the forum

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:

Q Is it true you can catch unspeakable diseases by

drinking beer straight out of the can?

A Yes. If there is any possibility that rats have been able to gain access to a storage area , there is a possibility that urine traces may be found on the containers. This can lead to Weil's disease, a rather unpleasant illness which kills a small number of people each year. This has been fairly well reported over the years and yet people still seem happy to swig straight from the can or bottle .

Margery, Bishop's Stortford

A If you are dealing in shrink-wrapped stock there is little chance of rodent contamination. But most people have no idea where the drinks they consume have been stored.

CH, Farnborough

Q Is bottle-conditioned ale a hoax? How do we know the yeast sediment was ever alive in the bottle?


You don't. The idea of bottle conditioning is that the beer gets a new lease of life with some fresh yeast, so fermentation takes place in the bottle - with all the complications that entails. The most obvious of these is the creation of carbon dioxide, which has been known to blow bottles apart - ask any home brewer . It also makes quality control

difficult. I'm not saying all bottle-conditioned beers are unreliable , but I believe you can buy perfectly good beers which do not rely on added yeast.

Adam, Sunderland

A Every beer in my shop is made with the "finest ingredients", according to

labels. Do you seriously think brewers would cut corners with dead yeast?

Clive, Stalybridge

Q I've discovered that one of my team knowingly allowed an old lady to use a £5 note instead of a £10 note because he felt sorry for her. Do I discipline him

And do I ask the customer

for the rest of the money?

SB, London

Q Can anyone recommend a way

of relieving in-store stress without resorting to drink,

locking the door, or punching someone?

Phil, Barnsley