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Old 04-06-2013, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 235
Does pure ethanol have a taste?

When you're drinking vodka or other similar alcohols the taste comes mostly form contamination. But does a pure ethanol (like in laboratory pure - 99% or more) have a taste itself?
Old 04-06-2013, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Posts: 297
How could one tell? 99% proof with be so strong that the bruning sensation in your mouth would probably override any taste.
Old 04-06-2013, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: 4723'44.9"N,832'54.6"E
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It tastes (or smells, as apart from basic sweet/salty/sour/bitter/umami gustatory sensations most of the taste experience derives from the olfactory senses) of alcohol - try adding different amounts of pure alcohol to pure water. You certainly can sense the difference when blind-tasting the resulting mixtures, although I don't know how well you would do with your nose closed.
Old 04-06-2013, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Been there, done that, with lab grade ethanol for herbal medicine making (we thought it might make the math easier, but it was a pain in the ass to order and to store, so we went back to Everclear and our ratio calculators). No, no taste. But yes, quite a strong odor, like rubbing alcohol only more so. Taking the lid off the tank was a giddy experience.
Old 04-06-2013, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12,056
with 99% alcohol in your mouth you get a definite sensation due to the damage caused to your cells.

it has an odor. but not a taste.
Old 04-06-2013, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 8,791
It tastes like...burning.
Old 04-06-2013, 11:16 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: DC
Posts: 5,707
Try adding some pure ethanol to pure water. It's certainly detectable well below the mouth-burning level.
Not that I was sampling the lab supplies or anything. Although if I were going to do something so foolish, I'd shoot some on the GCMS first.
Old 01-21-2016, 08:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1
Yes, it has a taste. Always a bitter component, sometimes a sweet or sour one too, depending upon the person

Last edited by amused_j; 01-21-2016 at 08:07 PM. Reason: .
Old 01-21-2016, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 993
Originally Posted by Qwertol View Post
When you're drinking vodka or other similar alcohols the taste comes mostly form contamination. But does a pure ethanol (like in laboratory pure - 99% or more) have a taste itself?
Vodka has almost no contaminations; what you're tasting is pure ethanol diluted with water. It has a slightly sweetish taste (at least, that what I sense).
More concentrated alcohol might dumben your taste-buds and leave you with nothing but the burning sensation you would get from other stuff like acetone.
Old 01-22-2016, 09:01 AM
Oly Oly is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 998
Also been there and done (or dumbed) that. I agree: Slightly sweet, slightly, and what I can only best describe as "chemically".

A curious thing I noticed is that if you take just a small sip, which is your initial self protective instinct, or as my mom futilely said, common sense, the liquid evaporates in your mouth before you can swallow it. It just sort of disappears and you swallow nothing. If you up the sip volume enough to have a residual gulp, the burning takes over.

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