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What Makes Grain Alcohol Dangerous? Answered (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Golden Grain, Everclear, and Alcohol-95 are the leading producers of grain alcohol, a neutral spirit distilled at or over 95% ABV. 

Due to its transparent color, grain alcohol is commonly used as an additive to other alcoholic beverages and cocktails.

But looking at its high alcohol content, are there dangers of drinking grain alcohol? 

If so, what makes grain alcohol dangerous compared to other alcoholic drinks? Let’s find out.  

Why Is Grain Alcohol Dangerous? 

Glasses of Grains and Whiskey

Grain alcohol can be dangerous because its alcohol by volume, which goes as high as 95% ABV or more, is considered high-proof alcohol. 

Grain alcohol is an ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) that our body can consume. But consuming too much grain alcohol may lead to severe intoxication, causing impaired thinking or impaired judgment.

Besides, consuming grain alcohol can cause more severe harm and health risks like brain damage, respiratory failure, alcohol poisoning, and even death, especially if you’re drinking in large amounts over time.   

2 Reasons Why It’s Dangerous To Drink Grain Alcohol

Pouring Beer on a Glass

1. Extremely High Alcohol Content

Grain alcohol usually contains 95% alcohol by volume or 190-proof, making it more potent than other drinks and hard liquors, which typically have 40% ABV. 

So, drinking any grain alcohol in just one shot equals drinking two standard drinks. If consumed too much, this can quickly lead to alcohol intoxication. 

You’ll be at risk of alcohol poisoning or developing any health risks over time.   

2. Extremely Cheap Price

Since grain alcohol is very affordable and widely available, it’s easy to buy and drink grain alcohol when you feel like it. This may lead to substance abuse (or alcohol abuse) in the long run. 

As mentioned, high-proof grain alcohol is almost “pure alcohol,” with 190-proof or 95% alcohol by volume. It can quickly increase your blood alcohol levels, which can be extremely dangerous if you consume too much than your body can handle.  

The excess alcohol in the body becomes a “toxic” substance that may cause serious harm to the central nervous system (CNS).   

6 Dangerous Effects Of Drinking Grain Alcohol 

Woman Drinking Beer

1. Brain Damage

According to experts, drinking Everclear, in particular, can cause brain damage over time since it’s considered a depressant in the CNS. 

In fact, grain alcohol means “neurotoxin,” a toxin that can damage or destroy nerve tissues. 

2. Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning can occur immediately after drinking grain alcohol, as even a small amount of this can cause blood alcohol concentration to spike. 

Since many people are unaware of its dangerous effects, especially young adults, it’s considered illegal in many states in the US.

For instance, drinking Everclear shots can cause serious intoxication. It’s not recommended to make grain alcohol alternatives to tequila when preparing mixed drinks or body shots. 

3. Liver Disease

Compared to the usual hard drinks, such as tequila and vodka, grain alcohol is more robust due to its high ABV.

For instance, Everclear has a 95% ABV, which means one shot is equivalent to around 2.5 portions of typical hard liquors. 

If you drink even one shot habitually over time, there’s an increased risk of severe liver disease. 

4. Driving Accidents

You may believe you’re sober enough to drive after drinking beer or wine. However, this is not the case, especially with grain alcohol. 

You have to consider the various factors that affect your ability to drive, such as the size of the glass of wine and the amount of alcohol that you’ve consumed. 

Even a single serving of grain alcohol can have a significant impact on your mental faculties, and it can lead to accidents.

5. Physical & Mental Impairment

If you have a low tolerance to alcohol, you’re more likely to experience adverse effects after drinking Everclear or any grain alcohol. 

This means the effects of this substance will be more severe than you anticipated, which makes grain alcohol more dangerous than any other alcoholic beverage. 

Intoxicatication can lead to various side effects, such as lowered inhibitions, impaired thinking, and lack of judgment.

6. Death

With all the risks associated with alcohol abuse comes death as the worst-case scenario. Think of the high ABV grain alcohol; you can easily understand why it’s precarious. 

Drinking alcohol can lead to death if abused, so how much more with high-proof grain alcohol? 

Who Are At Risk Of Being Affected By It?

Close Up Shot of a Man Drinking Alcohol

Grain alcohol can have adverse effects on college students and young adults. It’s cheaper than other types of alcohol, which can be obtained by young people easily.

“It was hate at first sight, clean, pure and strong as grain alcohol.”

— Barbara Mertz, American Author

But most people aren’t familiar with the harmful effects of grain alcohol consumption and how dangerous this substance can be.

How Strong Is Grain Alcohol? 

Pouring Beer on a Glass

Grain alcohol is more alcoholic than any standard drink. While methanol is the most toxic type of alcohol, ethyl alcohol is the type of alcohol that the body can consume. 

Grain alcohol is a form of ethanol [1]. But what makes grain alcohol dangerous is its high alcohol content, at around 95% ABV, stronger than any alcoholic beverage. 

FAQs

Who makes grain alcohol?

Grain alcohol is originally made by Luxco (former David Sherman Corp.), the maker of Everclear, a rectified spirit, made with fermented grain and bottled at high proof. 

Is grain alcohol stronger than alcohol?

Grain alcohol can be stronger than alcohol, depending on its ABV. But grain alcohol is almost pure alcohol, made from fermenting grains. 

Is pure grain alcohol flammable?

Yes, grain alcohol is considered flammable as it’s a form of ethanol [2] that’s colorless with a slightly toxic formula. 

In A Nutshell

The high alcohol proof and slightly toxic formula make grain alcohol dangerous to drinkers. It’s banned in most US states. 

Too much consumption can harm the body, from the usual alcohol intoxication to severe ones like poisoning, liver disease, accidents, and death. 

So, before drinking anything, ensure you know how dangerous it can be to your health.

To “Drink Responsibly” is genuinely applicable with grain alcohol as it’s very alcoholic and can be toxic. 

References:

  1. https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/e/Ethanol.htm 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/ethanol 

Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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