Alcohol Congeners and the Source of Ethanol

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopaedia / Dictionary EntryOtherpeer-review


Alcoholic beverages contain, besides ethanol, a number of volatile compounds that contribute to their taste and odor. Gas chromatography with headspace analyses can be used to identify and quantify their presence in beverages and also in blood. A number of alcohols can be targeted that help to identify the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. These congeners include methanol, 1-propanol, 2-methyl-1-propanol, 2-methyl-1-butanol, and 3-methyl-1-butanol. The metabolism and pharmacokinetics of these congeners vary significantly. While their measurement in blood can be useful in some circumstances, given the variability in the amount absorbed and eliminated and the similarity of congener content in many beverages, their application is limited to cases involving clear differences in congener content.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Forensic Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
EditorsMax M. Houck
Place of PublicationAmsterdam Netherlands
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780128236789
ISBN (Print)9780128236772
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Congeners
  • Ethanol
  • Fusel oils
  • Methanol
  • Source of alcohol

Cite this