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Both me and my gf noticed that my home brews (even just 1 or 2 a night) cause a fairly noticeable headache in the morning compared to commercial brews. God forbid you get drunk on it, the next morning is hell.

I did some research here and there are claims that acetylaldehydes is the cause of it. From what I've read a very violent boil (without lid) and secondary fermentation should remove a lot of it. I don't typically second ferment and have troubles getting a good boil without lid on.

Do I need to put more yeast and/or sugar in for the secondary fermentation? Or just transfer it?

I plan on upgrading my stove to get a better boil. Any other things I can do to minimize acetylaldehydes?


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Hmm..interesting. I get less hung over on my homebrew than I do on commercial beer. What does happen is....well shall we say I tend to toot my own horn more with homebrew. :-) – TinCoyote Feb 2 '11 at 19:03
Check out the latest post on the Northern Brewer blog about this exact subject. northernbrewer.blogspot.com – Northern Brewer Chris Feb 2 '11 at 19:26
I agree that it sounds more like fusels than acetaldehydes. What temp do you ferment and pitch at? – Denny Conn Feb 4 '11 at 16:03

There are three variables that are important to controlling the production of acetaldehyde:

  1. Yeast Pitching Rate
  2. Wort Aeration
  3. Fermentation Temperature

First, make sure you're pitching the proper amount of yeast. Check out Mr. Malty's Pitching Rate Calculator.

Next, make sure you're aerating your wort well. There are many ways to do this, from shaking/splashing your fermenter before pitching, to setting up your siphon to spray the wort into the fermenter, to whisking your cooled wort, to pumping in air or oxygen with an air stone. Whichever way you do it, be sure your wort is well-aerated.

Finally, control your fermentation temperature. Keep it within the range the yeast packet specifies. If it goes too high or swings too wildly, your beer's flavor (and potentially your morning after) will suffer.

Finally, if you're not concerned so much about appearance, try letting a bit of the sediment from the bottle make it into your glass. The yeast actually help to inhibit hangover effects. It has something to do with all the potassium and/or B vitamins in the cells.

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I have never found the yeast from homebrew to have any effect in inhibiting hangovers. Old wive's tale AFAIAC. – Denny Conn Feb 3 '11 at 20:12

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