There are large numbers of quality problems with activated carbon. The most common problem is the deposit in the alcohol. This is typical of coconut carbon. One time it’s fantastically good, the next time the carbon leaves a deposit. Usually this means that the
manufacturer has not given the carbon a proper acid washing. If this is not done properly, the carbon leaves a deposit; next time there is no deposit, so the washing has been done correctly.You must wash out the substances from the carbon remaining from the manufacturing process: they are not carbon, and have not turned to gas and left the carbon during the manufacturing process. When the carbon leaves a deposit (not to be confused with the
chalky deposit from the “too hard” water in which the alcohol was sometimes diluted), it is these substances (the salts) that are deposited. They get mixed in with the alcohol and later begin to separate as white particles.Another common problem is the poor sifting of small-grained carbon. The powder is not properly sifted away and the filtration stops. Similarly, there may be too few small granules, speeding up the filtration, thus the carbon does not manage complete absorption. The same happens if granules too large in size are chosen. For example, 1-3 mm granules will not work at all.
Another quality problem is that the sales person has no notion of what she/he is selling to you. They sometimes tell you that “this” is a wood carbon – when it’s a peat carbon. The carbon is re-packaged and the label information is not consistent with the content. One brand can be bought in two types with exactly the same content information, one manufactured in Europe, the other in China. The European carbon is far superior, despite the fact that they should be exactly the same.Worst of all are ignorant dealers, who think that all activated carbon can be used for purification of alcohol. This is not the case. First and foremost it must be a pure (food grade) activated carbon for foodstuffs, like drinking water or alcohol. Instead they sell carbon meant for air or gas filtering. This type of carbon has not been rinsed after manufacture, and there are many undesirable substances in the alcohol, which then must be discarded. If the carbon is chemically activated, one gets phosphoric acid or other
chemicals.Some types of carbon are made from byproducts like oil, bone, animal carcasses and other material, which cannot be used for food-grade carbon. Many of these carbons give the alcohol a worse taste than before purification (often a gunpowder taste). It is a direct health hazard.