Can Homebrew Make You Sick? (5 Myths Debunked!)

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If not for the fun of it, you have many reasons to make homebrew. Brewing beer is easy, and you should try it out.

Some people, however, say that homebrew can make you sick. Is this true?

Can homebrew make you sick?

Homebrew cannot make you sick, as long as you make it correctly and do not use ingredients you are allergic to.

What other myths about homebrew are yet to be debunked? Here are five examples:

Bottles of homebrew beer over a draped background

5 Myths About Homebrew

1. Homebrew Is Full of Germs

How true is this? There are so many sterilization processes involved when making homebrew, and when done properly, they eliminate the chances of germs in your beer.

Here are some reasons why homebrew cannot be full of germs:

  • Sanitizing: One very important step in making homebrew is properly sanitizing all your equipment. Germs cannot survive on sanitized surfaces.
  • Boiling: To make beer, the wort, hops, and other ingredients undergo a long boil. There is little chance germs can survive the boiling process.
  • Fermentation: Fermentation occurs when you introduce yeast into the beer. Yeast colonies prevent the population of other microbes from growing. Fermentation also reduces the pH of homebrew and makes it almost impossible for germs to live in beer.

As you can see, homebrew (when you make it properly) is completely safe from germs.

2. Yeast is a Fungi. Therefore, It Can Kill You

Even though people drown in water, you still drink water, don’t you? Not every microbe is harmful. We use some beneficial microbes to make food products such as wine, beer, yogurt, etc.

Brewer’s yeast is a beneficial fungus that can help ferment your beer. Yeast is completely safe.

There is a possibility, however, that you may be allergic to yeast. In this case, you should see similar allergic symptoms when you consume foods made with yeast.

Wild Yeast in home brew beer

3. Homebrew Can Give You Methanol Poisoning

Methanol is a toxic chemical compound that can give you a bloated stomach and make you sick.

Even though methanol is harmful, there are no traces of methanol in homebrew (so long as you follow the normal and conventional process to make it).

The process of fermentation in the making of homebrew produces ethanol and not methanol.

Ethanol is the alcohol in beer and other alcoholic beverages. You are safe from methanol poisoning when you drink homebrew.

4. Homebrew Can Make You Blind

Long ago, in the period of moonshining, people used dangerous chemicals such as antifreeze and industrial cleaning fluids to make alcoholic drinks. Some of these drinks can make you sick, blind, or worse.

This is why a few people today say that homebrew can make you blind.

If you produce your homebrew the conventional way and stick to safe and approved ingredients, you cannot go blind from making or consuming homebrew. Make sure that you follow local guidelines.

5. Beer is Acidic and Can Kill You

Truthfully, beer has a low pH (somewhere around 4.5). But guess what? Your favorite wine also has a low pH (somewhere between 3 and 4).

Even though beer and wine have a low pH, they cannot kill you when you consume them in moderation. What the low pH of homebrew can do, however, is help correct the pH of your stomach acid and also help control the population of microbes in your gut.

The pH of homebrew is safe for you.

But does that mean that homebrew is 100% safe and cannot make you sick? Are there any health concerns that you should watch out for? Continue reading.


Can Homebrew Make You Sick?

Even though homebrew is safe, you should remember that safety is only guaranteed when you brew your beer the right way. You should make sure that you do not use any weird or illegal substances when making your beer.

There are some instances whereby homebrew can make you sick.

Some Concerns Regarding Homebrew

Here are some reasons beer can make you sick:

1. Allergic Reactions

Yeast, hops, gluten, and Campden tablets are some common products used in making homebrew. Some people are allergic to one or two of these products.

You need to make sure that you are not allergic to the products you use in making homebrew.

If you have allergies, it is best that you discuss this with a doctor or expert homebrewer to determine suitable alternative products.

2. Drinking Too Much

Aside from getting drunk, you can get sick if you drink too much.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends one drink per day for women and two per day for men.

The CDC also advises that not drinking beer is better than drinking beer.

You should note that even though you brew your beer perfectly, it can make you sick if you drink too much of it.

man serving homebrew in glasses with growler

3. What You Eat While Drinking Beer

Some people feel dizzy or sick when they eat various food in combination with beer.

For example, some people can get sick when they mix corn chips or tortilla chips with beer.

If you have ever gotten sick from eating anything while drinking beer, you should probably stop consuming that combination.

Now you know some health concerns for homebrew. How can you brew your beer to make sure that you do not get sick? Continue reading for some tips.

Homebrew Tips to Prevent Health Issues

Here are some useful tips for you when brewing beer in your home:

1. Do a Long Boil

You should boil the beer at 212°F for more than 20 minutes. Boil the beer so that you can kill every microbe in it.

Boiling your beer is a very important step to make sure that it properly ferments when you add yeast. It is also important as it prevents you from getting sick because of the presence of germs.

2. Sterilize All Your Tools

You should properly sanitize all your tools and equipment. You can use hot water and disinfectants to wash some of your tools.

Also, remember to keep your tools dry after use so that no bacteria colonies can grow on them. Remember to wash your tools before brewing a new batch of beer.


3. Compare Drinking Store-Bought Beer to Homebrew

If you have ever gotten sick from homebrew beer, you could try drinking a store-bought beer with similar ingredients.

If you do not get sick after drinking the store-bought beer, you should check the way you brew your beer, as you may be making a mistake or have added an ingredient that you are allergic to.

Note, however, that it is very unlikely to get sick from homebrew.

4. Keep Your Room Neat and Clean

The role of hygiene when brewing beer in your home cannot be overemphasized. Make sure that the room in which you brew your beer is clean.

You can easily brew beer in a clean room, and you also eliminate the risk of getting sick.

5. See the Doctor

If you have ever gotten sick from drinking homebrew and you do not know why, you should book an appointment with a doctor. Your doctor can help you by telling you what is wrong with you. By then, you will know if you are sick because of your beer or because of something else.

Useful tips, right? Stay healthy.

Close up female doctor wearing uniform with stethoscope holding smartphone

Related Questions and Answers

Here’s even more info about homebrew for you:

1. What Are the Signs of an Infected or Contaminated Beer?

You can tell that your beer is contaminated when it smells awful, looks and feels slimy, tastes bad, and has mold growing on top. If your beer does not look normal, please do not consume it.

Do not try to taste any beer that does not look normal.

2. Can Bacteria Grow in Fermenting Homebrew?

Yeast eliminates other microbes in your beer during fermentation.

Note, however, that if you do not ferment your beer for at least two weeks, the yeast may not have enough time to ferment the entire beer.

This means that even though fermentation can prevent the growth of germs and bacteria, you should focus more on boiling your beer for proper bacteria elimination.

3. Does Homebrew Smell?

Homebrew produces a lovely aroma when you are boiling it. It is quite difficult to brew beer without noticing the smell.

When fermenting your beer, however, perceiving any smell or aroma can indicate that the fermenters are not airtight.

Homebrew mashing process showing beer wort, malted barley and wooden spoon

4. Why Is My Homebrew Bubbling?

When boiling your beer, it can produce a lot of bubbles because of the presence of hops.

During fermentation, bubbling indicates that your beer is properly fermenting. Do not worry about the gas released in fermentation as it is carbon dioxide.

5. Why Are My Beer Bottles Exploding?

Here are some reasons why your beer bottles may be exploding:

  • You Bottled Too Soon: If you bottle your beer before the yeast fermentation process ends (about two weeks), the bottles can burst because of the increase in pressure.
  • You Used the Wrong Containers: You should buy glass beer bottles from stores. Do not bottle your beers in plastic or other non-approved containers.
  • Your Beer Is Infected: If your beer is infected with anaerobic bacteria, the bottles may explode. This case is not very common.
  • You Added More Sugars Than Needed: The presence of more sugars in your beers can encourage the yeast to work faster and also gives them more substances to ferment. Always follow proper instructions when you are adding ingredients to your beer.

Have you found the answers to your questions?

Final Thoughts

Homebrew will not make you sick when you brew it properly. You should know what your allergies are so that you can decide on the best ingredients for your homebrew. Always remember to brew your beer with clean tools in a clean room.


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