The Preparation Of The Fiery Wine Spirit

The Preparation Of The Fiery Wine Spirit Cover "A copper vessel has to be constructed that can be taken apart in the middle, as well as above and below the holes, that are located about halfway up the retort. Onto this an alembic is mounted with a tube, everything made of copper except for the recipient which must be made of glass and be of a large size. The latter is put into a wooden vessel filled with cold water. The top of the recipient must also be cooled by means of wet cloths, and these must be Frequently replaced by fresh ones in order to enhance the cooling effect. Also the wooden vessel must have a Cock, so that the water may be removed and fresh water poured in again. When everything is ready, the prepared spiritus vini is introduced into the vessel through the lowest series of holes. When the level is just below these small holes, it is lit and the alcohol starts to burn. The air holes then force the mercury upward and the cold water causes it to liquify, so that it ascends from the alembic into the recipient. This then is the preparation of the true spiritus vini, but you must not neglect any detail in the work of cooling, and take care to replenish the aquam vitam so that its level does not burn too low, etc." The partial oxidation of the alcohol takes place in the horizontal tube where the copper mesh acts as a catalyst for the reaction; 2C2 H5OH + 02 ---- > 2CH3CHO + 2H20 ethanol oxygen --------> ethanal water From this it will be seen that Basilius' fiery wine-spirit consisted of a mixture of alcohol, water and acetaldehyde or ethanal. Acetaldehyde is a very volatile liquid with a boiling point of 21 deg.C. For further Information see eg. Linus & Peter Pauling, Chemistry, Freeman 1975, page 424. It may be suggested that the modern spagyricist may produce their fiery wine-spirit by; 1/. buying acetaldehyde and 96% alcohol 2/. mixing them in a certain proportion 3/. bringing them over the helm together. We wish the experimenting spagyricist great success with this potent mixture, and are very interested in hearing of his or her Experiences in using this spirit to extract the metallic tinctures.

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