Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


Quick Studies

beer1.jpg

(Photo: Public Domain)

Chemists Endorse Marinating Meat With Beer

• March 26, 2014 • 4:23 PM

(Photo: Public Domain)

It decreases the formation of carcinogenic material.

Although chemists recently spoiled the time-honored summer tradition of urinating in the pool (a new study reveals that urine and chlorine interact to yield dangerous chemicals), another team of chemists has offered a bold endorsement of the other—perhaps more satisfying—riot time practice of pouring beer all over your meat before throwing it over the flames.

A group of European scientists concludes that beer marinades are an excellent way of reducing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the carcinogenic stuff known to form on meat when it’s cooked on the barbecue.

Writing in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a group of European scientists concludes that beer marinades are an excellent way of reducing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the carcinogenic stuff known to form on meat when it’s cooked on the barbecue (“mainly, by contact of dripping fat with hot embers”). Health experts have recommended limiting exposure to PAHs because of their link to cancer in animals.

In their experiment, the researchers bought a bunch of pork loin steaks from a grocery store in Porto, Portugal, leaving some unmarinated as a control group and subjecting the others to four-hour baths in three different beers, a pilsner, a non-alcoholic pilsner, and a black beer. Then they analyzed the PAHs levels after cooking on a charcoal grill. (I’m reading between the lines, here, but it seems they had a pretty epic party with plenty of libations.) The results:

Considering an intake of 132 g of grilled pork loin (unmarinated), the uptake of 271 ng of BaP and 2057 ng of PAH8 will exceed the overall average dietary exposure of BaP (235 ng) and PAH8 (1729 ng) estimated by [European Food Safety Authority]. If grilled pork loin marinated in Black beer is consumed, the uptake of 141 ng of BaP and 1286 ng in 132 g will not exceed the overall average dietary exposure. Thus, the intake of beer-marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy.

Black beer performed the best of the three, reducing the net weight of total PAHs by 53 percent. Non-alcoholic pilsner reduced the material by 25 percent, and regular pilsner performed the worst at 13 percent. The “higher antioxidant capacity” of ales versus lagers could explain the different rates. The chemists note that there was a significant drop in the black beer’s “antioxidant activity” after the marinade was finished, indicating the meat’s uptake and suggesting its increased “resistance to the formation of PAHs.”

So, go forth, and purchase multiple cases of dark ale for your drinking and marinading pleasure, knowing that at least the latter activity is endorsed by science.

Ryan Jacobs
Associate Digital Editor Ryan Jacobs joined Pacific Standard from The Atlantic, where he wrote for and produced the magazine’s Global and China channels online. Before that, he was a senior editorial fellow at Mother Jones. Follow him on Twitter @Ryanj899.

More From Ryan Jacobs

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

October 31 • 4:00 PM

Should the Victims of the War on Drugs Receive Reparations?

A drug war Truth and Reconciliation Commission along the lines of post-apartheid South Africa is a radical idea proposed by the Green Party. Substance.com asks their candidates for New York State’s gubernatorial election to tell us more.


October 31 • 2:00 PM

India’s Struggle to Get Reliable Power to Hundreds of Millions of People

India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known as a “big thinker” when it comes to energy. But in his country’s case, could thinking big be a huge mistake?


October 31 • 12:00 PM

In the Picture: SNAP Food Benefits, Birthday Cake, and Walmart

In every issue, we fix our gaze on an everyday photograph and chase down facts about details in the frame.


October 31 • 10:15 AM

Levels of Depression Could Be Evaluated Through Measurements of Acoustic Speech

Engineers find tell-tale signs in speech patterns of the depressed.


October 31 • 8:00 AM

Who Wants a Cute Congressman?

You probably do—even if you won’t admit it. In politics, looks aren’t everything, but they’re definitely something.


October 31 • 7:00 AM

Why Scientists Make Promises They Can’t Keep

A research proposal that is totally upfront about the uncertainty of the scientific process and its potential benefits might never pass governmental muster.


October 31 • 6:12 AM

The Psychology of a Horror Movie Fan

Scientists have tried to figure out the appeal of axe murderers and creepy dolls, but it mostly remains a spooky mystery.


October 31 • 4:00 AM

The Power of Third Person Plural on Support for Public Policies

Researchers find citizens react differently to policy proposals when they’re framed as impacting “people,” as opposed to “you.”


October 30 • 4:00 PM

I Should Have Told My High School Students About My Struggle With Drinking

As a teacher, my students confided in me about many harrowing aspects of their lives. I never crossed the line and shared my biggest problem with them—but now I wish I had.


October 30 • 2:00 PM

How Dark Money Got a Mining Company Everything It Wanted

An accidentally released court filing reveals how one company secretly gave money to a non-profit that helped get favorable mining legislation passed.


October 30 • 12:00 PM

The Halloween Industrial Complex

The scariest thing about Halloween might be just how seriously we take it. For this week’s holiday, Americans of all ages will spend more than $5 billion on disposable costumes and bite-size candy.


October 30 • 10:00 AM

Sky’s the Limit: The Case for Selling Air Rights

Lower taxes and debt, increased revenue for the city, and a much better use of space in already dense environments: Selling air rights and encouraging upward growth seem like no-brainers, but NIMBY resistance and philosophical barriers remain.


October 30 • 9:00 AM

Cycles of Fear and Bias in the Criminal Justice System

Exploring the psychological roots of racial disparity in U.S. prisons.


October 30 • 8:00 AM

How Do You Make a Living, Email Newsletter Writer?

Noah Davis talks to Wait But Why writer Tim Urban about the newsletter concept, the research process, and escaping “money-flushing toilet” status.



October 30 • 6:00 AM

Dreamers of the Carbon-Free Dream

Can California go full-renewable?


October 30 • 5:08 AM

We’re Not So Great at Rejecting Each Other

And it’s probably something we should work on.


October 30 • 4:00 AM

He’s Definitely a Liberal—Just Check Out His Brain Scan

New research finds political ideology can be easily determined by examining how one’s brain reacts to disgusting images.


October 29 • 4:00 PM

Should We Prosecute Climate Change Protesters Who Break the Law?

A conversation with Bristol County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Sam Sutter, who dropped steep charges against two climate change protesters.


October 29 • 2:23 PM

Innovation Geography: The Beginning of the End for Silicon Valley

Will a lack of affordable housing hinder the growth of creative start-ups?


October 29 • 2:00 PM

Trapped in the Tobacco Debt Trap

A refinance of Niagara County, New York’s tobacco bonds was good news—but for investors, not taxpayers.


October 29 • 12:00 PM

Purity and Self-Mutilation in Thailand

During the nine-day Phuket Vegetarian Festival, a group of chosen ones known as the mah song torture themselves in order to redirect bad luck and misfortune away from their communities and ensure a year of prosperity.


October 29 • 10:00 AM

Can Proposition 47 Solve California’s Problem With Mass Incarceration?

Reducing penalties for low-level felonies could be the next step in rolling back draconian sentencing laws and addressing the criminal justice system’s long legacy of racism.


October 29 • 9:00 AM

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Brain

Neuroscientists find less—but potentially stronger—white matter in the brains of patients with CFS.


October 29 • 8:00 AM

America’s Bathrooms Are a Total Failure

No matter which American bathroom is crowned in this year’s America’s Best Restroom contest, it will still have a host of terrible flaws.


Follow us


Levels of Depression Could Be Evaluated Through Measurements of Acoustic Speech

Engineers find tell-tale signs in speech patterns of the depressed.

We’re Not So Great at Rejecting Each Other

And it's probably something we should work on.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Brain

Neuroscientists find less—but potentially stronger—white matter in the brains of patients with CFS.

Incumbents, Pray for Rain

Come next Tuesday, rain could push voters toward safer, more predictable candidates.

Could Economics Benefit From Computer Science Thinking?

Computational complexity could offer new insight into old ideas in biology and, yes, even the dismal science.

The Big One

One town, Champlain, New York, was the source of nearly half the scams targeting small businesses in the United States last year. November/December 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.