From the July 1987 magazine.

Young America

The Water of Life

Many of these items are contrary to AA philosophy. Their publication here does not mean that the Grapevine endorses or approves them; they are offered solely for your information.

From prehistoric times until about the 16th century, alcoholic beverages were derived from fermentation and consisted of wines and beers containing, at most, about 14 percent alcohol. This upper limit is fixed by the inability of the fermentative yeasts to survive in stronger solutions of alcohol. In the fermentation of any substance, moreover, the yield of alcohol is also limited by the amount of available sugar, and the willingness or patience of the producer to wait until the maximum possible yield of alcohol is obtained. As a result, to this day, many fermented beverages contain less than 14 percent alcohol. Sometimes the proportion is as little as 2 percent or less, as in the koumiss (fermented mare's milk) of nomadic tribes in Asia, the Russian kvas, or the deliberately mild beers of some Scandinavian countries.

-- Alcohol & Health

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