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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Community > General Chit Chat > A question about drinking alcohol
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:21 AM   #1
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Default A question about drinking alcohol

First off, I haven't posted much to this forum, so I fully understand if this post gets moved. With that said:

I've been drinking for many years (I'm 32 now) and I've noticed something and figured I would ask to see if it happens to anyone else. When I'm at a party and have been drinking quite a bit after a while I start to get adverse to alcohol being in my mouth. By this I mean, if I take a drink with alcohol in it (liquor, not beer) I have trouble getting my swallow reflex to trigger and have to kind of "calm" myself before I can swallow it. I've chalked this up to my body telling me that I need to stop drinking, but it gets me thinking..... how does my body know that what I have in my mouth contains alcohol. When I'm at this stage I can drink anything else (water, juice, etc) and have no trouble swallowing it, but as soon as I drink any liquor (straight or mixed) I have to kind of force myself to swallow it. Is this just a mental thing? or is there some sort of scientific explanation behind it?

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Old 01-15-2012, 04:28 AM   #2
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You can detect even small amounts of alcohol in your mouth. It may even be below the "conscious" level of perception, but you can taste it as the alcohol evaporates in the heat of your mouth and gets up into your nasal cavity. I can't cite the hard science to back this up, but we all know somebody who can "taste" the alcohol in just about anything with alcohol in it.

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Old 01-15-2012, 04:47 AM   #3
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...or YOU know that it is alcohol, so your brain knows it's alcohol, your brain knows you're drunk and don't need more alcohol, badaboom badabing.

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Old 01-15-2012, 06:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxam View Post
...or YOU know that it is alcohol, so your brain knows it's alcohol, your brain knows you're drunk and don't need more alcohol, badaboom badabing.
I have thought of this as a possibility, thinking that because I knew there was alcohol in it, that's why I couldn't swallow it... however I haven't been able to scientifically test this yet.... I'm hoping to in the future though...
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:19 PM   #5
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You have receptors called chemoreceptors that I would just imagine are in your mouth, thats probably another contributor.

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Old 01-15-2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
You have receptors called chemoreceptors that I would just imagine are in your mouth, thats probably another contributor.
The chemoreceptors in the mouth are called taste buds. They detect sweet, bitter, salty, savory, and sour. The chemoreceptors in the olfactory system (nasal passage) are more tuned to volatile molecules like alcohol, which evaporates and floats around. The "taste" of alcohol is really more of a smell response.

Next time you're testing your theory, pinch your nose and take a shot (assuming you don't also have a psychological response at that point). You won't "taste" the alcohol until you open your nose and exhale, washing all the alcohol molecules over your olfactory sensory neurons.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:57 PM   #7
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Do you have a problem with sugar? Physically? My Ma knows her limit, she is boarder line diabetic and can not swallow straight booze, it has to be mixed. Just thinking out loud.

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Old 01-16-2012, 05:42 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses. No, I don't have an issue with sugar. What Silver said makes a lot of sense. I will have to try out his suggestion next time.

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Old 01-16-2012, 01:28 PM   #9
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An inflamed esophagus could be the problem. The alcohol may be causing it to flare up, resulting in the reflex of trying to prevent you from causing further discomfort. People with esophagus problems often have trouble swallowing.

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Old 01-16-2012, 03:16 PM   #10
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Why not just have someone just give you a blind taste test next time you're drinking? Mixed drink in one cup, juice in the other.

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