bubbles floating in clear 200 proof food grade ethanol by culinary solvent bubble floating in clear 200 proof food grade alcohol Culinary Solvent Product Page

200 Proof
Food Grade Alcohol

by Culinary Solvent

How Culinary Solvent is Made

How is ethanol made?

  1. Feedstock Selection: Ethanol can be made from various feedstocks, including sugar cane, corn, wheat, barley, and other crops rich in starch or sugar. Non-food sources like cellulose from wood or agricultural waste can also be used in advanced ethanol production processes.

  2. Preparation of Feedstock: Depending on the source, the feedstock may need to be prepared. For instance, if the feedstock is starchy material like corn or wheat, it may need to be ground into a fine powder or mashed to expose the starches.

  3. Conversion of Starches/Sugars to Fermentable Sugars: Enzymes are typically added to the feedstock to convert starches or complex sugars into simpler fermentable sugars. This process is called saccharification.

  4. Fermentation: The fermentable sugars are then mixed with yeast or bacteria in fermentation tanks. Yeast is the most commonly used microorganism for ethanol production. During fermentation, yeast consumes the sugars and produces ethanol and carbon dioxide as byproducts.

  5. Distillation: After fermentation, the resulting mixture, called beer, is distilled to separate the ethanol from the water and other components. Distillation involves heating the mixture to vaporize the ethanol, which has a lower boiling point than water, and then condensing the vapor back into a liquid form.

  6. Dehydration: The ethanol is often further purified through processes such as molecular sieves or dehydration to remove any remaining water and impurities.

How is Culinary Solvent Made?

Culinary Solvent is Distilled from 100% Corn

Culinary Solvent is distilled from 100% corn, and our certified organic recipe uses organic, non-GMO corn.  Learn more about our USDA-certified organic alcohol.

Why Corn? 

We tested out many different alcohol bases, including sugar cane, grape, wheat, rice, barley, oats, potatoes, and sugar beets, before settling on a recipe of 100% corn.  Ultimately, we chose corn due to its supremely neutral smell and taste.  While it is possible to distill alcohol from any material that ferments, only corn can deliver consistent neutral profiles, making it an ideal option for tinctures, perfuming, and culinary applications.  

Read our description of the alcohol produced from other raw materials here. 

First Stage Distillation: 192 Proof

Our distillation process begins with a reflux column still.  The ethanol is distilled to 96.2% alcohol by volume (ABV).  The remaining 3.8% of liquid consists mostly of water and fusel oils, a natural byproduct of alcoholic fermentation. 

Dehydration to 200 Proof (99.97% ABV)

Alcohol and water cannot be separated by distillation alone past 96.2% ABV.  In order to remove the last 3.8% of dissolved water, the solution must be dehydrated using a molecular sieve.  These ceramic beads are specially engineered to literally trap the water molecule, allowing pure ethanol to flow past.  Dehydrating with a molecular sieve is chemical free and the only approved way to maintain food grade integrity.   

For more information on how molecular sieves work visit our blog page on the topic here.

Final Stage Pot-Still Rectification

After achieving 200 proof, the pure ethyl alcohol is redistilled one final time using our array of micro batch 50-gallon pot stills.  We run many small stills simultaneously when performing our rectification runs, which results in consistently pure, neutral alcohol output.

We Distill in Small Batches for a Reason

Unlike continuous industrial processes, distilling ethanol in small, limited batches using a pot still allows for the precise capture of the purest, highest quality ethanol of each the distillation run.  By using a pot still, the distiller isolates the "heads" and "tails" of the distillation run (the very first and very last batches, respectfully), saving only the purest "hearts" to be bottled up and sold.  The heads and tails, while still ethanol and still safe for consumption, are not nearly as high in quality as the hearts, and using the heads and tails can result in mixed or poorer quality of each bottled product.  Continuous industrial processes are not able to isolate the heads, tails, and hearts of distillation by the very nature of being continuous.  By only bottling and using the hearts of a distillation run, Culinary Solvent is supremely neutral in aroma and flavor profile.  Small stills require more investment and time per distillation run; however, the payout is supremely pure ethanol.

The unique design and setup of our distillery permits many small stills to run in tandem.  After distillation, each batch is gauged for proof and undergoes a last stage of filtration before bottling and labeling.

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No, dehydration of ethanol is possible without chemicals using molecular sieves.

Alcohol distilled from corn is considered gluten free.

No. There is no difference in the distillation steps to 200 proof if the corn is organic or conventionally grown. Suppliers who offer organic products take measures to ensure no "mingling" between products occurs, often requiring separate equipment and processes to offer organic alcohol.