From the HBD Archive
Subject: Methanol
Date: 1992-07-02 16:21:00 GMT

I asked a Chemist friend is there any chance of making Methanol when
making beer. My concern was that methanol is also called "wood alcohol"
and that I was planning to brew (another pseudo-lambic) in an oak cask.
He also happens to be a brewer, so he's familiar with yeast and their
products, so I think this should be pretty credible. He said that a
small amount of methanol may be produced, but in such a small quantity
that we needn't worry about it. Distillation concentrates the alcohols
and each has its boiling point. If you don't know what you are doing,
you can bring methanol concentrations up to where they can harm you.
I, personally, cannot see any way that aging, pasteurization, or light
can create more higher alcohols. I believe (speculate, actually) that
higher fermentation temperatures can increase the production of higher
alcohols. Another variable in my fusel alcohol test which I keep
putting off.

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