hist-brewing: snowblind (malt, more or less)

isenhour at uiuc.edu isenhour at uiuc.edu
Tue Dec 7 19:42:51 PST 1999


Freezing yourself blind...

The freeze process does tend to concentrate "fusel oils" or cogeners,
which are "higher" alcohols, but there is essentially no methanol
(MEOH) production in the first place.  MEOH metabolizes to formic acid
via alcohol-dehydrogenace (if memory serves), which is toxic to
retinal neurons with sufficient concentration.  The cure, oddly enough
is to drink ethanol (ETOH) since there is only one common pathway
through alcohol-dehydrogenace, so there is competition for the
dehydroxilation which dilutes the conversion of MEOH to formic acid
via ETOH conversion to actealdehyde.

See Hardwick, 1995 "Handbook of Brewing", ch 19, p.560, table 2,
_Alcohols Found In Beer_.

Higher alcohols sure do MAKE you think you're gonna die, and certainly
cause more damage.  They do evolve into esters over time and so aging
is a good thing, indeed a critical factor (its why I dislike pubs that
make Belgian tripel and serve it right away).  Yeast properties and
sugar components play the big role.  I read somewhere that the
Canadian gov. was conserned about applejack, cause its so easy to
freeze concentrate.  I know of serveral brewery (ok 4) who freeze
concentrate and it is dangerously strong.

here's to cold weather,
john

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