# Why is ethanol distilled off before adding water in the first step of a malonic synthesis?

I am doing a malonic synthesis shown below, and I wonder why I should distill ethanol off before adding water in the first step of the reaction (First I add absolute ethanol and solid sodium).

• I see no reason to distill off EtOH before adding water for the base hydrolysis step. The EtOH facilitates the reaction as the butyl malonate is readily soluble in it but not in water. – Waylander Sep 11 '18 at 15:25
• I think it is because of this passmyexams.co.uk/GCSE/chemistry/… i.e alcohol will react with your product (carboxylic acid) to form an ester. – user43021 Sep 12 '18 at 0:06
• Could you clear up the confusion and detail steps in more detail. Your reactions don't indicate when you boil off the ethanol... – MaxW Sep 12 '18 at 0:29
• I think the $\ce{KOH}$ hydrolysis is not necessary. Acid hydrolysis would do it. It is necessary to remove ethanol to prevent resterification (Le Chatelier's principle). – Mathew Mahindaratne Jun 4 '20 at 18:52