What are the dangers of homemade alcohol?
A lot of people have turned to homemade beer (pineapple beer and DIY ciders) since the ban on the sale of alcohol was put in place. But did you know that making your own alcohol can be dangerous to your health? Consider these risks before trying to brew your own alcohol.
The history of homemade alcohol
Homemade alcohol has been around for decades. Umqombothi (African beer) is one brew that has been enjoyed in African households for many generations, usually during special ceremonies and occasions. Even though people are making different kinds of homemade brews, the process is almost the same. It includes ingredients like sugar and yeast — which are necessary to start fermentation (the process of letting your mixture sit in order for it to break down and become alcohol).
While homemade alcohol seems harmless, getting the process wrong and using the wrong ingredients (like methylated spirits) can lead to serious health issues and even death.
It can make you sick
When it comes to anything you are going to ingest, good hygiene is key. The incorrect use of ingredients and bad hygiene practices can lead to the formation of bacteria that can seriously compromise your health.
It can cause injury
Homemade beer has been known to explode and even cause injury when you use the incorrect tools (using pots or glass) during the fermentation process, as this can be really unpredictable. This is why it’s important that you have the experience and knowledge to brew alcohol, rather than trying to do it yourself.
It can lead to alcohol poisoning
Consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, which has its own risks. This also applies to homemade brews. The main concern with making your own liquor is that there is no accurate way of measuring the percentage of alcohol in it, which means that you run the risk of consuming way more alcohol than is required. Remember that alcohol can be damage your liver, kidney and other organs.
While homemade beer has been part of a lot of people’s culture here in South Africa, the brewing of, umqombothi for example, has been entrusted with those people in your family, community and culture who have the knowledge and expertise to do it safely. Making your own brews out of fruit and yeast may have some unwanted effects and be harmful to your health, so it’s better to stay away from it, Choma. Since we are able to purchase alcohol during Level 3 of the lockdown, it’s important to make sure you drink responsibly, don’t drink and drive for any reason and make sure you are not drinking to try and mask stress or anxiety.
If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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