Want to make beer from pineapples? If you get it wrong, you may get ill – or maimed

Business Insider SA
pineapple beer
  • South Africans are turning to homebrewing to make alcohol.
  • The sale of alcohol has been banned during SA's Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Popular drinks are pineapple beer, cider, and hard lemonade.
  • It’s important to follow basic safety advice, otherwise you may get ill, or maimed.
  • For mores stories go to

Pineapples and yeast are flying off the store shelves, and it’s not because of baking. It’s because of beer. As the sale of alcohol is banned during the Covid-19 lockdown, people are starting to turn to an old South African favourite: pineapple beer. It’s not hard to make, but if you get it wrong, you can end up ill, or injured by exploding product.

Homebrewer forums are buzzing with thirsty South Africans asking for recipes and technical advice on making pineapple beer, ciders, ginger beer and hard lemonade.

According to Samantha Nolan, president of SouthYeasters, a Cape Town-based homebrewing organisation, they’ve seen a surge in enquiries across all their social media platforms. On Worts and All, an online forum for homebrewing enthusiasts, amused commentators are sharing stories of desperate friends and neighbours asking for help.

See also: Wine exports are now banned again during lockdown – for fear of alcohol piracy

According to Google South Africa, overall search teams related to South Africa’s alcohol ban spiked by over 500% the week leading up to Easter. The company said the Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo showed the highest interest for homemade liquor, while the Northern Cape showed very low levels of alcohol-related search terms.

Popular search queries included ‘homemade beer recipes south africa’, ‘can homemade pineapple beer make you drunk’, ‘homemade gin’, homemade alcoholic pineapple beer’ and ‘how to make alcohol at home fast’.

Fermenting pineapples may seem desperate to the uninitiated, but the result is a real alcoholic drink. Pineapples are high in sugar, and yeast naturally lives on pineapple skins. Because yeast eats sugar to make alcohol, the result can give you a buzz. Adding your own of each ingredient will increase the potency.

See also: South Africa’s top Google searches during lockdown

According to Nolan “the amount of alcohol will vary depending on how long you allow the pineapple beer to ferment. Typically speaking, the earlier you drink it the less alcohol there will be”.

She also cautions that good hygiene practice is top priority when making your own beer. Foreign bacteria can easily enter your mix and make you ill. Your choice of container during fermentation is also important, as numerous videos of exploding pots and bottles can attest. “It is very important to ferment in a plastic bottles as glass bottles can explode and cause injuries,” says Nolan. “Plastic bottles do need to be opened regularly to release the carbon dioxide build up.”

“Lastly if it doesn't smell or taste good then it probably isn't. Rather discard it and try again.”

See also: Lockdown Phase 2: Here’s what we know about rules and how restrictions will change

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