When you think of alcohol, what do you picture? Beer, wine, or maybe a glass of scotch or bourbon? In the past, people thought about strong alcohol as a sign of status. In many cultures, alcohol was a symbol of something taken as medicine. Today we know that alcohol is a drug. It’s a depressant, and it slows down your central nervous system which is why you feel the effects of it. But what about alcohol strength? The idea that alcohol is stronger today than it used to be is popular. Do you think that’s true?
Here are six facts to help you figure it out.
What Does Alcohol Strength Mean?
The higher the alcohol content, the stronger the drink! This system of measuring alcohol is primarily used in the United States, where alcohol proof is defined as being double the amount of alcohol by volume. Like in Connecticut, you can drink responsibly in Connecticut with the legal limit of 0.08% or above!
There are different styles of wines that have different levels of alcohol. The higher the alcohol percentage of the wine, the stronger it is. A higher alcohol percentage translates to a more pungent taste. As you get close to 20% alcohol content, the wine is considered off-dry.
Is the ABV Higher?
Like the high and low GI of carbohydrates versus a protein or fat, the alcohol content of a beverage is based on alcohol by volume (ABV). An 80 proof beverage is 80 percent alcohol. That means that only 20 percent of the alcohol is in the drink.
The term alcohol by volume is helpful because you can’t compare a proof-of-rum to a proof-of-beer or a proof-of-wine to a proof-of-wine. Instead, you compare the strength of the alcohol content to water-100 percent water or a specific volume of water.
Alcohol Is More Concentrated, Right?
The alcohol in beer or wine is much more concentrated than it used to be. There is a lot more yeast in beer and wine now than in the past. The alcohol is also more concentrated because it contains extra ingredients such as sweeteners, its sweetness. With new lab technologies, it’s possible now to screen for ingredients to 0.1% and lower! In wine, the grapes are concentrated so much that there are two ways to create alcohol: adding more sugar or adding more yeast. The alcohol in wine is now higher because of these factors.
Alcohol Is Purer, So Isn’t It Stronger Too?
This is a popular argument, but it doesn’t stand up or change the facts. Today, there are two ways to make alcoholic drinks: distilling a liquid and combining it with carrier alcohol or yeast. For instance, EDI is used in a lot of industries to help with water purification. That’s because EDI provides high purity water production.
Alcohols made this way are stronger because they have more ethanol ( alcohol) in them. However, they are not necessarily stronger than ethanol made the other way. This is a misconception that’s been around for years, and many of us are all too familiar with it. There are a few reasons alcohol is diluted, some of which protect people from drinking too much. Alcoholic drinks are diluted with water, sugar, or flavoring, all of which decrease the alcohol concentration of the drink.
Do You Think There Are Any Benefits To Higher Alcohol Content?
There’s no tangible benefit to drinking a high-quality product. What a drinker often finds is that a high-quality product makes drinking more enjoyable. What about taste? Alcohol is always more enjoyable in better quality, but it won’t taste noticeably better.
The tasting on most alcohol bottles is pretty vague, though. For example, there’s no mention of ABV, the alcoholic strength of a brand. Most major manufacturers list the alcohol percentage, which measures the amount of alcohol by volume, not the strength.
You don’t need to worry about drinking too much if you’re light-years away from the old-school stouts and gins. There’s a lot more in your glass than the amount of alcohol in a standard beer. Remember, we’re talking about alcohol, not, say, water or something else. Most of what you’re drinking is water. This might not come as a surprise, but it’s still true. For alcohol, it’s all about ABV-or Alcohol by Volume.