Technical question re beer safety

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old faithful
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Technical question re beer safety

Postby old faithful » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:33 am

I have a technical question as I know there are persons with technical brewing and other technical background on the board.

I have always understood that, unlike the case with, say, milk, it is not possible for a beer, even an unpasteurised beer, to be dangerous to health. It might not taste great if over-aged or mishandled but it cannot hurt you.

Is there agreement in professional brewing circles that this is true?

Second, why then does LCBO apparently restrict (if I understand this right) certain unfiltered beers from being sold here? And how does it distinguish between them since of course a number of unfiltered or lightly filtered beers have been sold here for some time (e.g. Chimay, the German wheat beers, Fuller 1845, etc.). Is the concern with wild yeast and if so why?

Could it have anything to do with ensuring beer bottles will retain their carbonation and not shoot off their caps or explode?


Gary
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Re: Technical question re beer safety

Postby Wheatsheaf » Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:08 pm

I'll leave it to someone else to provide a better answer, but I'd point out that throughout history, one of the main benefits of drinking beer was that, because it was boiled during the brewing process, it was generally safer than drinking from the local water supply. But you already knew that. :wink:

old faithful wrote:Second, why then does LCBO apparently restrict (if I understand this right) certain unfiltered beers from being sold here? And how does it distinguish between them since of course a number of unfiltered or lightly filtered beers have been sold here for some time (e.g. Chimay, the German wheat beers, Fuller 1845, etc.). Is the concern with wild yeast and if so why?

Could it have anything to do with ensuring beer bottles will retain their carbonation and not shoot off their caps or explode?


I think I remember reading that the LCBO was a bit wary of unfiltered and bottle-conditioned beers when they first started to appear in Ontario, and that they had to be convinced that it was normal, but I've never heard of them restricting beers because of the amount of yeast in the bottle. (If they do, then we can add it to the list of LCBO stupidity.) I can think of many beers that have a lot of sediment and which have made it onto LCBO shelves.
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Rob Creighton
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Re: Technical question re beer safety

Postby Rob Creighton » Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:09 pm

old faithful wrote:it is not possible for a beer, even an unpasteurised beer, to be dangerous to health


I think the factor you looking for here is not so broad as 'not possible'. The relatively low alcohol content means that nothing pathenogenic can survive in beer. This does not mean that you can't use asbestos as a filter aid and damage the innards of chronic alcoholics as Dow Brewery learned in the late '50's, early 60's or contaminate the beer with caustic soda which can make you vomit as Molson learned a few years ago.

It simply means the beer ain't going to kill you. It may make you sick but you will survive.
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Postby Rubaiyat » Mon Apr 11, 2005 11:32 am

most of the reluctance - which has now SOMEWHAT but only slightly somewhat subsided - was the logistics side of it. shelf life issues -- refrigeration issues -- the fact that things (stock) don't always move fast through the LCBO (specialty, more interesting things that is -- smirnoff ice or yellowtail moves just fine ... much to our chagrin ... :roll: )

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Postby Rob Creighton » Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:30 pm

I beg to differ (I think) Paul.

It's a fairly straight forward question that I don't believe is impacted by shelf life (if it ain't in there to begin with, it won't grow there).

The claim is "it is not possible for a beer, even an unpasteurised beer, to be dangerous to health".

It's a pretty straight forward claim. Any serious product contamination beer problem I've seen in the last twenty years has been 1) glass, 2) caustic & 3) Syringes, condoms, bullets, bent caps, etc... that end up in bottles from unscrupulous beer drinkers/fornucators.

The fact that an old beer taste like crap does not make you sick. A beer contaminated by air will get moldy and cause issues but drinking a big green slimy mold puck will make anyone sick. You should feel good about that fact.

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Postby Rubaiyat » Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:07 pm

I agree with you. I think I was going somewhere else with this. I guess I was giving a relatively vague answer to something I didn't read fully.

I was simply stating the fact that the LCBO HAS in the past - more than now - been reluctant to buy IMPORTED unpasteurized beer as the shipping and storage conditions are logistically more challenging. For them.

I know this for a fact -- because I have had this discussion with them. That's all I was saying.

Maybe I was just making this comment out of place ... sorry ... :cry:

CHEERS !!

Paul

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