ALCOHOL, Ethyl Alcohol (also called Grain Alcohol, Root Alcohol, Spirits of Wine, etc., according to the source) : occurs as the result of the fermentation—i. e.. the effect of the growth of yeast cells, either wild or cultivated (see YEAST ) —of liquid containing a moderate amount of any one of several forms of "sugar." The sugary ele ment is the result of the conversion of starch, either by natural growth in grapes, sugar beets, etc., or by the action of malt diastase, etc., on the starch of grains (see WHISKY 1. potatoes, etc. The alcohol is extracted from the fermented liquid by the process of Distillation (which see). o.
Pure alcohol is transparent and colorless, agreeable in odor, of strong and pun gent taste and highly volatile and inflammable, burning with a pale blue or smokeless flame. If thoroughly refined, the product is identical—both by chemical analysis and in appearance, flavor, etc.—no matter what the source of the original starch.
Brandy and Whisky generally contain about one-half alcohol in volume. "Proof spirit" contains approximately half in weight but somewhat more by volume.
In addition to its use in spirituous liquors, alcohol is employed in an almost infi nite variety of ways—in the arts, in the electrical world, in the manufacture of arti ficial silk, leather, etc., by perfumers, chemists, extract makers, anatomists, natu ralists, etc. As Denatured Alcohol (see following), its scope has been greatly widened within the last few years.
There are two forms of alcohol so treated—one completely denatured and the other specially denatured—the latter for uses for which the former would not be suit able.
The most generally approved formula for completely denatured alcohol adds ten gallons of wood (methyl) alcohol and one-half gallon of petroleum benzine to each hundred gallons of ordinary (ethyl) alcohol.
Among the many possible additions for specially denatured alcohol are camphor, benzol, castor-oil and soda lye, sulphuric ether, etc.
Alcohol for industrial purposes is in Germany made chiefly from potatoes, in France from beets, and in this country from grains, molasses, etc. Its manufacture adds appreciably to the wealth of the nation by turning to account damaged and spoiled grains, vegetables and fruits—all of which can be converted into alcohol thoroughly serviceable for industrial purposes.
The commercial uses of alcohol, when obtainable at a low price, are almost innu merable. In the household it serves as a clean, cheap and serviceable substitute for gas or electricity, for both illumination and cooking. Its possibilities promise to be illimitable, for in France a new process has been discovered by which it may be pro duced by chemical synthesis, and it is predicted that the cost of such production can be reduced to less than ten cents a gallon.
The principal difference in the brewing of modern Ale and Lager Beer is found in the process of fermentation. Ale is a "high" or "top" fermentation at about Fahr.; Lager, a "low" or "bottom" fermentation at about 40° Fahr. Each requires a special yeast. The percentage of alcohol varies from four to six per cent in ale against from three to five in lager beer, the difference being due to the greater quantity of malt used in the former.
In America, ale is brewed chiefly from malted barley, grain, cerealin (a compound resembling diastase), grape sugar and hops. All varieties may be grouped under two heads : "Present Use" or "Cream" or "Light Draught" ale, intended for immediate consumption, and "Stock Ale," containing more alcohol and extract, intended to be kept for months or years, either bottled or in casks.
Light Draught ales are distinctly an American product, the tendency here being toward clear, light types. In the endeavor to attain this result, some brewers have sacrificed much in flavor, but others have been successful in producing a true "Ale" with a lager beer finish.
English and Scotch ales enjoy a high reputation. The latter are distinguished by the small quantity of hops employed and their marked vinous flavor. India Pale Ale derives its name from a variety originally brewed for the East Indies market, which was especially heavily hopped to better withstand the hot climate. "Bitter Ale" is similarly made by using a large proportion of hops.
"Half & Half" is a mixture of half ale and half porter (see STOUT).
"Musty," in New England, signifies a mixture of ale and lager beer.
When properly drawn, ale should be perfectly clear, contain sufficient carbon dioxide ( carbonic acid gas) to produce a foam or collar on top and a slight cham pagne effervescence, and have the aromatic smell of hops. It should never be exposed to the air in an open vessel, because of its tendency to ferment• and sour.
When brewed by the newest methods, ale does not become turbid at low tempera tures, and when bottled and pasteurized can be kept indefinitely without sediment, remaining clear even when packed on ice.
Bottled ale should be kept on its side in a cool place—the temperature preferably not below 44° nor above 50° Fahr.