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Make Your Own Alcohol -- With Fusil Oil To Make You Blind

Can You Drink It?

Possible Derivation Of The Word "Fusil" as used in Fusil Oil

Homemade African Brew

Message Posted on a Message Board

Karl:  I lived in Africa for several years and sometimes someone would point to me an illegal still, back in the woods.

The natives would make a local whiskey, using nothing more than sugar, water and yeast.  This would be mixed, then boiled and after just a short time "distilled" with a coiled copper pipe.  What dripped out of the pipe was whiskey, for sure, with a large percentage of something called "fusil oil."  The stuff when through the pipe only once -- a "single distillation." 

Fusil Oil is not an easy term to do research on.  It comes up only here and there.

Apparently the fusil oil is a very toxic substance that "distills" at about the same temperature, and in the same fashion as more pure alcohol. Therefore, you could say that "fusil oil" is a form of alcohol.

Apparently it makes regular alcohol look tame by comparison.  I doubt if I ever drank any, but I did drink "alcohol" in a few native ceremonies where it was polite to drink, and I had no idea what I was drinking.

Apparently drinking much of this fusil oil will make you go blind.

Karl Loren


Can You Drink It?


Make your own Ethanol Fuel
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Can you drink it?
I get asked that question a lot! Legend, as well as lots of documented stories have it that quite a few Kentucky Moonshiners went blind from drinking moonshine. This high-proof ethanol is a long way from Kentucky moonshine.

First of all, those were very crude stills, which only condensed the vapors by running the exiting steam through a coil of copper tubing placed inside a bathtub. There was no "stripping" section, which refers to the bottom section of my still, where the hot steam first has to bubble up through some cold water. This immediately strips out a high volume of water, but in addition, it also traps the fusel oils and methanol, and other trace poisonous by-products.

If you look at the alcohol produced by this still, it should be absolutely as clear as water, and if you look at the top surface, you will not see any oils floating at the top. That is what is poisonous, and it has all been removed by virtue of the fact that this is a triple distillation process.

If you recall cartoons where they showed a moonshiner drinking out of a pottery jug with four X's (XXXX ) on it, that refers to the number of times the stuff has been run back through the same still, to remove more water (increase the proof).

In case you never were told the definition of proof, 200 proof is 100% alcohol, 180 proof is 90% alcohol, etc. About the most a person can comfortably drink is 100 to 120 proof. Most whiskies are about 100 proof, and would make pretty poor fuel. Brandy might be 120 proof, or 60% alcohol, and could be used, but it would have to be a pretty warm day, or the engine already pretty hot from running previously on gasoline for it to work.

When you have a lower proof, you have to preheat the fuel to get it to ignite. You can drop a lit match into 160 proof and it will go out. When a waiter serves something with flaming brandy, they have to hold the match for a moment at the edge of the liquid, which preheats it slightly, before it will light.

Moonshiners often didn't have soft copper tubing which could be made into a coil, so they would solder short pieces together into a zig-zag assembly using lead for solder. The hot alcohol, being a rather effective solvent, would always pick up quite a lot of lead in the process, and these guys would usually die quite young of kidney failure.

I never drank my own product: I do not like, nor have I ever liked hard liquor of any kind, as it will burn it. But 160 proof it much too concentrated for anybody's tongue. The highest proof drinking alcohol I have seen on the market is 120 proof Jamaican Rum.

So, when you are making 170 or 180 proof, if someone wants to drink it, they will first have to mix it about 50/50 with water, or orange juice, or whatever, and it will still be too strong a drink.

In the USA, it is illegal to sell this stuff without first adding something that first ruins the taste and smell, and completely poisons it so it cannot be used for human consumption. This is then called denatured alcohol. It started out as grain alcohol, which is what ethanol is technically called, but ends up smelling like rubbing alcohol from the drug store because they added benzene or something equally poisonous.

When I went to Ukraine, they were very interested in buying one of my stills as they just really wanted it for making vodka. I wouldn't make one for them, as I am fairly anti-alcohol, as I have seen how it destroys minds, families, cars, and uninvolved bystanders.

However, some of the stuff I made, especially when I used grape pulp from the winery, which yielded the smell of brandy, or the beer I used from the brewery in Boulder, which made a whisky smell, has indeed looked and smelled pretty pure.
Because the alcohol is so strong, it is inadvisable to even taste it, as it immediately dehydrates whatever skin cells it touches, especially the tongue and cheeks. Alcohol this strong is hygroscopic, which means it draws moisture out of anything it contacts, even the air. So high-proof fuel must be kept sealed, or it will get diluted from the humidity in the air.

Is it legal?

Robert Warren's advanced three-in-one still design incorporates automatic temperature control. It is an elegant tool, suitable for making enough fuel to run your own car or truck, power your farm tractors, or even to start your own alternative fuel co-operative!


high_proof_still.jpg  (photo, 180 pixels)



The very first time I ran this still, demonstrating it in public at the Boulder New Renaissance Fair, it made 180 proof out of some 6% beer, which we used in a VW Rabbit. It only cost $15.00 in parts to convert it from a gas burner to a barley burner. This still makes 3 gallons/hour of 180 proof, with the automatic temperature control valve.



An old time pot still like this may provide you with a couple liters of homemade hootch, probably about 100 to 120 proof. This moonshine is also likely to contain small poisonous amounts of methanol, fusil oil and other poisonous alhehydes.


Molasses & Rum




Possible Derivation Of The Word "Fusil" as used in Fusil Oil

A hard, stoney taste in wine. Derived from French phrase "gout de pierre a fusil", a "flinty" wine is said to recall gunflint. These terms are presumably metaphorical approximations based on the actual taste sensations allegedly experienced when stones/minerals are licked (older books on chemistry etc. always included the taste, feel and smell of the compounds being described). Presumably refers to rate of moisture absorption etc by different stone surfaces and detectable by the tongue. "Flinty" describes an initial evaluation indicating a young white wine made from cool region grapes under cold fermentation conditions. Characterized by high acidity, a tactile "mouthfeel" that is filling and yet has a flavor sensation that is cleanly "earthy". Flinty wines are usually dry and asutere.
Wines from the Chablis and Sancerre appellations in France have always been associated with a flinty smell and taste due to the calcarcous soil.

Homemade African Brew


At an African party,
we drank local
moonshine made of
grains. It was almost
like drinking
alcoholic porridge.
It carried quite a

Apparently, the brewer
mixed the grain and the
water together, and
then he would spit
into the soup to supply
the yeast needed for
fermentation. The pot
was then buried for
a long time until the
brew was ready.


Message Posted on a Message Board

Distilling is about the same difficulty as making decent beer, though different equipment is used. Making mash is easier than making beer, but then you've got to distill it, which requires... a still.

There are a couple of tricks you need to know to keep fusil oils and whatnot out of the final product (when you distill, you concentrate stuff other than alcohol you don't want in the final product). The still also must be constructed properly, as it will be under pressure at boiling temperatures.

Oh, and it's illegal as hell, but I'm sure you knew that...

When you get to whiskey, you're getting into distillation. When you're distilling, you're running the risk of going blind (unlike in mere brewing). I'd be reeeeeeaaaally careful. Have thought about it but haven't tried it yet. Not to mention it's illegal (not that I care).

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