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back to article Whisky IN SPAAAAACE: Zero-G Scotch is matured aboard the ISS

A Scottish whisky distillery has sent its malt where no whisky has been before – into orbit above the Earth. Ardbeg head distiller Dr Bill Lumsden in his lab Ardbeg head distiller Dr Bill Lumsden in his lab The unmatured malt rocketed to the International Space Station on a Russian Progress cargoship in October last year to …

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Joke

Interesting, but....

I can see this becoming the future's equivalent of today's "organic" food snobbery:

"Well, of course, Torquille will only eat zero-G matured tofu. It's just so much better for him than that filthy stuff contaminated with all kinds of gravitational impurities!"

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Re: Interesting, but....

filthy planet dwellers living amongst viruses and pests, dirt and mud. on the planet surface water regularly precipitates out of the atmosphere dumping dirty drops of water all over you. Filthy place. Dangerous too - earthquakes, floods, lightning, gravity. And the Idiots make movies imagining we would want to conquer their planet or "communicate" with them. As if we want anything to do with planet surfaces or their inhabitants. lmao.

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Paris Hilton

I LIKE IT

I HOPE TO SOMEDAY DRINK SOME NIGHT TRAIN EXPRESS FERMENTED IN ZERO G

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Coat

re: "organic" food

"I can see this becoming the future's equivalent of today's "organic" food snobbery..."

...or, as my grandparents used to call it: "food".

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Unhappy

Re: I LIKE IT

Where did this screaming troll come from? Did I take a wrong turn and end up at 4chan?

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Happy

Re: I LIKE IT

Aww I hope do too Big Dumb Guy!

ps

You're my favourite comentard! This dude speaks sense.

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Stop

Re: I LIKE IT

"Where did this screaming troll come from? Did I take a wrong turn and end up at 4chan?"

Go easy on him mate, his comments always make me smile.* Even if he were a troll, you cant knock some free smilage can you!

*Yeah I know say's a lot about me, don't need to point that out I am well aware that I'm bloody weird. Not quite as weird as zero-g whiskey drinkers though.

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Thought it was 1 April again...

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Anonymous Coward

...is it not? sorry, too much whisky!

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Pint

Finally! Some serious scientific research.

It's nice to see scientific research that can potentially improve the quality of life for everyone.

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Devil

Re: Finally! Some serious scientific research.

No. Serious marketing.

In order for alcoholic drinks to mature correctly the liquid needs to have at least some minimal circulation in the cask. That naturally happens when gravity is at play. A good wine cellar has almost constant temperature so convection does not really play. Other factors however like density microchanges from evaporation of alcohol near the cask top, interaction of booze with the cask walls, etc play a similar role. These are _SLOW_ and this is why wine, whiskey, brandy and rakia are supposed to mature slowly.

That is also how you fake it and accelerate maturity. Freshly activate the wood by "burning" it in a microwave (it actually turns to charcoal at the edges), stick it into the maturation vessel, warm it up and provide stirring (standard lab teflon magnetic stirrers do nicely). Voila - here is your "mature" brandy in a week. Been there, done that.

Coming back to zero-G. None of that works in zero-G. There is no convection and a density change does not cause a flow in the liquid. Any change in the liquid will be limited to the brownian motion. So the Whiskey will either fail to mature or will taste like shit.

This is marketing, not science.

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Re: Finally! Some serious scientific research.

The requirement for the liquid to be able to circulate during the maturation process is precisely why some Norwegian aquavits spend part of their time on board ships, travelling to Australia and back before being bottled. No movement, no maturation.

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Pint

I think what we'll find out is that whiskey mysteriously evaporates in a zero-g environment.

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Pint

Beat me to it. You're sending alcohol into space with a bunch of sex-deprived Russians, and you expect it to survive two years untouched? Riiiight...

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That's why they didn't use Vodka

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Pint

Whiskey evaporating in zero-g

"I think what we'll find out is that whiskey mysteriously evaporates in a zero-g environment."

Actually, iirc, the Russian crews have already proven that hypothesis with vodka.

But, seriously, folks... also iirc, the Russian do get a vodka ration, to be saved for occasions like New Year's Eve and such. But, still... no equivalent ration of Jack Daniels for the American crew members, some sake for the guys from NASDA, or cognac/schnapps/grappa/sherry for the ESA guys?

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Anonymous Coward

"That's why they didn't use Vodka"

Are you suggesting they will still get a yellow-ish coloured liquid back.

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Pint

Housshton, We havvve porbelem <hic>

The cargo shhip not have the whiksy... whiky... booze on board. Honesht. Better send another one.

No need to apogilise Houshton, you my besht mate you are.

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This Just In

NASA reports that early attempts to make "Moon Shine" on the ISS were successful, they are continuing research into other spirits with the help of scientists from Scotland.

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Anonymous Coward

Of course we must have Scotch Whiskey in space....

Of course we must have Scotch Whiskey in space - it is a critical component of warp drives!

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Headmaster

Re: Of course we must have Scotch Whiskey in space....

contradiction in terms:

Scotch Whiskey

Scotch whisky now, is another matter. It reminds of an man "kindly" asked to leave the premises of a Scottish "watering hole" after asking for a Bourbon.

He does still have his own teeth, as I recall

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Trollface

Re: Of course we must have Scotch Whiskey in space....

but this isn't Whisky either!!!1111111oneoneoneeleven

to be whisky is MUST have been matured for at least 3 years, not 2!

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Boffin

Control group

Is the control group also subjected to several Gs to simulate the launch? I could imagine this would affect the maturation process in itself.

If it isn't then it's not a proper control and the results can't be meaningfully interpreted.

It's almost as if they were doing it for a laugh instead of as a serious piece of science...

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Re: Control group

AFAIK the malt and wood particles are kept isolated from each other until they are in orbit.

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Pint

"Who knows where it will lead?”

To the pub of course!

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Anonymous Coward

have you been drinking?

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they lie

nothing wrong with potatoes, they start to grow anywhere its damp and dark

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So

They won't get a chance to taste the Ardberg there on the ISS? It's a real peaty...

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Joke

Brings a new meaning to being pISSed!

That is all.

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Yag
Pint

I'm looking forward...

... the new Ardbeg's "Supernova 2015" vintage, with real bits of supernovae :)

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Pint

"during their two years on the ISS"

Are they expecting anything back? I bet the angels might take an uncommonly large share up in orbit...

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Aged not Distilled

The Whisky will be space AGED, not space DISTILLED.

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Unhappy

Re: Aged not Distilled

Yeah.. I was hoping for a bit about vacuum stills when I opened this article. Or at least a mention in the comments.

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Boffin

Re: Aged not Distilled

Even though this particular batch will be *AGED* in space, there's nothing stopping whisky connoi^Waffici^Wsnobs looking forward to the first batch *DISTILLED* in space.

Except for the fact that distillation is dependent on gravity, but such physical trivia isn't going to stop the connoi^Waffici^Wsnobs.

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Yag

Whisky connoi^Waffici^Wsnobs?

Hey! I ressemble this remark!

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Re: Aged not Distilled

Current distillation methods rely on gravity, yes, but I'm sure a little human ingenuity and perhaps a centrifuge will sort something out. Orrr... something like an Archimedes screw jammed in the neck of an old pot still..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Aged not Distilled

Centrifuge? You are a genius. Now there's a better use for that Iranian missile and centrifuge tech

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Pedantry alert

I feel honour-bound top point out that neither in space nor here on earth, does "Islay" come even close to rhyming with "away".

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Pint

Re: Pedantry alert

I would also point out that until it has been in a barrel for 3 years it is not even whisky.

ps why do they call it single malt when I only drink them in trebles?

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Boffin

Re: Pedantry alert

Further pedantry says that the 3 years has to occur while in Scotland before it's whisky.

Though it could be whiskey, which pretty much has the "anything goes" rule :-)

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Re: Pedantry alert

Many old-time whisky drinkers here in Scotland do in fact pronounce it that way. I'm not saying they're right or wrong, just that there's definitely a precedent.

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Windows

Re: UltraPedantry alert

3 years in Scotland if you want to call it Scotch Whisky. There are a number of non-scottish single malts that have every right to all themselves whisky, rather than whiskey, because they're matured for the right amount of time in the right sort of barrels, just not in Scotland. I just bought one fromÖland. just the other day. Bit pricy but i think it's worth it just for the uniqueness. Quite tasty too, though a little young...

Mackmyra is also quite good, and there's Penderyn from Wales, and that new English whisky that's currently raising its profile selling a "story" of various stages of its whisky's development. It shows great potential.

As yu may have guessed I have a thing about unusual whisky. :)

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@DF118

"Precedent" isn't "oh I know someone who says it so it's ok". It's pronounced Isle-La because that's the name of the island. I know people who pronounce Culzean as Cull-Zeen, doesn't set a precedent.

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Facepalm

Re: @DF118

I didn't say "I know a person", I said "plenty old-time whisky drinkers". Twenty odd years in and out of the bar trade all over Scotland serving whisky to old geezers who were drinking whisky long before it became a marketer's wet-dream megabusiness with dozens of brands popping up every year I think gives me enough empirical evidence to state that there may indeed be such a precedent. I also stated I did not believe them to be either right or wrong, so please don't be such a dick about it.

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Yag
Pint

As yu may have guessed I have a thing about unusual whisky

You can go and check some japanese whisky, some of them are surprising...

They're usually more fruity than peaty however. For example, the Nikka Yoishi (at least the "basic" 10yo version) have some nice pear aromas.

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Windows

Am I the only one reminded of Tintin - Explorers on the Moon?

Icon = Captain Haddock

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Up, up and...

It's pronounced 'Eye-La' not 'Iss-Lay'

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Unhappy

Up up and Islay?

Pun would work if Islay rhymed with "away", but given it's pronounced "aisle-lah" (like the name Isla, as in Isla Fisher) it doesn't really work. Unless you're on TV in American where I often hear it pronounced wrongly.

3/10 - must try harder.

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istr

there was a sitcom in which some long term spacers used some fruit flies they happenned to have as a component for another experiment and fermented them to make alcohol.. hijinks ensued etc..

always wondered how viable that would be..

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