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Old 07-16-2013, 10:25 AM   #1
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Default HomeBrew Deaths

Hi all was just wondering if homebrew ( beer can be deadly ) . Just not long ago down under there was 3 out of 4 guys dead from drinking homebrew but this was grappa ! Is beer safe as can be and just taste horrible if it hasnt been done right? Or is there a hidden danger??


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Old 07-16-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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Most of the time,nothing that can make you sick can live in beer due to the alcohol. I imagine the co2 must have some small part in it as well. With decent cleaning & sanitation processes in place,you have nothing to worry about. Witheven decently fresh ingredients & a little common sense,you don't even need to worry about botulism either.


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Old 07-16-2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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I'm no grappa expert but I believe grappa is basically distilled grapes which makes a brandy type liquor. Home distilling is very dangerous if you don't know what you are doing.

You have nothing to worry about with homebrew. You may get an infected batch that doesn't taste good but the worst thing that will happen is bad gas or peeing from your a$$.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
Most of the time,nothing that can make you sick can live in beer due to the alcohol. I imagine the co2 must have some small part in it as well. With decent cleaning & sanitation processes in place,you have nothing to worry about. Witheven decently fresh ingredients & a little common sense,you don't even need to worry about botulism either.
It's not the alcohol content in beer that kills or otherwise inhibits pathogens (though it helps). It's the low pH. A 5% concentration of alcohol (for example) can't really kill much.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:44 AM   #5
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Unless of course you drink the entire 5 gallon batch in one sitting.

Seriously though, nothing pathogenic can survive in beer. If you have netflix, check out "How Beer Saved the World". They make beer with nasty pond water and nothing is alive in it post fermentation. Heck, in the past beer was the only way to not go number one out of the number two place constantly. So long as you do not start thinking about doing anything strange like making an expanded tomato can clamato you should be fine (botulism cannot grow in beer, but the toxin will remain). Additionally, the dangerous part is when you get talking about the (forbidden here) topic of distillation, so I am not going to go into that. A quick Google search will illuminate you on what the hazards aside from legal are to that.

In short, homebrewing beer and wines is perfectly safe. The worst that will happen is that you can end up with something that tastes weird or bad due to poor sanitation or process. Though, then again, drinking a batch of bad beer every now and again helps negatively reinforce you to not make the same mistake again.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:36 PM   #6
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My take is that it is as safe as commercial beer or any other commercially available consumable out there. It's not going to instantly kill you unless you intentionally poison it. Long term and substantial exposure to alcohol and other substance in beer, both home brew and commercial, may have adverse health effects on some.

Things like mycotoxins from the grain, BPA and endocrine disruptors from plastics, and lead in brass and other metal fittings are a concern to some people.

If you have a true concern for these things, I say, do your own research. I mean real research, not just seek out the opinions of people on the internet. You'll find some interesting debates on here, but you should seek the research done on these substance and draw your own conclusions.

Like I said, some have a real concern and strong opinions. Others, like me, don't. I don't feel I consume enough to have a significant impact on my health.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:41 PM   #7
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I hear this a lot from some colleagues - especially those from abroad where there are many reports of people dying or going blind from homemade booze. I generally tell them that home distillation can cause these other alcohols that can be toxic - but honestly I'm not sure on the factual science here.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:38 PM   #8
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It's def the distilled products,not the beer. It's the distilation process that can produce toxins if not done properly. Brewing beer is all about yeast health.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
It's def the distilled products,not the beer. It's the distilation process that can produce toxins if not done properly. Brewing beer is all about yeast health.
....and even if you do sucessfully produce ethyl alcohol, remember that it can kill you too...very easy to end up w toxic levels in your bloodstream.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:51 PM   #10
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Distilling is a physical process (as opposed to chemical) which separates most of the water away from alcohol. It DOES NOT create anything. However, if you use an old radiator from a car as a heat exchanger, it is possible to get chemicals (antifreeze, etc.) into your distillate.

There are also chemical distillation processes which are required to get up to 100% alcohol, but it would take a lot of knowledge and some nice equipment to produce that.

I'm sure the people who died did not die from distilling but rather from drinking a contaminated distillate.


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