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The "legs"

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The "legs"

Postby JimHall » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:33 pm

I know what the "legs" on the inside of the glass are but I have heard some say that you can tell the alcohol content by watching the legs as the run back down the inside of the glass. Could someone explain that to me cos I haven't quite grasped it.
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Postby rthomson » Wed Feb 16, 2005 2:00 am

I recall reading the same thing somewhere at some time. As I've always had the bottle available I've never needed to find out the alcohol content. I vaguely remember that "long" legs indicate "high" alcohol content and that it will have some mouth feel. However, I'm not certain what defines "long" or "high" (above 50%?).

Sorry, not much help to you-

Ron
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Postby Admiral » Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:14 am

The lengths of the legs simply indicate the viscosity of the whisky. Whether higher alcohols are more viscous than lower alcohols, I'm not sure.

However, I've heard many claim that longer legs suggest older age, as opposed to higher alcohol concentration.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Bart » Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:12 am

Admiral wrote:The lengths of the legs simply indicate the viscosity of the whisky. Whether higher alcohols are more viscous than lower alcohols, I'm not sure.

However, I've heard many claim that longer legs suggest older age, as opposed to higher alcohol concentration.

Cheers,
Admiral


I second that view, the older the whisky to longer the legs. The whisky seems to cling to the glass.
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Postby Bart » Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:20 am

Come to think of it.....
In one of the tastings I had last year, here in New Zealand, with Charles Maclean, he showed us a way to see if you drank a 'higher' percentage alcohol whisky or not. He called it "beating the whisky".
He toke a bottle and shoke it vigrously. The whisky which was cask-strenght left a bubble foam on top of the liquid for a 30 seconds. He tried it wat a lower strenght whisky of 43% and it had no effect, the whisky stayed clear without foaming.
Charles told us that from 50% the foam start to appear.
Never heard of that before..amazing

Cheers
Bart
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:16 am

That's very interesting, Bart. But reading the label is easier, isn't it?

I would think that high-alcohol whiskies would be less viscous than low-alcohol whiskies--until I consider the fact that the lower ones are lower because they've had water added.

It seems to me that chillfiltering has a greater effect on the manifestation of legs than anything else. Intuition tells me that the gloopy stuff filtered out contributes greatly to legs. But I have not made an empirical study of this.

I love legs. I like a snifter with a relatively broad and flat bottom (stop that snickering!), and the way the legs appear at the steepening sides of the glass, like the ridges on the inside of a moon crater.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:31 am

Hi

No, the original post is correct, the long legs, slow to recover down the glass, indicate a higher percentage alcohol. It has to do with the evaporation of the alcohol in the whisky and the surface tension of the liquid on top of it.

it would be impossible, I bleieve, to calculate an alcoholic strength using this, as every glass would have a different dynamic etc.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:49 am

It's called the mangoli effect. or something like that. Mangoni, mangaloni, mangaloi. One of them, or something close...
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Postby JimHall » Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:47 pm

Bart wrote:Come to think of it.....
In one of the tastings I had last year, here in New Zealand, with Charles Maclean, he showed us a way to see if you drank a 'higher' percentage alcohol whisky or not. He called it "beating the whisky".
He toke a bottle and shoke it vigrously. The whisky which was cask-strenght left a bubble foam on top of the liquid for a 30 seconds. He tried it wat a lower strenght whisky of 43% and it had no effect, the whisky stayed clear without foaming.
Charles told us that from 50% the foam start to appear.
Never heard of that before..amazing

Cheers
Bart



Bart I find that quite interesting and certainly didn't know that. I can't think when I might need to apply that but it's all part of increasing my knowledge.
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Postby Ed » Wed Feb 16, 2005 5:04 pm

Hello All,
The old moonshiners used to shake new whiskey in a vial to proof it. They could cut it down to about 50% by adding water and shaking it in the proofing vial to see how close they were coming. It helped them decide when to stop the run, below a certain point and it wasn't whiskey anymore, but low wines.
Ed
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Postby Ed » Wed Feb 16, 2005 5:06 pm

Oh, and vodka has legs, too.
Ed
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Postby Bart » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:06 pm

Hi JimHall,

I have been interested in whisky for a number of years, so I was very amazed with this 'simple' trick. I have tried it and it works.

To learn new things is one of the reasons I joined this chat-forum. There is so much knowledge in here. It's great!

Cheers
Bart
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Postby Aidan » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:11 pm

This suggests that alcohol has a higher surface tension than water... very possible. Imagine the bubbles you'd get with pure alcohol. It would keep you nice and clean and smelling of hobo too.
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:19 pm

I copied this from somewhere, possibly the SMWS;

Legs roll the whisky around a clear, clean glass and you will notice that it sticks to the side when you place the glass back upright the striping that result is the legs of the whisky. Two things cause legs: alcoholic strength and natural viscosity. So given that samples are tested at the same strength, sticky, full-bodies whiskies will have longer legs that take more time to slide back to the whisky; lighter whiskies have less prominent legs.

And this is from Charles Maclean's excellent new book called "MacLean's Miscellany of Whisky"

The Science of Viscimetry

Whisky drinkers are viscimetrists.

Viscimation is what happens when two liquids of different viscosity mix, creating eddies and visible threads and ribbons.

These are referred to as viscimetric whorls.

The capacity of a liquid to create such whorls is termed its viscimetric potential or index.

The study of the phenomenon is called Viscimetry.

The most commonly observed instance of Viscimetry is where water is added to spirituous alcohol, especially whisky, where the color makes the affect more observable.

Although apparent in white spirits, the whorls are less obvious, and with grape based spirits the effect is more ‘cloudy’, even to the degree of ‘false Viscimation’ or ‘pseudo-Viscimation’.

The same happens when a whisky has been heavily tinted with spirit caramel.

The higher the strength of the spirit, the longer Viscimation will be observed, but a spirit’s viscimetric potential is also governed by its ‘beading’ and ‘swirling’ , both crude measures of strength and viscosity, fall within the science of Viscimetry.

If a stoppered bottle is vigorously shaken, and the froth thus created lingers and forms small bubbles (‘the beads’) on the surface of the liquid, the spirit will have a high viscimetric potential.

No beading occurs below about 50 % a.b.v., and for the beads to linger longer than a few seconds, the whisky must have a good texture.

Likewise, if it is swirled in the nosing glass and if the ‘legs’ which trickle down the sides of the glass run slow and thick, the spirit has a high potential. If they run fast and skinny, it has a low potential.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:28 pm

Pull up a chair and pour a small glass of port. Any other fortified wine or spirits will do. Wait a minute! Don’t drink the stuff - yet. This is a real chemistry experiment.

Now that you have the correct glassware and reagents, pause to investigate. Take a look at the sides of the glass, just above the beverage. You should be able to see a common and important phenomenon. If you can’t see anything, try swirling the drink about in the glass, then holding it still in your cupped hands. At least at this stage you should be able to keep the glass steady and see clearly. A thin film of the drink resides on the glass above the liquid, and within a few seconds “tears” of liquid start to swell and slowly drip from the top of the liquid film.


This is the Gibbs-Marangoni effect. Ethanol evaporates from the beverage where it is wetting the sides of the glass. In the absence of ethanol, the surface tension of the liquor on the sides increases, so it contracts to minimise the surface area. This in turn brings more ethanol-laden liquor to the top and starts to form ‘tears’. The tears form at the highest point, since there is less ethanol there. As the process continues, the tears become large enough that they roll down under their own weight.


Late last century Gibbs and Marangoni described this surface effect, which is the underlying force stabilising bubbles by giving them elasticity. It is critical whether you want to shampoo your hair or use froth flotation to separate sulfide minerals. So, the next time you see a chemist sitting at a bar and gazing into a glass, don’t be so quick to criticise. He might be paying homage to a couple of great scientists.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:39 pm

Is there any sort of connection between this (edit sp) viscometry and the release of different aromas with the addition of water?

Harry
Last edited by hpulley on Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:41 pm

Lawrence, Aidan, you guys are way cool. I can't wait to casually toss off a reference to the Gibbs-Marangoni effect next time I'm enjoying a malt in a pub somewhere.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:46 pm

What we call legs is also something every wine enthusiast know well and look for in a wine to consider it's quality. The phenomenon is known as "curtains" and "legs" . It's very very common and you don't need fortified wine. A good quality wine like a claret will do - both reds and whites. You can even find it in a german riesling of no more than 7,5 percent!

Cheers!
Christian
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Postby Aidan » Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:06 pm

Actually, it's a common misconception that a good wine has more "legs". However, the better ciantis are of higher alcoholic strength, so it would apply in some cases.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:11 pm

By the way, that post was from some website. I will post the name when I find it again...
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:16 pm

Harry, are you asking what's in between the legs? :D

I think there is a connection between the addition of water and the whorls and a result of that connection is the nose.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:08 pm

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Postby Lawrence » Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:17 pm

Yes, thank you Mr. Tattie.

Lawrence
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:00 am

Aidan wrote:Actually, it's a common misconception that a good wine has more "legs". However, the better ciantis are of higher alcoholic strength, so it would apply in some cases.

Hm........I'm not really surprised though as the wine (and whisky) world is full of myths. But how would you explain the curtains in lower alcohol wines such as the german and austrian rieslings?

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Aidan » Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:06 am

Mr Fjeld wrote:
Aidan wrote:Actually, it's a common misconception that a good wine has more "legs". However, the better ciantis are of higher alcoholic strength, so it would apply in some cases.

Hm........I'm not really surprised though as the wine (and whisky) world is full of myths. But how would you explain the curtains in lower alcohol wines such as the german and austrian rieslings?

Skål!
Christian


Mo Fjeld - this is just something I came across while looking up Marangoni. I know nothing about wine, really.

I did physics in college, so I remember doing something about this...
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Postby rthomson » Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:29 am

Ok, I came across this and it sounds like a cool trick. I don't see why it wouldn't work with whisky. Now, we only need to find someone willing to experiment with their dram :wink: :

To test this, swirl a glass of wine and observe the formation of legs. Now cover the glass and swirl it again. In a few tries, the legs will usually quit forming. This is because the air inside the glass contains enough alcohol vapour to prevent more from evaporating and the formation of legs stops. Uncover the glass and legs will start to form again.

Because a wine's "body" is affected by the alcohol content, there is some relationship between legs and body, but there are so many other factors involved that legs are a poor indicator of quality.


Ron
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:37 pm

I'll try that tonight. Not only will it be a good "legs" experiment, but imagine the kick of the concentrated fumes! Indeed, whisky drinkers do this all the time, but if this works, we will have a good indicator of when the vapor has reached the saturation point.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:46 am

Inconclusive results. There does seem to be some diminution of the effect over the course of a minute or two, but it's hard to quantify. Further (and more patient) testing is indicated. I'm using Talisker 18; wish I hadn't killed the 'Laddie Full Strength yesterday, that would have been a better test subject. Anyway, the concentrated vapors are doing wonders for my cold.
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Postby The-Bluebear » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:37 pm

Jim, the haggis is like certain other creatures in that it will shed body parts when alarmed. Lizards, for example, will shed their tails when threatened, but the haggis will also shed its legs. The haggis is very unusual in one respect; it will also shed its legs and tail when very relaxed.This is a major factor in a method of catching a haggis that guarentees a tasty dish and is much kinder than the hunt. Trapping relies on the haggis's predilection for Usquebah (Gaelic word meaning the water of life - Whisky.)


This method involves digging a hole just before dark and leaving an open bottle of whisky in it. The haggis dozes in the heather during the day and forages by night. Its keen sense of smell allows it to detect whisky, which it is very fond of, at a considerable distance. When the haggis smells the whisky it gets into the hole and drinks the whisky down. Having drunk the whisky it becomes very relaxed and sheds its legs (perhaps the origin of references to being legless Jim) Being unable to climb back out of the hole it falls into a drunken stupor and in the morning the Laird's man (known as a Ghillie) simply picks the unconscious or hungover haggis from the hole. The haggis is in such a state that it is not aware of what is going on, so it suffers none of the fear and distress caused by the hunting method.

Please remember that taking a haggis, by any method, without permission is poaching. Anyone caught poaching is likely to be prosecuted and fined or even imprisoned (and the fate of haggis poachers on Clan Campbell land is so unspeakable as to not bear mentioning!).

See you on our next tasting adventure Jim.... :twisted:
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Postby rthomson » Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:01 am

Great post :lol:

So that's how haggis are caught! My girlfriend is a vegetarian and I often tease her with the promise (threat) of serving up haggis. However, now that I know how kind the method of trapping is maybe I really will be able to get her to try it.

BTW- what type of whisky is used as bait? Are they discriminating creatures or can you catch them with a Johnnie Walker Red?

Ron
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RAW SPIRIT

Postby The-Bluebear » Fri Feb 25, 2005 11:48 am

I would say "Ron" , the best Whisky to use as bait, would have to be The Glenlivet, because of its history of passion, rebellion and imagination as it also lived underground, in caves, barnes, roof of houses, anywhere there was room. And because of the increasing demand for the drink and the mad rush to produce anything before being found out by the Crown, the alcohol produced was an almost clear, raw spirit. But nobody cared what it looked like, it just had to be made and sold - fast.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Feb 25, 2005 6:01 pm

Ron, believe it or not, they sell vegetarian haggis in Scotland. I wouldn't touch it--God knows what they put in it! :wink:
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Postby rthomson » Sat Feb 26, 2005 12:53 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Ron, believe it or not, they sell vegetarian haggis in Scotland. I wouldn't touch it--God knows what they put in it! :wink:


Well, then- what whisky do you use as the bait to catch a veggie haggis? :wink:

(Ok, I need to get a life)

Ron
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Postby The-Bluebear » Sat Feb 26, 2005 9:35 am

They are not worth catching the taste is artificial , I suppose you could use Southern Comfort :roll:
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Postby islayjunkie » Sat Feb 26, 2005 10:06 am

The-Bluebear wrote:They are not worth catching the taste is artificial , I suppose you could use Southern Comfort :roll:


Southern Comfort... I threw up after 4 ounces, really... and Maker's Mark (2 ounces) :P This was back in 1996.
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