Drinking Science

The production of alcohol probably began by accident, but today it is a highly scientific and increasingly well-understood process, whether that’s fermenting beer and wine or distilling spirits. In this section we discuss questions around topics such as the accelerated aging of spirits, when and why certain products spoil, and even whether absinthe can make you go crazy. A lot of our coverage here is experimental, with deep dives into everything from glassware to various types of beverage cooling systems.

Top Drinking Science Posts:

Experiment: Ice vs. Whiskey Stones vs. Tilt Chilling Sphere
Does Absinthe Make You Hallucinate?
What’s the Difference Between a Pot Still and a Column Still?
All About Dusties: 1970s vs. 2018 Bourbon Tasted Side by Side
Does Glass Shape Affect the Way a Whiskey Tastes?
How to Build a Better Bourbon: The Science Behind Buffalo Trace and the Lessons of the Single Oak Project
Cork vs. Screwcap: Here Comes the Science
Why Are Some Spirits Rested in Stainless Steel?

Is Your Pint Glowing?

By Christopher Null | November 11, 2008 |

Unscrupulous manufacturers are apparently using radioactive waste in consumer products, and hiding the junk in old beer containers: Abandoned medical scanners, food processing devices and mining equipment containing radioactive metals such as cesium-137 and cobalt-60 are often picked up by scrap collectors and sold to recyclers, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s…

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The Healthy Way to Drink… Drink Beer, That Is

By Christopher Null | November 5, 2008 |

Red wine gets all the press, what with its anti-aging miracle compound. But what about that poor sod, the beer drinker? He’s left out in the cold to get a pot belly and enormous intestinal gas. The genius kids at Rice University want to change that: They’re putting resveratrol, that red wine magic juice, into…

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Microsoft Surface Table to Ensure Glasses Never Empty

By Christopher Null | October 23, 2008 |

You’ll start seeing these $5,000 computer-equipped tables at upscale bars (and, especially, Vegas) in the near future. Called Microsoft Surface tables, they’re nifty novelties with so-far questionable utility: Most applications I’ve seen for it focus on time-wasting games for bored people and trying to get you to buy music for the Zune MP3 player that…

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Drinking and Dieting

By Christopher Null | October 23, 2008 |

Men’s Health outlines some excellent choices for cutting down on calories and fat while dining out and in — and they also include drinking options, including beer and cocktails. “Healthiest” beer: Beck’s Premier Light (64 calories, 4 grams of carbs) — and Guinness Draught isn’t bad at 126 calories, 10 grams of carbs… Worst for…

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Angels: DENIED

By Christopher Null | October 16, 2008 |

A fascinating piece in the latest Malt Advocate (Q4 2008, page 18) still has me reeling and thunderstruck. It concerns efforts to thwart evaporation of whiskey, a natural part of the aging process. Evaporation is a huge expense for distillers: Conventional wisdom holds that 2 percent of a cask vanishes each year as it evaporates.…

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Why Are Bars So Loud? So You’ll Drink More

By Christopher Null | September 20, 2008 |

I guess I just never really thought about it… From this piece on PsyBlog: Lowering the lights signals the real beginning of night-time fun: with dimmed lights and alcohol beginning to work its magic the business of loosening up after the day’s exertions can truly begin. But turning the music up so loud that people…

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Biodynamics or Dianetics?

By Christopher Null | September 20, 2008 |

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry weighs in on the biggest fad in winemaking going today: Biodynamic farming. One assumes by the name that biodynamics must be a good thing… but what does it really mean? The CSI folks dig deeper, outlining something that even includes astrological analysis that is “set against a complex background cosmogony…

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Democrat vs. Republican: Who’s the Better Drinker?

By Christopher Null | August 18, 2008 |

Beam Global sent this curious (and a little bizarre) press release today about the politics of drinking. Based on a survey of 100 Washington, D.C. area bartenders about the political preference and drinking habits of their patrons, Beam attempted to find out how drinking differs between the parties: “Democrats are seen as better tippers, have…

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Red Bull May Not Give You Wings After All

By Christopher Null | August 16, 2008 |

Sorry, club kids. This just in, and it’s kind of gross. According to the latest research, the popular energy drink Red Bull can increase the risk of heart damage. The participants of the study were university students aged between 20 and 24. Researchers found that just one sugar free can of Red Bull raised the…

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10% of Users Drink When Gadgets Stop Working

By Christopher Null | August 12, 2008 |

From my pals at Gizmodo: This just in! Malfunctioning technology causes anger! That’s according to a new British survey, which finds that 73% of people have hurled a gadget in a fit or gage, while 75% admit to swearing or losing their temper. A really desperate 10% admits to turning to booze when their gadget…

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