When distilling alcohol it is important to monitor the temperature of vapor being condensed within your still as this will tell a lot about the product that’s coming out of your pot or reflux still. Here are some boiling points of common products contained in your mash in Celsius and Fahrenheit
- Acetone – 56.5C (134F)
- Methanol (wood alcohol) – 64C (147F)
- Ethyl acetate – 77.1C (171F)
- Ethanol – 78C (172F)
- 2-Propanol (rubbing alcohol) – 82C (180F)
- 1-Propanol – 97C (207F)
- Water – 100C (212F)
- Butanol – 116C (241F)
- Amyl alcohol – 137.8C (280F)
- Furfural – 161C (322F)
Boiling Temperature – Affected By Concentrations Within The Wash
The above table show’s “Pure” Ethanol’s boiling temperature is 172 degrees Fahrenheit. When distilling however this is not the case because the Ethanol in the wash is diluted by other products mainly water. This directly effects the boiling temperature, the more water in the solution the higher the boiling temperature of the mash will become.
This can be seen by installing a temperature gauge in your boiler and measure the temperature of your mash as it boils. Note the temperature when your still starts producing ethanol will be far higher then the boiling point of Ethanol.
To Illustrate this I’ve added a chart below that show’s the boiling temperature of ethanol as a function of concentration of ethanol within your wash.
What’s the Difference between Vapor Temperature and Wash Temperature ?
The Wash temperature is measured in the boiler were as the Vapor temperature is measured in the Head or Column of the Still just before the condenser. The Vapor temperature can be used for making cuts during the distillation process.
Still Head Temperature For Making Moonshine – When To Start And Finish Collecting
Knowing when to start collecting moonshine from your still and when to finish is very important. You will often start to see some product dripping from your still when the Head / Column temperature reaches 56 Celsius. But generally the temperature range that you want to collect Moonshine within is between 78-82 °C and we generally stop collecting the distillate once we start getting fusels coming out. This is generally happens at a head temperature of 94 °C or higher.
To Learn more about the process of Making Moonshine Head over to our Distilling 101 page.