How to Develop Black and White Film with Beer

What’s the best way for a photographer to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? By visiting the darkroom with a pint of Guinness in hand, of course!

Believe it or not, it is possible to use warm beer to develop black and white film. As a part of his One Year with Film Only project, Vincent Moschetti describes in detail exactly how it’s done.

Besides beer, there are two other necessary ingredients: vitamin C and sodium carbonate (sometimes marketed as washing soda). From there, it’s a matter of dissolving all of the ingredients together and pouring the mixture into a developing tank with a roll of film.

After you’re finished immersing the film in your beer concoction, just rinse the film with water for a minute. Then you can add the stop bath and fixer as you normally would. Once your strip has been thoroughly rinsed, you’ll be pleased to see the results of your Guinness beer.

b&w developed in Guinness

develop film with beer

Though not incredibly contrasty, the gritty look that the beer provides is appealing in its own way. So take a chance. Experiment with this simple yet unique film photography challenge—you may just like what you come up with.

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