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Old 08-11-2008, 08:26 AM   #1
Jun 2008
Posts: 4

Ever had a case of anyone getting sick or having a reaction from a bad batch of homebrew?

A friend of a friend said he had a reaction to a batch of homebrew that tasted and looked fine. He and his other friend had little bumps on their stomachs and arms. Any experiences like this?

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Old 08-11-2008, 08:43 AM   #2
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Nov 2006
Houston, TX
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The only "reactions" that I'm familiar with are gas and diarrhea.

Although, it's funny you bring this up. While I was brewing today, I was thinking about the random bits of tree and grass that probably end up in the brew while it's outside.

Then I wondered if I could have a problem brewing outside during the spring, when the tree pollen (which I'm allergic to) is at its peak. I wonder if it could survive the entire brewing, fermenting, and carbing process to still cause an allergic reaction if I drank it. If it could, that might be what caused a problem for your friends.

Of course, this is all pure speculation. It's also possible they're allergic to gluten, although I believe that's pretty rare. I guess they've never had that happen with commercial beers. Or maybe they drank too much and passed out in a giant ant hill.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:03 AM   #3
Aug 2007
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I seriously doubt if the homebrew had anything to do with their affliction. The hops and alcohol in the finished beer both have antiseptic properties that make for a very inhospitable environment for a majority of bacteria and the ones that can survive in beer will, at worst, only result in a spoiled batch and aren't really harmful when consumed. If the batch had such an infection, it would be very noticeable in both smell and appearance of the brew so I doubt it had anything to do with their rash. The prolonged boil of the wort kills off any organisms and effectively results in a sanitary (if not sterile) product entering the fermenter. Assuming proper sanitization techniques, the sanitary nature of the product should be maintained throughout fermentation and bottling so the risk of a harmful infection is really quite small. The occurrence of the rash while drinking homebrew was coincidental.

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Old 08-11-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
Jun 2008
Poland, EU
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Originally Posted by Higa20 View Post
Ever had a case of anyone getting sick or having a reaction from a bad batch of homebrew?

A friend of a friend said he had a reaction to a batch of homebrew that tasted and looked fine. He and his other friend had little bumps on their stomachs and arms. Any experiences like this?

Yes, my friend had a really nasty allergic reaction, almost ended in hospital. Seriously.

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Old 08-11-2008, 12:52 PM   #5
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Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by Piotr View Post
Yes, my friend had a really nasty allergic reaction, almost ended in hospital. Seriously.
Does your friend have Celiac disease? Did anyone else get sick? If the answer to both of these is no, then it wasn't the beer.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:56 PM   #6
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Jul 2007
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I was making a wheat beer with extract once, and when I poured the Wheat DME into the pot I accidentally breathed some of the dust from the bag. My face and mouth broke out with hives and I had to get some benadryl, for a while there I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I was able to drink the beer when it was finished without any problems though.

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Old 08-11-2008, 12:58 PM   #7
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Nov 2006
Central PA
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It does have live yeast in it. Some people don't do well with yeast, I wonder if it being live has a more serious effect to them?
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:08 PM   #8
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May 2007
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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Man, sorry about the unpleasant experience sharing your beer. I know a couple of folks who can't drink beer, either due to the gluten, alcohol, or yeast. My guess is that it was the latter if your friends drink commercial brews, since homebrews have a bunch more active yeast in suspension.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:55 PM   #9
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Aug 2008
Fort Wayne, IN
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How about an iodine allergy? Did you happen to use idophor to sanitize your equipment?
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:30 PM   #10
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Dec 2007
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No infection that is toxic to humans can grow in beer. But having said that there are alergies that can be triggured by ingredients in beer...

Like already mentioned;

Iodine/shellfish alergies from homebrew that Iodophor style sanitizers are used (switching to starsan will end that one.)

Gluten/wheat alergies...especially obviously in wheat beers, but even with barley based beers as well (there are some gluten free recipes on here.)

Yeast Allergies...It is possible to be allergic to yeast, but evidenlty, according to what I just read, if you are allergic to brewers yeast you also would be allergic to bread yeasts, snce the body can't determine the difference between the two....(There's probably nothing really that you can do with this is doubtful that filtering gets rid of all the yeast, but I could be wrong...if someone is sick from homebrew but not from BMC and is allergic to bread, then maybe filtering does work.)

Lactose intolerance...Drinking any beers containing Lactose, such as a sweet stouts, will cause the same syptoms as drinking milk, or eating dairy...stomach cramps, gas, etc. The solution is to use splenda or another non fermentable sugar that isn't made from milk.

There's probably allergies to hops as well, though I can't find anything other than conjecture online about it.

But if someones getting "sick" from drinking homebrew it is most likely an allergy to one of those substances.
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