Tag Archives: 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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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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Be a Whiskey Chemist!

Here is a fact that I found strange when I came across it: adding a drop of water to your glass of whiskey-neat sets off a chemical reaction that actually raises its temperature by a couple of degrees.

When you add a drop of water to your whiskey-neat (there needs to be no ice) it jars the alcohol-molecules loose from the flavor-molecules. Once the flavor-molecules are freed the whiskey will taste different, and a wider array of flavors will be suddenly available to your palate.

Conversely, adding ice to your whiskey will mute its flavors and intensity. Thus, depending on if the whiskey you ordered is too intense or not enough so you can alter its taste accordingly with either ice or water.

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There are Clouds of Alcohol in Outer Space

Clouds of gas floating through space are common, and generally not subject to discussion on booze-blogs. Or are they?

In November I touched on an ethanol cloud at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy that contains compounds known to taste like rum, and smell like raspberries.

Evidently, near the Aquila constellation, there is another enormous cloud of alcohol 1,000 times the size of our galaxy. It contains the equivalent amount of ethanol as 400 trillion pints of beer.

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