There are particles in my whiskey! (The science of whiskey colloids)

  • March 17, 2021, 4:00 pm US/Central
  • Stuart Williams, University of Louisville
  • Dan Hooper
  • Video

Speaker: Stuart J. Williams, University of Louisville

Fermilab employees and users can access the Zoom link below (Services login required): When: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM.

Location: ZOOM ONLY

Please note: you will need the pass code to enter the zoom

Anyone else can obtain the Zoom link the day of the colloquium by emailing Barb Kronkow at


Suspended particles, also known as colloids, form when you dilute whiskey with water and/or chill it. This phenomenon has been observed by whiskey distillers for years, typically during filtration or quality control. Our research investigates the formation of these whiskey colloids and how they influence surface tension and form chemical monolayers on the interface of microdroplets. During evaporation these monolayers collapse and form patterns unique to each brand of whiskey, which may be used for counterfeit identification. Further, this mechanisms seems to be unique to American whiskey which is characterized by being matured in new charred oak barrels. This presentation will introduce the basic science of bourbon whiskey, characterization of whiskey colloids, and how “whiskey webs” form during droplet evaporation.