Is It Safe To Drink Homebrew?

Beer friends

When it comes to brewing beer at home, a lot of new brewers get concerned  with the dangers of drinking home brew and whether or not it is safe. But drinking homebrew is just as safe as any normal cooking something in the kitchen. Despite it being completely safe, there is still a stigma surrounding homebrew can be dangerous. I will go over why that stigma exists and why it is completely safe.

Of course, if you are going to drink an excess amount of alcohol like 20 beers in one night, you could potentially set yourself up for alcohol poisoning. But that is drinking beer from anywhere and has nothing to do with whether it was homebrewed or not.

Why do people think homebrew is dangerous?

Back during prohibition, brewing your own alcohol was quite popular. People brewed beer, but even more popular than beer was things like moonshine and liquor. Moonshine and liquor (also wine) contain methional.

If someone is exposed to too much methional, then it is referred to as formaldehyde poisoning. Formaldehyde poisoning can lead to blindness and other problems. Having a high content of methional was a common problem during prohibition because moonshine and liquor were not properly distilled by amateur brewers.

Beer is different though. It is nearly impossible for your beer to have so much methional where it will cause you a problem. You would have to literally pour tons of rubbing alcohol into your beer for it to have a dangerous level of methional in it.

The truth is that there are no known toxins that can survive within the beer. Production of toxic methyl alcohol is quite impossible. However, this does not mean that the home brewed beer is not vulnerable to being contaminated by the environment around its production.

What about bacteria in beer?

Contaminated beer tastes awful, to say the least, and no one wants a sour taste with the idea of a refreshing beer.

So, while your beer can get contaminated, there’s no way that it can be toxic for anyone consuming it. Nonetheless, you can always take specific preventative measures when it comes to ensuring that your beer is of top-notch quality with no impurity. Always remember, Star San is a brewer’s best friend! Spray that on anything that your beer will come in contact with!

To get the best out of your home brewed beer, you should ensure proper safety measures to make sure that your delicious brewed beer does not leave a sour aftertaste in your mouth.

Cleanliness and sanitization are critical for safely brewing your beer at home, and here are a few safety measures you can take while home brewing alongside some other factors that might help you identify contaminated beer.

How To Check If Your Home Brewed Beer is Safe to Consume?

Well, the best way to figure out if your home brewed beer is safe is by doing all the viable contamination tests you can perform to check its purity. Here are a few signs to look out for before consuming your home brewed beer:

  • Terribly Pungent Stench: That’s nature’s way of telling you not to drink that concoction of alcohol. If your beer brew lets off a horrible smell or even a slightly off-putting smell, please refrain from consuming it. Most likely, it was contaminated during the procedure.• Overflowing foam from bottles: If you open the bottle to vigorous bubbles overflowing from the bottle, there’s a high chance that the beer is contaminated. • Floating mold: I mean, this one speaks for itself, but if you see a piece of mold floating on top of your home brewed beer, discard your drink immediately.

Decreasing quality of taste and flavor over time: Home brewed beers have multiple qualities, but their most renowned one has to be the fact that the beer improves in its flavor the longer it’s left with proper bottle conditioning.

However, if you find that the quality of the taste of beer is denigrating over time, the best course of action would be to get rid of the beer immediately.

You will find that your beer has a cardboard-like stale taste which is a result of excessive oxygen contact during the bottling process. If your beer gets oxidized, it will lose its rich flavor, which will ultimately make it go bad.

Watch out for off flavor beer. If you take a sip of the beer and it feels even the slightest bit off flavor, it’s best just to throw it all away. Here are some typical off-flavor flavors that are a good indicator of terribly unsafe beer: Tastes too alcoholic; propanol, butanol, etc.

  • Metallic
  • Diacetyl
  • Estery
  • Oxidized
  • Yeast like flavor
  • Grassy
  • Acetaldehyde o Sulphur-like
  • Sour/ Acidic
  • Slimy Strands in your beer. If you happen to come across a slimy milky layer floating over your beer, it’s best to throw that away immediately. These slimy strands are caused by a bacterial infection that can turn into severe cases.

Safety Measures to Take When Brewing Beer at Home

Even imagining bad home brewed beer is painful knowing the months’ worth of effort that goes into the process. However, with the right safety precautions, you can successfully make safe home brewed beer that will be the perfect fantasy for your taste buds.

Here are specific tips and measures you can take to get safe home brewed beer every single time:

  • Cleaning your equipment thoroughly: This goes without saying, but clean equipment and utensils are the most vital part of getting safe home brewed beer for yourself. From dried up the yeast to the bottles of beer, make sure you make every spot squeaky clean with the help of a bottle brush.
  • Sanitize everything: Beware of germs and bacteria! They can ultimately ruin your beautiful home brewed beer, so be sure to sanitize everything that will be in contact with your beer. Sanitizer sprays can speed up the process and make the cleaning a lot easier.
  • Refrain from aerating the hot wort: While the wort is cooling down, it is highly susceptible to being oxidized through aeration, which can lead to a contaminated beer.
  • Active yeast fermentation: Using active yeast to pitch the wort as early as you can while speeding up the fermentation process. In an ideal situation, you will see the fermentation process begin under 8 hours of pitching.• Safely pitching yeast: Take all precautionary sanitary methods when unpacking the yeast. From opening the packet to pitching the yeast, make sure the gear in contact is sanitized to prevent cross contamination.
  • Storing beer in darker place: Whilst the beer is fermenting, place the beer bottles in darker areas because light contact will destroy you beer completely. The additional heat will break down the flavor, and in the end, you will get stale tasting beer instead of quality beer.


So all in all, it is absolutely safe to brew your beer at home, but one should certainly be mindful of the necessary measures to make sure their hard work does not go to waste. With the relevant safety measures and careful curating, you can get the finest selection of beer right at your home.

Think of it like cooking in the kitchen. Almost everyone cooks in their kitchen and it is completely safe. If you are cooking with spoiled meat or ingredients years after the expiration date, it might get you sick. But most of us understand that and careful cooking is like second nature to us.

The primary danger of it all is getting addicted to fine tasting beer and having to pay up for the gym memberships. Jokes aside, brewing your beer at home is a fun task, and you can get some fine tasting beer out of the whole process, but the common question arises, is it safe to brew beer at home? While distilling alcohol from the confinements of your home may seem risky, there might not be much to stress about.


Dan Specht

Dan has been homebrewing beer for 8 years and holds a level 2 certifiication as a Cicerone.

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