Other Fusel Alcohols 90-140 C tail
Although the below boiling points seem distinct, the story of chemistry is much more complicated.
The chemicals are is various stages of reactions, dilutions, solutions, and combinations. For example, although the boiling point of ethanol is 78.5 degrees C, ethanol will be present below and above that temperature. In fact, even though the boiling point of water is 100 degrees C, there will be a significant amount of water vapor mixed with the ethanol even at 78.5 degrees C. Water mixes well with ethanol and forms bonds.
We have all seen steam above the water pot on the stove below 100 degrees C, correct? Yes, because some of the water molecules absorbed enough energy to excite them to vaporize, while most did not and thus remain in the pot. The only way to truly separate chemicals is with a reflux column.
Ethanol byproducts are divided into three parts: heads, body, and tails. Just remember the animal is upside down with the poisonous heads(esters, aldahydes, and methanol) first at the lowest temperatures(to 78degrees C), then the body(mostly water and ethanol, 78-85 degrees C) and tails(fusels) at the highest temperature (over 87 degrees C).
Throw away the poisonous heads(5-20%) and the nasty tails(5-20%), leaving the body of mostly ethanol and water.
Only operate any still outdoors. Obtain all required building, safety, federal and state permits and licenses before operating your still.