Does Homebrew Beer Give You a Hangover? [All About Fusel Alcohols]

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Many homebrewers report that they have gotten a bad headache or hangover after drinking their beer, even if they drank in moderation. 

Other than overconsumption, the most likely reason for getting a headache or hangover after drinking homebrew is the presence of fusel alcohols in the beer. 

Why does my homebrew give me a headache?

Since alcohol is a diuretic, it also causes your body to remove more fluid than normal, it can easily cause you to become dehydrated, if you aren’t careful, and suffer a major headache as a result. 

What is fusel alcohol in homebrew and how does it get there?

Since the chemical changes and other activity that takes place through the Ehrlich pathway happens relatively slowly compared to the rest of the fermentation process, it can take quite a while for the fusel alcohols to clear up. 

Does fusel alcohol cause an off-flavor in your beer?

Fusel alcohols contribute an ‘alcoholic’ or ‘boozy’ taste in homebrew and can also add a warming sensation to the taste, aroma, and even inside your stomach. Beers with too much fusel alcohol in them might be referred to as ‘hot’ beers.  

How to avoid fusel alcohols on your next brew

– Bring your wort to a quick, rolling boil without a lid whenever possible – Use a yeast starter to ensure that you aren’t underpitching – Keep fermentation temperatures stable throughout – Keep beer in the primary longer

How to remove fusel oils or alcohols from your beer

Anecdotally, many homebrewers have said that they were able to reduce the taste and aroma of fusel alcohol by letting their beer sit in the bottle for a longer period of time before drinking it. 

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