From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: HB DIG #153, Rheinheitsgebot
Date: 1989-05-19 15:18:03 GMT

"I believe more important than the ingredients are the contents of
"the brewing water and the brewing process. I hold that one reason
"why American beers are so awful is that strict attention is not
"paid to the proper temperature processes during the brewing.

I believe that you are mistaken on this point. If there is one thing
that the major American brands have, it is process quality control.
You can debate all you like about whether you like the product they
make, but they are world renowned for their consistent ability to make

"This leads to nasties developed in the fermentation that come back
"to haunt you after drinking. I also believe that the poor brews
"I had in Germany were a result of sorry water or inexpensive
"brewing practices by certain Brauereis.

Save for man made contaminants in the brewing water, it seems very
unlikely that the water brings on hangovers. I think you were much
closer to the mark in discussing fermenting practices; many have
attributed hangovers to the content of higher alcohols and fusel oils,
which often result from runaway fermenting temperatures.

I once made a beer in the middle of a typical LA summer, trying out an
idea I had about cooling the beer. It didn't work. The beer smelled
and tasted of soap and had a very harsh, hot character. It was
difficult to drink one of them, so I never was able to gather the
necessary information on hangovers ;-).

"In short, it's possible to brew excellent beers without being
"confined to only the four basic ingredients. And just because
"one follows the Reinheitsgebot, it doesn't mean one is
"guaranteed of good brew.

Absolutely. In fact it is necessary to violate the Rheinheitsgebot
to make many classic styles. (Want to make a dry stout? You need
roasted barley to get the flavor--but it's unmalted and therefore
verboten. Many British and Belgian styles use a variety of sugars
to get their character. And you can't make an American lager without
corn or rice.)

--Darryl Richman

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