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Best Alcohol For Maintenance

(29 posts)
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    1fatbbqr

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    My state, in its infinite wisdom and in pursuit of its never ceasing attempt to regulate all parts of its citizen's lives, has decided to make grain alcohol above 190 proof illegal. During the same legislative session, they have also decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, while making high proof alcohol illegal, but that is another rant for another day.
    Not knowing exactly how this bill is worded, I fear that Everclear may be included in this ban. Everclear is what I currently use to clean my pipes with. I will be buying a few bottles while I still can to ensure that I have some in reserve. What are some good alcohol alternatives for cleaning a pipe, that are also below the 190 proof limit? Would 151 proof rum be a viable alternative?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. durham270

    Durham

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    It sounds like now may be the time to stock up. I use a 190 proof called Golden Grain for most pipe cleaning. I've also used Absolut Current Vodka for cleaning some of my aromatic pipes.

    "I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs." -Albert Einstein
    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. brudnod

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    I have been happy with Barcardi's 151 rum. Nice scent as well.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. dread

    dread

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    I also use Bacardi 151 and it works just fine.

    ". . . I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul."
    - INVICTUS
    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. rmbittner

    rmbittner

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    Add me to the Bacardi 151 contingent.

    Bob

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I still use rubbing alcohol for the airhole and inside of the shank.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. sailorjeremy

    sailorjeremy

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    I'm onboard with the 151. Gets the job done and makes the liver happy in the process

    ~ Jeremy "Doc"

    "This is not recreation, this is therapy. This is essential... I consider the tobacco I put in my pipe all the grief and suffering. And I will burn it.”- US Navy Chaplain (RET) A.P. Sholtes
    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. smeigs

    smeigs

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    i use the 91% isopropyl alcohol for most of my cleaning needs. Seems to work just fine. If I used rum or bourbon, I think I would drink it all before I got to cleaning.

    “A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man.”
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Pipe Maintenance = 151 Everclear - can't buy anything higher. Prostitution is legal in NV but not high proof spirits.

    Human Maintenance = Single Malt Scotch.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  10. cortezattic

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    Ditto smeigs

    i use the 91% isopropyl alcohol for most of my cleaning needs. Seems to work just fine.
    I have also used Seagrams gin for the purpose -- while it lasts, that is.
    BTW, for routine cleaning, I use solvents only to clean the stem & shank, on the theory that this is where foul tastes reside.
    I have forgone the use of solvents in the bowl without noticeable ill effects, finding that regularly scraping the bowl with the
    spade end of my pipe nail is sufficient. This may help you conserve alcohol.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. bryanf

    bryanf

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    My advice would be to maintain with beer throughout the day, and only switch to the hard stuff at night.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. mso489

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    The high test rubbing alcohol probably does the job best, but whiskey, gin, or another relatively high
    proof potable seems more appetizing, especially since you can do with really small quantities. If you
    need an alcohol bath for your pipe, use something you wouldn't drink.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    instymp

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    151 Bacardi

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. checotah

    checotah

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    Finding and storing anything above 190 proof is its own challenge. Pure alcohol (above 190 proof) is hygroscopic, which means that it will absorb moisture out of the air when its container is open, thereby diluting it and automatically reducing the proof. Before I retired, our company used pharmaceutical grade 190 proof alcohol and it was very closely monitored both for proof and use. I used to use it to clean my pipes, but now find that 151 rum works as well and leaves a nicer flavor.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  15. daveinlax

    daveinlax

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    If I want flavor I have a 151 and Coke with a lime but with my pipes I don't want any flavor, yuk! I use the 91% rubbing alcohol. I did a test using 80 proof vodka till the pipe cleaner came out clean and then went at it again with the 91% and it was like starting over. The pipe cleaner came out black as tar.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. fadingdaylight

    fadingdaylight

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    Huh, maybe I am the only one, but I use Jim Beam Black. I just keep a mini bottle in my pipe cleaning drawer, it doesn't take much to get the job done well. I just clean all but one, so they can dry until the next day.

    - Jason
    "Lost in thought and lost in time... While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted... Outside the rain fell dark and slow... While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime..."
    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. bentmike

    bentmike

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    I use 151. I noticed that my local shop is now carrying Everclear and I thought about picking up a bottle. Isn't the Everclear higher proof than Bacardi rum or are they both the same?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. ssjones

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    I've used both Everclear and 91% isopropyl alcohol. I can't discern any difference in effectiveness in cleaning or taste, so I just stick with the cheaper 91% iso from Walmart (about a buck a bottle). A fifth of Everclear is around $17 in Maryland.

    Al

    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. andrew

    Andy

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    I find vodka is the best as it doesn't really smell on your breath, and beer is good to maintain the buzz.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    There are two lines of thought on this. "Best Practice" is to use Everclear, or the highest pure grain clear distilled spirit one can find. The other is to use a nice drinking whiskey and take your time...

    I have decided that splitting the difference makes everything special. Everclear for removing tars and finishes, Jameson Special Reserve for the bowl and the Old-fashioned glass at the end of the project.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  21. salmonfisher

    salmonfisher

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    Dumb question....what about taking long sips of 151 rum an then blowing into stem? (not to be done near open flames)

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I believe that the answer to that is conditional upon whether one swallows or not...

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. beefeater33

    beefeater33

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    I use good ole corn likker, AKA moonshine!!

    "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream..."
    Willy Wonka
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    pipejunky

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    I can't get everclear where i live either, but when i travel if i see it i by it.A liter will do me for about a year.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. joeyanchors

    joeyanchors

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    I have some Sailor Jerry (91 proof) spiced rum sitting around the house. Could I use that to clean my pipe?

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    wilson

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    The bulk of the tars and such that you are trying to remove from your pipe are not soluble in water, but they are soluble in alcohol. So, the higher the proof, the better. Isopropyl alcohol should work about as well as Everclear, though some don't like the idea of using anything they would not drink. I can't buy Everclear where I live, so I get by with whatever happens to be around. Usually vodka, because good Scotch has an important role in pipe cleaning, but it does not involve dipping pipe cleaners. Vodka is not as good as Everclear (or isopropyl alcohol), but it is better than not cleaning at all.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I use whatever I have in the cabinet--usually bourbon, scotch, or brandy. Most of these are 80 to 100 proof. I'm not talking about salt alcohol cleaning or anything, just something to freshen up my stems and shanks.

    I have some Sailor Jerry (91 proof) spiced rum sitting around the house. Could I use that to clean my pipe?

    I'd watch out for some of the liquors with added spices and flavorings, some of which might have sweeteners which don't evaporate cleanly. Sailor Jerry might be fine, but I wouldn't use something like Cpt. Morgan's which seems to have some added sweetness.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. mrjerke

    JJ Pipes

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    Count me among the everclear users. Although I always feel like a raging alcoholic while purchasing.

    Jordan

    "The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead." - Marjorie Pay Hinckley
    Posted 5 years ago #
  29. zekest

    zekest

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    I also use "everclear" which is "pure" grain alcohol. Like mrjerke, it bugs me because the counter person looks at you strange and says "I have to get it from the back room, Oregon law prohibits us from keeping it out in the open."

    A pint will last me a lifetime.

    Barring that, I too would use 151 Bacardi, even though conventional wisdom dictates that you do not use a flavored product. Vodka does not work as it has way too much water and it takes a long time to dry water logging your pipe.

    Posted 5 years ago #

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