thaen (thaen) wrote in geekbeer,

can you drink beer straight from the fermenter?

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

For the curious: We pretty consistently draw 10-20 hits a day from random searches that people are doing. I’m scouring those search terms for good questions that don’t seem to be answered clearly elsewhere on the web, and I’m trying to answer them here. Enjoy!

My new house is littered with boxes, I have a podcast to edit, an old apartment to clean, this Saturday will be devoted entirely to the Barley Wine Festival, work will likely require at least 2 12-hour days this week…

So I’m a little busy, but I did pop in the logs to scan for new search terms. This one comes from Duluth, Georgia (the future is SO COOL).

Answer? Yes. Yes you can. You can, in fact, drink a beer at literally any point during the brewing and fermentation process. There is no point at which the beverage would be toxic to you.


  • Don’t drink it during the boil. That would hurt.
  • Give it at least a day or three to ferment. High active yeast content will likely not sit well with your digestive system.
  • Drinking it out of the fermentor likely means warm, flat beer. This violates the core of beer spirit: There are only 3 kinds of bad beer: Warm beer, flat beer, and no beer. (I will silently ignore the excellent examples of freeze-distilled and barrel-aged flat beers being distributed by craft brewers around the world.)
  • It’s going to taste funky unless you give it a chance to allow the excess protein and yeast to settle out of the beer.
  • You’ll probably want to at least siphon the beer from the primary into the secondary to eliminate the head of yeast that accumulates during primary fermentation.
  • If you drink it straight out of the fermentor, you are likely going to kill any chance you have of keeping the beer longer than a few weeks. You’ll introduce contaminants that will funkify the brew very quickly.
  • If your goal is merely to get drunk, you might consider making something like Orange Hooch. Ultra-cheap recipe is just giant tubs of orange juice (probably from concentrate, probably purchased in bulk) with some yeast tossed in for a few weeks. You can even make it in the jug — drink a glass of orange juice from a gallon container, toss the yeast in, and wait. Make sure to give it an air lock.

Portercast is coming on Wednesday.

Also, I know I’ve said bad things about unedited podcasts, but if you somehow have time to spare (which I do given my new commute from the new house), the Brew Strong podcast is pretty fantastic. John Palmer is the author of the seminal “How To Brew.” Density of information in this 1-2 hour long podcast is frighteningly low, and it could probably be cut down to about 30-35 minutes very, very easily, but what’s there is very, very, good.

Tags: search term answers

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