Is Liquor Flammable? (A Complete Guide)

This article will answer the following question: “Is Liquor Flammable?”. We will discuss rather any liquor is flammable or not, show the more common liquors and the most flammable ones, and also present other relevant information about alcohol.

Is Liquor Flammable?

Well, it depends on how much alcohol the liquor has. In normal conditions, liquors 100 proof (50% ABV) or above are considered flammable, but even a common whiskey or vodka that is 80 proof can be set on fire in mild conditions.

What is Liquor?

Liquor, or a spirit, is an alcoholic beverage made by distilling a liquid source of fermented sugar (usually by grains, malts, fruits, vegetables, or sugar). It can also be called hard liquor.

Liquors contain much more alcohol by volume (ABV) than other beverages. They are also much more flammable than other drinks.

The main reason people ingest liquors nowadays is thanks to their psychoactive functions, which can alter one’s consciousness. But alcohol had had many functions throughout history.

What is ABV?

ABV is an abbreviation for alcohol by volume. It is a standard measure to write down how much ethanol (common alcohol) ratio is contained in a beverage.

It’s defined as the quantity (in ml) of pure ethanol in 100ml of the drink, at 20ºC (68ºF). The ABV number gives us information on how much alcohol a beverage has.

It’s important to note that ABV is not the same as volume fraction, a property commonly used in Chemistry. 

A drink that has, let’s say, 50% ABV doesn’t necessarily contain 50ml of alcohol in 100ml of the whole drink, but a little bit more. This is because the volume of a mixture changes when we mix two different things. But this difference is not big, no more than 2.5%.

In the U.S, a common to express the amount of alcohol a beverage has is called “proof”, which is the same as twice the ABV value.

Is all liquor flammable?

Essentially, anything that contains organic molecules, such as ethanol, can burn at some point, if enough heat or flames is provided. 

But the thing is, not everything will burn in common circumstances.

Alcohol itself will always burn if the right conditions are applied to it. But liquor is a diluted form of alcohol. The more water it has, the less flammable it will be because the water can’t catch fire.

So the thing is, in which proportion will a liquor become flammable?

Above 80 proof (40% ABV) a liquor can be considered flammable. But it will only start catching fire and sustaining the flames above 100 proof (50% ABV).

If, for example, a glass of common vodka or whiskey is tried to be set on fire, flames will barely appear on top of it (but they will). The ABV is just not enough for flames to burst consistently.

But if the same liquor is turned into vapor or aerosol (let’s say, if it’s spitted out of someone’s mouth) and sprayed into flames, it will burn right away.

When we say something isn’t flammable, it doesn’t mean that it would never become flammable, but that under usual conditions, the fire risk is not imminent.

Alcohol flashpoints

Flashpoint helps us deduce how easily something can burn. The flashpoint is the lowest temperature a liquid solution will start evaporating to form a mist of combustible vapors.

Liquors are mainly composed of water and alcohol. There are other things on them as well like flavoring compounds, but they are just a small part of the liquid and are not relevant for flammability.

So, the lower a flashpoint is, the less temperature is required for a compound to become airborne.

Since airborne particles can react with the air’s oxygen much more easily, they are the most flammable kind of particles. 

Because alcohol’s flashpoint is lower than water, the more alcohol a solution has, the more vaporized its molecules can get. This means that alcoholic beverages will become more flammable according to their level of alcohol.

Ethanol Concentration(% ABV)510203040506070809096
Temperature(oF)144120978479757270686355
(oC)6249362926242221201713

For example, a 40 proof whiskey like Jack Daniels would have a flashpoint of 79ºF, a very easily achievable temperature. The same goes for Jameson Whiskey.

Is Vodka Flammable?

Vodkas start being flammable if their alcohol content is above 80 proof. They’re surely flammable if are more than 100 proof.

Absolut Vodka, for example, is 100 proof. But Absolut Vanilla is only 76 proof.

Vodka is not necessarily more flammable than other liquors. The only thing that matters when it comes to beverages’ flammability is their alcohol content. The other ingredients won’t matter much.

Is Whiskey flammable?

Whiskey is as flammable as vodka. Both liquors are distilled beverages, their alcohol proof can vary but most labels are 80 proof, a proportion of alcohol that can already be ignited.

Overall, Whiskeys that are 80 proof (40% ABV) or above will be able to light a fire, but their flames wouldn’t be sustained much. However, above 100 proof liquors can present much more fire.

What is the most flammable liquor?

The most flammable liquors are the ones that have more alcohol.

Well, the most alcoholic liquid in the world would be pure alcohol. Although, there’s no booze that’s so much strong. Only reactants used in labs can reach nearly 100% alcohol.

But perhaps the most alcoholic liquor in the world is the Polish Spirytus Stawski, a vodka that reached incredibly 192 proof (96% ABV)!

Is liquor a flammable liquid?

Liquors are distilled beverages that originated from the fermentation process of many different kinds of things. The distillation enhances the alcohol quantity, which makes liquor a flammable liquid.

When it comes to a beverage, there can’t be many things added to it, because their purpose is to be ingested. This means that no flame-retardant material can be added to something we will drink, besides water.

All things we ingest are rather organic (chemically speaking, this includes carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, fibers, etc.) or inorganic (water, minerals, and salts).

But water is a liquid that can’t burn. Because of that, the more water booze has, the less flammable it will be.

Is Liquor Highly Flammable?

Only liquors above 100 proof (50% ABV) are considered really flammable, but all of them can present some level of flammability.

Any liquor can still burn if they’re sprayed into flames. In such a case, any liquor is highly flammable.

But in normal conditions, we only consider flammable things that can burn quickly, easily, or sustain a flame for a longer time. A glass of liquor can be a fire hazard only if there’s a source of flames near.

How to make a flaming drink?

First of all, there’s no safe way to set a drink on fire unless you are a professional. Mixologists learn this art and are prepared to do so. Countless accidents can happen whenever there’s fire available.

Flaming drinks are usually made of different liquors and liqueurs. Liquids of different densities are put on top of one another to give nice colors. 

On top of all of them, a more flammable liquor must be applied so flames can stay for a while. Normally the liquids are poured using a spoon or stick to help settle the liquors more gently.

Also, make sure not to drink it while it’s still on fire!

Conclusion

Not all liquors are considered flammable, only the ones above 100 proof (50% ABV). But 40 proof liquors can still catch fire if flames are applied to them directly. Also, any liquor can ignite and even become explosive if reaches a spray form.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS): Is Liquor Flammable?

how bad alcohol is for your body?

This question does not have an easy answer, science is still trying to figure out the role of alcohol in our bodies. But what we do know is this: it depends on the person and how much is consumed.

Alcohol can alter one’s consciousness, it’s a psychoactive drug that can change functions in our nervous system, altering our perception, mood, behavior, and cognition.

In our bodies, the organ that suffers the most is probably the liver. Its role is to neutralize toxic substances in our bodies and when consumed in excess, it just can’t handle all that alcohol.

Alcohol intake can lead to liver diseases, and increase fat in our liver cells. Around 90% of the ones who drink more than 15 ml (1/2 ounce) of alcohol per day can have fat being deposited in their liver.

But the symptoms are reversible. People who endorse a life of free drinking, although, can have their liver inflamed, whose cells end up dying and getting replaced by scar tissue. This is a condition known as cirrhosis.

is liquor gluten free?

Yes. Pure distilled liquor, unmixed with anything else, is considered gluten-free. No matter if it’s made from barley, rye, corn, or wheat, the distillation extirpates the proteins that are bad for celiacs.

But you should still pay attention to other additives and flavorings that may be added to the liquor. They might contain gluten.

is liquor allowed in train?

In India, according to the Rail Act, alcohol and other intoxicating substances cannot be carried on board in any circumstance, on any rail property owned by the railway authorities.

Citations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoactive_drug
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquor#Flammability
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/alcohol-good-or-bad#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-15114325

http://stawskiusa.com/Products/stawski-spirytus/

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