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April 25, 2014 4:54 PM   Subscribe

How to drink all night and (mostly) not get drunk, advice from Jim Koch, co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company.
posted by quin (127 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
The timing of this post could not be any better for me.
posted by ursus_comiter at 4:58 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Surely afterwards your stomach must be gurgling like a cartoon caldron?
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:00 PM on April 25 [20 favorites]


Can I ask readers of this thread to try this experiment tonight (i'm staying in tonight, otherwise i'd try it): eat 6 teaspoons of yeast before drinking and then drink a six pack... I want some metafilterites to weigh in.

This could be the most important metafilter post I've ever read in my life.
posted by el io at 5:01 PM on April 25 [31 favorites]


Timely post for me as well, but I'm 6 beers in and not a speck of yeast in sight...
posted by mygoditsbob at 5:04 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Pretty clever, coming from a guy who sells beer.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:05 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


Perfect timing indeed. I will report back with results later. Off to the grocery store for yeast and yogurt...
posted by zsazsa at 5:08 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I tried this but did not have any yogurt. I mixed the yeast with some warm water full of sugars and some flowers and let it sit for six weeks before trying it. I think it worked! I don't remember getting drunk, but after drinking all that before going out, I don't remember much of anything.

(Posted from The Burp Castle)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:09 PM on April 25 [29 favorites]


Somewhere, some junior ad exec with the Fleischmann's Yeast account has just gotten their first google news ping in a decade.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:09 PM on April 25 [118 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine a scenario where I want to drink copious amounts of alcohol and not get drunk. I've never gone to a serious beer/wine/spirits tasting, which I would guess is the idea here.
posted by cell divide at 5:10 PM on April 25


It makes perfect sense coming from a guy who sells beer for a living.
posted by dolilmao at 5:11 PM on April 25


Yeah, I quit drinking a few years back.....I haven't yet wanted to drink a gallon of mineral water in a night
posted by thelonius at 5:12 PM on April 25


Boy I wish there was a similar magic for hangovers. Getting drunk isn't my problem. I can hardly get drunk on beer unless I go all out, and even when I mix in a little whiskey it's not enough to make me wish I'd drunk less....

until the next day. I know, I know, drink a glass of pedialyte before I go to bed or something, right? But it never seems to do more than halve the hangover.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:12 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Jim Koch used to be on local Boston sports talk radio all the time, with samples aplenty, usually to support a charity. He. Was. Hammered. They stopped inviting him on after a while.

The reason he doesn't get drunk these days is that he's built up a tolerance.

He's more than a little nuts when sober - you'd have to be to take on the big breweries with a new mass-market brand while nurturing craft beer competitors - so the yeast thing is par for the course. Don't believe it for a second. (You can believe he likes tasty beer, tho his is not to my preference.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:13 PM on April 25 [15 favorites]


This sounds like a great way to be the gassiest you've ever been.

As long as you can keep control of yourself, the best thing to do is to get as drunk as you want to be, then have about one drink an hour.


Boy I wish there was a similar magic for hangovers. Getting drunk isn't my problem. I can hardly get drunk on beer unless I go all out, and even when I mix in a little whiskey it's not enough to make me wish I'd drunk less....

Make sure you eat something while you're drinking, and alternate between drinks of alcohol and glasses of water, and you'll give yourself the best chance. Also take an NSAID or some aspirin before bed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:14 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to imagine a scenario where I want to drink copious amounts of alcohol and not get drunk. I've never gone to a serious beer/wine/spirits tasting, which I would guess is the idea here.

Or you're with peopple who are heavy drinkers and there might be business/negotiation being discussed cause this is how they socialize, so you load up on something greasy before hand, pop vitamin B tablets, sip and alternate with water or water down your clear liquids with lots of ice.

To quote Rodger Sterling, you have one brandy, full of ice, and you don't move from it until all the ice is melted.
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on April 25 [11 favorites]


Sometimes when I make bread I can't resist eating a little bit of the dough (maybe a teaspoon size piece) and I always regret it when the yeasty burps start. I can't even imagine what it would be like to eat that much yeast.
posted by jenjenc at 5:16 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


MeFi yeast eating challenge: who's in?
posted by thelonius at 5:18 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


To quote a man : Beer ain't drinking.
posted by The Whelk at 5:20 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


The best cure for hangovers is to be young again, somehow.
posted by dng at 5:21 PM on April 25 [34 favorites]


that and a little hair o' the dog
posted by mrbigmuscles at 5:22 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I seriously doubt the science of this method but I'll leave that to someone smarter. I don't have any particular use for not getting drunk though, good beer is too expensive to not appreciate all the effects.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:32 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, some junior ad exec with the Fleischmann's Yeast account has just gotten their first google news ping in a decade.

Ah, yes, the Great Fleischmann's Yeast Disaster of 2004.

Never forget.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:35 PM on April 25 [18 favorites]


The most direct cure for an in-effect hangover (as opposed to prevention) is cysteine. Eggs are rich in cysteine, thus the raw-egg cure, but you can also buy it as a supplement in tablet form. The principal cause of the hangover is a buildup of acetaldehyde, which is created when alcohol dehodrygenase breaks down alcohol in the liver (or, perhaps if you follow the OP, in your stomach). Acetaldehyde is far more toxic than alcohol thus the creeping sense of illness. The hangover occurs when the acetaldehyde is created faster than it can be cleared by the next enzyme in line, unsurprisingly called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase.

Cysteine binds directly to the acetaldehyde to neutralize it when your body can't supply enough enzymes to do that naturally. I now mostly avoid hangovers by not drinking so much but I can attest from younger crazier days that cysteine tablets stop an ongoing hangover cold.
posted by localroger at 5:50 PM on April 25 [75 favorites]


Isn't this how you get auto-brewery syndrome?
posted by humanfont at 5:59 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


“One teaspoon per beer, right before you start drinking.”

If I can consume that yeast in the form of artisanal sourdough bread, I'm fully on board with this idea.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:11 PM on April 25 [8 favorites]


This link: Stack Exchange would suggest that the acidity of one's stomach would neutralize the yeast before it could do anything. Then again, I haven't tried it myself, so I can't be sure.
posted by CrystalDave at 6:12 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


don't know about getting drunk, but getting a good warm buzz is one of the prime reasons I drink beer, ale, stout whatever, and I tend toward the stronger (more alcoholized) ones in particular.

So I honestly don't see much to get excited about here.
posted by philip-random at 6:20 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


neutralize the yeast before it could do anything

the theory here is that the Alcohol Dehydrogenase in the yeast is the important part, not the rest of the wee beasty. I have no idea if the enzyme works at that low a pH or not though
posted by Dr. Twist at 6:21 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I'm super duper skeptical about this.

Roughly put, ADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen

This sure doesn't make me more confident. Perhaps they mean carbon dioxide and water? perhaps they mean some other organic molecule? But I'm pretty sure it doesn't separate alcohol into hydrogen gas, oxygen gas, and any form of pure carbon..

However I do believe that if you eat a cup of yogurt (or an ice cream cone, or a sandwich, or a couple falafel) before every beer, you will get a lot less drunk than if you just drink beer without doing so.
posted by aubilenon at 6:21 PM on April 25


being irish, i tried something like this with the equivalent of a potato before every beer

i can definitely report that shots of smirnoff before beer DO NOT make you less drunk
posted by pyramid termite at 6:31 PM on April 25 [13 favorites]


perhaps they mean some other organic molecule?

Bingo. The good news if you want to stay sober is that alcohol dehydrogenase in your stomach converts the alcohol into metabolites before it can even get into your bloodstream. And it does work at low pH; it's a fairly straightforward reaction. The yeast themselves don't have to be alive, and in fact it works best if they croak and rupture spilling their little gutsies into your gut so the chemicals can mix.

The bad news, I would think, is that this would directly create more acetaldehyde, which is the principal byproduct of the breakdown of alcohol by alcohol dehydrogenase. And acetaldehyde is the main reason for hangovers. Maybe your gut can contain it and keep it from entering the bloodstream? I haven't tried the yeast thing but I'd normally think of it as a shortcut from the drinking to the hangover without the fun in between.
posted by localroger at 6:34 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


but how do I forget all the bad things?
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:35 PM on April 25 [16 favorites]


This sounds like a job for Mythbusters.
posted by fings at 6:37 PM on April 25 [25 favorites]


Roughly put, ADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen

I'm gassy enough, swelling up with and then farting hydrogen seems like a bad idea. Maybe stick to non-smoking beer halls?
posted by jamaro at 6:40 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, according to this MSDS acetaldehyde is a vapor at body temperature, so if it's released in the gut you would presumably burp most of it out instead of it going directly into your bloodstream. I think the yeasts win.
posted by localroger at 6:44 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


When I drink too much beer, it's not usually the hangover that gets me, it's the little beasties in my gut that make the sheets leviate above my bed at night.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:47 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Just put a bottle of gatorade and an eye mask by the side of the bed, sometimes you want to get ugly drunk. Real ugly. It'll all tell its own story in the morning. You must not interfere with the narrative.
posted by angerbot at 6:48 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


I love how this yeasty beer talk is turning mefi into cowboy/cowgirl zone.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:52 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Cow folk don't worry about getting too drunk
posted by The Whelk at 6:53 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


So far I can report: don't use Greek yogurt, for it is way hard to stir a bunch of yeast into, and it basically turns into paste. Soldiering on.
posted by zsazsa at 7:06 PM on April 25 [12 favorites]


The Friday timing of this story makes me think it is a delayed April fool's joke. I look forward to reading everyone's reports on Twitter tomorrow.
posted by mantecol at 7:14 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I love how this yeasty beer talk is turning mefi into cowboy/cowgirl zone.

MOAR SHINER BOCK! MOAR!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:16 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


In his final years Owades even patented a product called Prequel, an all-natural pill similarly designed to limit drunkenness. No companies wanted to deal with the potential liabilities of the product

BUT MARKETS
posted by JHarris at 7:28 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


(As opposed to butt markets, a potential side-effect of un-mitigated alcohol)
posted by JHarris at 7:29 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Boy I wish there was a similar magic for hangovers.

Unfortunately I discovered this "trick" after college, but Sudafed squishes hangovers considerably. Of course, if you drink a lot, then the DEA will think you're cooking meth.
posted by readyfreddy at 7:31 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


However I do believe that if you eat a cup of yogurt (or an ice cream cone, or a sandwich, or a couple falafel) before every beer, you will get a lot less drunk than if you just drink beer without doing so.


What? Well let me do some math. If I want to drink enough Lone Stars to get drunk-ish, I have to eat 4000 calories of ice cream cone along with my 2000 calories of beer? I imagine that would prevent me from doing something, but I think rather than 'being drunk' it would be 'not rapidly becoming spherical.'
posted by hap_hazard at 7:31 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Boy I wish there was a similar magic for hangovers.

Forgot, there's also those charcoals tablets drug stores sell. They're not perfect, but they help a lot.
posted by readyfreddy at 7:32 PM on April 25


On the other hand, if I ate an ice cream cone and then ran a mile before each beer, it would solve the problem, because I would be drunk, but also dead. Horses for courses I suppose.
posted by hap_hazard at 7:34 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


Wait, an all-natural, yeast-based hangover prevention pill would be subject to legal problems? But for some reason homeopathic remedies are totally a-ok? Seriously?
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:36 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


I avoid getting drunk by keeping to roughly a pint an hour, and having water in between if I can't stand not having liquid in my mouth in the meantime. For the same reason, when I'm out and about I limit myself to beer for the most part, and save the hard stuff for when I'm at the house and don't have to deal with getting home afterward.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:39 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


This sounds like a job for Mythbusters.

asavage, are you around??
posted by zardoz at 7:52 PM on April 25


“A good mix of styles, not just a bunch of IPAs like most bars have nowadays.”

BULLSHIT
This is a common joke complaint, but in no way based in reality. As someone who loves IPAs and would love to see a menu like the mythical "OH NO IT'S NOTHING BUT IPAS THING", the most IPAs I usually see in a beer menu is 10-15% of the total. He's not actually thinking, he's just having a chuckle based on a hackneyed oft-repeated self-styled-beer-nerd observation that makes him sound like he knows what he's talking about, even though he doesn't.

they arrived in shaker pint glasses, which "aren't right," he said. "You won’t get all the aromatics.”

BULLLLL
SHIIIIIIIIIT
Notice how the author just says "I did see", rather than describing what he's smelling and how it differed from what he smelled in the other glass. Is the author's sense of smell bad? Maybe, but a tiny tilt of the glass angle to focus gases isn't gonna turn him into fucking McGruff The Beer Dog. Is his sense of smell good? Then he will indeed get all the aromatics from his original glass, because his nose will be a god damned centimeter from the glass edge when he smells the beer, and it's not like the gases are shooting fucking sideways away from his nostrils before he has a chance to inhale them. Like the IPA thing, this is an affectation to make the guy seem more knowledgeable than he actually is.

This is Male Pablum, the kind of thing you'd find in Esquire: a figure of Authority, saying things that sound Authoritative, making little to no sense but taking advantage of the fact that the audience is likely to know less than he does. Which is not really surprising from someone whose brewery makes about 50% mediocre beers, 40% okay beers, 10% mediocre-but-overpriced-enough-to-seem-like-they-must-be-good beers, and maybe one or two genuinely good beers.

I cannot speak to the accuracy or lack thereof about the yeast thing.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:56 PM on April 25 [63 favorites]


That's how a man should criticize Esquire.
posted by thelonius at 8:02 PM on April 25 [17 favorites]


Hangovers are an essential part of the learning process and should be embraced, preferably with melodramatic moaning followed by brunch and a Bloody Mary. Then maybe a nap (on the couch, of course, the bed is too good for you, you booze-sweating wretch).
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:06 PM on April 25 [11 favorites]


Jim Koch is the godfather of craft beer though so we always have to pretend that we still think highly of Boston Beer Co. As in, every year when the Brewers Association retools its definition of 'craft brewery' they pretty obviously take great pains to ensure Sam Adams still counts, because Jim Koch.

Actually this year at the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver Michael Pollan was the keynote speaker and was doing that thing where the keynote speaker isn't really from the industry but talks shit about the industry's enemies to ingratiate himself to the audience and he was talking about shitty macrobrews and was like MILLER and the crowd was with him and he said AND COORS and everyone was smiling and he went OR SAM ADAMS and then suddenly a palpable hush.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:06 PM on April 25 [24 favorites]


“A good mix of styles, not just a bunch of IPAs like most bars have nowadays.”

BULLSHIT
This is a common joke complaint, but in no way based in reality.


Apparently you don't live where I do. Honestly, the IPA count around here is very often 60-75% of the available on-tap brews. We do not want for hops in the Pacific Northwest.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:08 PM on April 25 [13 favorites]


I would like that life
posted by Greg Nog at 8:10 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


With a PhD in biochemistry from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and an early job in the fermentation sciences department at Fleischmann’s, Owades probably knew more about fermentation and alcohol metabolism than perhaps any man who has ever lived.
Yeah, I don't buy any of this article. The embellishments alone (like the quote) are such horseshit from an author who is attempting to sound more knowledgeable than he really is. Worse, he's interviewing and channeling a man who suffers the same ego. "Male Pablum" is exactly the right term.

Also, Sam Adams makes mediocre beer.
posted by spiderskull at 8:20 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


The problem is solved. Greg Nog will move to Portland.
posted by cortex at 8:22 PM on April 25 [19 favorites]


I would like that life

Here in RI, it's all unfiltered heffeweisens and amber ales, with a few IPA's interspersed, new ones every week as we are all about novelty.

Life. Is. Good.

(Full Sail Flying Jenny? On tap? Yes plz.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:25 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Jim Koch is the godfather of craft beer

Huh? Sam Adams sells over 2.5 million barrels of beer and brings in half a billion dollars a year in revenue. That's a craft brewer?

Adams doesn't even make their own beer. They have a recipe and they farm it out to contract breweries. It's a step above Bud, but that's not saying much.
posted by JackFlash at 8:31 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Huh? Sam Adams sells over 2.5 million barrels of beer and brings in half a billion dollars a year in revenue. That's a craft brewer?

According to the BA, yes. I'm not kidding about this-- the BA sees Boston Beer Co. as largely responsible for the existence of the industry, so pretty much no matter how big they get, the BA is going to retool the definition to include Sam Adams. (That's the previous year's guidelines, but the 2014 guidelines-- announced at this year's CBC keynote-- don't appear to be on the BA website yet; they're not substantially different, if memory serves.)

Boston Beer Co. is the largest craft brewer by BBLs sold per year, and by a wide margin. But the Brewers Association literally defines what counts as American Craft-- every year-- and the BA says that Boston Beer Co. is craft, even if it is for sentimental reasons.

The number of people, including the governor of Colorado, who made jokey we're-all-best-friends-here references to Jim Koch at the keynote was a little embarassing, though.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:44 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Sam Adams sells over 2.5 million barrels of beer and brings in half a billion dollars a year in revenue. That's a craft brewer?

Thinking back to the early 1990s, the only two American-made non-BMC beers with national distribution that I can remember are Sam Adams and Pete's Wicked Ale. And Pete's has been defunct for over a decade now. Sam Adams gets props not necessarily for the quality of the beer today, but because for many people Boston Lager was the first beer they had which showed that things could be different.
posted by Slothrup at 8:51 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Sam Adams is awesome because it doesn't taste terrible and is available literally everywhere.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:51 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


but because for many people Boston Lager was the first beer they had which showed that things could be different.

This. He was the ground breaker and Boston Lager was often the only beer in a lot of bars that didn't suck. I drank a barrels of the stuff back in the day.

Actually, some of the specialty brews under SA have not been bad either.
posted by Ber at 8:59 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


More importantly, Jim Koch loves, loves, loves promoting craft beers not his own. He shoved a giant wedge into the beer coolers nationwide, and invited in his small-scale competitors to share the shelf with him. There are very few Good Guys in business, he may very well be one. That said, don't eat yeast.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:01 PM on April 25 [13 favorites]


(Full Sail Flying Jenny? On tap? Yes plz.)

Flying Jenny is what I offered my guests on Easter -- that and Sierra Nevada Torpedo, plus Coke and "hot & cold running alternative beverage." I also had some Ithaca Flower Power in the basement, but even celebrating Our Lord's Resurrection won't make me share everything.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:10 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the Sam Adams hate is totally off-base. Yes, it's a monstrous operation, but it's definitely craft brewery. If nothing else, it's a perfect "gateway beer" for people who want to transition from Yellow Fizzy Dry Lite to smaller-scale craft offerings.

Hell, if Dogfish Head or Deschutes were to get as big as Sam Adams, would they suddenly not be craft breweries? Boston Beer Company makes some damn good beers, and in my experience, people who talk down on them are doing so more out of some mistaken notion that beer quality must go down if volume goes up.

But the Cold Snap is ghastly -- avoid it at all cost.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:11 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Boy I wish there was a similar magic for hangovers.

Pace yourself. Drink your damned water. Eat some protein before you get started, and carbs while you're drinking. DRINK YOUR DAMNED WATER! And when you're completely shithammered and in need of passing out? Have a good pee. Puke if that's your custom (I hate that, but some people need to). Then take 4 ibuprofen, drink a full quart of water, and go to bed.

I haven't had a hangover in about 25 years. You pee for about half an hour when you get up, but that's a small price to pay to avoid the feeling of elephants jumping around in your head.
posted by MissySedai at 10:26 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


Ithaca Flower Power

My sister's life partner is an IMMENSE chef, a complete culinary master from Korea who knows his way around a dozen cuisines. He sidled up to me last Easter, no less, with a bottle of Ithaca Flower Power, and asked, "Is this a good beer?"

No. If you are a King Kong Bundy chef dropping an elbow off the top rope, it's a good beer.

"I know a dozen different Japanese and Korean wrestlers, and more huge Americans, is THIS beer their beer..."

"Magic Hat, dude. #9."

"It's peaches."

"Can you drink it? Yes you can. Go baste a lamb in it or something."

Easter this year? Oh yes. YES.

Ithaca Flower Power is eating hops. Magic Hat #9. I am a liar, and he will expose my lies shortly. He will not back Ithaca Flower Power, tho, that shit is nas-nas.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:05 PM on April 25


I've had two, maybe three hangovers in my life. Just drink water and have a snack before bed.
posted by dry white toast at 11:20 PM on April 25


Waiting patiently for tomorrow morning when we get reports back from our intrepid testers.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:51 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I refer to my Magical Never Getting A Hangover Power as "being ethically Scottish".
posted by The Whelk at 11:56 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


never sober up
posted by philip-random at 12:02 AM on April 26


I refer to my Magical Never Getting A Hangover Power as "being ethically Scottish".

You avoid hangovers by hewing closely to the ethics of David Hume?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:34 AM on April 26 [17 favorites]


I've had two, maybe three hangovers in my life. Just drink water and have a snack before bed.

My hangover prevention technique is: Just stay awake drinking water until I'm sober, even if that's all night.

I mean yeah, a lot of the time I'm REALLY tired the next day, but at least I'm not hung over.
posted by aubilenon at 12:47 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


You avoid hangovers by hewing closely to the ethics of David Hume?

There may not even BE a hangover, this time. And even if there is, it's someone else's problem.
posted by thelonius at 12:51 AM on April 26 [10 favorites]


So, there was a bit of a delay between eating the yogurt/yeast paste substance and actually drinking (which also involved burping a lot), so my results may be tainted, but I believe it did something. I tasted quite a few beers, and probably had about one more than I would have been able to have without getting drunk. Maybe. More research is needed in this matter. But next time I'll use yogurt that isn't thick. Yuck.
posted by zsazsa at 1:14 AM on April 26


But...but.... why would you be drinking beer if you were not looking for alcohol?
posted by cavalier at 1:29 AM on April 26


It's a shame nonalcoholic beer is so shit, really. I favor water or soda, but would drink a lot more beer if it weren't intoxicating.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:49 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


A pint of milk (not skimmed, as the fats help) before going to bed nearly always works for me. The one time it didn't was after a Hebridean island hogmanay when my body accumulated a large volume of Scotch. Three day hangover and the worst non-heart pain I've had. But apart from that time - a pint of milk.
posted by Wordshore at 4:18 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


These two papers make it abundantly clear that the alcohol dehydrogenases found in brewers yeast will not be active in pH of the stomach. Its not going to happen. That said, the majority of alcohol adsorption occurs in the small intestine rather than the stomach and a much more plausible question would be whether enzyme activity could survive until it reaches there. However, this is also still really really implausible as these enzymes do not typically survive at anywhere close to the pH found in the stomach and that doesn't even get into the peptidase enzymes our stomachs have to avoid exactly this kind of random enzyme activity finding its way into us.

I would be very curious to see this directly tested, but it does not really make any kind of sense that it would work.
The Thermodynamic Stability and Catalytic Activity of Yeast Alcohol Dehydrogenase at Different pH Values: an Undergraduate Biochemistry Investigation
Yeast alcohol dehydrogenase (YADH), which oxidizes ethanol to acetaldehyde according to Equation 1, has been a widely used enzyme for study in undergraduate biochemistry laboratory programs.~ CH3CH2OH+NAD + ----> CHBCHO +NADH+H + (1) YADH can be purchased from commercial sources, or it is easily isolated and purified from commercially available yeast. The enzyme's activity is conveniently measured spectro-photometrically and it is sufficiently stable for student use. In this article we report an experiment in which students first determine the enzyme's catalytic activity over a range of pH values and then use fluorescence spectroscopy to determine the thermodynamic stability of the YADH at the same pH values. Much to the student's surprise, they discover that YADH exhibits its maximal catalytic activity at pH values of 8.6-8.8 while it is thermodynamically most stable at pH 6.0.

Activity and Stability of Yeast Alcohol Dehydrogenase (YADH) Entrapped in Aerosol OT Reverse Micelles
The activity and stability of yeast alcohol dehydrogenase (YADH) entrapped in aerosol OT reverse micellar droplets have been investigated spectrophotometrically. Various physical parameters, e.g., water pool size, wo, pH, and temperature, were optimized for YADH in water/AOT/ isooctane reverse micelles. It was found that the enzyme exhibits maximum activity at wo = 28 and pH 8.1. It was more active in reverse rnicelles than in aqueous buffers at a particular temperature and was denatured at about 30°C in both the systems. At a particular temperature YADH entrapped in reverse micelles was less stable than when it was dissolved in aqueous buffer.

The Role of Zinc in Alcohol Dehydrogenase: V. THE EFFECT OF METAL-BINDING AGENTS ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE YEAST ALCOHOL DEHYDROGENASE MOLECULE
The role of zinc in the catalytic action of yeast alcohol dehydrogenase has been studied through the kinetics of the inhibition of activity by chelating agents (I), particularly l,lO-phenanthroline (2-4). In aqueous solution the complexes of 1, lo-phenanthroline with Zn++ ions exhibit characteristic absorption spectra, as do the complexes of this agent with the zinc atoms of yeast alcohol dehydrogenase and of other zinc metalloenzymes (5). the molecular stoichiometry of the enzyme-inhibitor complexes, deduced from spectrophotometric measurements, is in agreement with that inferred from kinetic data (6). Whereas the catalytic activity of the enzyme can thus be decreased by the localized attack of a chelating agent on a component of an “active site,” alterations in the protein structure may have similar functional consequences, of course. Chelating agents are here shown to induce changes in enzymatic activity both through such local action and through subsequent alterations of the macromolecular structure of yeast alcohol dehydrogenase. As a function of the time of exposure to chelating agents and of their concentration, the apoenzyme, molecular weight 151,000, dissociates into four equal subunits, molecular weight 36,000, while the four zinc atoms are removed concomitantly. Thus, a direct correlation between the enzymatic activity, the zinc content, and the protein structure of the enzyme can be shown to exist. A preliminary report has been made (7).

Effect of pH on the liver alcohol dehydrogenase reaction
New transient kinetic methods, which allow kinetics to be carried out under conditions of excess substrate, have been employed to investigate the kinetics of hydride transfer from NADH to aromatic aldehydes and from aromatic alcohols to NAD+ as a function of pH. The hydride transfer rate from 4-deuterio-NADH to beta-naphthaldehyde is nearly pH independent from pH 6.0 to pH 9.9; the isotope effect is also pH independent with kappa-H/kappaD congruent to 2.3. Likewise, the rate of oxidation of benzyl alcohol by NAD+ changes little with pH between pH 8.75 and pH 5.9; the isotope effect for this process is between 3.0 and 4.4. Earlier substituent effect studies on the reduction of aromatic aldehydes were consistent with electrophilic catalysis by either zinc or a protonic acid. The pH independence of hydride transfer is consistent with electrophilic catalysis by zinc since such catalysis by protonic acid (with a pK between 6.0 and 10.0) would show strong pH dependence. However, protonic acid catalysis cannot be excluded if the pKa of the acid catalyst in the ternary NADH-E-RCOH complex were smaller than 6.0 or smaller than 10.0. The two kinetic parameters changing significantly with pH are the kinetic binding constant for ternary complex formation with aromatic alcohol and the rate of dissociation of aromatic alcohols from enzyme. This is consistent with base-catalyzed removal of a proton from alcohol substrated and consequent acid catalysis of protonation of a zinc-alcoholate complex. The equilibrium constant for hydride transfer from benzaldehyde to benzyl alcohol at pH 8.75 is K-eq equals kappa-H/kappa-H equals 42; this constant has important consequences concerning subunit interactions during liver alcohol dehydrogenase catalysis.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:34 AM on April 26 [31 favorites]


Incidentally, asavage if you're around, I get that you couldn't really get into the cool stuff of Michaelis–Menten kinetics or the details of enzyme inhibition, but there is a lot of awesome accessible science education to be had in testing this together with the hilarity of getting one of your staff tipsy on camera. A breathalyzer, some shots, two days of shooting and brewers yeast would be all you'd need. The safety of all of it is really straightforward and would have a lot of documentation to lean on.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:44 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


The problem is solved. Greg Nog will move to Portland.

So, the sequel to Portlandia is The Two Gregs?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:33 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


Apparently you don't live where I do. Honestly, the IPA count around here is very often 60-75% of the available on-tap brews. We do not want for hops in the Pacific Northwest.

I live in the northwest and having about four IPAs out of say 30 beers on tap would be a normal mixture, plus maybe one or two IPA-ish seasonals but those are usually nasty and overflavored so I always skip those. A place with only four taps will usually have one IPA, one mass lager like PBR, one amber, and something else kind of random. Even places with bartenders who (you can't make this shit up) twiddle their waxed mustaches and wear steampunk vests will have IPAs as only part of the mix.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:18 AM on April 26


But the Cold Snap is ghastly -- avoid it at all cost.

I'm neutral about Sam Adams nowadays: there's a lot of better beer readily available, but that is directly because of Sam Adams & Koch in my mind. My main complain about Sam Adams is their seasonal brews suggest they're sitting on the world's largest supply of coriander, perhaps bought by Koch in a drunken frenzy back in the '90s.

If you think Sam Adams is closer to the big brewers than craft brewers, remember this: Jim Koch once tried to differentiate Sam Adams by advertising the fact they didn't push beer out the door until it had aged for X months (or whatever). Knowing they couldn't compete, the major breweries all started talking about "freshness" and now pretty much everyone has a "Flavor Date" or similar shit, including . . . Sam Adams.
posted by yerfatma at 6:29 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


Blasdelb, those are fascinating. I had no idea the reaction was that pH sensitive. If the anecdotal utility of the yeast holds up (the fact that Koch checks himself with a breathalyzer suggests it might not be all in his mind) I wonder if there are other stabilizing cofactors in the whole yeast cells which allow the enzyme to do its thing in a more hostile environment.

I agree it would be a great bit for Mythbusters whatever the result.
posted by localroger at 6:52 AM on April 26


As someone who loves IPAs and would love to see a menu like the mythical "OH NO IT'S NOTHING BUT IPAS THING", the most IPAs I usually see in a beer menu is 10-15% of the total.

Rochester beer menus are IPA and Imperial IPA dominated.
posted by oflinkey at 7:24 AM on April 26


Greg Nog: "This is a common joke complaint, but in no way based in reality. As someone who loves IPAs and would love to see a menu like the mythical "OH NO IT'S NOTHING BUT IPAS THING", the most IPAs I usually see in a beer menu is 10-15% of the total. He's not actually thinking, he's just having a chuckle based on a hackneyed oft-repeated self-styled-beer-nerd observation that makes him sound like he knows what he's talking about, even though he doesn't."

I think you're right about this, but there are a few breweries it applies to. I always wish that the west coast breweries with major chops (like Stone and Lagunitas) would explore less hop-oriented flavors because I think the result would be freaking awesome.
posted by invitapriore at 7:29 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


Forget about curing cancer; this is probably the greatest scientific breakthrough of my life.
posted by Renoroc at 7:30 AM on April 26


Nthing the call for mythbusters to test this, and since their workshop on Cesar Chavez is just the other side of the hill from the Anchor Steam brewery, nobody would even have to be the designated driver - they could just walk (stumble), or take the bus!
posted by rtha at 7:34 AM on April 26 [4 favorites]


i would like to apologize for being angrier than i meant to be last night for my blood was full of Jaeger and the bae fell asleep before we could watch the new Hannibal

i reiterate as i have done before that the Noble Pils is actually a very very good beer even though I'm not into most of Sam Adams's offerings
posted by Greg Nog at 7:45 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


My trick to drinking all night without getting drunk is that my signature drink is the mighty Shirley Temple with extra cherries, occasionally in "dirty" form (with a little of the juice from the cherry jar in the mix).
posted by sonascope at 7:50 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


I like a nice, heavy stout, myself, though Shiner Bock's a good hanging around drinking kind of beer. There's a bar here that has New Holland's Dragon's Milk Stout, which is dark, heavy pleasure in a glass.

I'm glad this town doesn't favor IPAs too heavily- I like hops, but I sure don't wanna marry 'em.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:16 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


the most IPAs I usually see in a beer menu is 10-15% of the total.

The problem is with craft beers is you often discover that other categories have been effectively IPA'd by the hop heads. I can't even count the amount of 'Belgian Style' American craft beers I have had that were completely overhopped. It makes me very tentative to try new things because my trust in the categories is completely blown.
posted by srboisvert at 8:49 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


There's like a trillion categories within Belgian-style, though. At this year's World Beer Cup the Brewers Association recognized 94 official categories, eleven of which were Belgian-style something or other-- witbier, saison, Belgian ale, Belgian blonde, sour, Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale, Dubbel, Tripel, Belgian pale strong ale, dark strong ale, and 'other.'

tl;dr 'Belgian-style' on a label really probably just refers to the fermentation.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:04 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


You've learned so much since you started working in an office with its very own beer tap.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


Yeah, when I go to get a whim growler fill at one of my local bars, my process is basically (a) eliminate all the stuff that actually has "pale" or "hop" in the name, which will generally be something like 4-5 beers out of 10-12, and then (b) ask for tastes of the remainder to find out which ones are lurker hopfests. A brown, a red, a rye, an amber? Who even knows till it's in my mouth. I've run into hopfest kolsches, hopfest pilsners, hopfest sessions. Motherfuckers love some hops around here. Usually I'll just beeline for the porter or stout if there's one up on the board, save myself some time.
posted by cortex at 9:05 AM on April 26 [5 favorites]


You've learned so much since you started working in an office with its very own beer tap.

Three taps.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:07 AM on April 26 [7 favorites]


MetaFilter: MetaFilters Motherfuckers love some hops around here.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:47 AM on April 26


more'n three taps an' you're playin' with it
posted by Greg Nog at 9:50 AM on April 26 [10 favorites]


Hell, I'd play with beer all day if I could!

I moved to Portland, OR* from Asheville, NC, which also has a thriving craft-beer scene. I was quite distressed to find that the overall flavor profile of beers here was much hoppier than was the rule in Asheville. Oh, how I long for those malty, subtle, well-balanced brews of yore! I haven't been back east in a few years, so I don't know if it's changed...but a man can dream.

*In my defense, my research missed the "Portland is hip and trendy" demographic data; I moved here for entirely other reasons. ...For that matter, I moved to Asheville before it was hip and trendy, and the trendiness and overall tourist-centeredness that has taken the town over is what made me leave. So it goes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:12 AM on April 26


Um... I'm pretty sure I want to get drunk if I'm drinking all night.

Call me when they figure out how I can drink all night without getting fat...
posted by mikeand1 at 10:14 AM on April 26 [5 favorites]


This can be done, but yeast isn't the way to do it. I've done it.

Long ago, maybe 1980 or so, a friend of mine found a pamphlet called The Drinking Man's Diet or some such thing. It described how to drink heavily with no ill effects and no hangover. He decided we should assemble the supplies and try it. So we did.

The issue here is liver metabolism and toxic byproducts of liquor breakdown like acetaldehyde. You avoid accumulating toxins by maintaining high levels of support for enzymatic decomposition of alcohol.

You start a couple of hours before drinking. Take a megadose of a broad spectrum of B vitamins, plus a B12 injection would be perfect. We used sublingual B12, which is easier to get than an injection by a doctor. Then you when your absorbed B levels are peaking, you start drinking.

Don't mix liquors, avoid brown spirits like whiskey, and no gin either. You can mix vodka and beer, so that's what we did. Liquor consumption must be timed and interleaved with glasses of water. Breathe pure oxygen for 5 minutes an hour (no, deep breathing doesn't work, you need a tank of pure oxygen). The goal is to stay well hydrated, and loaded with B to help break down the alcohol, plus oxygenation to help push out decomposition byproducts like CO2.

After drinking all night, drink a glass of water and eat something high in carbs and fat before going to sleep. The pamphlet suggested a baloney sandwich on white bread would be perfect, so that's what I did. I'm not sure what this is supposed to do, perhaps provide nutrients so you don't wake up with a glucose deficit.

I could not believe how well it worked. I think I drank almost a full fifth of vodka, plus more beers than I can remember. I was truly wasted, well beyond the point where I should have been passed out. But I was still standing, and still drinking, and in an oddly euphoric state. The effect was similar in all our friends that tried it. The next morning, no hangover, although I could feel the effects, maybe like I had a 3 or 4 drinks. Victory was declared. And we never ever did that again.

I once described this to a friend who is in Alcoholics Anonymous. She said, "what's the point in all that? A serious drinker would have just guzzled the vodka until they passed out."
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:09 PM on April 26 [7 favorites]


Slap-Happy: Ithaca Flower Power is eating hops.

Well, I generally have one beer of an evening, no more -- so this is actually good for me.

A strong, clear flavor is fine for something I will sip over an hour or more. When I have something milder -- say, a Sam Adams Boston Lager -- I pour it down my neck in about six sips. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 1:37 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine turned me on to sublingual glutathione tablets. Just one of them will keep your liver going strong all night, and mitigate hangover effects the next morning.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:58 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


More importantly, Jim Koch loves, loves, loves promoting craft beers not his own.

Seriously, some of you need to cut him some slack. During the hops crash of 2008 the spot market shot to high hell and Samuels Adams offered micro-brewers at cost purchase of their hops supply because their pricing was under long-term contract. If they industry wants to call him the Godfather, fine by me because he's earned it. He saved a ton of craft brewers from going belly up that year.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:07 PM on April 26 [4 favorites]


Greg Nog: “This is a common joke complaint, but in no way based in reality. As someone who loves IPAs and would love to see a menu like the mythical 'OH NO IT'S NOTHING BUT IPAS THING', the most IPAs I usually see in a beer menu is 10-15% of the total. He's not actually thinking, he's just having a chuckle based on a hackneyed oft-repeated self-styled-beer-nerd observation that makes him sound like he knows what he's talking about, even though he doesn't.”

Have you ever been to Madison, Wisconsin? Or Boulder, Colorado? I've been to many places in these towns, beer meccas both, that were very "oh-look-we're-a-crafty-brewery-place" and was always smacked in the face with a ridiculous number of IPAs. Oh, yes, you're correct in the sense that many of these beers wouldn't be "true IPAs," they'd be "imperial IPAs" or "IPLs" or "hoppy stouts" or whatever the hell else, but they'd be hoppy as shit and rarin' to go.

I remember I walked into an awesome little dive bar in Madison a few weeks ago, in fact, and my girlfriend said "do you have anything that's not too hoppy?" and the bartender just gave her kind of a look, and said: "er, I have a few that are sort of less hoppy than some of the others..."

Seriously, it's a huge problem with beer nowadays. Hops, hops, hops. Get over it, brewers. If I want to taste shit like that, I'll go find a rotten grapefruit somewhere.
posted by koeselitz at 3:15 PM on April 26 [4 favorites]


(To be totally clear, I adore Madison and Boulder, and would live my entire life in either of those wonderful cities if given the opportunity, not least because the beer is totally awesome even if it isn't necessarily to my taste 100% of the time.)
posted by koeselitz at 3:18 PM on April 26


I had no idea that hops made people so angry. "Relax and have a homebrew" would be good advice if it didn't sound so twee. Sorry for having a preference, you guys; I'll make sure to stay out of beer threads from now on.
posted by wenestvedt at 4:19 PM on April 26


(Which will probably be a good idea if you fall for Koch's scheme, as the farts should be epic.)
posted by wenestvedt at 4:19 PM on April 26


"Relax and have a homebrew"

That quote far predates the recent hopfest craze, incidentally.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:35 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Seriously, it's a huge problem with beer nowadays. Hops, hops, hops. Get over it, brewers.

I liken it to certain single malt scotches that seem to go out of their way to taste like peat and end up burying everything else.

But then there's a beer like Guldenberg where you can definitely taste the hops (more so than most Belgian options) ... but everything's in delicious balance. And now I must have one this evening.
posted by philip-random at 4:58 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


The thing about hops is that there's a lot of varietals, so very-hoppy beers (done well) have a lot of interesting flavors for a drinker with a hop-discerning palate. American craft beer is distinguished in the world by its concentration on the flavor profiles of hops. If you know what's what, a good IPA doesn't taste like hops, it tastes like zythos and citra or galaxy and sorachi ace.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:01 PM on April 26 [5 favorites]


I, for one, will probably not go out drinking with Fleischmann's yeast on my person and take a teaspoon of it before every drink. I'll just get really drunk, gorge on some greasy food at the end of the night, burn a bunch of alcohol on the way home, and then pass out in my bed as soon as possible. When I used to drink all night, being drunk actually made me incredibly lucid for some reason, but I don't know if that's true for me anymore.
posted by ChuckRamone at 6:59 PM on April 26


Figures a beer hangover post would bring out the vast majority of the folks I know and love on this site. Both on the calling of the bullshit where it is due and also on the science-y analysis from an expert side of things.

Ctrl + F, E R I K O

Nothing, huh, keyboard must be broken....
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:18 PM on April 26 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the above mentioned (by localroger) cysteine supplementation would have an effect on hangover severity (if any) by supporting the production of glutathione, which is involved in mitigation of redox chemistry byproducts like oxygen radicals. This is important in the liver, where most exogenous compounds are metabolized, e.g. ethanol. N-acetyl-cysteine is, for example, used as a treatment for acetaminophen overdose. It conjugates with the toxic metabolite NAPQI.

I don't think it would have any direct effect on the ADH enzyme system, though I could be wrong.
posted by dreymond at 11:53 PM on April 26


Boy I wish there was a similar magic for hangovers. Getting drunk isn't my problem. I can hardly get drunk on beer unless I go all out, and even when I mix in a little whiskey it's not enough to make me wish I'd drunk less....

I'm actually sad several people beat me to the punch on the Cysteine thing. Those tablets really do work.

A couple of my friends who are, erm, inebriation experts(bike messengers, etc) swear by that.

To hear one guy i know tell it, if you eat a decent amount of food, pop one of those, then start drinking like 20-30 min later you will get no hangover even if you drink yourself to near death.
posted by emptythought at 1:22 AM on April 27


How about filling empty gel caps available at the pharmacy?

Maybe that's why Ozzies eat Marmite!
posted by xtian at 10:32 AM on April 27


I'm highly skeptical of the likelyhood of the enzyme still being active after being mixed with stomach contents. I think that the best possibility would be to just slowly build up your tolerance. I mean who gets drunk drinking beer anyways. You drink beer for the taste and if you're getting drunk you'll need something quite a bit stronger.

As far as the best way to avoid a hangover I think we did it best at my university. After you've had a few get someone to put a saline drip in yo and keep it going as a slow infusion until you've stopped drinking. You'll wake up the next morning feeling right as rain, but people are a bit surprised when the sterile tubing comes out with the needles.
posted by koolkat at 9:12 AM on April 28


I mean who gets drunk drinking beer anyways. You drink beer for the taste and if you're getting drunk you'll need something quite a bit stronger.

I've found that if you drink it quickly and in large amounts it will get you drunk. I'll perform more experiments just in case.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:29 PM on April 28


I consider myself a fairly heavy drinker and I can, when it's the drink du jour, get drunk on beer. I suspect that if you can't get drunk on beer and you think an IV is a reasonable solution to hangovers maybe you really are drinking a wee bit too much.
posted by localroger at 4:00 PM on April 28


If you can't get drunk on beer you are probably accidentally drinking O'Douls.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:02 PM on April 28


I made the mistake of liking of whiskey cashed and brewed beers in Scotland that tasted exactly like cream soda despite being nearly triple the the proof. My mental map of "okay I have x number of pints or half pints before I feel something." was way off.


Granted if you're drinking rice beer yellow nothing, yeah I can down a six pack without blinking.
posted by The Whelk at 4:05 PM on April 28


These days the only way I can get a buzz on is by drinking the jet fuel that leaks from an SR-71 as it prepares to take off from a carrier stationed in the northern Pacific. No other region will do. Drinking is an expensive habit, kids.
posted by invitapriore at 5:06 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


Well sure, but the jet fuel had better be dry-hopped with simcoe or something.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:15 PM on April 28


I'm getting trolled so hard by invitapriore's errors.
posted by garlic at 11:41 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


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