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Hop Allergy?

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MrKlepacki

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Hi All! First of all, I'd like to say that I did do a search for this on the forums but didn't find an exact answer.

I have been brewing alone and with others for about 3 years now, and only recently have I been having an allergic reaction (throat swells up, trouble breathing) I thought at first it was a yeast (Belgian yeast) but now I've had the problem with an Irish yeast brew (my main yeast)

I think I've narrowed it down to being the hops, specifically hops from the Fuggle family. What I'm looking for is a list of all hops that are from the fuggle family, and I'm having a heck of a time... If you know of any please let me know! If you've had this problem, what did you do?

Here is what I have for the Fuggle family: Cascade, Fuggle, Glacier, Styrian Golding, and Swiss Tettnanger.

Thank you and cheers!
 

Lodovico

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I'm sorry I can't help but I have to say that's like my worst nightmare.:drunk: Allergic to hops?? I'm sorry man. I hope someone here can help you.
 

CoalCracker

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Does this happen while brewing or drinking? I get like that while crushing my grains. Have to wear a mask.
 
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MrKlepacki

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This only happens while drinking. I've made a few hop teas to see what bothers me. So far those I listed are a problem, and all are in the fuggle family. Really I'd like to know what else is bred from fuggle. Maybe I will repost this with a different title?
 

IffyG

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I'm no immunologist (or doctor for that matter), but I highly doubt you'd be allergic to hops bred from one cultivar, but not others. Also, the symptoms you mention sound a lot like anaphylactic shock to me. I wouldn't be making hop teas... I'd be calling a doctor.
 

Airborneguy

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First, definitely contact a doctor on this. I have a serious shellfish allergy and know what its like to be in full anaphalactic shock. It sucks, especially on Christmas Eve ;) What you are describing goes beyond a minor alllergic reaction. Serious allergies get worse every time you have a reaction. My next shellfish exposure will likely kill me. An allergist will tell you what exactly you are allergic to.

Second, I have suffered minor allergic reactions in past when brewing with Amarillo. For some reason, only Amarillo does this to me. I have no problem drinking it, only brewing with it. So I do believe that one can be allergic to particular hops. Obviously there is something in them that makes them different, or else we wouldn't have to use different names for them and we wouldn't be able to taste any difference.

Remember, you are not allergic to the whole hop necessarily, just a compound in the hop. I'm not allergic to the shellfish per-se, just the protein they use to make their shells. It is absolutely possible to be allergic to only particular types of particular product.
 

step

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My father has a similar reaction and instantly vomits with anything more than the smallest sip. Used to really enjoy beer and now he has to stick to the herbal beers (heather and spruce are all he can find commercially). I know this doesn't help you, just know that you are not alone.

Good Luck!
 

DannPM

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I'm fairly certain that the American varieties make my stomach very upset, possibly some kind of allergic reaction, enzyme deficiency, whatever it is, I know how to avoid it. Luckily my favorite beer is Belgian.
 

Fantastical

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One thing to also consider... You may be having a reaction to a pesticide used to grow the hops. Try getting some from another source and seeing if you have the same reaction.
 

scrambledegg81

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Keep an Epi pen on you.
5 years experience as a metro-area EMT, can't emphasize that enough.

x2 for immunologist & an appointment with your primary care physician. If you don't want to go that route (and this sounds insane...bear with me), try rubbing a hop pellet on your skin & see if there's any sort of reaction. Reason being that I'd rather see if you have an initial contact reaction rather than risk another ingestion. People with severe allergies to organic substances often react to simple exposure such as on the skin as well as via ingestion. I wouldn't suggest another taste test until you get professional medical advice.
 

Revvy

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You shouldn't be seeking advice like this from a bunch of amateurs. If you think you have any allergy that could lead to anaphylactic shock, GO SEE A DOCTOR.

If you think it's hop related take some hops and even a beer that you suspect triggers it to an allergest and let them do some tests to make sure. In a controlled, safe, medical environment.
 
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MrKlepacki

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I'll be seeing an allergist in 2 days. The pesticide comment is an interesting one... I'll have to ask that while I'm there.

Thank you for all the responses! I know it seems odd to not just go to the Dr. first, but I did want as much info from you all before heading in, since I'm sure they woulda said "yep, allergic to hops" if I went with no other info. I'll post what happens, thanks for the help!
 

maltoftheearth

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Yup, go see a doctor. If you have someone who offers under the tongue allergy drops (known as SLIT) then I can recommend that. I used to get shots for 12 years without much effect but the SLIT has completely changed my life (in a good way.) For the first time in decades I can drive around with the car windows down :)
 

bigcountry67

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I also developed a beer alergy about 8 years ago. Many full flavored beers break me out in hives, but only if I drink many. Beer and all the new allergy medicines (Allegra/Claritin) do this to me....weird. Light beers don't bother me at all. Good luck and I'm curious to see what you find out.
 
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MrKlepacki

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Update!!

It's not yeast, fuggle, saaz, liberty or falcon... I just ordered about $60 worth of hops (everything I could find) to bring in next week. We think it might be Goldings and Glacier.

Also, I got an EPI :)

I'll update once we know for sure - all I know is I have 15 gallons of beer I can't drink :( I'll be popular at least?
 
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MrKlepacki

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OK, Still looking for some help here. I saw an allergist several times, and all we found is that I'm allergic to grass and some trees, but not hops or yeast. Yes I have an EPI pen (2 actually) and I still have no problems with any commercial beer. This reaction seems near impossible to test, since hops release resins and oils at different temps and stages of brewing. I had been brewing with only hops and yeasts that have not given me a reaction, but my 2 latest batches seem to bother me when sipping the OG test :(

My newest idea is filtration. I know there are many threads on this, but none have talked about filtering carbonated beer out of a keg as a last step prior to drinking. Is this possible? I am against the idea of filtering, I know what it does to flavor complexity, but I'm going insane having to constantly give away kegs of beer!
 

Revvy

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You keg? This is left field, but could it not be an allergy to the beer, but instead something in the kegging process, the beverage lines or something? Also have you guys ruled out sanitizers?
 

DeafSmith

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My newest idea is filtration. I know there are many threads on this, but none have talked about filtering carbonated beer out of a keg as a last step prior to drinking. Is this possible? I am against the idea of filtering, I know what it does to flavor complexity, but I'm going insane having to constantly give away kegs of beer!
As a possible alternative to filtration, have you tried keeping the beer in the keg for a month or more to let things settle out before drinking (and then discarding the first few pints)? My beers always have chill haze at first, but after a few weeks it settles out and the beer is crystal clear. Maybe whatever causes your allergy would settle out like that.
 

Fantastical

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My bet is that you are allergic to pesticides in the hops and not the hops themselves. Have your tried organic hops?
 

theredben

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Fantastical - being that pesticides are not proteins, there is basically no chance that anyone would be allergic to pesticides. That is a myth.
 
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