What is Considered a “Normal” Alcohol Proof? – Most people know that alcohol proof is a measure of how much ethanol (alcohol) is present in an alcoholic beverage. But what exactly is considered “normal” alcohol proof? The term “proof” actually has its origins in early English history, dating back to the 16th century.
At that time, “proof” was used to describe a method of testing whether a liquid was truly alcoholic. This was done by mixing the liquid with gunpowder and then lighting it on fire. If the mixture exploded, it was considered “proof” that the liquid contained enough ethanol to be classified as an alcoholic beverage.
Today, the term “proof” is still used to indicate the percentage of ethanol present in a given alcoholic beverage. In the United States, the “proof” is simply double the percentage of ethanol by volume. So, for example, a liquor that is 40% ethanol by volume would be considered “80 proof.” The vast majority of alcoholic beverages on the market today fall within the range of 30-50% ethanol by volume or 60-100 proof.
This includes most beer, wine, and spirits. Stronger drinks do exist, however, with some liquors reaching up to 95% ethanol by volume or 190 proof. These are typically used only for industrial purposes or as novelty items. In general, then, anything between 60 and 100 proof can be considered “normal” alcohol proof.
Of course, what is considered “normal” can vary from person to person, depending on their personal preferences and tolerance levels.
What is 100% alcohol in proof?
History – The term proof dates back to 16th century England, when spirits were taxed at different rates depending on their alcohol content. Similar terminology and methodology spread to other nations as spirit distillation, and taxation, became common.
- In England, spirits were originally tested with a basic “burn-or-no-burn” test, in which an alcohol-containing liquid that would ignite was said to be “above proof”, and one which would not was said to be “under proof”.
- A liquid just alcoholic enough to maintain combustion was defined as 100 proof and was the basis for taxation.
Because the flash point of alcohol is highly dependent on temperature, 100 proof defined this way ranges from 20% at 36 °C (97 °F) to 96% at 13 °C (55 °F) alcohol by weight (ABW) ; at 24 °C (75 °F) 100 proof would be 50% AB W, Another early method for testing liquor’s alcohol content was the “gunpowder method”.
- Gunpowder was soaked in a spirit, and if the gunpowder could still burn, the spirit was rated above proof.
- This test relies on the fact that potassium nitrate (a chemical in gunpowder) is significantly more soluble in water than in alcohol.
- While less influenced by temperature than the simpler burn-or-no-burn test, gunpowder tests also lacked true reproducibility.
Factors including the grain size of gunpowder and the time it sat in the spirit impact the dissolution of potassium nitrate and therefore what would be defined as 100 proof. However, the gunpowder method is significantly less variable than the burn-or-no-burn method, and 100 proof defined by it is traditionally defined as 57.15% ABV.
- By the end of the 17th century, England had introduced tests based on specific gravity for defining proof.
- However, it was not until 1816 that a legal standard based on specific density was defined in England.100 proof was defined as a spirit with 12 ⁄ 13 the specific gravity of pure water at the same temperature.
From the 19th century until 1 January 1980, the UK officially measured alcohol content by proof spirit, defined as spirit with a gravity of 12 ⁄ 13 that of water, or 923 kg/m 3 (1,556 lb/cu yd), and equivalent to 57.15% ABV. The value 57.15% is very close to the fraction 4 ⁄ 7 ≈ 0.5714,
- This led to the definition that 100-proof spirit has an ABV of 4 ⁄ 7,
- From this, it follows that to convert the ABV expressed as a percentage to degrees proof, it is only necessary to multiply the ABV by 7 ⁄ 4,
- Thus pure 100% alcohol will have 100×( 7 ⁄ 4 ) = 175 proof, and a spirit containing 40% ABV will have 40×( 7 ⁄ 4 ) = 70 proof.
The proof system in the United States was established around 1848 and was based on percent alcohol rather than specific gravity. Fifty percent alcohol by volume was defined as 100 proof. Note that this is different from 50% volume fraction (expressed as a percentage); the latter does not take into account change in volume on mixing, whereas the former does.
To make 50% ABV from pure alcohol, one would take 50 parts of alcohol and dilute to 100 parts of solution with water, all the while mixing the solution. To make 50% alcohol by volume fraction, one would take 50 parts alcohol and 50 parts water, measured separately, and then mix them together. The resulting volume will not be 100 parts but between 96 and 97 parts, since the smaller water molecules can take up some of the space between the larger alcohol molecules (see volume change ).
The use of proof as a measure of alcohol content is now mostly historical. Today, liquor is sold in most locations with labels that state its percentage alcohol by volume.
Does 100-proof mean 100% alcohol?
Question: What does proof mean when referring to alcoholic beverages? Answer: Proof is defined as twice the alcohol (ethanol) content by volume. For example, a whisky with 50% alcohol is 100-proof whiskey. Anything 120-proof would contain 60% alcohol, and 80-proof means 40% of the liquid is alcohol.
Will 70 proof freeze?
Does Jack Daniels Freeze In The Freezer? – No, Jack Daniels will not likely freeze in a freezer. Since a bottle of Jack Daniels is 70 proof, your freezer would have to be set to below 0°F for the bottle to freeze. However, you should still make sure to keep it from being stored there for an extended length of time.
Is 120 proof strong?
‘High proof’ in this context is an alcoholic beverage containing more than 60 percent alcohol by volume (or 120 proof).
How many beers is 100-proof?
Blood Alcohol Content The following chart shows estimated percent of alcohol in the blood by number of drinks in relation to body weight. This percent can be estimated by the following: 1. Count your drinks (1 drink equals 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor, one five ounce glass of table wine or one 12-ounce bottle of regular beer).2.
How many 100-proof shots does it take to get drunk?
Alcohol and Weight – The influence of alcohol on the nervous system depends on the quantity you have in your bloodstream. Because alcohol is being distributed across the body by plasma (the water content in the blood), it dilutes a bit faster if you have enough water in your bloodstream.
What is 120 proof or higher alcohol?
High Proof Alcoholic Beverages The Department has recently received a number of inquiries regarding the availability, at retail-licensed premises, of high proof distilled spirits products. “High proof” in this context is an alcoholic beverage containing more than 60 percent alcohol by volume (or 120 proof).
- Disclaimer: The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regularly archives industry advisories for transparency and historical reference.
- However, the advisories may not necessarily reflect the current state of the discussed statute or regulation.
- Please consult the statute, regulation, and/or an attorney before taking any action to ensure compliance with the law.
Business and Professions Code section 23403 provides as follows: “No retail licensee, except a pharmacy or drug store registered with the California State Board of pharmacy, shall sell or possess on his licensed premises any undenatured alcohol of any proof or compound thereof which is an alcoholic beverage as defined in Section 23004 containing more than 60 percent of alcohol by volume.
- Because this provision references both “alcohol” and “alcoholic beverages,” consideration must be given to the respective definitions in the ABC Act in understanding the restriction.
- Business and Professions Code section 23003 defines “alcohol” as: “ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, or spirits of wine, from whatever source or by whatever process produced.”
- Business and Professions Code section 23004 defines “alcoholic beverage” to include: “alcohol, spirits, liquor, wine, beer, and every liquid or solid containing alcohol, spirits, wine, or beer, and which contains one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol by volume and which is fit for beverage purposes either alone or when diluted, mixed, or combined with other substances.”
Section 23403 thus expressly prohibits the retail sale (without a prescription) of undenatured alcohol that is an alcoholic beverage (for example, grain neutral spirits) that is in excess of 60 percent alcohol by volume (120 proof). An alcoholic beverage that is not itself simply alcohol as defined (not just ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, or spirits of wine that is fit for beverage purposes) may be sold at retaileven if the alcohol by volume exceeds 60 percent (120 proof).
- Additional information may be obtained by contacting:
- Alcoholic Beverage Control3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100
- Sacramento, CA 95834
: High Proof Alcoholic Beverages
What is 190 proof or higher alcohol?
Everclear. Proof: 190 ( 95% alcohol ).