Ethanol specs

Could someone post some technical info on the correct ethanol to be used?
We have a few options here and I don’t want to start using the wrong type.
I presume you want as organic a possible with as little “others”.

Are you operating in CA? If so they require food grade ethanol for extraction and post processing.

California Code of Regulations, Title 17 Division 1 Chapter 13. Manufactured Cannabis Safety.
Article 2. Extractions
§40223. Ethanol Extractions.
(a) Ethanol used for extractions or for post-extraction processing shall be food grade.


you want food grade. 190 proof. you’ll need a still at whatever scale you want to play. I figure 1gal 190proof EtOH per lb biomass. you can reuse your solvent on fresh material to a point. depending on biomass potency.

if you can only get 100proof vodka, or even just village sourced corn/sorghum beer, you can use your recovery still to bootstrap your first batch of solvent.

you may want a press to get back more of your solvent. so you don’t have to brew extra solvent every time. you’re looking at 10% losses each run with just gravity drain. possibly higher in your ambient temps.

the Romans had some great presses. so low tech isn’t an issue.

Bonus points if you can do a solar heated vac assist still, and get the vac from a stationary bike and a $20 vac pump following this example

I’ve got a local solar water guy who might hook you up with a design if you make it by Eugene on your US tour…

You can ponder this setup…

Or even purchase an off the shelf unit…


We sell ‘neutral grain spirit’(NGS) from corn and is absolutely food grade (used for blending beverages). This is the standard grade, with organic ethanol like special grape base being fancier for labeling purposes.

even at 190proof, the grape tastes waaaay better than the corn based stuff.

OP is in South Africa, and I believe they are looking to bring good meds (non-huffables) into quite low tech areas of the country.

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You would want the alcohol to be anhydrous, 200 proof. You can get pure alcohol but will have a to pay tax on this or you can get special denatured alcohol where they add a additive that makes un -drinkable. If possible see if they can use ethyl acetate as the denaturent. There are other additives but make sure you feel that it is compatible with your process.

You don’t need anhydrous etoh.


The water azeotrope in 190 proof is ideal for limiting the solubility of fats with temperature. Also, 200 proof becomes 190 proof pretty quickly exposed to atmosphere.


Indeed it does and the alcohol sponge just keeps soaking it up. It isn’t just alcohols that do this either. Acetone and ethyl acetate work GREAT at absorbing water… want proof?

I did an experiment for time lapse to show how fast various solvents disolved plant wax compared side by side. After the experiment I just left the tubes out. Weeks later look at how they evaporated out OR soaked up…
The tubes all had the same amount of wax at the start. All filled to the same level at the same time. From left to right n-hexane, Dichloromethane, Acetone, Ethyl Acetate, Isopropyl-water 70/30% (rubbing alcohol), Methanol. Left at ambient room temp weeks later undisturbed.

The most polar, methanol dried out. The two non polar, n-hexane and dichloromethane dried out. The others “sponges” just soaked up the water it seems… Methanol will not form an azeotrope with water but the other polar solvents used will. I have no idea if this is why the methanol was as dry as the hexane even though the methanol obviously did not dissolve the wax and the hexane did? Look how selective the conjugated hydrocarbon dichloromethane was at disolving the wax. Wierd.


Could someone please tell me if Ethanol which is 95% pure alcohol and 5% is ethyl acetate acceptable to use for extraction followed by SPD?

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I would accept that as a viable option. Ethyl Acetate is used in my clandestine lab and is a damn fine solvent in its own right. Ethyl Acetate is present in some foods and is not a known carcingoen and is really pretty benign even with exposure that gets you high aka sniffing glue. The risk of EA is generally one of fume choking out oxygen and in fact it was issued on cotton balls in my high school science class inside little jars to affixiate bugs for class.

When the galactic bug wars begin…I am standing by and ready… You could call your extract Bug Wars OG? I’m kind of high right now but I am sure this will still seem like a good idea later too… :crazy_face:

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Thanks so much Beaker for the advice, that’s very helpful.

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Where have you found ethyla ace denatured ethanol for sale?

Its sold here in South Africa by most chemical companies.


In the US that is known as an SDA, or specially denatured alcohol. I can get it for you but you would need a TTB certification for its use before ordering.

If you are not getting EtOAc out in the head fraction, then your not doing a good job on your short-path.

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