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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Community > General Chit Chat > Why do some people claim draft beer gives a headache?
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:02 AM   #31
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Yes, I know all the arguments about sulfites but I've been making wine a long time and drinking it for even longer and I don't get headaches after drinking full bottles of either wine or mead. Nor do I get headaches from drinking most beers but the ones I drank last weekend, or something, caused the worst headache I've had in months. Mr. Westemeier's explanation makes sense. It also corresponds to others making the same point when I conducted my Google search.

I looked a little more and found this article in Beer Allergies citing scientific abstracts.

The major cause of the pseudo-allergic response appears to be histamine and other biogenic amines in beer or wine. It is not so much the histamine content itself but histamine intolerance sufferers have lower diamine oxidase levels in their intestines (Wantke, Gotz et al, 1993).

Histamine and other biogenic amines are formed in beer during both the malting and fermentation stages (Gasarasi, Kelgtermans et al 2003). Specialty beers, especially sour beers and beers produced by mixed cultures, are particularly prone to the formation of biogenic amines.

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Old 07-02-2008, 03:03 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by SwAMi75 View Post
I've always heard the same, but it's usually, "I only drink Bud Light. Miller gives me a headache," or some such. As if the ingredients in watered down swill vary so much.
Not a draft, but I think there is some merit to that. At a friends house recently, I had some Miller "high life" and after just 2 I had headache...

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Old 07-02-2008, 06:02 AM   #33
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I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but often I feel the same way.
I have had some drinks that after just one or two I get a head splitter out of nowhere, and I'm used to stress headaches, eye strain, sitting next to load idiots, etc. But some of these I can point straight to the beer and say never again.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:01 AM   #34
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For some reason, Coors products always give me a headache after 1 beer. Doesn't matter if it comes out of a keg or can, happens every time. Other macro swill I can drink with impunity though.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:02 PM   #35
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Hey I'm new to the beer brewing and i had a taste of my beer that was 7 days old in the bottle and got a really bad headache after a few sips

I'm hoping it will improve after 3 more weeks and no more headaches
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:25 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by BigNick73 View Post
If I had to guess I'd say they add sulfites as a preservative. This is also common in red wine, and gives a nasty headache to those sensitive to it.
I'm pretty sure that you have to use sulfites at a pretty high level to work as a preservative or to effect people that are sensitive. There is a ppm threshold where anyone adding sulfites to any food product has to write "contains sulfites". I don't think Bud writes this on their can. Therefore, it does not contain sulfites.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:40 PM   #37
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I'm not aware of a beer sold in the US that has sulfites added, and such an addition would have to be noted on the label here by law. Sulfites, of course, occur in beer and wine and everything else naturally.

The mystery chemical discussed several months ago is acetaldehyde. However, the argument that this is the cause of headaches (the argument was posted here second hand from an anonymous source) is logically bankrupt. Here is why:

The levels of acetaldehyde in Budweiser are famously slightly higher than the flavor threshold, around 6 ppm, IIRC.

However, this is not nearly enough acetaldehyde to cause any sort of noticeable effect in humans. It is true that acetaldehyde contributes to hangovers and is, indeed, more toxic than ethanol. Acetaldehyde is produced during human metabolism of alcohol and it is this source of acetaldehyde that is responsible for hangovers. The amount of acetaldehyde in any beer, including Budweiser, is simply a non-factor.

Also I read something in the very old OP that is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Shaker glasses, called pint glasses in the US, hold 16 US fluid ounces (a US pint) to the top. Since beer foams, beer glasses are not typically filled to the top and a shaker glass will not hold 16 fluid ounces. Contrast this with a half liter or imperial pint glass where the state volume is to a fill line, not the top.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:50 PM   #38
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It's true, it happens. There's a number of reasons why.

A dirty line will be more prone to cause this. That's why people say certain beers do but others don't.

Sulfur in the lines.

It's a bit more carbonated, and depending on the bar could be insanely more carbonated.

People take larger drinks from a mug than a bottle. You're sucking in more air with each drink versus a bottle "sip".

A pitcher is obviously larger than a bottle, it's easier to drink more and drink it faster. This is actually the most probable cause as it's just somebody with a borderline hangover.

The local bar I go to cleans their lines once a month and they day before the cleaning they sell $2 pitchers. I never get a headache from the beer but lots of people claim to that night. I think the beer is just so old and the lines so crummy at that point that's what it is. It could also be a hangover, who knows? Who am I to judge somebody that can't drink?
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:02 PM   #39
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Pilsner Urquel gives me a headache. I just assumed it was because I was usually drinking it at my inlaws....
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:11 PM   #40
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I always thought it was Keg beer not draft/draught beer that gave the headaches. Yes I know its the same stuff, but look at the difference between a keg party and a bar. Keg usually gets picked up in the morning, sits around warm most of the day, we KNOW they use like a handful of hops for the 5000gal Kettle, so the beer has been abused, sat around warm, then chilled as an afterthought.

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