2 BEER Uses

Beer makes for a great refreshment, but did you know it has many practical uses as well?

Beer is one of the world's oldest alcoholic substances, dating back to 9500 B.C. It is the world's most widely consumed alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. 

Beer is produced by the saccharification of starch and fermentation of the resulting sugar. The starch and saccharification enzymes are often derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat. Unmalted maize (US: corn) and rice are widely used adjuncts to lighten the flavor and because of their lower cost. The preparation of beer is called brewing. Most beer is flavoured with hops, which add bitterness and act as a natural preservative, though other flavourings such as herbs or fruit may occasionally be included. Some of humanity's earliest known writings refer to the production and distribution of beer: the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours, and "The Hymn to Ninkasi", a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, served as both a prayer and as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.

Today, the brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries.

The strength of beer is usually around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (abv) though may range from less than 1% abv, to over 20% abv in rare cases (as you'll read further down below).

Beer forms part of the culture of beer-drinking nations and is associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling and pub games such as bar billiards.

While beer comes in a variety of colours and flavours, it can also be used for a variety of purposes. Here now are some surprising ways you can use beer around the home and more - other than pouring it down your throat:

The Many Uses of Beer:

  • Soften up tough meat.  Who needs powdered meat tenderizer when you have some in a can? You guessed it: Beer makes a great tenderizer for tough, inexpensive cuts of meat. Pour a can over the meat, and let it soak in for about an hour before cooking. Even better, marinate it overnight in the fridge or put the beer in your slow cooker with the meat.

  • Polish gold jewelry.  Get the shine back in your solid gold (i.e., minus any gemstones) rings and other jewelry by pouring a bit of beer (not dark ale!) onto a soft cloth and rubbing it gently over the piece. Use a clean second cloth, and then off with another dry cloth.

  • Remove tea and coffee rug stains.  Getting that coffee or tea stain out of your rug may seem impossible, but you can literally lift it out by pouring a bit of beer right on top. Rub the beer lightly into the material, and the stain should disappear. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times to remove all traces of the stain.
  • Clean wood furniture.  Have you got some beer that's old or went flat? Use it to clean wooden furniture. Just wipe it on with a soft cloth, and then off with another dry cloth.
  • Use as a setting lotion.  Put some life back into flat hair with some flat beer. Before you get into the shower, mix 3 tablespoons beer in ½ cup warm water. After you shampoo your hair, rub in the solution, let it set for a couple of minutes, then rinse it off. You may be so pleased by what you see, you'll want to keep a six-pack in the bathroom.
  • Beer batter for fish:  1 12oz bottle of beer
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons paprika
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    1 egg, beaten
  • Enhance your chilliOne of the best ways to add flavor and a little extra liquid to a chili is with a nice bottle of beer. Use the darker beers — they have more flavor and add more punch.
  • Get rid of brown spots on your lawn.  Those unsightly brown spots on your lawn where your dog visits frequently can get to you after awhile.  Have no fear!  Beer is here!  Spraying either home brew or Rolling Rock (both are chemical-free) on those annoying brown spots in your lawn, should do the trick!  The acids in beer kill off fungi and pests, and the fermented sugars feed the grass.
  • Fertilize your indoor plants: Yep, they like beer too. You don’t want to over-do it with indoor plants since they are contained and not subject to the cleansing distribution of rain. Use flat beer, just a small amount at the base of the plant.
  • Get rid of mice: If you don’t have a cat, a small amount of beer placed in a pail will help take care of a mouse problem, especially if you prefer to capture mice in a humane fashion. Just put an inch or so of beer in the pail, place some type of ramp, such as a piece of wood for the mice to crawl up. The mice fall into the pail and then you can remove your inebriated mice to some place outside.
  • Cockroach trap: Put a piece of bread soaked in beer in a jar. Put Vaseline around the lip of the jar. Roaches are attracted, get in, and can’t get out.
  • Distract bees and wasps from your outdoor gathering: Beer placed in cups around the outskirts of your picnic or barbeque will attract bees and wasps. It's not a long-term wasp control tactic; it’s more like placing difficult relatives at the furthest table.
  • Trap fruit flies: If you keep a compost pail in your kitchen, you will also likely have fruit flies. Just place a jar or can of beer on the kitchen counter. Cover the top with plastic wrap or paper, leaving a small opening for the flies to get into. The fruit flies won’t be able to get back out.
  • Trap slugs and snails: Place dishes or jars of beer around your garden, especially in the evening. In the morning, the slimy critters, which have been drawn by the beer’s aroma/fermentation, will have drowned. What better way to go!
  • Increase breast milk production:  A polysaccharide in the barley used to make beer seems to stimulate prolactin, which helps moms make more milk. Limit the consumption to one a day. (Non-alcoholic beer works even better!)
beer for breastfeeding
  • Put out a fire.   Although certainly not as effective as a real fire extinguisher, a can or bottle of beer can mimic one if none is available. Simply shake and spritz. After all, beer is mostly water. This works on small grill flare-ups, and some people have been known to carry an emergency can in their car in case of engine fire. Or at least that's what they tell the state troopers.
  • Pass a kidney stone.   As you've undoubtedly noticed, beer is a diuretic. It helps flush the kidneys and bladder. This can be beneficial if you're suffering from a bladder infection or kidney stone. "You can drink water or cranberry juice," explains a Dr. Alexander, "but beer also works. It helps dilate the ureters [the tubes connecting the kidneys and bladder], which may help you pass a stone quicker and easier. Plus, the alcohol will take the edge off the pain." But don't drink beer if you're taking antibiotics or narcotic pain medications. You'll render the drugs useless and make yourself sick.
  • Trick a cheap landlord, lol.   Live in an apartment where the landlord pays the heat bill and sets the thermostat pretty low? Ice up a can of beer in the freezer, then set it atop the lockbox that encloses the thermostat. The cold from the beer will trick the thermostat into thinking the temperature has dropped so it'll turn the heat on.
  • Cook rice.  Rinse 1 cup jasmine rice in water. Do it twice more, then drain well. Next, dump the rice into a medium-size pot and add 12 ounces of beer. (A nut-brown ale works well.) Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat to low, and cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from the stove and cool for an additional 10 minutes. The rice won't be lumpy, and it'll have a nuttier flavor -- just like you after you eat it.
  • Bake BEER BREAD (Try saying that 3x fast):
    You already know how to put a bun in the oven. Now it's time to go all the way. Here's a healthful, foolproof recipe for high-fiber beer bread from the book Tailoring Your Taste, by nutritionist Omichinski:


    2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
    2 Tbsp each sugar, baking powder
    1/4 c ground flaxseed
    1 tsp each salt, dried basil, dried rosemary, thyme
    1/2 c unsalted sunflower seeds
    1 Tbsp cooking oil
    12 oz beer, at room temperature

    Mix all the dry ingredients. Add oil and beer. Stir until dough is just mixed. Put dough in a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cool some more.
  • Massage yourself.  A full can of beer is a great self-massage tool, according to Dori Love-Bentley, a certified massage therapist. For instance, take off your shoes and roll a can underfoot. Or put one in the crook of your back or between your shoulder blades and lean back against a wall, rolling it around as you do so. It works just about anywhere -- quads, glutes, neck, calves. "The pressure loosens up muscle tissue," explains Love-Bentley, "and encourages bloodflow to the area."
  • Build your next home.   Earthship homes have walls made of empty beer cans (amongst other things), and concrete. Amy Duke, a spokeswoman, explains that instead of using forms for the cement, builders put down alternating layers of mortar and cans. You can do the same to create retaining walls for gardens and other landscaping. Earthship also contains a thermal-mass refrigerator that uses full cans of beer as insulation. The cans line the walls of the unit, helping keep the temperature constant while minimizing energy usage. A ceiling vent allows frigid desert air to flow in during the night. The beer absorbs this cold, but never freezes because of its alcohol content. When the hatch is closed during the day, the beer releases the coolness. The same thing happens when you open one and drink it.

beer plane

  • Build a model plane. No doubt about it, Duane Mathis is just plane nuts. A pilot and aircraft aficionado, he started building model airplanes out of beer cans about 10 years ago. Now, at his site (www.bcairoriginals.com), he sells the plans for eight categories of beer-can planes, including vintage tri-wings, helicopters, Warhawks, and ones that actually fly. Brings new meaning to the term "getting buzzed."
fish scaler
  • Make a fish scalerDrink about 6-9 beers and save the beer caps, lol.  Then nail or glue them to a sturdy piece of strong hardwood that's roughly 10 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 1/2 inch thick (25cm x 6cm x 1cm). Keep the caps in a line and make sure the serrated edges are facing out. Now you're ready to de-scale those fishes!!

  • Beer blinds?:

Did You Know...

  • The strength of beers has climbed during the later years of the 20th century. Vetter 33, a 10.5% abv (33 degrees Plato, hence Vetter "33") doppelbock, was listed in the 1994 Guinness Book of World Records as the strongest beer at that time, though Samichlaus, by the Swiss brewer Hürlimann, had also been listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the strongest at 14% abv. Since then, some brewers have used champagne yeasts to increase the alcohol content of their beers. Samuel Adams reached 20% abv with Millennium, and then surpassed that amount to 25.6% abv with Utopias. The strongest beer brewed in Britain was Baz's Super Brew by Parish Brewery, a 23% abv beer. In September 2011, the Scottish brewery BrewDog produced Ghost Deer, which, at 28%, they claim to be the world's strongest beer produced by fermentation alone.
    The product claimed to be the strongest beer made is The End of History, a 55% Belgian ale, made by BrewDog in 2010. The same company had previously made Sink The Bismarck!, a 41% abv IPA, and Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a 32% abv Imperial Stout. Each of these beers are made using the eisbock method of fractional freezing, in which a strong ale is partially frozen and the ice is repeatedly removed, until the desired strength is reached, a process that may class the product as spirits rather than beer. The German brewery Schorschbräu's Schorschbock, a 31% abv eisbock, and Hair of the Dog's Dave, a 29% abv barley wine made in 1994, used the same fractional freezing method. Then a 60% abv blend of beer with whiskey was  claimed as the strongest beer by a Dutch brewery in July 2010.

  • In ancient and medieval times the job of making beer fell to women. In some cultures it was considered such an honor that only beautiful or noble women could do it. In medieval Europe brewing was one of a housewife’s regular tasks, just like cooking and cleaning and baby making. Some of these women became famous for being exceptional brewers and started supplying people other than their own families. You never knew what you were getting though. One brewer let her chickens roost over her beer vats and when they defecated would simply stir the refuse into the beer. Yummy.
  • In 1962, Iron City beer was the brand used to test-market the concept of tab opening aluminum cans.
  • By 1970, over 90% of all beer cans were self-opening.
  • Prohibition, beginning on January 16, 1920, lasted 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, 17 hours, and 32-1/2 minutes, and was rescinded on December 5, 1933, at 3:32 p.m.
  • Centuries ago in England, pub visitors used a novel innovation that enabled them to get their beer served quickly. They used mugs with a whistle baked into the rim, the whistle being used to summon the barmaid. It has been suggested this practice gave birth to the phrase “wet your whistle.”
  • A beer lover or enthusiast is called a cerevisaphile.
  • There is an Egyptian beer, called bousa, that is brewed from millet and has been a favorite drink of many for over 3,000 years. Modern Ethiopia has a version made from wheat. It has been hypothesized that this might have been the origin for the word “booze.” Other spellings used are boza, bouza, and booza. Take your pick.
  • In Australia on Easter weekend in 2001, a beer truck blew a tire and overturned into a river. The driver was able to escape but his cargo sank to the bottom of the river. Hearing about the accident, people gathered at the scene, some in full scuba gear, and spent the entire weekend recovering the beer. One man managed to get 400 bottles. Did they return it to the company? Of course not. Despite a warning from police that what they were doing was theft, the divers took off with the whole lot.
  • The few beer producers who weren’t women tended to be monks. Monasteries have a rich history of brewing beer in order to refresh tired travelers and to sell to make money to run the monastery. Today some still have active breweries, especially the Trappist Monks in Belgium and the Netherlands. Trappists make beer in order to remain entirely self-sufficient, allowing them to run their monasteries on the money they make from the brewery and that alone. So, strangely, while some religions look down upon or even forbid the consumption of alcohol, others have making beer as a tenant of their doctrine. The most famous monk-made beer produced today is probably Chimay and Rochefort.
  • The Sumerians around 2000 BC really loved beer. Their plaques and carvings often center on people or gods drinking from large jars of beer. A hymn to one of their most important goddesses, Ninkasi, is actually a very detailed explanation of how to make beer; this was helpful in a society that was almost entirely illiterate. Want to make some beer but can’t read the recipe? Just start reciting the hymn and you’re set. Beer was so important that the average Sumerian couldn’t be bothered to stop drinking it for anything apparently, as there is a carving of a woman drinking out of a beer jug in the middle of sexual intercourse. That’s some dedication to your booze.

Main-Photo credit: dibytes


  1. You missed one. Let's say you're in a biology class, a vertebrate zoology class, and you're carefully cutting open up a dead bird to remove its innards and then fill it with cotton, etc for future classes. What happens if you cut too deep and blood gets on the beautiful colorful feathers.
    Pour beer on the blood, the beer lifts the blood immediately, the feathers clean up and you get an A on the project.