From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: re: Rheinheitsgebot
Date: 1989-05-19 15:02:14 GMT

From: John S. Watson <>
"Do homebrews meet the Reinheitsgebot (German beer purity) Laws?
"Does anyone have a list of them?

The original Rheinheitsgebot demands that you put only barley malt, water,
and hops into your beer. It had been ammended to allow for yeast as well.
Wheat beers may have, of course, wheat added.

"What are some of the things that are commonly done to violate them?
"(Like, what is it the Bud puts in the beer to give you a hangovers.)

There are lots of possibilities. Any form of fermentable not derived
from barley malt is a biggy (e.g., corn, rice). Adding extra enzymes
(like Miller Lite) and clarifying agents, which technically don't stay
in the beer, are still prohibited. Heading and coloring agents are a no-no.

"And lastly, would my homebrew meet the Reinheitsgebot laws? (I brew
"with a generic "California Light" extract syrup, with some specialty grains,
"flower hops and spring water.) I don't put any chemicals in my beer.
"Are there any pesticides or herbicides lurking in my extract or hops?

Do you use priming sugar? Uh-uh. Are you using unmalted barley? Do you
know that your extract supplier is following the rules as well? (Might
be some caramel color in that extract.)

I don't know what German law says (or said) about contaminants obtained with
the primary ingredients. Although not as prevalent as it once was, hops are
often sulfured, and I wouldn't doubt for an instant that there are pesticides
used in the industry that make there way into the final product.

--Darryl Richman

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