The Science of BoozeBook - 2014
Boston :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, 2014
From the critics
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p169 "Your basic carbohydrate--bread, let's say--clocks in at 4.1kcal/g, but ethanol nearly doubles that. Of course, those calories are largely empty, without vitamins, minerals, or proteins along for the ride. That's a good argument to drink beer, I guess. It's full of protein. Or you could order cocktails made with fresh juice, especially since people who drink get up to 10 percent of their total calorie intake from ethanol. Alcoholics get up to 50%."
p119: "Barrels full of booze are exciting places, chemically speaking. Of the structural components of wood, cellulose and hemicellulose are giant chains of repeating glucose molecules, and the heat of coppering breaks those into sugars--glucose, hexose, and pentose. But the third component, lignin, is different. It's a massive molecule, too, but with nonrepeating subunits. About half of them are vanillin (vanilla flavoured), and the rest is barbecue-flavored guaiacyl, clove-flavored eugenol, and syringaldehyde. At high heat, the spicy aromatic aldehydes in the lignin undergo Maillard reactions and yield the same flavors as browned meat."
p53: "Just like yeast, nobody isolated and identified koji until the late 1800s --1876, to be specific. Yeast was the first living organism to have its genes sequenced, in 1996; koji didn't get its turn until 2005. What gene jockeys found was a microorganism 20 million years old, yet suited to a thoroughly modern process. It makes ten proteases, beloved by soy sauce and miso makers for breaking down protein-laden soybeans; and it makes three distinct alpha-amylases, which sake brewers depend on to saccharify rice.
p48: "Brewers and whisky makers use barley because it's easy. Other grains are maltable, but wheat, for example, produces less starch-breaking enzyme. Oats have too much protein and fat. Corn needs too much heat to untangle the starches before malting, and the oils tend to turn rancid. Barley is the way to go."
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