Beer is any variety of alcoholic drink produced by the brewing process: fermentation of starchy material derived from grains or other plant sources, such as malted barley or wheat. Beer typically has an alcoholic strength of from 3 to 8 per cent.
Cider and Perry Edit
Hard cider (known simply as 'cider' in the UK) is made by fermenting apple juice; the less common perry by fermenting pear juice. Both can be made in a variety of styles, but the alcoholic strength is usually similar to that of beer.
Wine usually has an alcohol content of between 10 and 15 percent, and is made by fermentation of grape juice. Fortified wine such as Port and Sherry is made by adding brandy to wine, increasing the strength to around 20 per cent.
The term spirits includes brandy, rum, vodka and whisky. These are made by distilling weaker drinks to concentrate the alcohol content to 35 per cent or more.
Consumption of alcohol can cause:
- liver disease
- Pancreatitis—both chronic and acute—which can lead to pancreatic cancer
- poisoning, including death
- inability to safely operate heavy machinery, including automobiles
- irrational behavior, possibly leading to violence
- loss of social inhibition, leading to embarrassing behavior that may damage a career or relationship
- loss of sexual inhibition, leading to pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
- fetal alcohol syndrome, which terribly damages unborn children
- abnormally deep sleep, allowing an adult to roll onto a baby
- weight gain
- legal troubles, depending on the person's location and age
- a hangover, which is an unpleasant aftereffect generally involving a headache
- vulnerability of the obese to so-called "spontaneous human combustion"