Making stove alcohol

Useful information that may come in handy in an emergency situation. It can be hiking related or any other area of every day life situations. Icestorms, huricanes, tornados, floods etc.
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ConnieD
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Making stove alcohol

Post by ConnieD » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:43 am

Okay, this is a companion thread to the thread about gasoline and diesel fuel.

We all know, by now, alcohol stoves can be made to be efficient for food preparation.

How does one go about making stove alcohol?

I can find some information online, but that is geared for making beer or wine.

If stove alcohol is your goal, how do you proceed? How do you achieve the % we need? Do we need 85%?

I understand making small quantities for your own use is legal, in every state, so, can we talk about this?

Is it better not to talk about how this is done?

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russb
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by russb » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:53 pm

I remember in middle school science class we distilled wood into methanol. Not sure of the alc content % though. I am sure the process used more propane than the alcohol it produced.

sudden
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by sudden » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:01 pm

I think you need a still. And that is probably frowned upon in most states :)
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

sudden
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by sudden » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:21 pm

"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

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zelph
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by zelph » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:46 pm

Making stove alcohol is ok. It's ok to talk about it also. :D

My brother traded food scraps left over from the mess hall when he was at Ft. Bragg?. Traded with a local hog farmer for white lightning.

Making it would certainly be an interesting project. Would it be cost effective for personal use? I don't think so. For resale? Yes, most assuredly :D

That $10.00 still looks like it would not be efficient.
http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

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ConnieD
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by ConnieD » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:26 pm

I see, it can be done.

Here is an illustration of a Crockpot version that will make a quart. However, it requires electricity for the Crockpot and ice for the plastic gallon milk container, plus tubing and a jar at the other end.
http://www.happymountain.net/moonshine%20still.html

My question was more for the "teowaki" and "bushcrafter's".

I think a "low tech" and portable low output setup for stove alcohol would be more appropriate for "teowaki" and "bushcrafter's".

There are health risks, other than the obvious, intimated here: http://www.happymountain.net/index.html
http://www.happymountain.net/faqs.html

What are the dangers? Can I poison my friends or myself?

Yes, but not likely if you have a shred of common sense. As long as you use nontoxic food grade equipment and wholesome ingredients, you'll be okay. There are dangers though. Certain metals, berries, blossoms and plants can do you in. Chemically treated seed grain (for malting) and using containers that may have held toxic stuff, also pose dangers. I cover safety thoroughly in the book, but beer and wine making are really not dangerous.

Whisky making is another story though. Since it's illegal, the most obvious danger is going to jail. Death, blindness paralysis and brain damage were common during Prohibition. This was usually due to lead solder being used in still fabrication or attempts to turn some type of industrial spirits into drinkable whisky. Historically, our old time moonshiners used only lead solder in their stills, so any antique still found in the barn is probably a death trap.

Other distilling hazards include explosion and scalding from pressure build up and fire, as well as explosion from ignition of liquid alcohol or vapors. It's about like gasoline in volatility and explosive energy.
Resale is the illegal part, however, if all the laws are met it can be legal to distill alcohol for fuel.

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ConnieD
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by ConnieD » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:57 pm

Here is a video, showing distillation of a bottle of beer to alcohol.
http://www.indyarocks.com/videos/EZ-Still-205197
In this instance, copper tubing and a heat proof glass bottle is required.

This makes 1 L, however requires electricity like any other kitchen appliance.
http://www.stillspirits.com/wawcs0141823/stills.html

Here is some information about it.
http://easystill.com/

Warming up takes one hour, and then distillation takes 3 hours. This gives 1.4 liters of spirits of approximately 46% alcohol. Active charcoal purification takes place during distillation through a 500mm purifying tube.

You can, if you wish, distill the same spirits again, and the strength will be 88%
I see it requires activated charcoal. 250 Euro.

That is not "low-tech". :|

DaddyMnM
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by DaddyMnM » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:23 am

I see it requires activated charcoal. 250 Euro.
If the final product (hooch) is for the stove and not to be consumed I suspect the carbon could be skipped. It is likely for flavor enhancement only and not a factor in potency. Looks like a neat little device.

hplar
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by hplar » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:30 am

Home distillation of alcohol is illegal in most countries, including the US and Canada... Even tinkering with a crock pot or tea kettle still can get you into just as much trouble as if you were running a 300 gallon moonshine still... You don't see much of me here because I spend most of my time in forums related to distillation...

To give an example of what you might get... With bakers yeast you can ferment to roughly 14% alcohol by volume using a sugar based wash... Then you need a still that will be able to distill that 14% wash into 95% neutral spirits... 10 liters of 14% wash will yield, at best, 1.4 liters of 95% ethanol for use in your stoves... The wash would take 4 - 14 days to ferment if no problems are encountered along the way... Then a couple days to clear before racking... You would have to already have built or purchased a refractioning still capable of producing ~95% ethanol... You would then distill the wash, which would take the better part of a day due to slow take off rate required to maintain 95%... And by the time you are done and have that ~1.4 liters, and most likely less, it would have been cheaper to just head to the hardware store and purchase your stove fuel...

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ConnieD
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Re: Making stove alcohol

Post by ConnieD » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:20 am

Distillation for fuel alcohol for you own use, and not sold, is legal in federal law, in the USA, but the regulations and paperwork are daunting at federal, state and local government level. The fuel alcohol is not required to have fuel additives, either.

I started these two threads: "Making fuel alcohol" and "petrol strove or alcohol stove" because "teowaki" and "bushcraft" people talk about the best "survivalist" strategies.

It is reasonable, in that scenario, no one is coming around to inspect your crockpot or your teapot.

BTW, the link I provided states the teapot takes about 4 hours to make 1.4 liters.

It makes more sense for people to simply know the temperature required and the height of the distillation tower, or, volume and height, and figure out something more simple, but know the dangers in using a bad choice of apparatus, or, of bad technique.

There is a "bottle cap" system available for preparing wash.

I read that specially-made brewer's yeast is more efficient than baker's yeast.

Even an inefficient distillation system can be run through twice.

Nevertheless, I do think I am liking a small "twiggy fire" for my food preparation more.
Last edited by ConnieD on Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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