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Reducing fusil alcohol (or something else)

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Simonh82

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I've found that there is a definite link between drinking my homebrew and getting mild headaches the following day which I don't get when I drink decent commercial beer. I suspect fusil alcohol although I've never tasted anything that might suggest this.

Last night for instance I had 2 pints of beer, both about 4.5% and woke up with the familiar mild headache. Last weekend I went out for a friend's birthday and was drinking the lovely Wye Valley HPA which is about 4%. I had at least 5 pints and despite waking up a bit bleary-eyed and groggy I didn't have a headache.

I control my fermentation temperature starting fermentation at 18°C and bumping it up to 21°C after a few days. I start with a healthy pitch of yeast that I grow up from slants.

I've never tasted any hot alcohol flavours but it's the only thing I can think of that might be different.

Any thoughts on trying to reduce fusil alcohols or any other suggestions for what might be causing the headaches. I don't think it is over consumption by the way. I usually drink 2-3 pints of session strength beer.
 

doomy86

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There must be some truth behind this, i had my worst hangover headaches after drinking alot of strongly hopped craftbeer.

It could also be from some hop oil compound?!
 

hottpeper13

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Maybe you have a issue with extra yeast,try gelatin fining after cold crashing to find out if it helps, won't cost but a few pennies to try.
 
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Simonh82

Simonh82

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Maybe you have a issue with extra yeast,try gelatin fining after cold crashing to find out if it helps, won't cost but a few pennies to try.
Alas I am vegetarian so gelatine doesn't appeal.

I cold crash and this gets a lot of yeast out of suspension but I do bottle condition so there is always a bit in the bottle. I've not heard of excess yeast causing headaches before.
 

RM-MN

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A couple things to think about. You didn't mention the yeast you use. This may make a difference in fusel alcohol production at the temperature you are fermenting. You also didn't mention how you control the temperature during fermentation and the activity of the yeast may be pushing the beer temp higher than you think which would lead to fusel alcohol production.

You could try fining with something that isn't animal based. One of these is Polyclar. https://www.morebeer.com/products/polyclar-vt-pvpp-1-oz.html
 
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Simonh82

Simonh82

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A couple things to think about. You didn't mention the yeast you use. This may make a difference in fusel alcohol production at the temperature you are fermenting. You also didn't mention how you control the temperature during fermentation and the activity of the yeast may be pushing the beer temp higher than you think which would lead to fusel alcohol production.

You could try fining with something that isn't animal based. One of these is Polyclar. https://www.morebeer.com/products/polyclar-vt-pvpp-1-oz.html
I use a variety of yeasts and I've not found it makes a big difference. Recent beers have used WLP022 Essex Ale, Brewlabs Burton Ale and Brewlabs Sussex Ale.

I control my temperature with a brew fridge and Inkbird controller. I monitor the temperature carefully and take into account the heat generated by the fermentation.

I have tried fining with half a protofloc tablet before. This worked well with pellet hops but made a sticky hop jelly with whole leaf hops.
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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I'm not sure it is any thing but anecdotal, but I slurp down the yeast at the bottom of my bottles before I rinse them. I swear it protects me from a hangover even when I am drinking other stuff besides just homebrew.
 
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Simonh82

Simonh82

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Hi

But were exactly your temperature sensor is placed?
I have the temperature probe suspended in mid-air with a pc fan circulating the air in the fridge. I also monitor the temperature of the beer with LCD strip on the side of the fermentor. I've tested the accuracy of the LCD strip and determined that it is accurate.

During active fermentation I might have the temperature of the fridge set 2-3°C lower than the target temp and this keeps works well.

I don't want to turn this into a discussion about the best place to put your temp sensor but I am happy that by having the probe in the air I can manipulate the temperature (perhaps more slowly than if I had it stuck to the fermentor) without causing overshooting and big swings around my target temperature.
 
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Simonh82

Simonh82

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Try fermenting at 15C instead of 18 and see if the problem goes away.
Thanks for the suggestion but I'm not sure if this would work. Most of the yeast strains that I use are fairly characterful, which is why I like them. I think fermenting at 15°C might reduce ester production significantly.

Also, I'm not sure how well these English ale strains would perform at 15°C. Would you suggest increasing the initial pitch to compensate for the lower temperature?
 

RM-MN

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Thanks for the suggestion but I'm not sure if this would work. Most of the yeast strains that I use are fairly characterful, which is why I like them. I think fermenting at 15°C might reduce ester production significantly.

Also, I'm not sure how well these English ale strains would perform at 15°C. Would you suggest increasing the initial pitch to compensate for the lower temperature?
Instead of fermenting at the lower temperature that I suggested, put your sensor for the controller directly on the fermenter and insulate it from the air around. It doesn't matter if the air temp should happen to go to 0 or 50 C. because you aren't fermenting the air. Your beer temp is the critical part and while you aren't watching your beer temp jumped up and created fusels, then came back down.
 

sky4meplease

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I've found that there is a definite link between drinking my homebrew and getting mild headaches the following day which I don't get when I drink decent commercial beer. I suspect fusil alcohol although I've never tasted anything that might suggest this.



Last night for instance I had 2 pints of beer, both about 4.5% and woke up with the familiar mild headache. Last weekend I went out for a friend's birthday and was drinking the lovely Wye Valley HPA which is about 4%. I had at least 5 pints and despite waking up a bit bleary-eyed and groggy I didn't have a headache.



I control my fermentation temperature starting fermentation at 18°C and bumping it up to 21°C after a few days. I start with a healthy pitch of yeast that I grow up from slants.



I've never tasted any hot alcohol flavours but it's the only thing I can think of that might be different.



Any thoughts on trying to reduce fusil alcohols or any other suggestions for what might be causing the headaches. I don't think it is over consumption by the way. I usually drink 2-3 pints of session strength beer.

Out of curiosity does wine give you headaches?
I am reading that of the fusel alcohols beer contains primarily amyl alcohols and 50% of fusels in wine are in that family.
It looks like a lot of factors can increase fusels though the biggies look like temperature, aeration, high nitrogen levels and high ph.
The other possible culprit could be your choice of yeast strains. It looks like the English strains produce more alcohol than American strains though it doesn't say what types of alcohol.
I see a lot of breweries using house strains of American variety for a majority of their beers regardless of style. Maybe that is why you don't get headaches when your at your favorite pub but when you drink at home blammy
 
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