BASIC FACTS ABOUT ALCOHOL
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is the oldest and most widely used drug in the world.
Nearly half of all Americans over the age of 12 are consumers of alcohol. Most
people don’t have a problem with alcoholism but there are an estimated 10 to 15
million alcoholics or problem drinkers in the United States, with more than
100,000 deaths each year attributed to alcohol. What most people don’t realize
is that among the nation’s alcoholics and problem drinkers are as many as 4.5
Alcohol is the name to given a variety of related compounds; the
drinkable form is ethanol, or ethyl alcohol. It is a powerful, addictive,
central nervous system depressant produced by the action of yeast cells on
carbohydrates in fruits and grains. A liquid that is taken orally, alcohol is
often consumed in large quantities. Surveys of adolescent and young adult
drinkers indicate that they are particularly likely to drink heavily with the
intention of getting drunk—often every time they drink.
There are three basic types of alcoholic
Beer is made from fermented grains and has an alcohol
content of three to six percent.
Wine is made from fermented fruits and has an alcohol
content of 11 to 14 percent. Some wine drinks, such as wine coolers, have fruit
juice and sugar added, lowering alcohol content to between four and seven
Fortified wines, such as port, have alcohol added, bringing
alcohol content to between 18 and 20 percent.
Liquor is made by distilling a fermented product to
yield a drink that usually contains 40 to 50 percent alcohol. The alcohol
content in liquor is sometimes indicated by degrees of proof, which in the
United States is a figure twice as high as the percentage. Thus, 80-proof liquor
is 40 percent alcohol.
A 12-ounce glass of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, and a
1.5-ounce shot of liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol and, therefore,
have an equal effect on the drinker. All three forms of alcohol have the same
potential for intoxication and addiction.
How Does it Affect You?
When a person consumes alcohol, the drug acts on nerve cells
deep in the brain. Alcohol initially serves as a stimulant, then induces
feelings of relaxation and reduced anxiety.
Consumption of two or three drinks in an hour can impair
judgment, lower inhibitions, and induce mild euphoria. Five drinks consumed in
two hours may raise the blood alcohol level to 0.10 percent, high enough to be
considered legally intoxicated in every state. Once a drinker stops drinking,
his or her blood alcohol level decreases by about 0.01 percent per hour.
Signs and symptoms
alcohol use and intoxication:
Smell of alcohol on breath
Loss of physical coordination
Inappropriate or violent behavior
Loss of balance
Slurred and/or incoherent speech
Loss of consciousness
Impaired short-term memory
alcohol withdrawal, experienced by alcoholics and problem
Anxiety and panic attacks
Paranoia and delusions
Hallucinations (usually visual)
Nausea and vomiting
Increased body temperature
Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
What are the Dangers of Alcohol Abuse?
In addition to risk of injury or death as a result of accident
or violence, alcohol abuse can cause or worsen many physical and mental
Neurological dangers include impaired vision and
impaired motor coordination, memory defects, hallucinations, blackouts, and
seizures. Long-term consumption can result in permanent damage to the brain.
Cardiological problems include elevated blood
pressure and heart rate, risk of stroke and heart failure.
Respiratory dangers include respiratory depression
and failure, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and lung abscesses. Additionally, alcohol
abuse increases the risk of mouth and throat cancer.
Liver disease caused by chronic alcohol abuse,
including alcoholic fatty liver, hepatitis, and cirrhosis, kills 25,000
Americans each year.
Other physiological dangers include damage to the
gastrointestinal system (including duodenal ulcers, reflux, and diarrhea),
the pancreas, and the kidneys. In addition, alcohol consumption
may cause malnutrition, disrupt the absorption of nutrients in food, and
suppress the immune system, thus increasing the potential for illness.
Psychological angers include impaired judgment and
verbal ability, apathy, introversion, antisocial behavior, inability to
concentrate, and deterioration of relationships with family, friends, and
Alcohol is an especially dangerous drug for pregnant women.
Drinking during pregnancy raises the risk of low-birth weight babies and
intrauterine growth retardation, increasing the danger of infection, feeding
difficulties, and long-term developmental problems.
Heavy drinking during the early months of pregnancy can
result in the birth of babies with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants are
likely to have irreversible physical abnormalities.
What is Alcoholism?
Chronic abuse of alcohol can lead to addiction or alcoholism.
The behavior of abusers and the consequences of that behavior are
better indicators of alcoholism than how often or how much a person may drink.
Alcohol addiction can be characterized by increased tolerance, causing the
abuser to drink greater amounts to achieve the same desired effect. When an
alcoholic stops drinking, he or she will typically experience the symptoms of
For additional information contact the Phoenix House American Council for
Drug Education 164 West 74th Street, New York, NY 10023, 1-800-488-DRUG (3784),
Ethyl Alcohol, C2H6O (mol. wt. 46.07)
||Miscible in water. >=10 g/100 mL at 23 C
An alcoholic beverage made with Artemisia absinthium
- Beer- An alcoholic beverage prepared by fermentation of
various species of grains. Brewer's yeast converts carbohydrates in
the grains to ethanol. Hops are commonly added as a preservative,
and other flavorings are often added. Psychoactive admixture plants
can also be added, but this practice is rare today.
- Laudanum- Tincture of opium. Usually a liquid, but the
alcoholic extract can be subsequently dried as well. Preparation
instructions from Culpeper's Complete Herbal, 1653:
Take of Thebane Opium extracted in spirit of Wine, one ounce,
Saffron alike extracted, a dram and an half, Castorium one dram:
let them be taken in tincture of half an ounce of species
Diambræ newly made in spirit of Wine, add to them Ambergris,
Musk, of each six grains, oil of Nutmegs ten drops, evaporate
the moisture away in a bath, and leave the mass.
- Mead- An
alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water.
How to Make
Alcoholic beverage made by fermenting agave.
- Tequila- An
alcoholic drink made from fermented and distilled sap of the blue
- Vin Mariani-
This cocaine-containing wine is the best known of several brands
popular in the late 1800s
- Wine- A
beverage made from the fermented juice of grapes or other fruits or
Greetings everyone. Here is a basic overview of how to make
mead, a sort of honey based wine. Keep things as sterile as
possible, and there should not be too much of a problem
producing your own homemade, high quality, mead. Before we
begin, allow me to state that I do not condone breaking the law,
I am not encouraging anyone to do so, and I strongly urge you to
check on local laws pertaining to brewing and the use of any
ingredients you may choose to add. In the United States of
America each adult citizen is permitted to brew 100 gallons of
fermented beer and/or wine annually, according to federal law.
Individuals are not permitted to sell this liquor without a
proper license, and certain states and localities may further
restrict production of fermented beverages.
For each five gallon batch:
Now, this is sort of a rule of thumb type of recipe. For
instance, with that much frozen OJ concentrate, I probably would
feel just fine about skimping on the fruit acid. At that, a
couple of teaspoons of citric acid from the grocery store would
be fine. Real fruit acid blend sold in brew stores contains
malic, citric, and tartaric acid, present in about that same
order of concentration. The acid is a good idea, as it plays a
pretty good hand in the final taste, and more importantly helps
keep the must more suited for yeast, and less suited for
bacteria. Mold, mildew, and other fungus will still grow in it
though. A reminder that more is not always better, excessive
acidity inhibits the yeast as well as most bacteria.
Lactobacillus and aceterbacteria are acid lovers that may take
over and produce vinegar if the acidity drops too low.
- 5 pounds of honey (up to 10 lbs. to increase sweetness &
- 5 cans of frozen orange juice concentrate (makes ~2 qts.
- 5 pounds of sugar
- 2 tbs. of yeast nutrient
- 4-5 tsp. of fruit acid blend
- a good wine or mead yeast
- water to five gallons
The yeast nutrient is mostly di-ammonium phosphate and
magnesium sulfate. Use a good wine yeast. It is vital to your
success and is cheaper than bread yeast in most locales. When I
started I skimped and used bread yeast. Bad idea. Good wine
yeast is about the cheapest, and most important thing in a brew
store. One last thing that isn't mentioned above, but is needed,
is sulphite. Again, this is another thing easiest to find in a
brew store. Do look for it, as it is very much a useful thing.
Sulphite will kill off the molds, etc., that can grow in your
acidic unfermented mead. This unfermented liquid is referred to
as the must by the way. Perhaps it is called this because you
"must" ferment it before drinking!
OK, everything else should be pretty easy to come by.
Hopefully you have found a glass carboy, or plastic water cooler
jug. It will make things easier to keep sterile/clean. First
thing to do is take a 1 gallon glass jar/plastic bottle/other
sealable container and mix up 1 tsp. of sulphite powder, or two
campden tablets (basically sulphite powder in tablet form) to a
gallon of warm or hot water. Don't inhale a lot of this
directly, as you may cough up a lung. This will be your
sterilizing solution. Clean everything well with hot soapy
water, then rinse in hot water. Last thing, rinse with enough
sulphite water to coat the surfaces. This will kill just about
everything but yeast. In high concentrations it will stun
(probably not kill though) yeast too. Wild yeast and baker's
yeast tend to be more susceptible than wine yeast.
Warm the honey by placing the honey jar/bottle in a pan of
warm water. Place the pan on the stove, set on low for 10-15
minutes. If the honey is still thick, go for 30 minutes.
Something that is a pain do, but makes for a prettier product is
to mix the honey 1/2 and 1/2 with water before mixing it in with
everything else and boil it for an hour. A good way to get the
right amount of water, and get all the honey out of the jars, is
to fill them with hot water after removing the honey, and mixing
this in with the honey to be boiled. As it boils, skim off any
foam as it forms. This is protein from the honey. It is very
nutritious, and quite sweet eaten by itself (on toast, straight
up, whatever). The reason to remove it though, is that it can
make the mead cloudy if left in. Nothing wrong with this, other
than crystal clear wine/mead is considered by the connoisseurs
to be the ideal. I don't bother, but if you are going for
aesthetics, go ahead and boil it. A pound of honey should be
about a pint or s o. You're looking at boiling around 5 quarts
of liquid. Doesn't have to be a strong boil, so long as it is
bubbling a little. Skim every so often or the foam will sink,
forming a precipitate on the bottom. Place the honey in the
carboy. Fill the carboy half way with hot water and dissolve
everything well. Add your yeast nutrient, and fruit acid, and
mix well. This should ferment vigorously, so you may not want to
fill to the 5 gallon mark at this time. Leave 20% of the space
empty so it has room to foam up.
This is the point in time when you may wish to add any extras
to the must. Traditional mead is made from honey and water
alone. Addition of the orange juice concentrate will make the
mead into a melomel, which is just mead with fruit juice.
Melomel made with grape juice would be referred to as pyment,
and apple juice mead is cyser. The addition of herbs such as
ginger, cloves, nutmeg, dried mushrooms or fruit, or rosemary
result in a beverage called metheglin. Hippocras is mead made
with honey, grape juice, and some of the fore mentioned herbs.
Generally juice concentrates are the easiest to add, though
crushed fruit would work also. If crushed fruit is used, the
juice should either be well strained before hand, or the mead
should be racked within the first 7 to 10 days after starting
the ferment. This will prevent any fruit matter from spoiling
along the bottom of the vessel, tainting the mead.
I'll take a moment to mention that five pounds of sugar. It
needs to be well dissolved, with no free crystals sitting in the
bottom of the fermenting container. Some people add all the
sugar right in the beginning. Other add it a pound or so at a
time as the yeast ferment it. The reason for this is that a high
sugar content can inhibit the yeast to a certain extent. I
personally find it simpler, and no less effective, to add all
the sugar at one time.
Mix in 4-5 campden tablets, or 4-5 tsp. of sulphite. Stir
well again. This will sterilize the whole mix rather nicely. Let
this sit over night, and the sulphite will tend to oxidize out
somewhat. Meanwhile, mix the yeast into a warm, not hot,
(remember that while yeast can stand more acid than bacteria,
our fungal friends all tend to be heat sensitive) mix of water,
and OJ. The next morning (12-24 hours later at any rate) combine
the yeast solution with the must. Make sure your air lock is
Did I tell you what happened when I tried to do without an
air lock? I placed the screw type cap loosely on the top of a
gallon jug. Everything went well for perhaps 24 hours. Then pulp
(this was an orange fruit wine) built up in the cap and stopped
the escape of the gas. Four weeks later I was still finding
glass shards in that room. Some of them embedded in the walls.
The most vigorous fermentation will occur within 3-4 days
after adding yeast. After this you can add boiled and cooled
water to the 5 gallon mark. Keep in mind that most yeast have a
thermal death limit somewhere around 100 deg F, and can be
permanently damaged by temps around 95. Shake the carboy twice a
day for the first few days, then leave it alone after that.
Ok, now you have fermenting beverage in a big bottle. What to
do? Keep the air lock filled with water. With wine you would
rack it (change containers) after 2-4 weeks. And again after
every 3 months, till it was 9 months to a year old. Siphon off
the wine from one container to a clean sterilized (after you add
yeast, make sure that everything that touches your mead is
rinsed in that sulphite water!) leaving the dead yeast cells,
precipitated grape bits etc. behind. With mead however there
tends to be very little precipitate (even less when you boil the
honey before hand). So rack whenever it starts to build up on
the bottom enough to bother you. Often with a relatively pure
mead, this may need done but once or twice. The darker the
honey, the longer it needs to be aged to reach the "ideal" mead
qualities. A very dark honey may take the lion's share of a
decade to properly "ripen". In all reality, you can bottle it
when there is no more air bubbling out of the air lock. Watch
the airlock for a few minutes. If you don't see any activity,
bottle. Hydrometers are nice, but not absolutely necessary
though. Generally, a hydrometer will come with instructions for
Bottling is not that difficult. Scrounge a few wine bottles
and buy some corks for a dollar or two. A decent corker, which
is a necessity, sells for $15-$20. A 5 gallon carboy makes about
23-25 bottles of mead. Screw cap bottles would be an alternative
to corks, though this doesn't look as nice, nor seal and
preserve as well. You may now drink your mead as you see fit, or
age and ripen it further by storing in a cool dark area. Corked
bottles should be stored on a slant so that the cork is in
constant contact with the liquid.
Videos Alcohol Basics
What is Alcohol Poisoning?
Sharing and Sanitation
The Calories in Your Cocktail
How Alcohol Affects Your Figure
The Alcohol Effect on Sex
How to Head of a Hangover
My Reference Library: Disclaimer
Neither the server maintainers nor any contributors can be held liable in any
way for any information and/or data made available, or omitted, from information
distributed through this server. All of the material may - or may not - have
been checked for accuracy or completeness. All material is supplied "AS IS"
without warranty of quality or accuracy of any kind. The entire risk as to the
quality and/or accuracy of the information on this server is with you. Should
any such material, information, etc prove to be inaccurate or in any way
defective, you (and not the server maintainers, or any contributors) assume the
risk of relying on such material, including any consequential damages. Under no
circumstances will the server maintainers, or any contributors be liable for any
damages from your reliance upon anything derived from this server even if the
server maintainers have been advised that such defect or unsuitability exists.
The server maintainers and contributors disclaim all liability to you for
damages, costs and expenses, including legal fees, and YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR
NEGLIGENCE OR UNDER STRICT LIABILITY, OR FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY OR CONTRACT,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR INCIDENTAL
DAMAGES, EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
You will indemnify and hold the server maintainers and contributors harmless
from all liability, cost and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly
or indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause: 1. distribution of
this information from this server, 2. alteration, modification, or addition to
the information from this server.
By your use of this server, you agree to hold harmless the the server
maintainers and its contributors against ANY AND ALL CLAIMS arising out of said
use, regardless of the cause, effects, or fault.
Some of the articles contained herein describe illegal activities, which may
not be clearly identified as being illegal. It is the responsibility of the
individual reader to verify the legality of any actions described in these
files. It is not recommended that any of the activities described herein
actually be carried out. These files are provided FOR INFORMATION ONLY.