Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Where would I shop for safe to drink lab alcohol?

  1. Sep 16, 2013 #1
    Hello.
    I am performing some biochemical process where the end product is going to be intended for human consumption.

    I am curious where I can buy large quantities of ethanol that is safe for drinking.
    I don't want to use the liquor store corn alcohol because it has some impurities reintroduced back in to it to make it taste better. This is not what I need.

    No, I am not planning to drink it. No, I am not making drugs.

    I live in United States, in the state of Maryland. What kind of permits do I need to buy laboratory-grade, non denatured ethanol that doesn't smell like cheap corn booze and can be used to make extractions?

    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2013 #2

    chemisttree

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I would get HPLC grade or USP grade alcohol from your usual supplier. The supplier will know exactly what you need to purchase their product.
    http://www.lyondellbasell.com/techlit/techlit/Brochures/Ethyl_Alcohol 9551.pdf
    You might need a federal permit if your institution doesn't already have one. If you are working at home... good luck. You may not even be able to find a supplier willing to sell ANYTHING to you.
     
  4. Sep 17, 2013 #3
    I can't find a lab supplier that sells alcohol on the Internet. Nobody advertises anything like that. I don't understand how this market works. Liquor stores don't sell pure alcohol either. Only Everclear for rednecks.
     
  5. Sep 17, 2013 #4

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Clearly you didn't read the pamphlet attached to Post #2.

    The interstate sale and transport of ethyl alcohol is regulated by the BATF, now the BATFe. The 'A' stands for Alcohol, specifically the ethanol variety. There are also state and local laws as well which regulate the sale and transport of EA, in whatever form. Although federal Prohibition ended in 1933, there are still a number of cities and counties in the US which prohibit the manufacture, sale, possession, or consumption of EA (such cities and counties are referred to as being 'dry'). There are also tax issues, since EA is taxed variously at the state and local level. There are federal excise taxes for EA beverages.

    You can find 200 proof EA at lab supply houses, but this material has been denatured with methanol and propanol.

    http://www.labdepotinc.com/Product_Details~id~871~pid~61530.aspx
     
  6. Sep 17, 2013 #5

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If you could get over you elitist aversion to Everclear, you could rig up a simple still to purify the EA and drink what's left, either straight or as a mixer. Having paid your taxes, you'd also be copacetic with the local authorities.
    If you don't like the smell, what the hell, you want everything simple?
     
  7. Sep 17, 2013 #6
    I read the PDF but it doesn't answer my question since I am not trying to escape taxes, resell alcohol or buy industrial amounts of it. I am trying to find alcohol that was purified beyond what I can find in liquor stores. If it is still classified as liquor, I don't mind that.
     
  8. Sep 17, 2013 #7
    Extractions are used in herbal medicine for example. This kind of therapy is not respected in this country but it doesn't mean that I will stop what I am doing.

    I want alcohol without any traces of impurities. Since finding grape alcohol is hard around here as well I don't know what to do.
     
  9. Sep 17, 2013 #8

    UltrafastPED

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You can purchase pure, un-denatured ethanol - but it requires a BATF permit. Most research laboratories and universities have these permits, so if you can arrange to do your work in conjunction with a biological or medical researcher that is willing to sponsor your work, well then ...

    If not, then you can certainly apply for the permits and pay the taxes yourself.

    Here is a source: See http://www.pharmcoaaper.com/pages/Ethanol_Products/ep1.pdf
     
  10. Sep 17, 2013 #9

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If it's gotta be grape alcohol, you better build a still, buy all the cheap ripple you can lay your hands on, and start cookin'. There aren't too many vineyards in MD. Like the pamphlet says, most pure alcohol is sourced from fermented grain.
     
  11. Sep 17, 2013 #10

    chemisttree

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You'll never get any better than 95 percent alcohol by distillation, but maybe that will work for you. Fisher Scientific, Sigma Aldrich, VWR all sell pure, USP grade (that means it's safe to drink without aldulterants) ethyl alcohol. Perhaps if you find the Internet too difficult to navigate you should hire a nice, qualified chemist?

    BTW, you will never be on the right side of the law if you distill ethanol without a permit, regardless of quantity.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Where would I shop for safe to drink lab alcohol?
Loading...