German Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot)

13 May, 2021 | Brewing Beer

German Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot)

Originally, beer had only 3 main ingredients in it, Malt, Water, and Hops, which is due to strict rules named the ‘German Purity Law’ of 1516 which was first practiced in Bavaria. They actually used yeast however it wasn’t included as part of the law and wasn’t written down to be included at that time. Yeast would be moved from one brew to the next brew. This would give yeast more of a fixed character in the brewing process.

A true understanding of the science behind the brewing with yeast and the fermentation process never came about until much later. Once this became law in Germany, this then set the price of beer and the price would depend on a few factors, the time of year when it was brewed and the type or style of beer.

Why did they do this?

The Purity law was introduced to prevent price wars with bakers, as they needed to buy wheat and rye. The restriction of barley and grains was to make sure that bread would be at a good price at all times as wheat and rye were used as well by bakers. This rule also restricted imports from having a role in price, as beer from Northern Germany sometimes contained additives that were not present in Bavarian beer.


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