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Things You Didn't Know: Alcohol

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    Things You Didn't Know: Alcohol

    Things You Didn't Know: Alcohol

    1) Humans have been making alcohol for maybe 9,000 years. That means being a vintner is probably the actual oldest profession.

    2) In the US, you can legally ferment your own beverages, for family/friends/personal use. I'm fond of making mead, myself. Just don't try to go mass production, or distill, without appropriate licensing, or you could end up unintentionally starting a race car circuit. Yes, it's true, NASCAR has its roots in bootlegging - that is, the illegal mass-production and distillation of alcohol, notably moonshine.

    4) Absinthe is NOT illegal in the US. Arguably, it never was, we just didn't have the chemistry for fighting the knee-jerk legislation that made people think it was illegal. About 10 years ago, that finally changed. I could do a whole article on absinthe, and I probably should.

    5) The chief ingredients for fermentation are simple sugars (fructose and/or glucose), water, and yeast. When combined in appropriate quantities in an oxygen-free and otherwise friendly environment, the yeast will eat the sugar, piss alcohol, and fart CO2. Remarkably simple chemistry that you can do in your own kitchen, on the cheap. Making your output palatable is artistry, but the basic reaction is easy. CO2 is vented via the bung (which is inserted, obviously, into the bung hole). The bung is a one-way valve allowing CO2 to escape, but not allowing oxygen or other contaminants in. Simple versions are made with a tube bent into an S and filled with water or alcohol. Works on the same principle as your common household toilet, or sink drain.

    6) Added yeast is a modern construct. Particularly with wine, you can get the reaction going using "free-range," yeast, which is any of the wild and naturally occurring yeasts that happen to accumulate on grapeskins during normal outdoor growing and ripening.

    7) CO2, you mean that stuff in beer that makes it bubbly and good? Yes. Although, most modern beers use industrially-added CO2 after fermentation, there is a process called secondary fermentation, where you dope the intermediate beverage with a small amount of sugar, and let the remaining yeast keep all their CO2. Legend has it that this is how Dom Perignon accidentally invented Champagne.


    This has been a fun one. I know probably way too much about alcohol for a layman, but I can follow up with at least 2 more articles about alcohol. Be sure to check out all the other Things You Didn't Know articles in Boff Topic.
    Consider for a moment that there is no meme about brown-haired, brown-eyed step children.

    #2
    Alcohol is associated with *lower* mortality than abstinence.
    That extends to several drinks a day before the curve negates itself.
    It's also reasonable given the nature of much of the data, self reporting, that people are consuming more than they report.
    Therefore it's also reasonable that, if anything, one can consume even more alcohol than the data would suggest, before the health consequences would negate the benefits.

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      #3
      Originally posted by ChenPengFi View Post
      Alcohol is associated with *lower* mortality than abstinence.
      That extends to several drinks a day before the curve negates itself.
      It's also reasonable given the nature of much of the data, self reporting, that people are consuming more than they report.
      Therefore it's also reasonable that, if anything, one can consume even more alcohol than the data would suggest, before the health consequences would negate the benefits.
      My primary care doctor disagrees, she thinks I drink way too much. I don't mind a little confirmation bias, though.
      Consider for a moment that there is no meme about brown-haired, brown-eyed step children.

      Comment


        #4
        How many drinks are you talking?
        If you're knocking back two bottles of wine a night she's probably on to something.
        For men it seems around 4 drinks/day is the turning point.

        Here's some confirmation bias as requested that said:
        http://www.substance.com/truth-we-wo...healthy/10285/

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ChenPengFi View Post
          For men it seems around 4 drinks/day is the turning point.
          That's about a 750ml of wine. I average less than that - some days more, some days less, occasionally nothing. Depends on what day (i.e. if I'm training, if I'm working 18 hours, etc.). The concern really came up because I'm hypertensive and, apparently now, hyperkalemic. I've wondered if that latter isn't just a factor of having shitty phlebotomists, and my doctor is looking for something. Recently moved from lisonopril to metoprolol, waiting for the next round of blood to see if it was drug-induced potassium.
          Consider for a moment that there is no meme about brown-haired, brown-eyed step children.

          Comment


            #6
            Alcohol *does* warm you too.
            It's not just an effect of vasodilation that makes you feel warmer.
            The liver is already the biggest heat generator in the body.
            Alcohol metabolism is an exothermic reaction.

            Which of course brings us to the naturally occurring alcohol dehydrogenase.
            Yes, our bodies come equipped to metabolize alcohol.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by submessenger View Post
              That's about a 750ml of wine. I average less than that - some days more, some days less, occasionally nothing. Depends on what day (i.e. if I'm training, if I'm working 18 hours, etc.). The concern really came up because I'm hypertensive and, apparently now, hyperkalemic. I've wondered if that latter isn't just a factor of having shitty phlebotomists, and my doctor is looking for something. Recently moved from lisonopril to metoprolol, waiting for the next round of blood to see if it was drug-induced potassium.

              Ah, prescription drugs and other health concerns change everything.
              Those numbers automatically assume an otherwise healthy, unremarkable individual.
              Err on the side of conservative is the rule of thumb there

              Comment


                #8
                Falling for Judo since 1980

                "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

                "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

                "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ChenPengFi View Post
                  Ah, prescription drugs and other health concerns change everything.
                  Those numbers automatically assume an otherwise healthy, unremarkable individual.
                  Err on the side of conservative is the rule of thumb there
                  I've been told that I'm utterly unremarkable :)
                  Consider for a moment that there is no meme about brown-haired, brown-eyed step children.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Be you man.

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                      #11
                      Damned straight. Bitches are gonna have to redefine mediocre, boring, and average when I get done with life. I am the bell curve, everyone else is an outlier.
                      Consider for a moment that there is no meme about brown-haired, brown-eyed step children.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by submessenger View Post
                        That's about a 750ml of wine. I average less than that - some days more, some days less, occasionally nothing.
                        So you drink about a bottle and a half a day then, following the same logic as above re self reporting?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by ChenPengFi View Post
                          So you drink about a bottle and a half a day then, following the same logic as above re self reporting?
                          I had a bottle and a half of beer, last night. 12oz Coronas.
                          Consider for a moment that there is no meme about brown-haired, brown-eyed step children.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It occurs to me that I haven't had a drop of alka in like 8-9 years.

                            If I was an asshole, I'd go to an AA meeting and be like: "Yo, I'm taking all y'all keychains. Where the stash at, motherfuckers?"
                            go to http://www.bullshido.net/forums/prof...do=editoptions > under Thread Display Options > Number of Posts to Show Per Page: 40

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                              #15

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