What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Beer?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 06 March 2019
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The signs of an allergic reaction to beer typically include breathing problems, a flushed appearance, headaches, dizziness, and a tingling sensation in the face or mouth. People with sensitivities to a certain ingredient in the beverage may also experience increased nasal congestion, fatigue, or outbreaks of hives. Different allergy sufferers often have sensitivities to only one beer ingredient such as wheat or hops, and these reactions often come with different signs of an allergic reaction. As with other types of food allergies, avoidance in one of the main ways of preventing an allergic reaction to beer.

People who are sensitive to the yeast used in beer fermentation can sometimes have a histamine allergic reaction. The main signs of this reaction are sneezing, increased nasal discharge, and itchy eyes. Increased feelings of fatigue or even vertigo can also accompany this kind of allergic reaction to beer. These types of allergic reactions are normally mild in many cases and can be successfully relieved with an over-the-counter antihistamine medication. A few rare histamine reactions to beer are more serious and require treatment with an injection of a more concentrated antihistamine medicine.


An allergic reaction to beer can also result from a sensitivity to the malted barley in the beverage. Signs of an barley-based allergic reaction usually appear on the skin surface as well as the lips or the inside lining of the mouth. These symptoms often include red and itchy hives, raw patches in the mouth, and uncomfortable swelling of the tongue or lips. Some sufferers of this beer allergy can also experience throat swelling that makes breathing more difficult and can often be dangerous if the reaction is severe enough. Although some of these allergic reactions can be minor and will normally clear up on their own, others can be life threatening and require prompt medical attention.

Some people with celiac disease may have side effects from drinking beer that are unpleasant but do not normally constitute an allergic reaction. This particular health condition entails difficulty properly digesting foods and beverages containing gluten. Since many brands of beer are brewed with gluten-rich ingredients such as barley and wheat, beer drinkers with celiac disease sometimes experience stomach cramps, diarrhea, or occasional vomiting. These symptoms can be mistaken for the effects of a hangover or an allergic reaction, but celiac sufferers can have this adverse reaction from only one or two beers in many cases.


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Post 4

I'm not sure as to why, and I'm looking for some answers to a problem I have when consuming alcohol. I tend to get tightening chest pains while consuming my first glass/can of wine/beer, which subside after a few minutes. The stronger the alcohol content, the stronger, and longer the pain lasts. The longest was for 20 minutes. I'm not sure if it's an allergic reaction to ingredients, or the alcohol itself, seeing as how it happens no matter what type of alcoholic beverage is being consumed.

Post 3

I'm allergic to the yeast in beer. It makes my skin itch and I always end up taking an antihistamine medication afterward.

My doctor said that I'm responding to not just the yeast in the beer, but also natural histamine that's produced as beer brews. Apparently, it can have similar effects as that of seasonal allergies.

Post 2

@feruze-- That does sound like an allergy. Do you respond the same way to all types of alcohol or just beer?

By the way, are you Asian?

There is something called Asian flush. Many people of Asian descent have the same flushing symptom after consuming alcohol. Doctors believe that some people's systems are not familiar with alcohol and flushing is a sign of alcohol intolerance. You could say that it's a type of allergic reaction even though typical histamine reactions may not appear.

People who are intolerant to alcohol usually also experience nausea and vomiting afterward. And hard liquor causes more symptoms than lighter alcoholic drinks like beer.

Post 1

I don't know if I'm allergic to beer because I only experience one symptom after drinking it and that is flushing. My face turns extremely red after drinking only one or two bottles of beer. It's more embarrassing than anything else.

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