Ok so I'm making some hard alcohol from a sugar-wash. I used too little yeast and fermentation ended up halting at like 7% ABV, it then stood around for like a week and a half till I got the new yeast. I freeze distilled most of it after it finished, hopefully at around 13% but can't tell because I added some water with the new yeast, used a sterile syringe and distilled water. Because I used a new container and my calculations were waaaay off, I got something really sweet, so I'm using it as a base for alcoholic lemonade instead of the usual ultrasonic aged whisky I make. I drank like 2 glasses and I'm fine, but I drank them slowly in the evenings. It has a bit of a weird off-taste, but, to me at least, not bad, more fermenty, even though stronger then the one I get when I make kwass(didn't get time to turbo clean it yet though). My question is, is there any chance it has something harmful in it from just a sugar wash? Because with the halt and all the process took like a month, even though it was mostly hermetically sealed for that time. I'm a bit paranoid about getting drunk on it. Even after freeze distilling it's not strong enough to light on fire but if I heat like 100 ml of it and keep an open flame on top, I get like a second of yellow flame(methanol probably) then it goes out and start burning transparent or blue in the dark, I never let it go till the end cause it seems like it wanted to burn for a while. By the burn test the methanol content should not be an issue(I think). Any thoughts?

1 Answer 1


No, from brewing just with yeast, and even from a bit of freeze distilling, you won't get harmful chemicals in your beer. Also not from letting it stand before you added other yeast. It could get contaminated with other bacteria, yeasts or fungi, but at 7% alcohol at that point, I doubt if they would feel fine and ferment further.

The test with the flame does not mean anything. Ethanol and methanol burn the same. A yellow flame is just incomplete combustion. Once the alcohol is warm enough, you get a proper complete combustion, signified by a blueish flame.

  • My issue was with other stuff getting into it, I heat it up to 70 ish degrees to make sure the methanol goes away and the taste changed significantly so it deffo had something weird in it. It still tastes a little bit weird. I'll guess it's a little bit of lactic acid or something around that area. Since it was sweet and that got concentrated with distilling I put some caramelized sugar in it to make it liquor-is and it's pretty good, not bad for a salvaged thing I was expecting to be a fail Mar 28, 2021 at 4:01
  • I don't know of any way not involving distillation to remove sugar though, it's way too sweet for my taste Mar 28, 2021 at 4:02
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    Heating up things to around 70° will not really add toxic compounds. But all the organic compounds will definitely change in taste, not least due to the yeast that is still there. Alcotec has yeasts that can ferment up to 23% ABV. That would be the way to remove the rest of the sugars.
    – chthon
    Mar 28, 2021 at 17:14
  • I got it to like 30-40% by freeze distilling, also the heating up was to remove the methanol and other weird things, as methanol has a boiling point around 64 degrees and a lot of other nasty compounds are really volatile. I used high alcohol yeasts from the beginning, it ended up low because I miss-calculated the sugar needed and added too much and it messed with the yeast. Also the sugar is an issue because trough freeze distilling that also got concentrated Mar 28, 2021 at 17:55
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    Compounds in solution very often do not follow their independent boiling points, instead you will need to look at relative volatility for the appropriate solution. This is absolutely the case with methanol in an ethanol/water solution. Fortunately in most ferments, methanol is produced by the breakdown pectin, which is primarily from fruit. A sugar wash should have almost no measurable methanol to begin with.
    – Jack
    Apr 16, 2021 at 2:17

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