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fusel oil

[fyoo-zuh l, -suh l] /ˈfyu zəl, -səl/
noun
1.
a mixture consisting chiefly of amyl alcohols obtained as a by-product in the fermentation of grains.
Origin
1855-1860
1855-60; < German Fusel bad liquor
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for fusel-oil

fusel oil

/ˈfjuːzəl/
noun
1.
a mixture of amyl alcohols, propanol, and butanol: a by-product in the distillation of fermented liquors used as a source of amyl alcohols
Word Origin
C19: from German Fusel bad spirits
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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fusel-oil in Science
fusel oil
  (fy'zəl)   
An acrid, oily, poisonous liquid occurring in the distillation products of fermented alcoholic liquids. Fusel oil is a mixture of amyl alcohols, fatty acids, and esters. It is used in paints, plastics, and varnishes, and in the manufacture of explosives.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for fusel-oil

fusel oil

a mixture of volatile, oily liquids produced in small amounts during alcoholic fermentation. A typical fusel oil contains 60-70 percent of amyl alcohol (q.v.), smaller amounts of n-propyl and isobutyl alcohols, and traces of other components. Before industrial production of synthetic amyl alcohols began in the 1920s, fusel oil was the only commercial source of these compounds, which are major ingredients of lacquer solvents. The fusel oil alcohols are apparently produced during fermentation from amino acids. In industrial alcohol plants, fusel oil and ethyl alcohol are recovered from the fermented liquors and separated by distillation. In the beverage industry, fusel oil is ordinarily allowed to remain in the finished products. The amount present in a 100 proof distilled alcoholic beverage is typically between 0.5 and 2 grams per litre (0.07 and 0.3 ounce per gallon).

Learn more about fusel oil with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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