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Free Beer!
Old 09-20-2013, 11:19 PM   #1
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Free Beer!

No, not what you think.

A man in Texas kept showing up drunk, despite not drinking alcohol. His wife, a nurse, started testing him with a breathalyzer, and he was frequently over the legal limit.

It turned out he was brewing beer in his stomach, and not on purpose! It was all due to a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which had been growing in his stomach ever since a course of antibiotics in 2004 killed off his "healthy" gut bacteria. The yeast would ferment any starchy foods that he ate, giving him a nice postprandial mellow feeling!

I can see this being brought up as a drunk driving defense....but they will need proof!

Man Gets Drunk On Food - Without A Drop Of Alcohol, Doctors Say

Here is the scientific paper:

Conferences, Proceedings, Journals, Open Access Journals, SCIRP
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:30 AM   #2
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I'd read of a similar circumstance happening to a man in Japan. I would have mixed feelings about it happening to me.

All in all it probably would not be a good thing long term but it sure would be a good excuse for a lot of erratic behavior. "I was drunk, and it wasn't my fault!"
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:48 AM   #3
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This thread title is seriously misleading. Is is a grand promise, unfulfilled. Interesting story, though.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:03 AM   #4
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Hmmm I have some baking yeast in my frig. Just need to get some antibiotics...

Thanks for sharing, I know a few home-brewers that will get a kick out of this.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:38 AM   #5
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This thread title is seriously misleading. Is is a grand promise, unfulfilled. Interesting story, though.
Made you read it, didn't I?

The patient did get free beer. I never promised you any!
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:02 AM   #6
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Alas, he was only getting alcohol, not beer. If you can't taste it, what's the point?
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:46 AM   #7
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If you can't taste it, what's the point?
+1

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Thanks for sharing, I know a few home-brewers that will get a kick out of this.
This does bring a whole new meaning to home brewed.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
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If caught DUI, would that be called a yeast infraction?
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
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If caught DUI, would that be called a yeast infraction?


At least he'd be able to post ale.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:54 PM   #10
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Uhhh......where can I buy some of this yeast?
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:40 PM   #11
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This story is purely anecdotal. We need some volunteers to study this important issue in the depth it deserves in a double blind-drunk study.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:28 PM   #12
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Uhhh......where can I buy some of this yeast?
Now, there's a post-retirement job opportunity. Selling and marketing that!
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:38 PM   #13
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Actually.....I think this would be a good way for me to lose weight. Instead of "drinking" beer......it would just appear in my stomach without all the extra calories. Damn.....I can see this on Dr Oz now......
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
No, not what you think. A man in Texas kept showing up drunk, despite not drinking alcohol. His wife, a nurse, started testing him with a breathalyzer, and he was frequently over the legal limit. It turned out he was brewing beer in his stomach, and not on purpose! It was all due to a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which had been growing in his stomach ever since a course of antibiotics in 2004 killed off his "healthy" gut bacteria. The yeast would ferment any starchy foods that he ate, giving him a nice postprandial mellow feeling! I can see this being brought up as a drunk driving defense....but they will need proof! Man Gets Drunk On Food - Without A Drop Of Alcohol, Doctors Say Here is the scientific paper: Conferences, Proceedings, Journals, Open Access Journals, SCIRP
All good things come to an end. ;-)
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:15 AM   #15
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IIRC in New York a woman was arrested for DWI. She was a non-drinker. Turned out eating pasta caused her sysem to create some form of alcohol, raising her blood alcohol level to well beyond what is cause for DWI. After lenghty medical workups case was dismissed. I am sure there were some hefty legal fees involved as well.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:08 AM   #16
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If I followed the paper correctly, this is common, though generally in lower amounts of alcohol produced, But enough to push someone over the legal limit when they wouldn't otherwise.

And to be more technical, this doesn't happen in the stomach, which would be far too acidic to support yeast growth, it takes place in the intestines. Yeast are acid tolerant to a point (fermenting beer is acidic, finished beer gets down to around a pH of 4, but stomachs can go far below that, into pH of range of 1-2, and it is a log scale).

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Fasting blood alcohol levels were zero in nearly all subjects but 61% of the 510 subjects showed an increase in blood alcohol levels on the average of 2.5 mg/dl (range 1.0 - 7.0 mg/dl).
If I shifted decimal points correctly, that's a range of .01 to .07%, The legal limit for alcohol in the United States is 0.08%. And tighter in many other countries. Hmmmm.

Could this partially explain the tired feeling after eating big holiday meals, which are typically high in carbohydrates that feed the yeast (in the article, they do say eliminating carbs killed the alcohol production)?

Doesn't sound desirable at all, and it must produce quite a bit of gas! For every ethanol molecule (C2H5OH) produced, there is a CO2 molecule produced as well!

C6H12O6 → 2 C2H5OH + 2 CO2


No thanks, I'll stick to the traditional brew it, and then drink it delivery method.

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Old 09-24-2013, 05:33 AM   #17
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And here yesterday I just started to take probiotics to ensure a healthy population of good bacteria! Maybe I need to rethink this...
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:06 AM   #18
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And here yesterday I just started to take probiotics to ensure a healthy population of good bacteria! Maybe I need to rethink this...
Bacteria and yeast are two totally different types of organisms. There is now plenty of evidence that having "good" bacteria in your gut is healthy.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:47 AM   #19
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Bacteria and yeast are two totally different types of organisms. There is now plenty of evidence that having "good" bacteria in your gut is healthy.
But didn't the lack of bacteria create an opening for the yeast to populate the intestine (lack of competition for the food source)? I thought the article said this was more common after antibiotics wiped out the normal bacteria? Or is something else going on?

Either way, I would not want alcohol being produced in my gut. I enjoy the taste and experience of what I drink, I don't need/want alcohol w/o that.

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #20
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But didn't the lack of bacteria create an opening for the yeast to populate the intestine (lack of competition for the food source)? I thought the article said this was more common after antibiotics wiped out the normal bacteria?

-ERD50
Yes. "Good" bacteria keep yeast (fungi) at bay. Antibiotics, particularly broad spectrum and when repeated, disturb the balance and allow fungi to dominate. This happens, for example, when very sick patients are in the ICU. It also happens after a bout of gastroenteritis. Probiotics help to restore the normal flora.
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