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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > A Question About Hops, and an Introduction
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:56 AM   #1
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Default A Question About Hops, and an Introduction

Hello guys, first time here. I literally just finished brewing my first batch. Partial grain oatmeal stout that I'm really hoping turns out semi-decent.

In any case, I had a quick question. A while back, someone told me beer has a different buzz than hard alcohol because of the hops. He said that hops is mildly psychoactive, or something along those lines. I don't know if he was misinformed, but to me it does seem like beer gives a different buzz when compared to the other forms of alcohol. Is this just placebo, or is there something to it?

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Old 10-19-2008, 11:08 AM   #2
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haha...well first off welcome to HBT and for the record beer IS alcohol...ok now that thats out of the way.
Hops are in the same family as cannabis but in no way are they psychoactive. THC which is the active psychoactive compound in cannabis is not present in hops plants. Luplin which is a bitter almost resinous compound which is secreted in the hop "buds" contains chemicals which are bitter and balance out the alcohol twang in a beer to give a nice finished product. Differing levels of alcohol (%) between wine and beer and cider etc have differing types of sugars (mono,di and poly saccharides) which in the end lead to a differing level of intoxication. Also the amount of carbonation or lack there of also impacts drunkenness(which is why champagne hits some people quite quickly).

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Old 10-19-2008, 03:30 PM   #3
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Beer also has unfermented complex sugars, which can change the timing of alcohol absorption. Wine and hard liquors have none (or very little). Some people have reactions to the bittering compounds in beer, but there is nothing psychoactive.

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Old 10-19-2008, 03:35 PM   #4
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Just to confuse the issue, you may well soon find that Home brewed beer has a different buzz to commercial beer. Maybe additives in some commercials, I dunno......But my HB, at least has a much more mellow happy buzz than the spikey jittery buzz I get from most BMC.....So I don't reckon it's the hops.

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Old 10-19-2008, 09:40 PM   #5
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The carbonation is probably the biggest difference... drinking a gin and tonic, for example, will raise your BAC more than the same shot of gin by itself or in regular H2O. Hops DO have a psychoactive effect (although not like THC)... did a quick search and found this:

"The primary active chemicals in hops are humulene, lupuline, and quercetin. The main effects from the consumption of hops are mild sedation of the central nervous system. This may reduce tension and anxiety. In some cases, hops can aid in getting sleep.

Hops can be smoked by themselves in a pipe. People who don't consume drugs will notice a mild sedating effect. But if you consume marijuana (or other drugs) regularly, you probably won't feel much."

Humulone and delta-9-THC are both terpenophenolics, and I for one think hops do have a mild sedating effect. Here's a veterinary study:
Psychoactive Herbs in Veterinary ... - Google Book Search

If its linked to adenosine and/or GABA receptors, that'd explain the sedation. People take GABA to aid in sleep as a replacement for sleeping pills... some people even think it helps you release human growth hormone! More reasons to drink beer (or make more IPAs)!

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Old 10-19-2008, 09:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrakich87 View Post
If its linked to adenosine and/or GABA receptors, that'd explain the sedation. People take GABA to aid in sleep as a replacement for sleeping pills... some people even think it helps you release human growth hormone! More reasons to drink beer (or make more IPAs)!
Perhaps the alcohol catalyzes the sedative effective, for lack of a better description (ie: makes it more apparent than it would normally). I suppose any effects from hops, whether minor or more apparent, would give beer a different edge when compared to other types of alcohol.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:06 PM   #7
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Agreed. Many drugs have a synergistic effect on one another, and if any of you have dabbled in delta-9 while drinking, the combined effect is more than merely each one added together. In some cases 2+2=5 when it comes to drugs (yes, alcohol is a drug and so is anything from hops that produces an effect). Both of them are sedatives, so why not?

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