Proof: The Science of Booze

Proof: The Science of Booze

Adam Rogers

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0544538544

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Named a Best Science Book of 2014 by Amazon, Wired, the Guardian, and NBC
Winner of the 2014 Gourmand Award for Best Spirits Book in the United States
Finalist for the 2015 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
“Lively . . . [Rogers’s] descriptions of the science behind familiar drinks exert a seductive pull.” — New York Times

Humans have been perfecting alcohol production for ten thousand years, but scientists are just starting to distill the chemical reactions behind the perfect buzz. In a spirited tour across continents and cultures, Adam Rogers takes us from bourbon country to the world’s top gene-sequencing labs, introducing us to the bars, barflies, and evolving science at the heart of boozy technology. He chases the physics, biology, chemistry, and metallurgy that produce alcohol, and the psychology and neurobiology that make us want it. If you’ve ever wondered how your drink arrived in your glass, or what it will do to you, Proof makes an unparalleled drinking companion.
“Rogers’s book has much the same effect as a good drink. You get a warm sensation, you want to engage with the wider world, and you feel smarter than you probably are. Above all, it makes you understand how deeply human it is to take a drink.” — Wall Street Journal

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Introduction to Wine Laboratory Practices and Procedures


















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Asian solution to the Western world. In the process, he discovered a bunch of important things about sugar. And he nearly upended the world of alcohol in the process. The chemist, Jokichi Takamine, was born in Takaoka a year after Perry arrived and grew up in what’s now Kanazawa. His father was a doctor with an interest in the West unusual for the time—he could speak Dutch, for example. Takamine’s mother’s family owned a sake brewery. The new openness of the Perry era inspired the Lord of Kaga,

chemist named Sebastian Meier runs a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system that can see inside yeasts while they ferment. It’s similar to the MRI technology that physicians use for soft-tissue imaging. But Meier goes to a whole other level. He has a ten-foot-tall steel cylinder filled with super-cold liquid nitrogen and thirty-one miles of wire, which generates a field strength of 18.7 tesla—300,000 times stronger than the magnetic field created by the earth. That’s powerful enough to set

eighteen people. And sure enough, after some complicated statistics, not only did their reference words match to specific compounds in the wines, but Cabernets from different regions actually had different compositions to match. Heymann has done much the same thing for Malbec grapes from California, Washington, and Argentina—this time starting only with juice and making all the wine either at UC Davis or a site in Argentina, to minimize variations in the fermentation. “The regions had

rather than time. Most of the world has Carnival, where once a year everyone goes nuts on the carnal-sin checklist, and then after a few days things settle back down. Many of the cultures in MacAndrew and Edgerton’s Drunken Comportment were the same. In the United States, we confine that sort of abandon by location—Las Vegas, New Orleans, the drinking neighborhoods of Austin and Athens, Georgia . . . and, in almost any city, the bar. It is a cross-cultural place-out-of-space-and-time, a space for

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