How Many Different Types of Alcohol Are There?

People have been consuming alcoholic beverages for a very, very long time. In fact, it is believed that alcoholic beverages were invented in prehistoric times, seeing as how we have archaeological evidence that people were making a fermented beverage of rice, fruit, and honey at around 7,000 to 6,650 BC in what is now northern China. Combined with the fact that people in a wide range of places have been experimenting with fermenting a wide range of foods since time immemorial, it is no wonder that we have such an incredible range of alcoholic beverages in modern times. Unfortunately, the sheer number of alcoholic beverages out there can make categorizing them more than a little bit challenging, though that has never stopped them from making the attempt anyways.

What Are the Different Kinds of Alcohol that Can Be Found Out There?

For starters, there are fermented beverages, which should include some of the most familiar names for interested individuals. After all, examples of fermented beverages include but are not limited to beer, wine, and cider, which are made by fermenting grain juice, wine juice, and fruit juice. As for fermentation, well, suffice to say that it is a process in which a living organism converts a carbohydrate into either an acid or an alcohol.

Of course, each of these categories can be further divided for those who want such categorization. First, beers can be divided into ales and lagers, which are categorized as such based on the yeast as well as the methods used to make them. However, for most people, they are much likelier to pay attention to their differences in their looks, their tastes, and their smells, which can be summed up as ales tending to be heavier and fuller as well as lagers tending to be lighter, crisper, and cleaner. Similarly, wines can be divided into categories such as red wines, white wines, rose wines, sparkling wines, and fortified wines. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple method by which wines are allocated to each of these categories.

For example, red wines and white wines are categorized as such based on their colors, while rose wines are categorized as such because they have some of the color from the grape-skins but not enough to make it all the way into being categorized as red wines. Meanwhile, sparkling wines are carbonated, so it should come as no surprise to learn that they are categorized based on the wine-making methods used for them, while fortified wines are wines that have been mixed with distilled spirits.

Moving on, fermented beverages can be turned into distilled beverages via distillation, which is a process that was invented centuries ago rather than millennia ago. In short, distillation serves to separate the alcohol from the rest of the beverage, which is possible because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. The result is more concentrated alcohol, which is what provides distilled beverages with more of an impact when compared to their fermented counterparts.

As for distilled beverages, most of them can be categorized as liquors, which are the same thing as spirits. However, since distilled beverages can be made from all of the fermented beverages that can be found out there, there can be incredible variation within this particular category. With that said, interested individuals might not want to sample liquors unless they know that it comes from a trusted source because when distilled beverages have not been made in the right manner, they are perfectly capable of killing humans. Besides liquors, there are also liqueurs, which are liquors that have been sweetened in some manner.

Of course, there are still other kinds of alcoholic beverages out there. One excellent example is alcopops, which are more or less what they sound like in that they are combinations of distilled beverages and soft drinks, thus making them less potent but ready for immediate consumption.

Final Thoughts

With that said, it is interesting to note that the alcoholic beverages that we consume contain what is called ethyl alcohol. This is one of three main kinds of alcohol, with the other two being methyl and isopropyl alcohol. However, it is important to remember that both methyl and isopropyl alcohol are not safe for human consumption, though that hasn’t stopped some people from drinking them anyways. Instead, methyl and isopropyl alcohol have other uses such as sterilizing surfaces as well as serving as fuels.


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