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Beer/amount of purines in various types of beer

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Question
Keith,

I enjoy craft beers. I recently was told that I had Gout and beer is one of the worst things to have, to my chagrin, because of the yeast.Purines is the measure used for all foods/drinks. If i want to continue having a few beers, I would like to know which beers or type of beer is lowest/highest in purines.

Would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks,
Ron

Answer
Ron:

I had an encounter with gout after some surgery and taking some prescribed meds.  I threw the meds away over the objections of the ER doctor who assured me they were "top of the line" anti inflamitories.  The FDA recalled and banned them two weeks later.  Thankfully my gout disappeared when I stopped taking the meds and it was only temporary.

My understanding is that the purine source in beer is the protein in the yeast AND the barley and wheat malts.

So, the first beers to strike from your list as unacceptable would be your unfilter wheat beers: wits, weiss and weissens.  Next, anything that is bottled conditioned, home brews, belgian ales, and some craft beers on tap.  I have noticed locally in Houston Texas, that some of the craft beers on tap, have a lot of live yeast.  I have a friend who owns a local craft brewery and I do not think they filter their beer to the level of the big boys, and they do not pasteurize.  If a craft beer has not been pasteurized it will have some level of yeast still in it.  I like beers from a local brewery, Karback, and I find that a lot of their beers are yeasty.  I can tell by the effect they have on my GI tract.  I take pills called Yeast Defense to kill the critters that would otherwise take up residence in my gut and cause the unpopular result of homebrew and craft brew imbibing: flatulence.  After a while you'll find that your gut is producing its own yeast.  If your girth is substantial, you might try doing the same thing, it releaves the bloat.

BTW, I am no doctor, but if you have had surgery, or been on any strong antibiotic, you should know that broad spectrum antibiotics kill just about everything in your gut, including the beneficial stuff.  One good yeasty beer after a course of antibiotics probably set up your own little yeast farm in your gut.  Any starch or sugar that you eat feeds them.  It could be that the yeast farm in your belly is producing a good amount of purines in and of itself.

I fault doctors for not connecting the dots.  If you have or are beginning to see the start of the dreaded toenail fungus: thick yellowing toenails, you probably have a good systemic yeast farm going in your GI tract.  Years ago I had my doctor put me on a course of Lamosil anti fungal treatment for 30 days.  My toenails grew out and looked like a ten year olds. The side effect is it also kills all yeasts in your system.  Lamosil is like an antibiotic.  Abstain from drinking or eating anything yeasty and I ate yoghurt and drank Kefir and took Acidophilus tabs during this time and after to reestablish the good critters in my system.  It worked wonders.  It could be that if you do have a yeast infection in your gut producing purines, this will reduce the gout symptoms.  I am surprised that doctors do not do a stool culture to determine if this might be the case.  I'm a scientist, and I think about cause and effect, doctors seem to only think about effect and not cause.

In any event, I would also stay away from high gravity beers, that is beers high in alcohol, since they will have a high level of protein due to the high starting gravity and large amount of barley used in the grist.  Wheat and rye are two grains to stay clear of due to their higher levels of protein.  This explains why they are not used as a base malt, their protein levels result in gummy mashes that interfere with the brewing process.  They are used only as a fraction of the malt grist.  Stay clear of Rye pale ales, wheat beers.

You can see where this is headed.  Protein lends body to beer, that is why Lite beers are light tasting, low in calories and flavorless, the proteins have been filter out.

So tend to err on the side of lighter bodied craft brews, the lagers, summer ales, excepting wheat beers.  Pradoxically, some stouts and porters are okay, be sure they don't add wheat for body.  This is because, particularly in milk stouts, they use lacose sugar, an non-fermentable sugar to add body.  The dark heaviness is more from the dark roast barley and unfermented sugars that from protein.

Also, I'v heard that drinking distilled water...pint for pint with your beer will help mitigate some of the negative effects of the beers.  Take along a jug of distilled water on your next drinking outting.

I hope this helps you and that the gout is only a temporary thing.

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Keith Patton

Expertise

I have been home brewing 21 years. I followed the traditional path from kit to extract to all grain and undoubtably experience all the typical problems. I can answer questions on home Brewing Techniques, all grain, partial mash and extract brews, formulating recipes, cloning commercial beers, kegging, bottling, home brew equipment, clarifying, trouble shooting beer and conducting tastings. I have brewed just about every style imaginable.

Experience

I have home brewed for 21 years. I owned my own beer pub for 5 years. I lived in Munich, Germany for 3 years. I host a brew club at work with 10 member brewers as well a participate in another club with over 50 members. I have a all stainless steel single tier 15 gallon RIMS system.

Organizations
American Home Brewer's Association Cane Island Alers home brew club Seismic Micro Brewers home brew club

Education/Credentials
MS in geology with experience in water chemistry. I have lived abroad and have been exposed to a number of beer drinking cultures.

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