View Full Version : Ice brewing

12-15-2005, 03:10 PM
i am a beginner mead maker and am wondering about ice brewing. i live in a moderate climate, but we get severe cold snaps (-10 or more) in jan/feb which usually last for ten days at a time or more. my thinking is, after my initial stages of fermentation are done and i rerack my mead (raspberry this time) i can sit it outside during one of these cold snaps in order to increase the alcohol content. anyone with any experience on this?

12-15-2005, 04:38 PM
Welcome Babu,

Yes, it has been discussed before.


Note the issue of legality at the end though.


P.S. You can use the 'Search' function located between the Help and Profile buttons above to find topics previously discussed.

12-15-2005, 05:44 PM
I left my Pyment out for 10 hours in temperatures between 0 to 10 (f) to try and get the yeast to drop... it never developed any ice. I had the carboy in a larger bucket of water that froze solid. My thinking on this was that the solid ice that froze around the carboy would keep it cold when I brought it back inside so that the carboy could remain cold and undisturbed for several hours before I bottled. For those who are interested... the yeast never dropped. I drew off a couple of bottles anyway. Angus can attest to the taste of the pyment even with residual yeast.

My point being... it's going to have to be freaking cold out to work.


12-15-2005, 10:47 PM
Oh cold distillation, I hadn’t thought of that. In terms of distillation in Australia, you can own a 5l still for distilling water and essential oils but not alcohol <in Victoria at least> my point being you can buy decent stills so you don’t risk blowing yourself up. In New Zealand distillation of alcohol is 100% legal.

The good thing about heat stills is methanol has a lower evaporation point than alcohol, hence you always get rid of the first little bit <mentioned else ware>

Here’s some information I found from a still been sold on e-bay

NOTE: In Australia, it is only legal to distil alcohol if you have a licence to do so. If you don’t have a licence, then the government misses out on its tax. By buying this still, you are certifying to me that you will NOT use it in an illicit manner. Laws are different in different countries – it is your responsibility to use this still in an appropriate manner for where you live.

In Australia it is legal to:
• Own this still
• Make your own essential oils for a fraction of the price
• Make ultra pure water

Some technical notes

Ethanol’s boiling point is 78.4 °C
Ethanol’s freezing point −114.3 °C (don’t think we have to worry about that)
Density and phase 0.789 g/cm3, liquid

Waters boiling point 100°C
Waters freezing point 0°C
Density and phase .917 g/cm3, solid

Methanol’s boiling point is 64.7 °C
Methanol’s Freezing point is -97 °C
Density and phase 0.7918 g/cm3, liquid

I guess technically if everything is separated you should discard the top bit of cold distilled liquid <the methanol should be there> and the water should freeze under the ethanol.

Hope that’s of some help,


12-15-2005, 11:42 PM
Methanol’s Freezing point is -97 °C

I guess technically if everything is separated you should discard the top bit of cold distilled liquid <the methanol should be there> and the water should freeze under the ethanol.

Just as a point of reference: -97° Celsius is equal to -143.6° Fahrenheit.

The coldest temperature ever recorded was in Vostok, Antarctica in 1983, when it dropped to -128.6 °F (-89.2 °C).

You'd need a pretty hip refrigerator to get the required temps for separating the methanol out of any mead jack you attempted, since this cannot happen naturally anywhere on Earth. You could probably pull this off on Mars, in the winter, but no doubt it will be illegal up there too. ;)

Methanol and the other undesirable parts of fermented drinks are concentrated by distillation by freezing, giving rise to a reputation for terrific hangovers if abused.

A good introductory article on this topic is at Wikipedia here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeze_distillation).


12-16-2005, 12:27 AM
Ethanol’s boiling point is 78.4 °C
Methanol’s boiling point is 64.7 °C

So, since methanol is widely regarded as being a main source of hangover symptoms... If you were to heat your mead to 150 (f)... just slightly above Methanol's boiling point and hold it there for say 10 minutes, would you be able to rid your mead of most of the methanol and reduce the incidence or severity of Hangovers? Anybody know?


12-16-2005, 01:44 AM
Oh that was a real handy article on freeze distillation, if your thinking about doing it, have a read of that article. In reference to the boiling points, that’s probably the best way to rid a brew of methanol, and other impurities.

From some brief reading they seem to use ethanol to treat methanol poisoning?

“Methanol is toxic, as its metabolites formic acid and formaldehyde cause blindness and death. It enters the body by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin. Fetal tissue will not tolerate methanol. Dangerous doses will build up if a person is regularly exposed to fumes or handles liquid without skin protection. If methanol has been ingested, a doctor should be contacted immediately. The usual fatal dose: 100–125 mL (4 fl oz). Toxic effects take hours to start, and effective antidotes can often prevent permanent damage. This is treated using ethanol or fomepizole[1]. Either of these drugs acts to slow down the action of alcohol dehydrogenase on methanol, so that it is excreted by the kidneys rather than being transformed into toxic metabolites.” – From wikipedia


12-16-2005, 02:16 AM
Hi Mu,
In theory you are right but freezing methanol could prove a bit difficult - as pointed out by others - unless you have access to a liquid nitrogen set-up. By freezing mead you will only succeed in concentrating both the methanol and ethanol---> mean hangovers!!!