Does science lead to alcoholism?

We do seem to have a bunch of lushes, although that Mooney fellow seems to favor fluids that have only a passing acquaintance with beer—but I shouldn’t knock it, maybe that’s how he maintains his boyish, youthful appearance. Jennifer Ouellette gives us a more detailed summary of what goes on in the bottle, appropriately enough for a site called Cocktail Party Physics.

Chris also mentions an interestingly named wine called Evolution—I’ll have to see if the local liquor store stocks it. I’m also going to hunt down Dave Puskala, who is rumored to possess a legendary homebrew called “Angry Evolutionist”, which sounds exactly like the kind of beer I should be drinking regularly. I hope it’s potent and has a sharp bite to it.


  1. says

    I have tried the evolution wine, it is pretty good and very cheap. Man, scientific beers and wines… awesome.

  2. says

    In my (expansive) experience, most skeptics and scientists are either teetotalers or drunkards. I, however, am a perfect paragon of moderation.

    Sort of.

  3. Steve LaBonne says

    Scientists start out as grad students. Grad students (and psotdocs for that matter), impoverished as they are, cannot resist free beer (or food). This is the route by which science leads to both alcoholism and gluttony. ;)

  4. says

    I once gave a bottle of Evolution wine to Gordon Getty. He was not impressed with it at all.

    Boy, talk about name dropping…..

    Anyway, yes, science and alcohol have a close link. It is why most of us got into science to begin with.

    Plus the first true scientists (or at leas the ones who matter because they had more than theories … they has applications …) were the ones who invented beer.

  5. says

    Albert Einstein was a raging drunk.
    After all, he discovered firsthand the sort of damage drinking and deriving does to a career.

  6. Thony C. says

    A good friend of mine who was a professor of archaeology and is now unfortunately dead once remarked, “It has been noted that all eminent archaeologists are alcoholics, I think I am becoming eminent”

  7. fusilier says


    How appropriate.

    fusilier, who really likes “Maudite” from Quebec
    James 2:24

  8. says

    If you want the thrill of discovery or want to be an ueber-snob, try kumiss (fermented milk). Not found in stores.

    To make your own, take low-fat cow’s milk, enrich it with lactose, and let it sour. Once it’s well soured, put it on an agitator or stirrer at a moderate temperature and add bread yeast. After awhile (1-3 days) strain off the kumiss.

    YMMV! My one experiment was only half-successful because I didn’t agitate it enough. It has a sort of fruity flavor — the solids are separated off.

  9. stogoe says

    I’m a big fan of ciders and hefeweizens, myself. Back in college we stole copious amounts of honey from the dining hall to make our own mead (we left it too long). Our friends tried to ferment their own, as well, but their grape koolaid/rootbeer/orange drink flavor, well, sucked. (or did it simply abort itself before fully fermenting? I don’t remember)

  10. justawriter says

    Let us drink to those old druids
    They drink fermented fluids
    Walking naked through the woo-ids
    And that’s good enough for me.

  11. Ragutis says

    Myself, I’d envision “Raving Creationist” to be something like Jägermeister.

    Because it makes you vomit? ;)

  12. J Daley says

    One of my classmates mentioned today that studying Disaster Geology leads directly to bouts of heavy drinking.

  13. says

    Grad Students have TIME for drinking?!?!? I thought about alcoholism, but every morning spent recovering is time away from the lab… Which leads to guilt.

    I guess Grad School is like Catholicism that way…

  14. Sonja says

    I’m tellin’ ya, I made the move to the box wine last month and I’m sold. There are some good ones now and the dispensers prevent oxidation. After being somewhat of a wine snob for years, I now look forward after work to that reliable glass of red out of the tap.

  15. says

    Sonja, a box of Australian Shiraz permanently graces the corner of our makeshift wine bar. The only problem being that a box doesn’t offer the same built-in check on overconsumption that a too-quickly-emptied bottle does.

    Also, it’s a little harder to tell when you’re running out–and in a state where you can’t buy wine on Sunday, running out can sometimes escalate into a dire emergency. There have been a few sad Sundays when we’ve had to break into the special-occasion stash rather than go drinkless. (But they didn’t stay sad for long.)

  16. says

    If you’re talking about Sokol Blosser Evolution, it’s an incredible blend of sweet white wines, perfect for dessert or afterwards. It rivals some of the best Auschlese wines but isn’t up to bierenauschlese quality imho.

    But I wouldn’t call it cheap. I think it runs $15 or more a bottle in liquor stores. The restaurant I bought it for charges $26 a bottle, but they do a pretty modest markup.

  17. Stogoe says

    Hey, feck you all. Jagermeister tastes good. Kinda like Sambuca or Absinthe (Czech Strong absinthe is amazing, by the way). If’n ye don’t like the black licorice or anise flavor, yeh c’n eat me arse.

    Can I get a shout out for Barley Wine?

    Or Carling?

  18. Boosterz says

    Obviously none of you guys have been to Kentucky before. Moonshine makes all other drinks seem like water in comparison. :-)

    You can even substitute rum with moonshine when making rum candies. Fair warning though, even with most of the alcohol evaporated out it still has a very powerful kick 10 seconds after you eat it. I made a batch and brought them to work christmas week. Some people loved’em. Other people looked at me like they wanted to kill me…

  19. says

    Myself, I’d envision “Raving Creationist” to be something like Jägermeister.

    Seconded. Both make you do amazingly stupid things and end up feeling a bit under the weather. I suppose that makes tequila ID, since the effects are similar.

  20. says

    Damnation! My earlier post on this thread has jinxed me! I went just now to get a glass of fine boxed wine (Jason–I like the Black Swan Shiraz) and the box was O-U-T. No time to go to the liquor store before heading out for the evening, so we were forced to crack a delicious bottle of 7 Deadly Zins.

    Things could be worse.

  21. Carlie says

    We have a local wine called Devonian, and it has a cute little ammonite on the label. But if anyone has access to New York Finger Lakes wine, try Niagara. Fabulous.

  22. Carlie says

    Oh, and everyone must try lambic beer. Fermented by naturally occurring yeast in certain areas of Belgium. It gets left out in the open in attics for weeks so that the yeasties can float in and ferment it. Yum, yum. Amazingly sweet.

  23. says

    An understanding of scientific process leads to alcohol production. Therefore it is all true. Scientists are obviously the evil creators and consumers of alcoholic beverages.

    Now, if science could only provide a methodology whih turns water into wine by wishing it. They had it good in the olden days. Need a bit more wine? ‘Poof’ – full glass.

    Unfortunately, I am only biologically adept at turning wine into something else. (Which will go unmentioned, in favour of “polite conversation.” )

  24. says

    I’ve only been to one AAS meeting as of yet, but I vividly remember the bar at the poster session…that made me laugh a lot.

    My parents were once given a bottle of wine from Russia that had Mendeleev somewhere in the title and various chemical things related to alcohol on the label…

  25. Vasha says

    Off-topic breaking news — newly-described (and rather nifty-looking) Burgess Shale organism clarifies phylogenetic relationships of lophotrochozoans! Science; Nobel Intent

  26. Sonja says

    Hey Jason, one downside to the box wine is that liquor stores haven’t yet given up the shelf space to carry a lot of variety (well in my neighborhood in Mpls anyway). You may have to shop around to find something you like.

    I just cracked open a box of “Black Box” Cabernet Sauvignon, the best brand that my little neighborhood liquor store carries. It is smooth and very drinkable.

    For a really great value, you can’t go wrong with the Glen Ellen Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. You get a whole liter more than Black Box for about $5 less.

    I have had the Hardy’s Australian Shiraz and I liked it a lot, but haven’t run across it recently.

    Like I said, I just switched to the box wine recently, so I haven’t sampled that many brands.

    And RedMolly (staying on topic), I think the lack of the built-in check on overconsumption is one of the features of the box. ;-)

  27. Boosterz says

    No, thanks. I don’t need any more lead in my diet.

    Bah, you only have to worry about contaminates if you are getting your stuff from amateur bootleggers. They are the ones using radiators for distillers. The pros have full blown fermentation vats. All copper, concrete and oak. ;-)

  28. says

    For kummis to be good, it has to be made out of mare’s milk, not cow’s.

    I am an infrequent drinker, so when I do, I go for the best: the home-brewed slivovitz from Serbia, the Niksicko Pivo (a strong lager) from Montenegro, perhaps a local North Carolina blackberry wine.

    And “Evolution” is really good for a store-bought wine – I usually have at least one bottle at home, mainly for guests, but I’ll have a glass sometimes as well.

  29. autumn says

    I’m not a scientist, but was turned on to single malt scotch years ago by a friend who is now a scientist. So science corrupts even those associated with its evil practices!

    (as an aside, I prefer Islay malts, very warm and peaty.)

  30. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Miller Lite

    Sounds like watered down evolution, Theistic evolution.

    So it’s probably an old joke. But taste differs here, as they do for beers. That said I currently prefer the other end of the spectrum, such as Trappist or Czech beer. Preferably with a lambic in between.

    Albert Einstein was a raging drunk.

    Actually, he was generally relatively sober (groan), but at one time he independently explored “the drunkard’s walk” ( the randomness in Brownian motion). That year was later called “Annus Mirabilis”, perhaps because he survived it.

  31. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Miller Lite

    Sounds like watered down evolution, Theistic evolution.

    So it’s probably an old joke. But taste differs here, as they do for beers. That said I currently prefer the other end of the spectrum, such as Trappist or Czech beer. Preferably with a lambic in between.

    Albert Einstein was a raging drunk.

    Actually, he was generally relatively sober (groan), but at one time he independently explored “the drunkard’s walk” ( the randomness in Brownian motion). That year was later called “Annus Mirabilis”, perhaps because he survived it.

  32. says

    I went to the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus in 2005, where the theme was on the legacy of Einstein. At the dinner, they had a wine called Relativity. I didn’t partake, but the others in the group reacted favorably.

    I don’t know if I’d take their word for it, however. I doubt the taste stays constant from bottle to bottle.

    By the way, I accidentally posted this over in the church-going doctors thread…if someone would like to delete that post, I’d be much obliged. I think I may have been dipping a little too heavily into the Relativity tonight.

  33. andy says

    I’ve heard that beer was very likely invented shortly after cereal production commenced, which would make beer roughly twice as old as the earth the creationists say they live upon.

    Me, I roll with Unibroue’s Maudite. It’s got a picture of satan right on the bottle. And it’s full of 8% alcohol by volume goodness.

    I wish we could get some of Dogfish Head’s stuff in this state too- they make a couple brews, Chateau Jiahu and Midas Touch Golden Elixir that are based on traces of beer found in jar fragments at archeaological sites.

  34. G. Tingey says

    Isn’t brewing (and winemaking) a use of controlle evolution (selective breeding) anyway?

    For the real experts in this field you have to go to the UK, Belgium or Germany …


  35. Carlie says

    Autumn – I never had scotch I started going to science conferences, so maybe there is a connection. In fact, other scientists were who turned me on to Guinness, lambic beer, and Chimay, in addition to hard liquor.
    (That said, I don’t really drink at all except for at conferences.)

  36. Flex says

    For the last decade I’ve been keeping a half-barrel of local beer in the basement refigerator (with a CO2 tap system). The keg costs about $100, but that works out to about $0.42 per 12 oz. (although I use pint glasses). And no bottles to collect and return. The total investment payed itself off in about 3 months. Of course I drink more beer this way,… but as a bachelor no one seems to mind. I’ve thought about brewing my own, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could make as good bitter as the local brewpub.

    I’ve had the same problem as RedMolly above, but there is a solution. Get yourself a scale, and keep the winebox on the scale. You will be able to determine the weight of the empty box, and get some idea of how close you are to being empty.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a digital bathroom scale for my kep and moving the display to the front of my fridge, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

    Oh, and I’m also a big fan of the Islay whiskys. My own personal favorite is Bowmore.


  37. Joel says

    In graduate school (psychology), our lab brewed a couple we named “Phineas Gage Disinhibition Elixer” and “Korsakoff’s Memory Tonic”. I seem to recall the former was a Belgian Dopplebock, but I forget what the latter was. Good stuff, anyway.

  38. Leon says

    Seems to me the most appropriate thing for the Creationist brew would be based on our favorite suggestion that those who reject biological evolution shouldn’t partake of its fruits in terms of medical advances. So, the Cretionist brew would be made without modern sanitation methods. Sour and odd flavors await!

  39. blf says

    Raving Cretinist sounds like a fermented IDiot.

    There is a banana lambic (made by Chapeau, I think?). It’s been quite a while since I had one, but as I recall, it was rather good.