friends drinking beer

Why Does Beer Cause Gas?

Oktoberfest is winding down in Germany, but we’re just gearing up for it here in the States. If what beer does to your stomach makes you feel less than festive, we’ve got you covered.

What are you having?

How beer’s ingredients cause gas

Beer is basically a carbohydrate party in a glass. It’s made from malt (a sugar) or barley (“the food source for the yeast in your beer”); hops (the bitter counterbalance to the sugars); water; and yeast, a fungus “which converts the sugar in beer into CO2 and alcohol.” Carbohydrates account for half of the ingredients in your favorite brewski. (See HomeBrew Academy’s post on the topic.)

Jackson Sigelbaum Gastroenterology says that beer contains “significant amounts of sulfate” and “The more sulfate you ingest, the more of it is available for colon bacteria to make sulfide gases.” Other common sources of sulfate include water, milk, red and white wine, and many foods.

Carbon footprint

“When the yeast eat the sugars in beer they produce a by-product of carbon dioxide (CO2) and alcohol.”

BeerAleLager reports: “Dark beers have less carbonation, which will in turn create fewer gas bubbles in your stomach. These beers can also make you feel fuller so you will drink them more slowly.”

Depending on the room- and beer temperature, most of the carbonation dissipates into the air before it can reach your mouth. (You do, however, swallow some of it.) There’s more gas in a carbonated beer served at room temperature than in even the same beverage served chilled. Why? “More gas will be immediately released at warmer temperatures and more will be retained in solution at cooler temperatures.”

Order wisely

How different varieties of beer exacerbate the problem

The MadScience blog has a page devoted to the chemistry of how beer fizzes. Beer can be nitrogenated, carbonated, or a combination of the two. Nitrogenated beers contain smaller gas bubbles and have a much longer-lasting head.

How food pairings can make digestion difficult

It’s a really bad idea to have a beer with a side of carbs, so lay off the pretzels and pizza. You may have heard that you can minimize the effects of overindulging in alcohol if you order something with a high-fat content, but be prepared for a different kind of trouble the next day.

eHow suggests eating digestion-promoting fruits and vegetables before you have a drink. Up your protein with lean meats like chicken or fish.

Serving suggestions

How to choose the right barware

According to BeerAleLager, etching at the bottom of beer glasses acts as a release valve for dissolved gas. “Etching may also give the beer a more hefty, frothy head. It is designed to agitate the beer while pouring, causing the dissolved gas to be released rapidly.”

Scientists have issued new warnings about the risks of drinking alcohol. Remember that due to their smaller size and physiology, women metabolize alcohol differently than men.

If you’re of legal drinking age, only you and your healthcare professional can decide whether drinking beer (or other types of alcoholic beverages) is an acceptable lifestyle choice. If you do decide to enjoy a mug of your favorite beer, two CharcoCaps® capsules will help promote digestive comfort.*  CharcoCaps® dietary supplement, Anti-Gas Detoxifying Formula will let you enjoy your favorite foods and beverages with less worry.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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