Storing alcohol in aluminium or lined aluminium bottle

Apologies if this has been answered, but a search didn’t reveal anything.

I’m a big fan of alcohol stoves for lightweight camping. I use a local spirit similar to everclear, as it’s a cheap multipurpose fuel, antiseptic or when watered down enough and mixed with some powdered OJ a nightcap.

Up to now I’ve been using an unlined aluminium bottle. I’m just wondering if there’s any chance that the alcohol can either corrode the bottle, or react with it in some way that I shouldn’t be drinking the stuff. An alternative would be one of the lined water bottles, such as a sigg, or a stainless bottle such as a Kleen Kanteen, but again I don’t know if those are safe in contact with 190 proof.

Any info appreciated.

Well, based on some quick googling, I found this and this which both study the effects of ethanol on aluminum oxide - which is almost certainly what you’ve got on the inside of your bottle unless it possesses some kind of polymer lining. If there is a plastic coating you’ll need to find out what they is, for it may or may not be compatible with concentrated ethanol.

Alumina is generally pretty robust stuff - insanely hard and possessing good chemical resistivity. It looks like the links above agree with my chemistry neurons’ WAG - in that you’re going to pull a small amount of aluminum into solution at the expensive of some possible corrosion. Fortunately aluminum hydroxide is essentially nontoxic, and mentions of significant corrosion seem to be limited more to “giant fuel tanks sitting around for years” kind of situations.

It’s also worth mentioning that bartenders have been using steel and aluminum jiggers since I can remember and I’ve yet to see any appreciable pitting or erosion of their surfaces.

Er, so; IMHO, IAMAMaterialsScientist but I really wouldn’t worry about it.

The Negative Affects of Ethanol on Recreational Boat Fuel Systems

I’d not drink the fuel if it was more than a year or two old; not because of any known toxins forming, but on the more general ickiness factor.
If your source of ethanol is a fermentation product, the stuff’ll contain small quantities of acetic and other acids. They’ll eat aluminum eventually.

It doesn’t say whether or not the bottle is lined, but Danka vodka comes in an aluminum bottle. I had some in Venezuela in 2002 and I’m not dead yet. On the other hand, I could be getting Alzheimer’s but maybe it’s really just because I drink too much.

I’d imagine for the little bit that he might be drinking on a particular evening in the woods, compared to the regularity that the contents are being changed, that there is nothing to worry about, regardless of the actual chemical reactions that are occurring.

I wouldn’t drink from it if it had been stored for a long time, or noticeable corrosion is present in your ‘sample’, but with normal use, I’d not pass up a draft from your bottle.

Thanks for all the info. I was curious on two further points:

  1. I take it stainless steel will also be fine then?
  2. Any idea about the water-based resin liner that’s baked onto the inside of sigg fuel bottles?

Apologies for what are probably eminently simple questions if you know where to look, but a search for ethanol & stainless steel and ethanol & resin didn’t get me very far.

Stainless would be more than fine for ethanol storage. Stainless is a mainstay in brewery operations, and distillation plants.

I can’t speak to your other questions though…