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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    The greek mixing of wine and water goes back to the Illiad at least, and is almost certainly a method for making water potable using a smaller and more transportable liquid.
    I would have expected the needed alcohol content to achieve a noticable effect to be much too high for that ...
    What leads you to this conclusion?
    Last edited by Iruka; 2019-03-12 at 06:45 PM.


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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iruka View Post
    I would have expected the needed alcohol content to achieve a noticable effect to be much too high for that ...
    What leads you to this conclusion?
    That's another problem, wine is full of microbes. I don't really know how much alcohol is needed to kill them (and how it would relate to Greek wine with and without water), but it's interesting to point out that pasteurisation was invented for wine. Napoleon III asked Pasteur to look into why French wine was getting too acid (and a number of other problems), and, over a few years, Pasteur found out the bacteria and fungi that caused the various unwanted alterations. He then conceived and patented his pasteurisation method.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iruka View Post
    I would have expected the needed alcohol content to achieve a noticable effect to be much too high for that ...
    What leads you to this conclusion?
    Being told so in a book I had when I was younger, and reading the Illiad. Looking at actual sterilization numbers I don't think it would work, you need 70% alcohol to guarantee bacterial sterilization. So objection retracted, apparently they liked weak wine.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Polyphemus is blinded after he gets himself barbarically drunk by drinking pure wine.
    Maybe the Greeks shouldn't have skimped on Carbon.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    A lot of the "bad medieaval myths" seem to come from the later periods 1600-1700s that were then backprogated by Victorian era scholars to cover the medieval period also.
    It's pretty much all the Victorians. They came up with so many moronic concepts about the past its a wonder we know anything of the periods before it. Some dumb ideas came earlier, but the majority were Victorians.

    As for the original question. If he's drinking older style beer, like the heavy thick kind, he should be ok with some added in water. If its modern beer... well its gonna suck.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Being told so in a book I had when I was younger, and reading the Illiad. Looking at actual sterilization numbers I don't think it would work, you need 70% alcohol to guarantee bacterial sterilization. So objection retracted, apparently they liked weak wine.
    Other way around Ancient Greek Wine was apparently really alcoholic, and watering it down was an important part of making the stuff drinkable. I've seen some sources that suggest that aside from that, the warm climate could likely lead to enough evaporation to affect the viscosity, and I doubt alcholic syrup makes for especially good drinking unless you're specifically trying to get inebriated.
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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    How effective alcohol, like other types of disinfectants, are at killing things depends on concentration and time. Something with 70% alcohol will kill things much faster than 5%, but if you've got it sitting for months at a time it is going to kill anything that can't survive the alcohol eventually. Not everything is equally resistant to alcohol either, which is why many different types of microbes are used to create different alcohols and generally the strength of the alcohol is determined by the point at which the alcohol content kills of the bacteria that make it.

    Some types of things that can harm us are killed very easily by chlorine, but there are other things that chlorine doesn't really do well for so we now use ozone and/or UV to kill those microbes instead. I don't know how alcohol compares to other disinfectants, because no one treats water with alcohol on a commercial level at this point, but there is probably charts out there if you cared to look.

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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    I mean, the Romans apparently did intestinal surgery by washing the exposed viscera in warm wine and then stitching everything up, and enough patients survived that they wrote about it. So, there has to be some effect.
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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
    How effective alcohol, like other types of disinfectants, are at killing things depends on concentration and time. Something with 70% alcohol will kill things much faster than 5%, but if you've got it sitting for months at a time it is going to kill anything that can't survive the alcohol eventually. Not everything is equally resistant to alcohol either, which is why many different types of microbes are used to create different alcohols and generally the strength of the alcohol is determined by the point at which the alcohol content kills of the bacteria that make it.
    Greek wine is generally shown being mixed with water directly before the banquet starts. However, I can't tell with certainty if this is just a way to amplify the depiction of the feasting, and it's also generally done by rich people or for very large gatherings; so I don't know how long a humble labourer would have needed to finish his wine mixed with water. I also don't know how well it would have kept if mixed with water and left there for a week or two.

    BTW, I earlier said that Ulysses's companions drank pure wine, but it's actually a mistake. The translation I was reading added a word that means "pure" or, less literally, "good", which isn't in the original text. Interestingly enough, Homer there uses a word for wine (methu) that is related to mead.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    People drank mostly small beer in the 1600s (0.5% alcohol), because it was safer than cold water (boiling water to drink was too much hassle and tasted bad). Full beer was recreational like it is today. If this guy doesnt know the difference between small beer and regular beer, he might be in trouble.
    As noted later in the thread, the guy drinking beer for Lent is drinking doppelbock, a beer specifically designed as "liquid bread" for monks attempting this stunt (or more likely some lighter sentence or simply they liked it for other drinking). If he tried this stunt with either small or regular beer, he'd be in real trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Other way around Ancient Greek Wine was apparently really alcoholic, and watering it down was an important part of making the stuff drinkable. I've seen some sources that suggest that aside from that, the warm climate could likely lead to enough evaporation to affect the viscosity, and I doubt alcholic syrup makes for especially good drinking unless you're specifically trying to get inebriated.
    Anyone know if this was really true and how the Greeks made such alcoholic wine? Until Pasteur discovered that yeast was the key to making alcohol, medieval beer brewing used a "lucky stick" in hopes of getting the right yeast. I'd be surprised if the Greeks had any better control over their yeast. I'd be fairly surprised if ancient wine could get much stronger than the modern stuff (even if the wine had a far greater carbohydrate content, I still wouldn't expect random yeast to survive a high alcohol content). Perhaps this is part of the "ancients didn't drink water at all" and that the diluted wine was needed to satisfy water requirements (and you could easily find clean water in "barbaric" lands).

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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I mean, the Romans apparently did intestinal surgery by washing the exposed viscera in warm wine and then stitching everything up, and enough patients survived that they wrote about it. So, there has to be some effect.
    I feel like "enough people survived that they wrote about it" is a pretty good descriptor of medicine history in general.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-03-13 at 09:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I feel like "enough people survived that they wrote about it" is a pretty good descriptor of medicine history in general.
    I'm not sure of that. We have enough people that have survived falling from a plane (without a parachute, while it was at cruising altitude) that we have written about it, and yet that doesn't give us any insight into why they survived while most do not, nor is it in any way a reliable science.

    I mean, it is still better odds for the average roman citizen than the cesarean section, but I suspect blind chance alone made them survive the shock of the procedure and the sepsis of post surgery.

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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    Anyone know if this was really true and how the Greeks made such alcoholic wine?
    Maybe could have been a kind of brandy, perhaps. I don't think you can ferment anything to the claimed level of alcoholic content directly - some kind of distillation has to be involved.

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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    I'm not sure of that. We have enough people that have survived falling from a plane (without a parachute, while it was at cruising altitude) that we have written about it, and yet that doesn't give us any insight into why they survived while most do not, nor is it in any way a reliable science.
    Medicine history includes "and I'll be damned if I can find out why," IMO.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-03-13 at 12:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Other way around Ancient Greek Wine was apparently really alcoholic, and watering it down was an important part of making the stuff drinkable. I've seen some sources that suggest that aside from that, the warm climate could likely lead to enough evaporation to affect the viscosity, and I doubt alcholic syrup makes for especially good drinking unless you're specifically trying to get inebriated.
    This is mostly highly improbable. Modern wine is at about the limit of the strength that can be achieved with fermentation. Port, sherry, and the like are fortified with distilled alcoholic products. The boiling point of alcohol is 60 degrees Celcius, whereas water's is 100 degrees Celcius, so while water may evaporate from fluids, alcohol will evaporate from the same fluid faster. If a fluid containing both is left exposed to air, it will have less alcoholic content as a percentage as time passes.

    There are two means of fractioning water out of fluids that I know of, one is distillation, the other is freezing, ice is more or less pure water, so removing ice from a fluid can increase its alcohol percentage (no alcohol is gained in this process, water is lost).
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-03-13 at 01:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    This is mostly highly improbable. Modern wine is at about the limit of the strength that can be achieved with fermentation. Port, sherry, and the like are fortified with distilled alcoholic products. The boiling point of alcohol is 60 degrees Celcius, whereas water's is 100 degrees Celcius, so while water may evaporate from fluids, alcohol will evaporate from the same fluid faster, if a fluid containing both is left exposed to air, it will have less alcoholic content as a percentage as time passes.
    Actually I got interested in the subject and it turns out that the distillation process was well known in the ancient times. I have no idea yet, if it was widely used for alcohol production though. I kind of doubt that in case of greek wine, since there would be no point to it, if they watered it down afterwards anyway.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Actually I got interested in the subject and it turns out that the distillation process was well known in the ancient times. I have no idea yet, if it was widely used for alcohol production though. I kind of doubt that in case of greek wine, since there would be no point to it, if they watered it down afterwards anyway.
    They sometimes serve whisky with water, though there are also those who view this as a crime.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Actually I got interested in the subject and it turns out that the distillation process was well known in the ancient times. I have no idea yet, if it was widely used for alcohol production though. I kind of doubt that in case of greek wine, since there would be no point to it, if they watered it down afterwards anyway.
    Makes it more portable and less likely to go bad, same reasons food has historically been and still is dehydrated today - the higher alcohol content of distilled wine is going to make it more stable because it dramatically reduces the amount of things that could live in it to spoil it, and taking out a significant amount of the water content makes it a lot lighter and easier to transport. Making it more potent would be something of a happy side effect in that case when that was desired - the hypothetical intent would be to create a sort of wine concentrate that the end consumer would redilute/rehydrate back to the original potency and volume.

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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Makes it more portable and less likely to go bad, same reasons food has historically been and still is dehydrated today - the higher alcohol content of distilled wine is going to make it more stable because it dramatically reduces the amount of things that could live in it to spoil it, and taking out a significant amount of the water content makes it a lot lighter and easier to transport. Making it more potent would be something of a happy side effect in that case when that was desired - the hypothetical intent would be to create a sort of wine concentrate that the end consumer would redilute/rehydrate back to the original potency and volume.
    Stills are a moderately difficult technology, you need hollow but water (and alcohol) proof pipes, could the ancient greeks make those?
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Stills are a moderately difficult technology, you need hollow but water (and alcohol) proof pipes, could the ancient greeks make those?
    They made little steam engine whirligigs as toys, so I'ma say yes? Somebody knew how to make brass and/or copper tubing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    They made little steam engine whirligigs as toys, so I'ma say yes? Somebody knew how to make brass and/or copper tubing.
    Distilled water was also used for various things way before Greek times. The quality of the equipment was not ideal, but was available.
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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Distilled water was also used for various things way before Greek times. The quality of the equipment was not ideal, but was available.
    We seem to be talking about at least the rich buying fortified wine, maybe brandy strength fortified wine, by the gallon once or twice a year at least, that impiles to me at least one (small) industrial scale distillation establishment.
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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    The Greeks did mix different kinds of wine (especially different acidities). If they made spirits, I guess they could have added those, too. The Romans also put a serious lot of stuff in their wine. Things we really wouldn't. But I don't know of any single spirit made in Rome or Greece in those times. There was a Scythian drink made with honey, water and herbs that was called melogion (melli = honey) and was deemed stronger than wine, but I really wonder what those herbs were.

    And the Greeks also made straw wine, and you don't need to add alcohol to have 17% this way. Educated guesses I have seen for Greek wine were around 16-18%.

    I also am somewhat surprised looking at these numbers. I can only assume that the Greeks really, really, really didn't want to get drunk. There's a line from a comedian that said that safe drinking only lasted until the third cup, and a Greek kylix cup usually held about 1/4 litre (of course, there was a lot of variation). I don't know how much a later kantharos cup held.

    EDIT: Classical Greeks put perfume in wine. And alembics were used to prepare perfume on Cypros around 1800 BC. They could have fortified wine with alcoholic perfumes. I don't know if that was still how perfumes were made around 500-400 BC.
    Last edited by Vinyadan; 2019-03-13 at 06:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    They made little steam engine whirligigs as toys, so I'ma say yes? Somebody knew how to make brass and/or copper tubing.
    That is about 1000 years after the era we were referring too. The Myceneans and archaic Greeks are not the same as Hellenistic successor kingdoms.
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    We seem to be talking about at least the rich buying fortified wine, maybe brandy strength fortified wine, by the gallon once or twice a year at least, that impiles to me at least one (small) industrial scale distillation establishment.
    Except that the story implies that the Greeks never drank plain undiluted wine (how barbaric!). The typical justification is that their wine was to potent, but that seems extremely unlikely (unless they had some lost easy way to make spirits).

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I mean, the Romans apparently did intestinal surgery by washing the exposed viscera in warm wine and then stitching everything up, and enough patients survived that they wrote about it. So, there has to be some effect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I feel like "enough people survived that they wrote about it" is a pretty good descriptor of medicine history in general.
    Galen (the guy credited with "all knowledge of medicine" (especially remembered for the humors) in the medieval era, although I sure plenty of that was from later commentaries as well) was a surgeon for gladiators and probably had to deal with that a lot. Anything that allowed you to survive exposed gut wounds was worth writing up.

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    Default Re: Drink omly beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    Anyone know if this was really true and how the Greeks made such alcoholic wine? Until Pasteur discovered that yeast was the key to making alcohol, medieval beer brewing used a "lucky stick" in hopes of getting the right yeast. I'd be surprised if the Greeks had any better control over their yeast. I'd be fairly surprised if ancient wine could get much stronger than the modern stuff (even if the wine had a far greater carbohydrate content, I still wouldn't expect random yeast to survive a high alcohol content). Perhaps this is part of the "ancients didn't drink water at all" and that the diluted wine was needed to satisfy water requirements (and you could easily find clean water in "barbaric" lands).
    Once they got the process going it would be easy to keep is going. The "right" bacteria would stay in the containers and then when the next batch was started they could start reproducing much more quickly than any foreign bacteria because there were already many of the right kind in the wood.


    There was a show, or research, that I saw that talked about it. I think the FDA was trying to tell some company (forget what they were making, it may have been beer but I think it was something else... I can't remember the details) that they had to switch all of their equipment over to stainless steel instead of wood because it could be sterilized much easier. So they did an experiment, with the "seasoned" wooden equipment and the sterilized stainless steel, started their product and then purposefully introduced... I think E.Coli, and went through the whole process and then tested the end result of both. The stainless steel had orders of magnitude more contaminant in it than the wooden one because the "good" bacteria out competed it by a large amount. I don't think it was completely safe, but it was much better off than the completely sterilized stainless steel batch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    And the Greeks also made straw wine, and you don't need to add alcohol to have 17% this way. Educated guesses I have seen for Greek wine were around 16-18%.

    I also am somewhat surprised looking at these numbers. I can only assume that the Greeks really, really, really didn't want to get drunk. There's a line from a comedian that said that safe drinking only lasted until the third cup, and a Greek kylix cup usually held about 1/4 litre (of course, there was a lot of variation). I don't know how much a later kantharos cup held.
    I recall reading somewhere that a certain enzyme exists in some populations that helps break down alcohol, lessening it's influence.
    Maybe the ancient greeks just lacked it? Should be possible to check out for someone with the right education and access to a DNA database.
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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    Heard a news story on this earlier. He's drinking 3 to 5 beers a day and has lost about 16 pounds already by day 6. I get the impression that this guy did not do a lot of research on his "beer diet".
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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    Quote Originally Posted by HandofShadows View Post
    Heard a news story on this earlier. He's drinking 3 to 5 beers a day and has lost about 16 pounds already by day 6. I get the impression that this guy did not do a lot of research on his "beer diet".
    He claims to check in with a doctor, let us hope that he stops before he does damage to himself.

    Worth mentioning that he apparently is director of sales at a brewery.


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    Default Re: Drink only beer for 46 days, no food?

    16 pounds in a week seems extremely high. Like, unbelievably so.
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