Belly: Bottle Beer Good, Keg Beer Bad

I always feel like crap, stomach-wise, after drinking beer from a keg. A buddy of mine is worse, he gets “the squats”. Bottled beer is fine. So what’s the deal? Is it because kegs aren’t cleaned out properly and are full of sludge?

Nope, kegs are cleaned as well as bottles. Maybe it’s the extra carbonation of kegged brew? Does chugging carbonated soda have the same effect?

WAG: You’re drinking more than you think because it’s harder to keep track of how much you drink.

Is it tied to one particular establishment? Perhaps the bar-owner isn’t to fastidious about cleaning the lines from keg to tap.

Nope. ONE glass of beer is enough to put me off and send my buddy to the bathroom. I’m not much of a beer drinker. I usually only buy half-pints and rarely have more than two.

And no, it doesn’t seem to be related to any particular establishment. Doesn’t matter where I am in Canada or the U.S., if I drink beer from a keg, I get an upset stocmach. Same with my buddy, although he has his own theory that it has something to do with “more yeast”.

Alcohol is a drug.

Possibly. I don’t drink carbonated beverages often. I can’t remember the last time I drank soda pop of any kind.

We were at a music festival over the weekend that had a major environmental policy. You had to buy a cheap plastic mug (that’s the only way they could enforce their liquor licence, you could only have beer in their specific mug, to keep people from leaving the licenced area with beer in thermoses. You could bring your mug from previous festivals) and the only beer available was on tap, to keep waste to a minimum.

That’s the first keg beer I’ve had in ages. My girlfreind and her frineds said the beer seemed a lot less carbonated than usual. I tended to agree, but I thought the carbonation was just “different”.

ETA: But even if it was extra carbonation, why would that give my friend the runs? It never fails. Any kegged beer from any bar will give him the runs in a few hours.

Note: I usually get the stomach issues a couple hours after finishing the brew.

So how exactly is the drug in the bottle different from the drug in the keg?

And why does the drug in the keg, give me loose stools the next day?

Keg beer isn’t normally pasteurized, so maybe it’s the remaining bacteria or yeast that’s giving you a problem (is all of the yeast filtered out?).

Can’t think of ANY other reason, kegged beer is just beer that has been “force carbonated” with Co2… Bottled beer is either carbonated the same way or is “bottle conditioned” with extra fermentable sugars, so it may have the sedimental gunk on the bottom.

Carbonation alone can cause diarrhea… so unless you can think of any other variables, I’d pin it on the carbonation. Kegged beer is a lot fizzier than bottled beer, even if you don’t notice it at first. If you want a trial, gulp some fizzy soda water and see if it has the same effect…

I got nothin’ , but I have a couple of questions in case the information is useful to the people who know:

  1. Do you drink different brands of draft beer in your travels, or is it always the same?

  2. Do you and your buddy usually eat while drinking draft beer? If so, is it always the same kind of stuff?

Perhaps that’s it for me. As I mentioned, I don’t really drink carbonated stuff much. My buddy drinks Coke and other carbonated beverages all the time though. He can drink several bottles of beer with no ill effects, but one pint of kegged beer and he’s stuck in the toilet for a long while.

Could the carbonation of one pint be that much more fizzy that it gasses him up worse than 6 bottles of beer? (While, I’m not much of a beer drinker, he’s your stereotypical small-town Canadian hoser, eh.)

Here’s a question. The only kegged beer that doesn’t seem to bother my stomach is Kilkenny, which seems to me to be insanely fizzy. Is the carbonation process different? Maybe it has to do with the way it’s carbonated?

Yes, I’ve tried different brands of beer, there are several that I like. I’ve tried them a few different countries too. From major breweries to microbreweries. I never have a problem with bottled beer, almost always have a problem with kegged beer (aside from Kilkenny).

I didn’t try kegged beer in Europe though, because I didn’t want to get sick on the trip.

I have no idea if my buddy has tried a lot of different beers.

Nope. If I go out with my finacee and her parents for a dinner in a fine restaurant it’ll happen. If I have nachos with the guys watching the game it will happen. My girlfriend and I are vegetarians and usually eat organic foods and very healthy meals. I don’t usually drink beer without food, but sometimes I do.

My buddy is more your standard burger-and-fries, meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. We don’t eat the same stuff.

At the kegged-beer-only music festival, I think I had my first half-pint on an empty stomach.

Aside from this weekend, I don’t actually remember when I last had kegged beer because I’ve been avoiding it for years due to the belly issues, but I’ve been eating this way for years, so I assume my social eating habits were the same when I used to try (and get sick from) kegged beer. I think I stopped drinking kegged beer roughly two years ago.

ETA: And my buddy will get the squats within an hour of consuming kegged beer. I get a wicked stomach ache much later than that.

Kilkenny (called Smithwick’s 'round here) is pasteurized, so I’m going to mention that again as being something that’s reaking havoc on your stomach. How about Guinness ale, which is also pasteurized in keg form (and also made by the same company as Smithwick’s)? Does that do anything unpleasant for you?

How often do you go between drinking kegged beer? Maybe once you get used to it, you’ll be okay, kind of like drinking tap water in Mexico, you’ve just gotta get your body used to it.

My thoughts exactly. Not cleaning the lines will cause a build up of yeast resulting in “plaaaaaarp”

I have had Guiness, but I can’t recall if I had belly issues or not.

I think you may be right about the pasteurization. I don’t drink carbonated beverages often, but I don’t think I have any real issues with them (and I know my buddy drinks pop by the gallon).

And I just don’t drink kegged beer. I don’t drink beer often enough for it to be worth acclimatizing myself to it, really.

I don’t suppose there’s anything I can do about it for those times when there’s no bottled beer available, is there?

See above posts. Kegged beer will disturb my stomach no matter which establishment: it has happened everywhere I have ever had kegged beer, with the exception of drinking Kilkenny as noted above.

Of course this now means I must experiment. I will go and have a half-pint of Guiness as per Balthisar’s suggestion (I’ll make sure it’s the real deal that’s been pastreurized). If that does nothing to me, then the following day I will try a half- pint of anything else from the same vendor and see if I’m unhappily sitting on the porcelain throne later.

I’d be looking at the difference in carbonation. My husband has the same problem with canned/bottled pop versus fountain pop. He can down cans of Pepsi all afternoon with no trouble. More than a few sips of a fountain Pepsi from anywhere and there’d better be a bathroom near.
I came across a medical reference years ago that indicated that carbonation speeds gastric emptying. (the article was looking at alcohol absorption rates - mixing with carbonated beverages gets the ethanol in your bloodstream faster according to the article) I assumed this is the cause of my husband’s distress - ramped up gastric emptying courtesy of the higher CO2 level in the fountain drinks. There’s no reason it shouldn’t hold true for beer.

What keg beer is not pastuerized? I thought anything you would find on-tap at a bar was pastuerized.