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Reference desk Archives Miscellaneous 2019 September 16

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= September 16 =

Alchohol/Flavored Extracts—where is the limit?

I know most common baking extracts, ie. vanilla, rum, and almond, are made with alcohol as to not add moisture to a recipe while also adding flavor. However, if it’s alcohol, wouldn’t it behave like it if drank straight? I don’t know the percentage, but I’m guessing high, since it tastes like alcohol if you taste it, could you taste it? I’m imagining it’s similar to drinking rubbing alcohol, which you shouldn’t do, but where is the limit where it differs from being an alcoholic beverage to a cooking ingredient? (talk) 10:45, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
In the US, vanilla extract is 35% alcohol at minimum. You can drink it, but the high level of vanilla flavoring might put most people off. But see here: . As for your comment about rubbing alcohol, that is isopropanol. That is completely different from ethanol and is metabolized differently with different toxicities. --Khajidha (talk) 11:57, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Also note that alcohol tastes more bitter to some of us than others: Thus, to the more sensitive, that amount of alcohol will taste unpleasant. Of course, a few drops mixed in with a meal won't be noticeable. SinisterLefty (User talk:SinisterLeftytalk) 12:16, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Especially after baking (the most common use for these extracts that I know of), where most of the alcohol is "burned off". --Khajidha (talk) 12:22, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

:That is correct. Just to provide a source for your claim, according to this, it takes about 3 hours to cook all of the alcohol out of food. I don't know whether your making a cookie or a cake or whatever with your vanilla extract, but it's going to be toast if you bake it for 3 hours! There will be some alcohol remaining. That being said, it will be very small; a typical recipe might call for a teaspoon per batch of cookies, which might have a final volume of 4 cups or so. There are almost 200 teaspoons in 4 cups, so we're talking much less than 1% ABV in the final mix, even BEFORE cooking. --
User talk:Jayron3232 12:35, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

::Khajidha said "most", not "all". It's also not necessarily linear. That is, if it takes 3 hours to burn off all the alcohol, that doesn't mean it takes 1.5 hours to burn off half. And ethanol, being highly volatile, can also evaporate when sitting in bowl waiting to be used. SinisterLefty (talk) 12:41, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

:::So amended. --
32 12:57, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

::::Note that your source speaks of foods "baked or simmered in alcohol". This is a far cry from using small amounts of flavored extracts, most especially if we are baking cookies where that initial small amount is spread into still smaller amounts. You can evaporate a lot more of the alcohol in less time, with less heat, once it is spread thin. Just like the moisture on a freshly mopped floor will evaporate faster than the same volume of water in a pot. --Khajidha (talk) 14:25, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

:::::True, and even more importantly, when I said "we're talking much less than 1% ABV in the final mix", at that level were not talking any meaningful alcohol even before it is baked. --
32 14:44, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

::::::As far as intoxication, yes, but it could still affect the taste, especially for those with a genetic sensitivity. SinisterLefty (talk) 14:55, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

:::::::It is not detectable by the human tongue at those concentrations. For 4 % ethanol, means for all sensations were similar and fell between barely detectable and weak. We're at LEAST an order of magnitude smaller than that. This study found that at about 4%, alcohol had a sweet taste, but at lower concentrations was mostly undetectable. --
User talk:Jayron3232 15:44, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

::::::::Your first link states "For ethanol in water, the taste detection threshold in humans (Mattes and DiMeglio 2001) ... approximately ~1.4 % (v/v). In humans, ethanol at and just above threshold has been shown to be predominately bitter (Mattes and DiMeglio 2001), although burn was not provided as a response option." And for those of us with two copies of the "bitter ethanol gene", it should be even lower (discussed here, although there also seems to be an unidentified gene involved ). The study results seem to vary widely, probably because they failed to separate people based on this gene, in which case there should be 3 overlapping bell curves, a small (low alcohol %) curve for those with 2 copies of the highly sensitive gene, a large curve for one copy, and another small curve at the highest concentrations for no copies. The source I linked to above put the frequency of this gene at around 50%, which should produce about 25% with 2 copies and 25% with none. Those who describe ethanol as sweet are likely in the "no copies" group. SinisterLefty (talk) 16:07, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

:::::::::1.4% is still much higher than the amount in the cookie. Even assuming 0% had evaporated during cooking, the concentration of 1 teaspoon of 35% ABV extract in 4 cups of batter would be 1/192 * 35% = 0.18%. That's well below the threshold you quote. Still, people are variable, and I would never say that not a single person would have such detection levels. I'd grant you some smallish number would. But on the balance, no, that is not a detectable level of alcohol. --
32 16:28, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

::::::::::This conversation led me to discover (in the Columbus sense) that there's such a thing as edible alcohol. Hack (User talk:Hacktalk) 06:39, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

:::::::::::That seems to use gelatin and sugar to make the alcohol and water more solid, but another approach is to put the liquid inside a solid crust, such as an alcoholic version of a cherry cordial. The two approaches could also be combined. And if you don't mind it being soggy, something like an alcoholic version of tiramisu could also work, where instead of soaking in coffee alone, a combo of coffee and Baileys Irish Cream might work. SinisterLefty (talk) 04:13, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

::::::::::::I wasn't aware that non-alcoholic versions of tiramisu existed, and I've eaten a lot of tiramisu. Never with Bailey's in though, brandy or grappa are the norm. DuncanHill (talk) 10:45, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

:::::::::::::Bailey's goes nicely with coffee and cocoa. SinisterLefty (talk) 17:44, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Underberg bitters are 44% alcohol but sold as a food flavoring in the U.S. because no one could conceive of drinking it straight. Rmhermen (talk) 12:54, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

I see your Underberg and raise you a Stroh 80 see Stroh Rum Anton (talk) 13:03, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Walter Hicks 125 Navy Rum is 71% alcohol, and it's a proper drink that you drink. DuncanHill (talk) 18:08, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

There are higher concentrations of spirits than that. Bacardi 151, Everclear, Bruichladdich quadruple strength, etc. --
32 19:04, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

:Although Bruichladdich X4 "reaches 92%" it is watered-down to 50% before they sell it. Alansplodge (User talk:Alansplodgetalk) 19:35, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Those are regulated as liquor (drinking alcohol) though, not as cooking ingredients (with alcohol base). Rmhermen (talk) 20:43, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Italy in WWII

Hi All, I am looking for an article discussing how Italy changed sides during WWII. I was under the impression for many years that Italy changed sides midway through the war. But having skimmed the Mussolini article it would appear that he was in power until 1945 when he fled and was killed. Now I find this hard to understand. Is my long held premise incorrect? Italy did not change sides during the war? Thanks all. Anton (talk) 17:03, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
He was earlier arrested by the Italians (Benito_Mussolini#Dismissed_and_arrested), but then rescued by the Nazis, who put him back in power over the part of Northern Italy the Germans occupied. Italy "switched sides" until he was restored, but after that the "Italian Social Republic" was more like Vichy France, only allied with Germany at the point of the a gun. The 2nd time the communist Partisans got him, and were in no mood to take further chances, so executed him. SinisterLefty (talk) 17:05, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Italy in World War II might help. See also Fall of the Fascist regime in Italy (the 25th of July 1943), Armistice of Cassibile (September 1943 Italian surrender to Allies), Italian Social Republic (1943-1945, Puppet state under Musso in northern Italy), and Italian Co-belligerent Army, Italian Co-belligerent Navy, and Italian Co-belligerent Air Force (Italian forces fighting alongside the Allies). DuncanHill (talk) 17:22, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Before the ink was dry on the armistice, the Germans (who had poured troops into Italy in the preceding weeks) began Operation Achse, the disarmament of Italian forces. So instead of fighting Italians in Italy, the Allies had to fight Germans.
The rescue of Mussolini, the Gran Sasso raid on 12 September 1943, was a spectacular success; but thereafter he was a puppet of the Germans and was effectively under house arrest by the SS. He spent his time writing his memoirs. Alansplodge (talk) 19:19, 16 September 2019 (UTC)


:Successful in that they rescued Mussolini, but ultimately unsuccessful in restoring Italy to a fascist state that could defend the southern part of Europe from the Allies. SinisterLefty (talk) 19:48, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

pin removable

how do I remove a pin from my board? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:40F:C100:69F0:B5BE:FD8B:32BA:FD3 (talk) 17:54, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Some context would help. Please explain what you are trying to do. RudolfRed (talk) 18:01, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Want to remove a pin, which has lost it's head, from a cork bulletin board ? If so, try needlenose pliers. SinisterLefty (talk) 18:09, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Also, a strong magnet, like a Neodymium magnet, may also work. --
32 18:13, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

:Or is the original poster asking about something on their Pinterest account? --Khajidha (talk) 19:47, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps a picture of the problem? Anton (talk) 13:51, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

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