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Making RSO with Everclear and distiller

I'll be making some RSO soon.

Maybe I've read too many articles about tinctures and RSO. There are so many techniques and opinions. Let the weed soak for weeks vs. just do a quickwash. Shake, stir, do not agitate. Use this solvent or that... it's crazy.

I've made many infusions and extractions; using many techniques. They all "work" to some degree, and I know there's no "best" approach. It depends on the equipment you have available, time, and many other factors. That said, I am looking for some opinions to tweak and optimize my process before I make my next batch.

Here's my intention... Let me know what you think I should do differently:

I'll be using trim and Everclear. I just got a temperature-controlled water distiller; and I'm looking forward to trying it out. It seems to take forever when distilling water, but I like the idea that I can use the Everclear pretty liberally to wash the trim and reclaim most of it. Normally, I'd be curious about the amount of Everclear needed. In the past, I do 2 washes and just barely cover the weed. Since I'm using the distiller; I'll probably do 3 pretty washes being pretty liberal with the amount of Ethanol used. It'll take longer to distill, but since I'm using trim I'd like to extract as much as I can.

The biggest question I have is about the best time to decarb. I think I'd prefer to PRE decarb w/ sous vide, extract using the Ethanol, distill to recover the Ethanol, and then evaporate off the small amount of remaining Ethanol.

My plan:

1. Leave Everclear in freezer for > 1d to chill
2. Decarb trim using Sous Vide (200°F for 1h 40m)
3. Chill decarb'd cannabis for a few hours in the freezer
4. Combine trim and Everclear in a mason jar
5. Shake for 2 minutes, let sit for 3m
6. Strain & Filter twice
7. 2nd wash of trim, strain & filter
8. Distill & monitor, stop when most of the ethanol has been recovered
9. Pour into 1 cup pyrex or similar small glass container
10. Very low heat, cook off remailing ethanol until only oil remains
11. Stop when there are no bubbles escaping oil/tar

To get the most potent oil, should I pre-decarb, pre-and-post decarb (watch for bubbles), or stick to the tried & true and let the cook-off in step 10/11 decarb?

Thanks. I appreciate all opinions.
I'm about to cook... Just about to drop the weed into the sous vide to decarb, and realized that's not done for RSO.
OR is it?? If I decarb, and then cook will I convert more?
Maybe I'm talking to myself here, but for anyone following along or finding this later...

I started with 6oz of larfy buds / trim that I had curing for the last few months and 1.75L Everclear.

I decarboxylated it using sous vide at 200°F for 1h 40m. It was in two vacuum-sealed bags, and those were in a ziplock bag. I put some rocks in the ziplock to weight it down and zipped it after submerging most of the way in the water - to push the air out. Then put some more rocks on top. Tinfoil over the top of the pot to retain water. It was all going along fine until maybe 1h give or take into the process when the bags floated up to the surface anyway. The ziplock got a bunch of water inside it (no big deal) so I replaced it with a new one. Getting everything submerged again took quite a while and given that the water and rocks were 200°; it pretty much sucked.

The weed itself remained dry to slightly damp. I popped the weed into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. The Everclear had been in the freezer over 24h already.

I dumped the weed into a large glass jar and poured most of the everclear over it. Then I stirred and mashed is using a silicon spatula. Had I been using ISO, I'd have gone for a quickwash, but Everclear isn't as efficient so I spend a good 5 minutes breaking it up and mixing it. I'm sure I extracted a bunch of plant material in addition to the cannabinoids, but that doesn't bother me too much.

I poured the everclear (now tincture) into a large pyrex measuring cup through both a cheesecloth and a metal strainer, then poured the rest of the everclear over the weed for a 2nd wash.

Next I put 2 coffee filters over a new jar and poured the tincture through it. This is the part where using the pyrex with a spout was supposed to prevent me from making a mess. Nope. I got super sticky tincture all over everything. If you ever want to feel like spiderman, just get a lot of that tincture on your hands and jars and touch anything.

The product actually filtered pretty quickly - maybe 2 hours. Much of the plant material settled to the bottom of the pyrex. I poured gently (into the filter) and scooped the tincture out using a shot glass, so as not to disturb it too much. That made less work for the filters, which also caught a ton of material, but didn't clog so much they stopped working. Also, I scraped them off between pours.

After filtering the tincture, I dumped it into the temperature-controlled distiller. I was using the distiller to reclaim the everclear, but it was apparent I'd already lost a TON of it before even distilling.

I ran the distiller a handful of times over the last week to "clean" it of any factory residue. I was surprised how long it takes to distill water compared to a tea pot, and was expecting the Everclear to distill much faster, but not quickly. Not the case. I set the distiller outside, turned it on at the lowest temp, and it started distilling within a few minutes. Of course, the spout and container were unaligned, so I lost more everclear.

Having used a rice cooker in the past, and expecting the distiller to be a tad slower than that, I got distracted on the phone... Bim bam done, the distiller made really short work of evaporating off all the Everclear. I had intended to stop distilling with some alcohol remaining, then transfer to pyrex to finish on a hot plate. BUT - oops. I let it go until it turned itself off. When I opened the top, I'd "burned" some of the oil and it was really thick.

I poured it out into a small glass dish, and scraped off more I could with a silicone spatula. The distiller is ... well, I have to decide if I want to clean it so I can use if for water, or if it's only be used for making oil. There's a decent amount of product that's just stuck to the inside. I poured in a bit of the reclaimed everclear to see if I could absorb more product. Might turn that into a tincture. Anyway, I didn't measure the final amount of Everclear I reclaimed, but it wasn't much. I regret using the distiller. Maybe if I had a still, or lab tubes and beakers I'd have reclaimed more? Hard to say. There's just a lot lost in the process prior to distilling. Maybe if you use a rice press to squeeze out ever drop from the weed and cheesecloth; but that's another dirty super sticky item to deal with.

I moved the oil to a hotplate to "finish" it. I was going to heat off the remaining alcohol, watch the bubbles, do the spark test. Of course I was impatient and heated it too quickly. It foamed up making a zillion tiny bubbles. I pulled it off the heat and combed through the bubbles to pop them. Then cooked it on a much lower temp, but that was pretty much it. No more bubbles. I did a few spark tests, and the oil was clean.

I pulled the oil up into 4 syringes (1ml). Unfortunately, that's all I had left, oops. There's probably another 2 - 3 ml oil remaining, so it's in a shot glass covered with plastic wrap. Given the amount of oil stuck in the distiller, smeared on the glass dish, silicon spatula, in the syringes, and remaining in the shot glass, I'm very pleased with how much I extracted. I didn't measure it but seems to be 7 to 8ml.

(Fun note, I had the shot glass on a 45° angle and let the oil cool. You can press fork prongs into it, pull the fork out and it holds the indentation shape for a few minutes. Sludge!)

I made a huge sticky mess and have a LOT of room for improvement, but had fun and got my RSO; so it's all good.

After I was done with everything, of course, I was eager to test it out and see if it worked. Over the hours of preparing everything, I had gotten a lot of tincture on my hands and oil on my fingertips; so thought I ought to be feeling good. However, wasn't feeling anything. So, decided to do a test and asked my girlfriend if she wanted to try it as well.

Told her "This might not do anything, or it might work and give you a great body high, or it might knock you on your ass for the the rest of the day and well into the evening. No clue..."

She decided to be brave but only wanted a very small amount. I smeared a very little bit onto a basil leaf, and made a parachute for her. Told her to swallow it and be sure not to taste it. She likes basil, so she chewed it up. Ack, so gross! She didn't seem to think it was as horrible as I expected. I made a basil parachute for myself as well.

I set a timer for 30 minutes. When it went off I was just barely starting to feel it kicking in. She said she didn't feel anything. Even an hour later, she said she didn't really notice much -- although sometimes you don't if you're just lounging around; which she was. I was starting to think I didn't give her enough and she wouldn't notice its effects, that it just wasn't that strong, or didn't work. Except, I was feeling it - subtly.

Turns out I didn't mess it up. It kicked in for me and I was feeling great for hours and hours. It hit her a bit differently, and pretty much knocked her out. She took a few naps. The "makes you drowsy" could be from me over cooking the oil in the distiller and again on the hot plate.

It ended up hitting me pretty hard, and I'm not sure if it's due to the amount I took or how much of it I absorbed through my fingertips. Next time I make this stuff, I'm wearing gloves. I'm looking forward to taking another small dose in the future to get a 2nd calibration point. I may gift some to friends and need to let them know if they should take a very small amount or a very very small amount. Haha.

Anyway, I'm happy to report "IT WORKS". I mean, it REALLY works. And based on how little it takes and how long the effects last; I'm thrilled with the quantity I produced, even with all the mess and loss. I'm also glad that this stuff pretty much lasts forever in this state.

Pictures in next post.
oh, in case anyone notices... I do have a GAS stove, and NO, I did not use it. I cooked off the last bits of Everclear using a hot plate with the stove's fan on and windows open. Should have done that last step outside as well, but it was windy and I didn't want pollen and dirt/dust getting into the final product.
I use the freezer method. I decarb at 240f (115c) for 40 minutes. Throw the decarbed cannabis and everclear into the freezer for 24 hours. If you have not already, grind the cannabis and pour enough etoh to cover it in a jar. Put the lid on and shake for 5 minutes. Put the jar back in the freezer for 2hours, remove and another 5 minute shake. Filter and reduce to desired potency. This is psychedelic Sams recipe and has worked every time for me.
I have pics in the tincture section of infused simple syrup, I use the tincture to infuse the syrup.


Well-Known Member
Great post, thanks for all the details that many will find useful!

I've done three similar runs so far using various methods.

- I read elsewhere there is no significant difference in measured potency between short and long ethanol washes, which jives with my own anecdotal evidence. I scoped the trichs using both methods and all heads were dissolved, except where noted below.

- I decided not to grind before the wash. The only benefit I could find for grinding was in large scale settings where getting the most material in the smallest space was an efficiency advantage, not important in my home operation.

- I tried both decarbing the flower first and the oil after, and prefer decarbing after. Scoping revealed that decarbing the flower dries and hardens the darkest, amber heads to where they don't fully dissolve in the ethanol, requiring a longer soak, which of course increases the level of undesirables (fats, waxes, etc).

- I make topical (body butter, oil) and edible (capsules, drops) products and found the lighter color from shorter washes, especially noticeable in the body butter, more desirable.

I use a distiller like you but one made especially for alcohol solvents... the temp is lower to accommodate the lower boiling point. After distilling off the majority I use a stirring/hot plate to finish it off and decarb the oil. And you are so right on, it's a royal PAIN to get everything scooped up and put where it should be! I found a razor blade and exacto knife to be required tools for that step!

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Thanks for chiming in @Brian420pm. Very informative. Lots of great detail to consider.

I've never done before & after scoping at the different stages of processing. I'll have to do that.

I was hoping that by decarbing 1st (and using sous vide so it's controlled and precise), I could avoid using too much heat later. Unfortunately, I wasn't as careful and patient as I should have been and temps got high at a few points. I suspect I converted a lot of THC to CBN.

I'll probably sous vide decarb again. I'd love a lighter color too; but I don't mind if I over-extract. I like the idea of distilling off ~ 80% of the remaining solvent, and then just let that last 20% evaporate away -- possibly sped up using VERY LOW heat, but possibly no heat. The product is plenty potent. Probably too potent, so I need to focus on eliminating the drowsy factor.

What I'd REALLY like to do is get into short path distillation, but I just can't put any more $ into this hobby at the moment.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for your posts on this. I enjoyed reading. I use a double boiler to cook off the alcohol. Can’t buy a distiller right now,just spent our stimulus on a new grow setup. I also have a gas stove.
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