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Old 06-19-2009, 08:54 PM   #1
Jun 2009
SF Bay Area
Posts: 12

After brewing a couple batches, I found that my friend didn't want to drink my homebrew because he had heard that there were dangers involved with homebrewed beer. Has anyone heard about this? Any way I can convince him its safe to drink?

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Old 06-19-2009, 08:56 PM   #2
shecky's Avatar
May 2008
Watertown, CT
Posts: 40,052
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Drink a lot and then walk up to him and say, 'See, not dead.'

Far as I can tell, the only dangers are lighting yourself on fire, cutting yourself on a glass carboy, throwing out your back lifting five gallons of hot liquid. Drinking it? Well, no known pathogens can survive in beer. So unless you left out the yeast and replaced it with arsenic, your friend is getting bad info.

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Old 06-19-2009, 08:58 PM   #3
May 2009
Lacey, WA
Posts: 148
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why convince him? plenty more for you!

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Old 06-19-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
carbon111's Avatar
May 2009
Pacific NW
Posts: 556
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He's probably thinking of home canning.

For the most part, home brewing really dosen't share those risks at all.
Best Regards, James
My beer blog: http://brewdujour.blogspot.com
My website: http://www.carbon111.com

Fermenting: Carbon's Grizzly Bear, Young's Special London Ale (clone)

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Old 06-19-2009, 08:59 PM   #5
me-no-r-no Nice Guy
GreenwoodRover's Avatar
Mar 2008
Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,050
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the real danger is finding out how ignorant your friends are....
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
<Insert list of brews planned, fermenting, or being consumed here>

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Old 06-19-2009, 09:01 PM   #6
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,938
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If there was stuff that could live in beer and kill you, the human race would have died out a hell of a long time ago! If something toxic could come from our homebrewing, it wouldn't be a legal hobby!

I came across this from a pretty well known and award winning homebrewer railing against a fellow brewer (it was on one of those "color coded" brewboards where they are a little less friendly than we are.) I just cut and pasted it and stuck it in a file...here it is.

Can you get a PATHOGEN from beer. No. NO *NO* Did I make that clear? You have a ZERO chance of pathogens in beer, wine, distilled beverages. PERIOD!

Pathogens are described as organisms that are harmful and potentially life threatening to humans. These are some 1400+ known species overall encompasing viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and helminths. Of that group, we are only interested in those that can be foodborne. Quite simply, if it can't survive in food, it isn't in beer. That knocks out all but bacteria and fungi. Viruses need very specific circumstances to be passed around... like on the lip of a glass or bottle, not the beer in it. **Ahhh...CHOOO!**

Pathogens as a rule are very fastidious beasts. Meaning that they want very specific temperatures, acidity, nutrients and other conditions to thrive.

Bacteria that *could* live in wort, cannot survive even a little bit of fermentation. There are several reasons for this. One is in the 'magic' of hops. It is the isomerized alpha acids that provide a preservative effect to the beer, which happens to inhibit pathogens! Good deal for fresh wort!

Another reason is the drop in pH from fermentation. Next, yeast emit their own enzymes and byproducts, all in an effort to make the environment hostile to other creatures. The major one is alcohol, of course, but their enzymes will break down less vigorous organisms and they become sources of trace nutrition. Now the latter is very minor compared to the effect of alcohol, but it exists! Most of the time these enzymes work on the wort, not organisms until late in the process. Good deal for beer! ...uh, wine too.

Oh, Botulism specifically... did you know that this is an anaerobic pathogen? It's toxin is one of the few that is broken down by boiling. Did you know tht it is strongly inhibited by isomerized alpha acids, even in water? Since fresh wort has a healthy amount of oxygen in it, the beastie cannot even get started, then once the O2 is used up, it doesn't have a chance against the hops or the yeast.

All that is left are a handful of acid producing bacteria that'll ruin a batch of beer. Overall, there are less than 200 organisms that can survive in beer and lend flavor effects. None of these for very long, or very often. Lambic being the sole exception, and if pathogens *could* survive, that'd be the style where you find 'em.

It's important to remember that one of the reasons we have beer today (one of the oldest beverages in existence) is because it was made to be drunk in places where drinking the WATER was deadly....By boiling the wort, adding hops (which is an antiseptic), changing the ph, and pitching yeast, you killed of any microorganism that good be harmful.....in fact the third runnings of the brewing process was fermented at an extremely low gravit 1-2% ABV, and it was called "table beer" or "Kid's Beer" this is the stuff that people drank with meals...it was their water replacement, like Iced tea or soda pop...because again the fermentation process insured thatit was safer than the water.

He talks about it here;

So please, please, please, I can't stress this enough....don't fear you beer!!!

If something bad could happen, then it would NOT be a legal hobby.....

Our beer is really the same thing as commercial beer...it's the exact same ingredients and process.....it's not like there are two kinds of malts and hops..ones for "real" beer and one for "homebrew"

Hopes this info helps....maybe show it to him.

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Old 06-19-2009, 09:04 PM   #7
Jun 2009
SF Bay Area
Posts: 12

Wow thank you all for your good responses. I will have some talking points.

Why is homebrewing hard alcohol illegal?

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Old 06-19-2009, 09:04 PM   #8
ChshreCat's Avatar
Aug 2008
Camano Island, Washington
Posts: 11,533
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He may be thinking of home distilling.
"Science + beer = good!"
-Adam Savage

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Old 06-19-2009, 09:05 PM   #9
Apr 2009
Birmingham UK
Posts: 169
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We have been doing it for a few thousand years! The dangers stopped once Watneys red barrel got taken off the market ! (English joke)
Blessed are the "cracked", for it is they who let in the light.

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Old 06-19-2009, 09:05 PM   #10
eschatz's Avatar
Dec 2007
Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 3,434
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Poor decision could result from too much homebrew...
play the bass, brew the beer

What's tappening? :D

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