Feedback: why meths tastes bad...

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Offline thedoc

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Feedback: why meths tastes bad...
« on: 16/07/2013 08:30:02 »
Nicky Oelofse  asked the Naked Scientists:
This morning on Redi's show you discussed methylated spirits.

In South Africa (it is said) the hobos and down-and-out people, street people, if you will, drink methylated spirits to get high.

What they apparently do to get get rid of the foul taste is to strain the Meths through bread. This gets rid of the bad taste ?

In Afrikaans this is known as "Bloutrein" (Blue Train). Thanks for all your info.

Nicholas "Nicky" Oelofse.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 16/07/2013 08:30:02 by _system »


Offline evan_au

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Re: Feedback: why meths tastes bad...
« Reply #1 on: 16/07/2013 11:13:57 »
Different countries add different mixes of chemical tastes, odours and colours to deter people from drinking ethanol in industrial quantities.

It is possible that bread may react with some of these chemicals to reduce the bitter flavour.

However, most of these toxic cocktails include methanol which is colourless, [and relatively] odourless and tasteless - but even small quantities will make you sick, blind and/or dead.

Bread will not filter out methanol - so the best advice is to reserve meths for the intended industrial applications...


« Last Edit: 16/07/2013 22:06:31 by evan_au »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: Feedback: why meths tastes bad...
« Reply #2 on: 16/07/2013 20:59:15 »
Methanol is colorless, but not odorless or tasteless.  However, perhaps it is difficult to distinguish from ethanol, especially when mixed with ethanol.

Reading the Wikipedia notes on denatured alcohol toxicity.  Apparently  New Zealand no longer users Methanol to denature Ethanol.  I would hope that other countries that have high consumption of denatured alcohol would also choose less toxic formulations.

However, denatonium is often added to give it a bitter flavor, and perhaps also adding emetics such as syrup of ipecac

It is quite possible that the bread would help filter out the denatonium, and other additives.  Then it all depends on how toxic of a formulation is used in your country. 

Are the ingredients listed on the Methylated Spirits?  Can you get the MSDS sheet for the actual product you are  using?