Tag Archives: Alcohol Science

Here’s Why Vanilla Smells So Good

Vanilla commonly comes from Hawaii, Mexico, Tahiti, Madagascar, & Indonesia; and just like with coffee each of these locations produces a bean with a slightly different taste & aroma.

Now, let’s get just a little science-y, just for a moment. A Volatile Organic Compound is an aggressive-sounding name for simply a naturally occurring chemical that evaporates easily. Often, this means that we actually notice them as scents/aromas.

Vanilla has been found to contain more than 100 different volatile organic compounds. Perhaps this incredibly complex blend of aromas explains its widespread appeal to humans.

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Caribbean Angels are Greedy!

Barrels for aging spirits are not airtight, and they actually loose a small amount of their liquid over time: this is known as the Angel’s Share. In Kentucky, 2% of the volume inside the barrel evaporates each year.

In warmer climates like the Caribbean, the Angel’s Share is 7.8%. In parts of India this figure reaches 12%, annually. This means that for each year a Caribbean rum ages 7.8% of it disappears.

El Dorado has an absolutely delicious 12 year-aged rum!

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Booze + Coffee= 90

Some of the good folks over at the University of California, Irvine like to study old people and what has helped them to live past 90. In a study that began with 14,000 retirees they examined the lifestyles of 1,600 really old people.

Among their findings they found that 1 serving of alcohol and 1 serving of coffee daily contributes to a longer life. They also found that people who are overweight when in their 70s live longer than skinny 70 year olds.

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The Mosquito-Booze Connection

I have just learned a sad piece of science. Apparently, drinking alochol makes us more appetizing to Mosquitoes.

Alcohol causes our sweat production to hike up, as it does with skin temperature. Since these are things on which mosquitoes focus, they hone in on us more easily after a couple drinks.

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Whiskey Barrels, Angels, & Science

Whiskey barrels hold 53 gallons (200 L). While distillers may fill their barrels with this much, they will never retreive 53 gallons of whiskey at the end of the aging.

Barrels for aging spirts are tightly sealed, but they are not meant to be airtight. Each year that a spirit ages it will lose between 2 – 12 percent of its volume.

Before modern science could explain this phenomenon people assumed that angels were sneaking down and sampling from the wares. They named this curious happening The Angels’ Share. Today, we call it Evaporation.

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Beer Fueled 16th Century Stonemasons

Whether to supplement their diet when food was too expensive, or to stave off disease with natural antibiotics, history is chalked full of examples of people turning to beer for health & nutrition.

Stonemasons harvesting rock from a quarry in Clontarf, Dublin in 1565 were issued 14 pints of beer each day. The best estimates put this beer between 400 and 500 calories, which allowed it to nourish the workers in lieu of food.

Experts today also estimate that this nutritional beer weighed in at 7%, which would have been at least 350% stronger than the small beer brewed for nutrition in England at the time.

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Billions in Booze Busine$$

Unless no drinking whatsoever goes on in your country, the chances are pretty good that the Booze Industry contributes a great deal of money to your economy. I count myself among the brewers, bartenders, servers, beer distributors, truck drivers, hop farmers, scientists, sales professionals, and marketing specialists who benefit from the $328 billion injected into the U.S. economy courtesy of the Beer Industry in 2017.

While Big Beer lead the way in economic booze-contribution, the Wine Industry weighed in at $220 billion; and the Liquor Industry played the part of $178 billion.

If you have been considering a change in career-scenery, I find this industry proves quite rewarding!

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