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Contrary to popular belief, fermented alcoholic drinks usually contain several alcohols, but in smaller amounts than ethanol, that act as psychoactive drugs with different degrees of potency and effects and also contribute to the color, odor, and flavor of beverages.


Alcohol is a highly diverse chemical class of organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl (-OH) functional groups bound to a carbon atom. Alcohols are classified into primary, secondary (sec-, s-), and tertiary (tert-, t-) alcohols, based upon the number of carbon atoms connected to the carbon atom that bears the hydroxyl functional group.

List of psychoactive alcohols

See also: UserWiki:David Hedlund/Comparison of psychoactive alcohols in alcoholic drinks

Primary alcohols

From yeast fermentation

Secondary alcohols

From yeast fermentation

Tertiary alcohols

From yeast fermentation