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T47
02-08-2006, 21:50
Ok Chuck, I just got your book Bourbon Straight; in the mail today and I can tell you I am very much enjoying it. I am obviously in the beginning still and on page 38 you write about "you generally should not drink any spirit above 100 proof without first diluting it..."
Since finding this forum I have been drinking all my Bourbon neat, and I must admit I have really enjoyed it that way. Of course my only experience prior to this was to have a glass of Makers over a healthy pile of ice. My current favorite is WT Rare Breed, and I enjoy the flavor very much. I am drinking about 1 or 2 oz. a night. You seem like a man educated in such things so I guess I just want some clarification because I am so new to all this. Do I understand correctly that for "general" consumption of spirits over 100 proof, that it is prudent to dilute it for health as well as flavor?
I know I will still enjoy it, and if that is the "healthier" way to drink it, and I intend to keep at this! then by all means I shall begin to dilute it following your instructions. I was under the impression that dilution was a matter of taste only.
I am finding your book very interesting, and educating. I highly recommend it to all those other newbie's our there or to anyone who just wants to relax with a good book, its a great read. Thanks.

cowdery
02-09-2006, 23:07
Thanks for the kind words.

I stand by the statement but the word "generally" is a key part of it. I said 100 proof but I could have said 101 or even 107-108.4 (i.e., WT Rare Breed). I break my own rule at that level all the time. I was sipping some 107 proof Van Winkle just last night.

Where I think you have to be careful, for health/safety reasons as well as taste enjoyment, is with products such as Booker's (about 126 proof), George Stagg (140?) or even Old Grand-Dad 114. If you take extremely small sips, your saliva provides enough dilution (not to be gross about it), but it's possible with those to, at the least, deaden your sense organs (and where's the fun in that?), and at the worst, you can irritate your esophagus.

You can also get way too drunk way too fast if you're not careful.

Sometimes those really small sips don't tell me enough or just aren't the way I want to drink at that moment, so I add some water to knock it down to the safe level. It doesn't take much. The dilution calcultor is on pages 143-144.

Virus_Of_Life
02-10-2006, 02:17
Thanks for the kind words.

Where I think you have to be careful, for health/safety reasons as well as taste enjoyment, is with products such as Booker's (about 126 proof), George Stagg (140?) or even Old Grand-Dad 114. If you take extremely small sips, your saliva provides enough dilution (not to be gross about it), but it's possible with those to, at the least, deaden your sense organs (and where's the fun in that?), and at the worst, you can irritate your esophagus.

You can also get way too drunk way too fast if you're not careful.

Sometimes those really small sips don't tell me enough or just aren't the way I want to drink at that moment, so I add some water to knock it down to the safe level. It doesn't take much. The dilution calcultor is on pages 143-144.

I think what you are saying is all good advice, I know nothing of organ damage and I am not sure where the "hangover" talk fits in, but I find specifically with Stagg it needs to be considered. GTS is such a wonderfully smooth, tasty, strong and easy to drink bourbon that you really have to almost measure ahead of time and then no matter how bad you'd like to have more just keep yourself from pouring it again.
The high proof along with the lack of filtering can really make your body struggle the next day.

I honestly cannot enjoy GTS as much on ice or with a water dilution so I have more than once had a little too much and felt horrible the next day because I always drink it neat.

kbuzbee
02-10-2006, 06:13
I honestly cannot enjoy GTS as much on ice or with a water dilution .... I always drink it neat.[/FONT][/COLOR]

I agree with you there. GTS straight is such a wonderful experience. Chuck is right, slow sips but it is just delicious.

Ken

T47
02-10-2006, 06:55
Well, as always thanks for the information gentlemen. I will have to experiment with this a little more.

NorCalBoozer
02-10-2006, 10:24
I thought I read somewhere that at some point high proof basically becomes poison to your body, basically by the touch, as opposed to drinking enough to kill you....I do find that when I drink Stagg or Bookers straight my mouth/lips do tend to get numbness, I suspect this is the high proof attacking my body and my body fighting back.

In an overall regard I guess any alcohol is considered "poison" by the body in that it has to filter out the toxins, etc and that a hangover is the result of basically posioning yourself to some degree and the body not being able to filter out the toxins.

I have always found that hydrating after drinking really helps the body recover. If I drink a few, I usually try to drink a decent amt of water before I sleep and usually I feel no ill effect the next day.

bluesbassdad
02-10-2006, 10:58
I can contribute only a fragment here.

I know that isopropyl alcohol is sold as rubbing alcohol at a concentration of 70%, not 100%, for the simple reason that at higher concentrations it will damage the skin.

Your reference to poison raises an interesting question. At what concentration does a substance that causes mental and physical deterioration even in small amounts deserve to be called a poison?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

NorCalBoozer
02-10-2006, 11:09
another interesting digression is that some poisons can be used to help cure humans of other problems...isn't botulism used to cure some things?? here is where the lack of medical school becomes apparent.

even alcohol is used to cure/help humans, as you reference to alcohol being a good cleanser.





Your reference to poison raises an interesting question. At what concentration does a substance that causes mental and physical deterioration even in small amounts deserve to be called a poison?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Chaz7
02-10-2006, 12:48
another interesting digression is that some poisons can be used to help cure humans of other problems...isn't botulism used to cure some things?? here is where the lack of medical school becomes apparent.

even alcohol is used to cure/help humans, as you reference to alcohol being a good cleanser.
And, blood thinner cumadin (warferin) is basically rat poison... But, Chuck you bring out things I would have never imagined. My high proof joys are OGD 114 and William Larue Weller (@121), both I must admit enjoying neat. GTS on the other hand, I do like with a wee bit of H2O. Interstingly enough, the burn and tingles described here above, for me at least aren't always associated with proof. Billy Larue doesn't tingle, but Jim Beam Black does. Go figure

cowdery
02-10-2006, 14:33
Here is the Mayo Clinic's answer to the question, "What is alcohol poisoning?" (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alcohol-poisoning/HQ00199)

All people who drink alcohol need to understand a few fundamental facts. First, alcohol is alcohol. All alcohol is the same. All that matters is how much, how fast and into whom (as body weight and individual metabolism are also factors). It is important to know how much absolute alcohol you are consuming, which is complicated by the fact that beers (in most places) are actually prohibited from stating their alcohol content on the label, spirits use "proof" (along with abv) and wine just uses abv.

For example:

A 12 oz. beer (@5%) contains 0.6 oz. of alcohol.
A 5 oz. glass of wine (@12%) also contains 0.6 oz. of alcohol
A mixed drink containing 1.5 oz. of 80 proof spirit also contains 0.6 oz. of alcohol.

The Distilled Spirits Council (http://www.discus.org/industry/equivalence.htm) web site has good information about this, as well as links to other good sites.

With bourbon, proof matters in the sense that an ounce of 140 proof Stagg contains 75 percent more alcohol than an ounce of 80 proof Jim Beam.

As for hangovers, the main culprit there is dehydration. Here again, compare Stagg, which is just 30 percent water, to Jim Beam white, which is 60 percent water.

BarItemsPlus1
02-12-2006, 14:35
All people who drink alcohol need to understand a few fundamental facts. First, alcohol is alcohol. All alcohol is the same......

I just want to highlight something here Chuck, now firstly don't forget I can't possibly remember everything so I will just make a note of what I know.....
There are indeed different alcohol's.....ethanol; methonal; etc....
The alcohol we drink is....umm, one of them:blush: sorry memory lapse??
I must point out that in a still they are manufactured so that a certain type of alcohol is taken off.....high wines/low wines...
So indeed there are varying types of alcohol poisioning, but the fact is if your drinking a commercially made product then the chances of getting poisioned are pretty high-I don't think anyone to date has died from drinking too much, it's only if you :puke: and choke on it or try and drive a motor vehicle:banghead: . Just quickly there was a case not too long ago where a well known brand of scotch had actually the wrong alcohol and people where getting slightly sick......

bobbyc
02-12-2006, 15:02
I don't think anyone to date has died from drinking too much,
I know one lady that will be relieved to hear that, considering she buried her husband long ago after a failed attempt to collect on a bet whether he could kill an entire 5th of Bourbon all at once. He almost did, left about a 1/2 inch in the bottle. She still has it. If in retrospect they had pumped his stomach when he was taken to the hospital he might have made it. They didn't.

I just verified the facts and he did indeed get all of it down.Almost immediately his pulse began to race..........

BarItemsPlus1
02-12-2006, 15:11
and that a hangover is the result of basically posioning yourself to some degree and the body not being able to filter out the toxins.....



I have always found that hydrating after drinking really helps the body recover......


Ok some more lessons in body chemistry.....
As we are all familiar with 'Hangover's'....I don't think I need to detail what the symptons are but here is a basic run down of what I have read/been told/know....
As you drink alcohol it is actually further fermenting in your body, it mixes with your blood/sugar and the water in your body so thus depriving your body of water and sugar. A hangover is the result of being de-hydrated and your blood/sugar levels are way down, so you get :puke:
The only way to avoid a hangover is to make sure you keep your ratios in your body at the right levels......
Here is something for you kids(I mean adults!!:slappin: ) to try at home
Next night of heavy drinking, for every 2 glasses(or what ever you drink out of), have the same size drink but have a glass of warm water and sugar mixed in(about a full teaspoon).
Report back with findings.....:cool:

BarItemsPlus1
02-12-2006, 15:17
I stand corrected....

However I don't think it would be an easy task to poision yourself, most people would either pass out before hand or throw up(which is basicly your stomach pumping itself....)

kbuzbee
02-12-2006, 15:27
I stand corrected....

However I don't think it would be an easy task to poision yourself, most people would either pass out before hand or throw up(which is basicly your stomach pumping itself....)

Chuck's point is, of course, correct... ALL alcohol is toxic. This doesn't mean you will die from a drink (or 2 or maybe even 10... depending) but it is toxic. It kills cells and your body will fight to rid itself of this poison....

Ken

ratcheer
02-12-2006, 15:55
I stand corrected....

However I don't think it would be an easy task to poision yourself, most people would either pass out before hand or throw up(which is basicly your stomach pumping itself....)

I belive that the famous rock singer, Janis Joplin, died from "mainlining" vodka. I.e., vodka shots. Hypodermic shots. :shocked:

Tim

BarItemsPlus1
02-12-2006, 17:04
"mainlining" vodka. I.e., vodka shots. Hypodermic shots...

Holly crap, I haven't heard of that being done!!

JeffRenner
02-12-2006, 18:17
There are indeed different alcohol's.....ethanol; methonal; etc....
The alcohol we drink is....umm, one of them:blush: sorry memory lapse??
What Chuck certainly meant was that all ethanol is the same, whether it comes from beer, wine, whiskey, vodka, champagne, etc. Some people kid themselves into thinking that because they aren't drinking "hard stuff," they aren't problem drinkers.

It is ethanol that we drink - aka grain alcohol, the result of fermentation of sugars. Fermentation of grains (beer, whiskey, vodka) produces mostly ethanol, but a very, very small amount of methanol ("wood alcohol"). Fermentation of fruit (wine, brandy) also produces mostly ethanol and somewhat more methanol, though still very little (parts per million). It is the pectin that is the precursor of this. Methanol is the stuff that makes you blind and destroys your liver.

Some higher alcohols, aka fusel oils, are also produced by fermenting grains or fruits. These are bigger molecules, and they are often thought to be responsible for hangovers, or at least headaches. This is not proven, last I heard.


I must point out that in a still they are manufactured so that a certain type of alcohol is taken off.....high wines/low wines...
The small amount of methanol is largely removed in the heads, or foreshots, in distillation. The higher alcohols are largely removed in the tails - the part of the distillate that comes off the still last. But here is the catch - if you remove too much of the tail, you lose many of the flavoring cogeners. If you leave only ethanol by distilling to a very high proof, you will end up with tasteless alcohol, aka vodka, or grain neutral spirits.


So indeed there are varying types of alcohol poisioning, but the fact is if your drinking a commercially made product then the chances of getting poisioned are pretty high
Is this really what you meant to write? The only significant alcohol in any reputable commercial alcoholic beverage is ethanol. Of course, this is indeed toxic - that's why they call it intoxication. Fortunately, most people are able to metabolize ethanol into water and carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, the intermediate products include two substances that are pretty nasty themselves - formaldehyde and formic acid!

Correction - see CrispyCritter's note below that it is actually methanol that is metabolized into these intermediate products - ethanol is metaboized into acetaldehyde and then acetic acid - not quite as bad but still nasty!

Thanks CC.

These, plus dehydration, are probably responsible for most of the symptoms of hangovers.


I don't think anyone to date has died from drinking too much
As Bobby Cox pointed out, this is sadly not the case. I live in a town with a large university, and every few years, some dumb fraternity kid kills himself by drinking too much. Our campus is not unique, nor is this by any means confined to university students. One of the really stupid stunts that sometimes leads to this is people trying to down 21 shots of liquor on their 21st birthday (legal drinking age in the States).


Just quickly there was a case not too long ago where a well known brand of scotch had actually the wrong alcohol and people where getting slightly sick......
I heard recently of some counterfeit Johnny Walker Red from eastern Europe that contained methanol. But no authentic scotch will contain anything more toxic than ethanol.

Methanol is really nasty stuff. It the responsible for those horrible deaths of dozens or even hundreds of people in India, where illicit so-called "homebrew" (as news accounts invariably call it) is served at wedding parties and the like. People get drunk, and think it's good stuff, and then they start dying. By then, the "homebrewers" are long gone.

Of course, true homebrew, whether distilled or not, is not going to produce methanol or anything else dangerous. These homebrewers are probably getting untaxed industrial alcohol that has been "denatured" by adding methanol.

Jeff

JeffRenner
02-12-2006, 18:27
As you drink alcohol it is actually further fermenting in your body, it mixes with your blood/sugar and the water in your body so thus depriving your body of water and sugar.
Well, the alcohol is not really fermenting in your body. It is the end product of fermentation, and can't ferment any further. But it is further broken down, as I wrote above, into first formaldehyde (used to embalm bodies), then formic acid (the stuff in ant bites!), then formate, then carbon dioxide and water.:Clever:

Correction - see CrispyCritter's note below that it is actually methanol that is metabolized into these intermediate products - ethanol is metaboized into acetaldehyde and then acetic acid - not quite as bad but still nasty!

Thanks CC.

But certainly, as you wrote, dehydration and low blood sugar are results of drinking too much alcohol, and are responsible for much of the way we feel when hungover. And having formaldehyde and formic acid circulating in our bodies is a big part of the problem as well.


The only way to avoid a hangover is to make sure you keep your ratios in your body at the right levels.....
Probably the only sure way is to avoid alcohol!:lol:

Jeff

BarItemsPlus1
02-12-2006, 18:43
Jeff your a multitude of info!! Thanks mate for clearing up some of my statements:iagreejeff:

I will add one last thing as it seems the 'line' is being blured a little....
I think we all know that alcohol(beer,wine,etc...) is, for want of a better word, 'toxic'.... but as you stated Jeff, methanol is a true poision. let's not get confused with quantities as anything of too much will harm you, we all take medicines of some sort and as per their classification their POISION!! yet they benefit us in some way or another and I know some ladies/gentleman that when I have a few drinks, it helps improve their appearances, so it works both ways...:slappin:

Jeff it was actually a scotch other than JW and it was due to the fact that the faints and foreshots wheren't removed properly and I think that the still also had a problem....I will try and find the reference on it.

JeffRenner
02-12-2006, 19:06
it was actually a scotch other than JW and it was due to the fact that the faints and foreshots wheren't removed properly and I think that the still also had a problem....I will try and find the reference on it.
That's surprising considering the QC you'd think they'd have. I suppose small distilleries don't have the resources that the big ones do. Still, there won't be anything in the distillate that wasn't in the original distiller's beer. But I suppose that it could have more than the usual amounts of fusel oils. I'll look forward to that reference.

BTW, some Belgian ales get some of their distinctive character from having more fusel oils, or higher molecular weight alcohols. This comes from the higher temperatures that they are fermented at compared to most. Some people say that this is responsible for worse hangovers with Belgian ales, but I suspect that it's really because they tend to be 7-10% abv!:lol:

Jeff

cowdery
02-12-2006, 19:47
Everything Jeff says is 100 percent correct. I would only add that when people talk about "alcohol poisoning" they mean beverage alcohol, i.e., ethanol, not methanol. For one thing, there really aren't that many people drinking methanol or any type of alcohol other than ethanol.

So, as Jeff said, the point is that all beverage alcohol is fundamentally the same, regardless of the source, even regardless of whether it is produced by fermentation or distillation, because all distillation really does is concentrate the alcohol produced by the fermentation, i.e., it separates alcohol and water. It doesn't "make" alcohol.

And alcohol poisoning is a big problem, especially among young people. It's not the same as getting really, really drunk. Follow the link in my original post for more information. While it is technically possible to produce alcohol poisoning with beer or wine, it is mostly caused by distilled spirits. We need to care about it because it is the kind of thing that provokes prohibitionist activity.

BarItemsPlus1
02-12-2006, 20:06
I fully agree with you on the subject of responsible drinking Chuck!! especially among the younger ones, I believe their needs to be more awareness and education!! But...I believe the education needs to be revised as we are as a society different in values than say even 5 years ago....the kids of today look and see things in a different 'light' so we need to look at this and address it.
I have actually made a point here previously regarding RTD's....the way they are marketed and who they are marketed at!! I think we tend to forget what we were like as kids...which brings me to another point Price$$ is a big factor in what 'kids' consume. I know when I was younger I would not have gone to the local liquor store and paid big$$ to get drunk!! I was after the cheapest stuff I could find to get drunk.
Anyway I only wanted to highlight the fact that there are 'poisionious' alcohol's...ie. methanol.....I didn't want to dispute the fact of alcohol poisioning.
Oh and Chuck there are plenty of people that drink methanol, or at least methalyated spirits(spelling??)...is it the same stuff? Many homeless and young kids experimenting drink the stuff....

gmanfarmer
02-12-2006, 20:29
To simplify the alcohol poisoning matter, people can drink high proof spirits much faster than their bodies can process them while they are conscious. When this occurs, the high blood alcohol level accumulates rapidly and causes unconsciousness, respiratory depression(or cessation), cerebral anoxia, and eventually death. Fortunately for many heavy drinkers, their livers are geared up to process high alcohol intake.

CrispyCritter
02-12-2006, 21:11
Fortunately, most people are able to metabolize ethanol into water and carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, the intermediate products include two substances that are pretty nasty themselves - formaldehyde and formic acid!
A nitpick, here, but an important one - methanol gets metabolized into formaldehyde and formic acid - which is why it can kill you or make you blind.

Ethanol (http://www.medicouncilalcol.demon.co.uk/handbook/hb_meta.htm) gets metabolized into acetaldehyde and acetic acid. Acetaldehyde isn't as nasty as formaldehyde, but it's bad enough for you...

JeffRenner
02-13-2006, 05:50
A nitpick, here, but an important one - methanol gets metabolized into formaldehyde and formic acid - which is why it can kill you or make you blind.

Ethanol (http://www.medicouncilalcol.demon.co.uk/handbook/hb_meta.htm) gets metabolized into acetaldehyde and acetic acid. Acetaldehyde isn't as nasty as formaldehyde, but it's bad enough for you...
You are absolutely right - my mistake. I misread my source. Thanks for keeping me honest!

Jeff

cowdery
02-13-2006, 07:35
Oh and Chuck there are plenty of people that drink methanol, or at least methalyated spirits(spelling??)...is it the same stuff? Many homeless and young kids experimenting drink the stuff....

Fair enough, although I think that's less of a problem today, at least in this country, than it once was, perhaps since ethanol is readily available. I just didn't want us confusing the issue--or issues--since that is a completely different one.

NorCalBoozer
02-13-2006, 09:49
yes, my school has had several incidents....the latest was quite sad, a kid died from drinking too much WATER in a hazing incident, yes that's correct, WATER. They had the pledges in a basement and made them drink large amount of water over several hours and keep them cold. I don't know the specifics of what this does to the body but it killed the kid. no alcohol just water.




As Bobby Cox pointed out, this is sadly not the case. I live in a town with a large university, and every few years, some dumb fraternity kid kills himself by drinking too much. Our campus is not unique, nor is this by any means confined to university students. One of the really stupid stunts that sometimes leads to this is people trying to down 21 shots of liquor on their 21st birthday (legal drinking age in the States).
Jeff

wrbriggs
02-13-2006, 12:30
yes, my school has had several incidents....the latest was quite sad, a kid died from drinking too much WATER in a hazing incident, yes that's correct, WATER. They had the pledges in a basement and made them drink large amount of water over several hours and keep them cold. I don't know the specifics of what this does to the body but it killed the kid. no alcohol just water.
From what I understand (I'm no chemistry wiz), by drinking enough water, you actually flush all the electrolytes out of your body... this causes the process of osmosis to no longer function across any of your cell membranes, and your body shuts down.

cowdery
02-13-2006, 15:25
Yes, you can OD on water. It's called hyponatremia. (http://www.pressrepublican.com/Archive/2003/05_2003/050120031c.htm)

wrbriggs
02-13-2006, 16:48
Yes, you can OD on water. It's called hyponatremia. (http://www.pressrepublican.com/Archive/2003/05_2003/050120031c.htm)
I remember the case you reference, it was reported on pretty heavily in the news here, because while it happened across the lake in Plattsburg, the kid died at the hospital here in Burlington.

Any time kids do something stupid and end up dead is such a goddamn tragedy... they are, after all, kids... and by definition, they do stupid things... it's unfortunate so many of those stupid things get them killed.

cowdery
02-13-2006, 22:28
Let's just hope no one seizes on this to advocate the prohibition of water.

mrt
02-19-2006, 10:27
Does moderate consumption of spirits also have severe harmful effects on our health? Or are there any health benefits of such drinking?

ratcheer
02-19-2006, 12:38
Extensive medical research has shown that moderate consumption of alcohol provides significant health benefits, mostly to the heart and circulatory system. However, they are always careful not to actually say that people should drink alcohol, because of the dangers of overdrinking - liver problems and social problems top the list.

Beer has the trace element silicon, which also provides certain health benefits. And red wine has lots of bioflavonoids, providing other benefits. These are in addition to the general benefits of alcohol.

Tim

Sijan
02-27-2006, 20:25
lots more info on health benefits of moderate alchohol consumption here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_consumption_and_health

also thought this was very interesting:

"However, it is inevitable that humans intake some moderate amount of alcohol, even if they never drink in their lives. This is because many of the bacteria in our intestines use alcohol fermentation as a form of respiration. This metabolic method produces alcohol as a waste product, in the same way that our metabolism results in the formation of carbon dioxide and water. Thus, we always intake some quantity of alcohol, which is produced by these benign bacteria. In fact, if we eat enough carbohydrates (a few pieces of bread, for instance), the alcohol levels in our bowels can soar to the equivalent of a few ounces of wine, some quantity of which will inevitably be absorbed by the intestinal wall, and thus circulated throughout our bloodstream. In nature, the quantity of alcohol necessary to prevent heart disease is mostly produced by these microorganisms."

BarItemsPlus1
02-27-2006, 21:06
This indeed is very true and factual....

In Melbourne, Australia the law requires second offense drink drivers to have an alcohol interlock device fitted once the offender re-applies for their drivers license.
It is indeed fact that the two companies and the law also had to be rectified to read an alcohol reading above .02% BAC(Blood Alcohol Concentration) as the devices were in actual cases reading the 'Body's' Alcohol.
In one particular case a gentleman blew into the device to allow him to start his vehicle, it did not start?
He then wait for the allowed time frame and proceeded to try and start his vehicle again. As this gentleman was not the 'brightest of sparkes' he continued to try and start his vehicle until finally after a few more attempts the device actually 'locked' itself out and dialled the authorities. The offender then had to explain in high detail why he tried to start and drive his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In absolute protest of his guilt the gentleman from advise from an official member and instructor of drink driver programs, went and sort confirmation from a hospital that indeed he had not been drinking. The gentleman had in fact just been eating a ham sandwich. And had a VERY large serving of pizza the night before. Once this evidence was presented the case unfortunately did not make it to court as all charges were dropped due to satifactory evidence proving in the offender's favour. Immediately all devices were re-calibrated to read at the level of .02% BAC.

pepcycle
03-01-2006, 14:52
Not Likely!!!
I don't use courts as scientific proof of anything.