hist-brewing: RE:Distillation

Kirsty Pollock kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com
Fri Oct 22 09:08:56 PDT 1999


> In a message dated 10/22/1999 11:25:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
> kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com writes:
> 
> << > 
>  > >>For what it is worth, it is also possible to make 
>  > >>homemade wine that has enough microbial >>contamination, or 
>  > other impurities, that it will injure or kill >>the drinker.
>  > 
>  > For the record, no know pathogens can survive in beer or 
>  > wine.  They may leave behind, prior to death by alcohol 
>  > concentration or pH level, toxins that are harmful, but 
> they do die.
>  > 
>  
>  You might get very sick, but you probably won't die. Alcohol 
> actually kills
>  most of the food poisoning-type bugs, I seem to recall from 
> an article read
>  long ago. (they did experiments. In lab, though, not in real people).
>  Apparently 10-yr old red wine is the absolute best at it, 
> but anything will
>  work. >>
> 
> 
> NOTHING that can make you ill can survive in fermented 
> beverages, period. 
> Alcohol kills ALL food poisoning bacteria, but it will not 
> destroy any toxins 
> (like botulism toxin) that was formed prior to making the 
> ingredients into 
> wine/beer/etc.


I'm not in basic disagreement, I had botulism in mind (hence my
qualification), since I'm well aware of the dangers of unpasturised honey,
but forgot that it's the just toxin it produces that hangs around and causes
the damage.

I'm also wary of absolute statements - OK, not perfect example but people
with yeast allergies can get quite ill after drinking beer. 

All I am saying is that lots and lots of things can make you ill, new ones
can appear all the time, plenty of wee things are damned tough and will
survive both the toxic effect of the alcohol and the associated dehydration
(tardigrades, for example, though I'm not claiming they will make you ill -
I really have no idea, I just know they are super-tough)

Any (other?? sorry Owen, don't know your background, so apologies if you are
one) biochemists care to comment??

Of course your alcohol can go off _after_ you crack it open...

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