The ban of alcohol in South Africa caused many of us to find creative ways of making our own stash. Recipes of wine, moonshine, pineapple beer has been doing its rounds for weeks on social media.
However, these home brewed recipes can be dangerous for your health.
The key issue with homebrewed “moonshine” is its methanol levels.
Methanol is a highly flammable and a toxic chemical than can be produced during the fermentation by hydrogenation of carbon monoxide.
Leigh Schmidtke, a senior lecturer in wine microbiology and production at Charles Sturt University in Australia explains the dangers of methanol poisoning.
There is no safe way to differentiate methanol from its close relative ethanol at home, making it easier for your home-brewed batch to be contaminated.
Once methanol is ingested, your body metabolises the chemical into formaldehyde and formic acid which, when built up in your body, can cause serious damage to your central nervous system.
The symptoms of methanol poisoning include; sleepiness, confusion, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, seizures.
It can also severely affect your eyes and even cause blindness. In dire cases, it can result in your death.
Is brewing your own beer safe?
Home-made beer has much less serious effects, but it is still cautioned against.
There are no known toxic micro-organisms that can survive in beer but your drink can become contaminated.
Contamination can occur at every step of the home brewing process.
Wild yeast and bacteria are the two natural causes of contamination.
Lactic acid bacteria and Acetic acid bacteria can be found in home-brewing materials such as grain, hops, additives and brewing equipment.
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