In the alcoholic beverages industry, congeners are substances, other than the desired type of alcohol, ethanol, produced during fermentation. These substances include small amounts of chemicals such as methanol and other alcohols (known as fusel alcohols), acetone, acetaldehyde, esters, tannins, and aldehydes (e.g. furfural). Congeners are responsible for most of the taste and aroma of distilled alcoholic beverages, and contribute to the taste of non-distilled drinks. It has been suggested that these substances contribute to the symptoms of a hangover. Congeners are also used by forensic toxicologists to determine what a person drank in a sub-discipline called alcohol congener analysis.
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