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Draught Beer = Headaches? This sounds like BS to me.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by kudzu, Sep 16, 2012.

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  1. An acquaintance that I drink beer with occasionally insists draught beer gives him a headache but bottled beer, in the same quantities, does not. He has maintained this assertion for years. He is, by the way, a very intelligent and educated person.

    If there is a difference, I would expect it to be in the other direction. As I understand it there are additives in bottled beer, to stabilize and preserve it, not present in draught beer. OTOH, most draught beer is not pasteurized

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,145) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002

    Sounds like utter bullocks to me too.
     
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  3. Your friend is prob allergic to the mold growing inside the beer lines
     
    RobertColianni likes this.
  4. Kinsman

    Kinsman Advocate (600) California Aug 26, 2009

    Possible but what's the likelihood that every draft beer he's ever had has come from dirty lines? You would think at some point he had a beer from recently cleaned lines.
     
  5. Maybe some residue from cleaning solution left over in the draft glasses? This, however, would only be viable if he wasn't drinking the 'bottled' brews out of those same glasses. In the end, barring something we're not seeing, sounds a load of bollocks!
     
  6. Mohican88

    Mohican88 Aficionado (230) Ohio Jan 20, 2010

    My first thought was bottle conditioned beers vs. force carbed kegs. If the beers he drinks from the bottle contain yeast he'll be consuming B-complex vitamins which will help prevent dehydration to an extent. The kegged beer will not have the vitamins if it's force carbonated and will contribute to dehydration. So he may experience dehydration headaches from draft beer, but it seems like a stretch to me. Feel free to correct me guys, this was just my first thought.
     
    BedetheVenerable and cbeer88 like this.
  7. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,145) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002

    Sounds reasonable but surely the guy has not been drinking bottled beers that are all bottle conditioned?
     
    BedetheVenerable likes this.
  8. I actually had the same thought. If he's slurping down the sediment in every bottle, he's getting a high dose of vitamin B, which is known to help keep a person hydrated, which helps avoid the hangover.

    There is also a carbonation issue at play. Carbonation helps your body absorb alcohol, and draft is often more carbonated than the bottle.

    It's all a stretch and it's most likely in his head, but there are some tiny kernels of possibility here...
     
  9. sounds like BS to me
     
  10. Mohican88

    Mohican88 Aficionado (230) Ohio Jan 20, 2010

    I definitely agree with you. It seems more likely this may have happened once or twice where he had bottles of conditioned beer and felt fine then had a night or two of draft and had the headaches. Which has led to an association with each type that has persisted.
     
  11. vacax

    vacax Advocate (630) California Jun 3, 2008

    It is much more likely that even though the amount of beer he drank was the same, the other factors such as how much water he drank and how much food he ate were different.
     
  12. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004


    Well, many draught beers are not pasteurized...so you got that part correct. Bottled beer may or may not be pasteurized, but there are no additives to preserve and stabilize bottled beer other than hops and CH3CH2OH. (unless you consider the yeast used to bottle-condition a preservative)



    This phenomenon has been reported for years and without knowing exactly which beers cause this, it all comes down to speculation:

    • Pasteurized vs. non-Pasteurized
    • Dirty lines may be a suspect, but it's highly unlikely
    • People who drink draught beer from a glass may tend to consume it faster/slower than when they drink from a bottle or can
    • It could be completely psychological
    Bottom line, if he gets a headache...he gets a headache.
     
  13. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poobah (1,115) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    Alcohol is alcohol.

    I'd wager there's something more to the picture such as what else he's eating/drinking when at the bar vs. at home. In some bar contexts I find that the beers go down faster per hour, and faster per hour is one factor that will make it more likely to have a headache, for example.
     
    Providence likes this.
  14. To the OP
    Has your friend pinpointed any particular styles of beer that may produce these headaches? The only thing I can think of, keeping everything else equal, is the carbonation level difference(higher producing more headaches).
     
  15. Possibly noise in the bar or other environmental factors? Or does he drink from bottles at bars too?
     
  16. fox227

    fox227 Advocate (565) California Nov 19, 2010

    Plenty of people can be "intelligent and educated" while still being completely wrong in other areas. The inverse is also true; an idiot may be right once or twice! What I'm getting at is that we have someone who should back up what he's saying with facts, and isn't. So there's really nothing to discuss here.
     
  17. fvernon

    fvernon Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 1, 2010

    my sister-in-law gets wicked headaches from many non-pasteurized beers (SNPA being one of her classic examples), and it seems to have come down to an allergic reaction to certain ale yeast strains. could be that he's dealing with something like that, and just hasn't developed a nuanced understanding of what beers do it and what beers don't, given that many kegs are (to my understanding) non-pasteurized (even if they are force-carbonated as well). seems like he needs to do some experimentation to try and pinpoint what about the kegging vs. bottling in the types of beer he drinks is causing the headaches.
     
    RobertColianni likes this.
  18. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (415) New York Sep 1, 2004

    this complaint, that draft beer is the cause of headaches, is part urban myth and part historic fact. your Grand Dad was talking about this in the saloon it's such an old debate.

    Ice Ace summed it up. there are many speculative reasons but without knowing the exact situation it is not likely we can figure out exactly why your friend has this belief. it could be he experienced headaches a few times after going out to the bar, drank too much beer, and rationalized that his headache was because it was draft beer and not bottle beer. could have been over carbed beer which certainly hurts a bit. may have been the beer nuts or the popcorn too.
     
  19. Interesting! I have heard that misinformation more than once. So much for "conventional wisdom!"

    Yep. And, I expect, that is where it will remain.
     
  20. It's all in his head. Seriously. A self-fulfilling prophecy if ever I heard one.
     
  21. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Savant (455) Oregon Aug 17, 2005

    Are you telling us that no one is using stuff like head stabilizers, potassium metabisulphate, S02, or any of the other process aids and chemicals I see advertised in trade magazines?
     
  22. Interesting idea. Get the guy to participate is a double blind study a couple different times/nights and see if his assertions hold up.
     
  23. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004

    Not saying that at all...

    As a reminder, the OP's question was:
    Thus, my answer. Process aids are just that...and in my 20 years in the biz I've never seen one added only to bottled beer for the express purpose of preserving the contents.

    You've been around the block...have you seen anything different? If so, I'm all ears.
     
  24. Horbar

    Horbar Advocate (570) Rhode Island Feb 24, 2012

    IMHO, adjuncts cause the most headaches. Adjuncts = Headaches
     
  25. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004


    While I can see why you might think that, has anyone, anywhere shown credible evidence of 'adjuncts causing hangovers' beyond the urban legend and perpetuated by Beer Chem 101 with its quote, ".. there is a famous American brewer who actually adds the very chemical that causes hangovers. Millions of people drink the beer and unwittingly pay the price for this "adjunct", which is actually an accepted part of the beer's aroma and flavor."
     
  26. RIPT

    RIPT Aspirant (45) North Carolina Sep 11, 2012

    It's in his head. He believes it and so it happens to him all the time. This happens all the time, doesn't matter if they are intelligent or not. If they get something in their head (no matter how ridiculous) the body follows. I would let him be. If he believes it all this time, you probably aren't going to change his mind.

    I will guarantee if I give you a water and tell you it'll give you a headache....over time, if you keep drinking my perfectly good filtered water......you will begin to believe it gives you headaches and of course.....you will get a headache.

    All in the head...
     
  27. Horbar

    Horbar Advocate (570) Rhode Island Feb 24, 2012

    There is a difference between headaches and hangovers. When I used to drink BMC, i would develop a headache 3 beers into a session. With craft, these headaches never come. Hangovers, now that's a whole different story. If you pound any beer and get wasted, you'll probably get a hangover.
     
  28. loki993

    loki993 Aficionado (240) Michigan Apr 16, 2009

    As odd as it may sound I don't think that's the first time I've heard it honestly. Whether it actually does or doesn't honestly why would someone make that up so I'm sure there has to be at least some truth to it? I have no idea would could or would cause it though. The first though that came to my mind was the forced carbonation of the keg vs how they carbonate bottles.
     
  29. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004

    Doh! Not sure how I equated the two...but Headache ≠ Hangover in many, many cases.
     
  30. Draught beer causes headaches.

    Stout is the hardest beer to make.

    And Guinness tastes better in Ireland.

    This is all common knowledge. :rolleyes:

    It's fun to just say things.
     
  31. maltmuncher

    maltmuncher Aficionado (195) Aug 22, 2012

  32. It is possible that since BMC beers are brewed using the high-gravity method (strong beer that is then watered down to the final product) there may be fusels in that type of beer that are probably not in any craft beer which is brewed to its normal gravity- those higher alcohols (fusels) are reputed to cause headaches. That may not be 'in your head', so to speak; you probably have a high sensitivity to the fusels.
     
  33. jtmartino

    jtmartino Savant (480) California Dec 11, 2010

    Vitamin B does not prevent alcohol-induced dehydration. Vitamin B has no effect on ADH inhibition. It may, however, have some effect on hangover prevention, but the study showing this effect is almost 40 years old and is not, in my opinion, reliable science.

    Adjuncts cause headaches and hangovers if they yield significant amounts of congeners in the brew. Acetone, aldehyde, acetaldehyde, and other by-products may be created during the beermaking process that would contribute to headaches or hangovers.
     
  34. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Advocate (515) Missouri May 11, 2012

    The only people I know who make this claim are those who drink Miller, Coors, Bud, etc. So honestly, any opinion they have in relation to beer is null.
     
  35. kingofhop

    kingofhop Advocate (555) Oklahoma May 9, 2010

    Years ago, my beer drinking was done in taverns that had Coors and/or Budweiser on tap only. Delivered by a CO 2 system, IIRC. Many folks claimed draw (sic) beer gave them headaches, and blamed the CO 2. I believed them. I don't know if the same system is used today ( I tend to drink alone, at home), but if it is, maybe this is a reason. I tend to think headaches are all in your mind.
     
  36. BMC brewers are not the only ones that do this. This is a common practice amongst breweries of any "significant" size. New Belgium definitely does this, and I would venture to guess that Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada, and many other breweries do as well. I know you covered yourself with "craft beer which is brewed to its normal gravity," but I'm guessing that Horbar is including at least one of the aforementioned brewery's beers when saying "With craft, these headaches never come."

    If not, please correct me.

    And I apologize if you already know this - I'm not trying call you out on mis-information or anything like that. This is more of a "for everyone" tidbit.
     
  37. I've heard of The Lion doing it, but that's about it, but I suppose you're right that there could be others. Good to know, thanks.
     
  38. Ob13

    Ob13 Initiate (15) Jan 5, 2013

    He may be allergic to the higher tyramine content in draft beer as opposed to bottled. Or he may be taking an MAOI which can cause this allergy. Being sensitive to the tyramine could cause hypertension Leading to a headache.
     
  39. sandbergandy

    sandbergandy Zealot (85) Minnesota Nov 21, 2012

    IMO, this is just complete crap. I was a bartender for years, and heard this stuff all the time, both directions. One guy would say that he could only drink draught, and another would say he could only drink bottles. Almost no consistency to to people offering up either. I think perception is reality, and as other have mentioned, people create their reality based on what they heard, what they were drinking the night that lead to their worst hangover in college, whatever.

    I have dealt with these people in the past by simply removing their bias, and having them drink the beverages blind. Without fail, I have done this exact procedure with many of these peeps:

    Take a set of 6 shot glasses, and show both draught and bottled/canned versions of the same beer. Tell the guy you're going to mark the bottoms of the shot glasses so you know which is which, and then he will drink them blind and identify them by taste. Do not tell him how many will be in each flight. Start pouring flights and put them in front of him. Pour the canned/bottled version in every single shot glass, all damn night. Watch with amusement as the guys writes down on a sheet of paper which he thought was which, putting tally marks on both side. He will be all over the board, of course. Whatever the interval is at which he normally claims the draught headache (after an hour, end of night, next morning, etc.) ask him if he still got the draught headache even though it was a mixture of the two. He will of course say that yes, he still got a headache due to even the partial amount of draught that was included in the blind testing. Then, tell that moron that it was all bottled/canned, and never listen to the garbage again.
     
  40. ndepriest

    ndepriest Savant (290) Georgia Feb 21, 2012

    He's probably comparing three or four 12oz. bottles at home to three or four ~16oz. pours out.

    Maybe he can't math?
     
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