Curious newbie here.

Watching the "moonshiners" show the other night and the guys were doing fractional distillation by freezing their mash and removing the ice. They then simply boiled to remove the methanol.

Is it really this simple? I am heading up to northern Michigan from Florida next month and was thinking of making a strawberry brandy mash before I leave and the it up there to let it freeze for a few nights, then simply burn off the methanol.

I have read that the proof is not as strong, but I am not concerned too much about that.

Is there a resource for this? I have seen a few strawberry brandy recipes, but those are for heat distillation. I am guessing the mash creation is the same, not too acidic and keep it clean.

Thanks for the help!!


You can't just "burn off" the methanol, or you would burn off the ethanol as well. Simply removing the ice is called jacking, and it will raise the proof, but it isn't exactly a brandy. If you want a brandy, just do heat distillation; it will save you time and effort.


"Just" boiling off the methanol may be difficult, not impossible, but I think it would require very good temp control.

Regarding freeze distillation or Jacking (hence Apple Jack) I found this article that seems to be reasonably grounded - https://boozemakers.com/freeze-distillation-make-liquor-without-still/


You cannot reliably boil off just methanol, as its relative volitility in an ethanol/water mixture is too close to that of the ethanol itself.

There are other chemicals produced by fermentation that are also unpleasant/toxic such as acetone and acetylaldehyde that can be separated to a certain degree, but will still carry off a fair bit of ethanol with them.

Additionally, in conventional distillation, there are also a lot of unwanted compounds that come across at higher boiling points, that you have no way of separating with this method.

Freeze concentration/jacking is not fractional distillation as you have no way of separating fractions, and so is probably not suitable if you want to concentrate what you start with a lot.

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