Author Topic: higher alcohols  (Read 1421 times)

Offline uisgue

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higher alcohols
« on: August 06, 2017, 09:51:38 pm »
To start with, I have no background in organic chemistry.  I have always heard talk of higher alcohols and fusel alcohols.  I am assuming that that means there is a spectrum of alcohols beyond ethanol.  Some of these are said to be dangerous (or at least hang-over inducing). My question is: do these different alcohols have different psychotropic properties?  My latest batch is a disaster recovery project of unknown OG, FG or IBU. (Long story) It was fermented with a lager yeast at uncontrolled, but cool ale temperatures.  At first it tasted quite hot, but either has mellowed out or I have acclimated to it.  But...it seems that even with a small amount I seem to feel alcohol effects almost immediately.  However there is no particularly exaggerated hang-over. Any thoughts?
Doug Hickey
Crescent City, CA
Symposia Brew Corps

Offline Westley

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Re: higher alcohols
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 06:32:09 am »
To start with, I have no background in organic chemistry.  I have always heard talk of higher alcohols and fusel alcohols.  I am assuming that that means there is a spectrum of alcohols beyond ethanol.  Some of these are said to be dangerous (or at least hang-over inducing). My question is: do these different alcohols have different psychotropic properties?  My latest batch is a disaster recovery project of unknown OG, FG or IBU. (Long story) It was fermented with a lager yeast at uncontrolled, but cool ale temperatures.  At first it tasted quite hot, but either has mellowed out or I have acclimated to it.  But...it seems that even with a small amount I seem to feel alcohol effects almost immediately.  However there is no particularly exaggerated hang-over. Any thoughts?

If you are using clean ferment-able sugars such as well mashed grains, malt syrups, or fruit you should be fine. It's only when you try to ferment non-sugary organic compounds that you end up with high levels of methyl alcohol, which is poisonous.

Offline erockrph

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Re: higher alcohols
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 09:36:58 am »
I think amyl alcohol, isobutanol and propanol are the most common fusels formed during fermentation. These tend to give hot, solventy, or harsh flavors. In clean beers like lagers they come off a bit fruity to me as well.

Some lager strains are very tolerant of ale-like temps (34/70 for example), but others aren't as forgiving. I tried running S-189 in the mid-50's with an early ramp to 62F, and it had quite a bit if fusel character. At lower temps, it makes a very clean lager.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer