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Hi all, I got a couple of questions

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Hi all, I got a couple of questions

Postby whiskynewbie » Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:14 am

Hi all, I am a newbie to the world of whisky !!! I got a couple of questions, hope someone here can answer.

I wonder what the proof on a whisky mean ??

The second is this, I know that whisky is made of barley, water, yeast only and nothing else, but the whisky tasting descriptions always include words like, honey, fruity,etc.
I wonder where those tastes come from ?

Thank you all !!!
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Postby hpulley » Mon Mar 31, 2003 3:33 am

Proof is simply another way of saying how much alcohol a liquor contains by volume. Divide by two to get the percentage (e.g. 86 proof is 43%). There are historical contexts for proof which I'm not sufficiently well versed to pass on (could be nothing but myth).

Flavours other than barley and yeast mostly come from elements which are extracted by [edit: from, not by] the wood, or which combine with elements from the wood and the original barley and yeast. The inside of the barrels are often charred which creates all sorts of active compounds. Most of the fruity tastes are esters. Not sure about honey (never tasted honey in a whisky personally but I might call that something else, perhaps just sweet). Many sweet tastes are associated in particular with 'sherry' and 'port' oaks, as opposed to 'bourbon' oak. These flavours and scents are kind of like the artificial flavours and scents purposely created in a lab that have nothing to do with the original, but in this case they are serendipitous and indigenous to the way whisky is made and aged.

Not the best answer I'm sure but no one else has responded yet so I hope it helps.

Harry

[This message has been edited by hpulley (edited 31 March 2003).]
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Postby whiskynewbie » Mon Mar 31, 2003 8:42 am

thanks harry, it definitely helps a lot. I have always suspected the proof is twice the alcohol amount, but
thought it might be something else, so I had better ask !!!

Cheers
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Postby Gate » Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:39 am

Just to add to the confusion: it is true for US proof that one percent alcohol equals two degrees proof so that 80 proof is 40% alcohol, but British proof is something else again, with 70 proof equalling 40% alcohol. I have been told it all has to do with the strength of spirit being measured by how is burned when mixed with gunpowder, with a steady burn (as opposed to flaring up or not really burning at all) indicating a "proof" spirit - i.e. 100% proof. A spirit seven-tenths as strong as the one which burns with gunpowder that way is 70% proof, or just 70 proof. Why US proof and and British proof are different, I have no idea - different grades of gunpowder?
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Postby Aidan » Wed Apr 02, 2003 9:36 pm

The proof on a spirit relates to the weight of alcohol per volume. I don't know the exact figures, but proof is not half the abv. This is an approximate calculation.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Apr 02, 2003 9:44 pm

What is Proof?

Proof is another (older) measure of the strength of an alcoholic liquid.
It had its origins in days when a simple test was needed that the liquor did indeed contain a *correct* measure (or more) of alcohol. And it was indeed a simple test.
Some of the liquor was poured over a little gunpowder and ignited. If the alcohol content was adequate, then it would burn 'just right' with a steady blue flame and eventually ignite the gunpowder. If there was insufficient alcohol then it would fizzle out and the gunpowder would be too wet to burn. The 'just right' condition 'proved' the liquor and it was declared to be '100% proof'.
This simple test was clearly cumbersome to perform and was later replaced by using a specially graduated hydrometer to measure the specific gravity. This was far more objective and allowed precise statements to be made as to how much different it was from being 100% proof. This gave rise to "under-proof" and "over-proof" measures.

100 proof (UK) = 57.06 %AbV
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Postby LordDreyfus » Mon Apr 21, 2003 8:04 pm

So its been established that 100 proof (UK) is equal to 57.06 %abv. My question is does the proof get changed according to the country? What I mean is, I have bottles of Lagavulin 16 yr and Famous Grouse and I'm wondering if they changed the lables to reflect US proof since I bought them both here in the States. Any ideas?
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Postby Gate » Tue Apr 22, 2003 12:57 pm

The abv will be constant (assuming the label states it). Grouse is usually 40% abv, 70 proof (British) or roughly 80 proof (US), and the Laga is 43% abv or roughly 86 proof (US), and the label doesn't give a British proof equivalent (based on the Distiller's Edition which I have just gone and had a look at), but it would be something like 75.
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