Do charcoal water filters strip out alcohol and compounds associated with taste in wine?
So I was given a bottle of what I was assured was a very pleasant white Burgundy. When I pulled the cork it came apart in many tiny pieces. This is not uncommon around here (hot asian place) as wine is not always stored or shipped in optimum conditions. Generally when the coark comes out in that bad a condition it does not bode well for the quality of the wine. I was left with a bottle with tiny bits of cork floating around in it, however I had a Britta water filter jug, one of those with a carbon filter insert where one pours water in the top and gets filtered water out the bottom.
I figured, what the hell it will get the cork out, so had at it and filtered the wine and drank it. It was very smooth, no acidic bite , but didn’t seam to have the kick (so I won’t pass my Sommelier exams any time soon) I would have expected given the alcohol content (13% FWIW).
Could a carbon water filter strip out alcohol and some of the compounds associated with corked white wine or is it more likely the wine was actually still good and I am a old soak who has numbed his taste buds.
Whilst you are at it - could the same filter help with stripping out nastier elements of red or white wine that is ‘on the turn’.
If I read that correctly activated charcoal ingested after consumption of alcohol will not reduce BAC. Not sure if the conditions in the stomach are the same as filtering wine through a filter - is there any chemical reaction between ethanol and charcoal that one could suspect leads to a stripping out of alcohol from wine?
On the taste side - what are the chemicals that make wine taste bad - and would they be affected by charcoal filters?
ETA - I suppose you could expand that question into - how the hell does a charcoal filter actually work and what does it filter and not filter?
Activated charcoal IIRC does not, strictly speaking, “chemically react” with stuff – rather, it has a high surface area and a related affinity for adsorbing certain organic and inorganic impurities. (Adsorption means “having stick to its surface layer” and I lied when I said this wasn’t a chemical reaction; what I should have said is that while chemical (thus ultimately physical) affinities of the respective substances cause them to stick together, the adsorption process doesn’t (again IIRC) amount to a chemical bond as we typically see in what we refer to as “reactions.” Think of adsorption as hmm velcro).
Wiki has some conflicting statements, some needing citation: it supports the notion that carbon reduces blood alcohol levels, but then notes that carbon filters can be used to filter raw liquor to produce liquor of identical proof with fewer nasty-tasting impurities:
We know that carbon doesn’t leech all the alcohol out of a alcoholic solution because various whiskies are traditionally filtered through ricks of charcoal and/or stored in barrels that have had the inside thoroughly charred. Again the aim is taste improvement.
(I know, it mentions wine, but wine is not usually charcoal filtered and some whiskey is).
However, in the case of your iffy wine, I would imagine what you are trying to eliminate is some byproduct of decomposition of the wine (probably of the remaining fruit components, maybe of the ethanol itself) – basically I think you’d be dealing with some range of undesired and smelly acids (acetic acid/vinegar?), maybe ketones, esters? All WAGs, and I have no idea what those respective compounds’ affinity for activated charcoal would be.
I don’t think you are likely to remove a lot of alcohol witha charcoal filter. Alcohol makes a significant portion of the wine so if it did, you would see a reduction in volume. Charcoal isn’t really very good at removing large quantities of things. It probably absorbs some ethanol, but ethanol is a pretty small molecule so I don’t expect that it would get trapped up easily. You might help prevent ethanol absorption by first running vodka through the filter.
What charcoal will remove with ease are the condensed tannins and large flat molecules that account for some of the more bitter notes in wine. I certainly expect that it makes a wine more smooth.