Author Topic: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'  (Read 4429 times)

Offline BrewBama

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Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« on: February 10, 2017, 02:08:40 PM »
As an alternative to posts that describe use of additives such as chemicals, acids, and other adjuncts, some of which aren't sold in the US, I thought those of us that prefer a more simple approach to pure, all grain brewing could share a thread. I've researched using the latest techniques and exotic chemicals but simple ingredients and methods appeal to me more.

Even though I considered jumping on the bandwagon, I decided to go the other direction. In my Brew Years Resolution post, I resolved myself to more simple grain bills this year. Likewise, I will not be adding anything outside traditional, fresh, natural ingredients (grain, hops, water and yeast) as well as finings to brew my beers. I may employ some of the techniques but the chemicals are not going in my beers.

Background:

1. In performing my research, I contacted a couple of the local breweries. I received this note from one; "I have confirmed with the brewers that we don’t do any additives at all. So yes, we just filter it [water] 3 times and then add nothing back. ...we’ve had no problems so we don’t feel there’s any need."  IOW, they brew everything from Kölsch to Stout without adding minerals, chemicals, or acids. Another local brewer says he only treats for pH.

2. The Reinheitsgebot (literally "purity order"), sometimes called the "German Beer Purity Law" in English, is the collective name for a series of regulations limiting the ingredients in beer in Germany and the states of the former Holy Roman Empire. The best-known version of the law was adopted in Bavaria in 1516, but similar regulations predate the Bavarian order, and modern regulations also significantly differ from the 1516 Bavarian version.

According to the 1516 Bavarian law, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops.  In the mid-1500s Bavaria began to allow ingredients such as coriander, bay leaf, and wheat. Yeast was also added to modern versions of the law after the discovery of its role in fermentation.

The revised Vorläufiges Biergesetz (Provisional Beer Law) of 1993, which replaced the earlier regulations, is a slightly expanded version of the Reinheitsgebot, stipulating that only water, malted barley, hops and yeast be used for any bottom-fermented beer brewed in Germany. In addition, the law allows the use of powdered or ground hops and hops extracts, as well as stabilization and fining agents such as PVPP (aka 'Polyclar'). Top-fermented beer is subject to the same rules with the addition that a wider variety of malts can be used as well as pure sugars for flavor and coloring.

Because of strong German consumer preferences, labeling beer as being compliant with Reinheitsgebot is believed to be a valuable marketing tool in Germany. German brewers have used the law to market German beer internationally, including a failed attempt to have the law added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritages. Some breweries in areas outside of Germany, such as Gordon Biersch in California, Red Oak Brewery in Whitsett, NC, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte, N.C., Namibia Breweries, and Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh, PA, also claim to be compliant to the Reinheitsgebot as part of their marketing.

Having lived in Europe six years, I can attest to their appetite for natural purity and freshness. It's hard for me to believe Germans would knowingly drink beer brewed with chemicals. So, I contacted a German buddy: Andreas Schmatz. He turned me on to Schmucker Bier and the Woinemer Hausbrauerie when I lived there. I explained what was happening and he couldn't even get past 'Why'. "We don't need beer to be preserved. We need to drink it fresh." was his quote in a very thick Odenwälder accent. It was good to talk with him again.  It's been too long.

3. CAMRA defines 'Real Ale' as a beer brewed from traditional ingredients (malted barley, hops, water and yeast). They go on to say it is matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide.

Real ale is also known as ‘cask-conditioned beer', ‘real cask ale', real beer' and ‘naturally conditioned beer.' The term ‘real ale' and the above definition were coined by CAMRA in the early 1970s.

Brewers of Real Ale use ingredients which are fresh and natural, resulting in a drink which tastes natural and full of flavor. It is literally living as it continues to ferment in the cask in your local pub, developing its flavor as it matures ready to be poured into your glass.

I admit that it will be more challenging to meet the Real Ale 'dispense and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide' rule so I may have to bend a little there until I can come to a solution. Though it appeals to me, we'll see.

Cheers!


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Offline bjanat

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2017, 02:19:28 PM »
I personally don't have a problem with chemicals, just want to add that sauergut is all natural, compliant with RHG, and widely used.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2017, 02:23:50 PM »
There is something to gain by using local, or more local, malts in these brews that provide better products.  I agree to brewing salts and minerals but the sulfur content that is driven off by CO2 impedes how fresh I enjoy my wheat beers.  Another week in the primary, so I can't complain too much, but I can't grain to glass in under 2 weeks like I have in the past.

Mean while mash pH adjustments with acid malt or lactic acid in my opinion the better option for the finished beer.  While I agree amazing beer can be made and consumed fresh and deliciously without the need of chemicals.  For most of us thats about 2 cases at a time.

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« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 02:26:56 PM by JJeffers09 »
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Offline The Beerery

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2017, 02:26:29 PM »
Well, I am pure as pure goes when it comes down to brewing. I follow every single RHG compliant method and process. I refuse to add PVPP, and to filter, as I feel thats cheating. I do however add a modest amount of "chemicals" in the form of natural antioxidants. The funny thing is, is that its is talked about in the major german brewing literature, but normally added at filtering and packaging to help with oxidation. I add it a little earlier  8). Technically it may be RHG compliant because it is undetectable. Plus its safe, every wine you have ever had has about 100X the sulfites as my beer.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 02:28:36 PM »
Well, I am pure as pure goes when it comes down to brewing. I follow every single RHG compliant method and process. I refuse to add PVPP, and to filter, as I feel thats cheating. I do however add a modest amount of "chemicals" in the form of natural antioxidants. The funny thing is, is that its is talked about in the major german brewing literature, but normally added at filtering and packaging to help with oxidation. I add it a little earlier  8). Technically it may be RHG compliant because it is undetectable. Plus its safe, every wine you have ever had has about 100X the sulfites as my beer.
To be fair and honest we are talking about beer, the better beverage...

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Offline The Beerery

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2017, 02:29:57 PM »
Well, I am pure as pure goes when it comes down to brewing. I follow every single RHG compliant method and process. I refuse to add PVPP, and to filter, as I feel thats cheating. I do however add a modest amount of "chemicals" in the form of natural antioxidants. The funny thing is, is that its is talked about in the major german brewing literature, but normally added at filtering and packaging to help with oxidation. I add it a little earlier  8). Technically it may be RHG compliant because it is undetectable. Plus its safe, every wine you have ever had has about 100X the sulfites as my beer.
To be fair and honest we are talking about beer, the better beverage...

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I have literally had wine on about 2 occasions in my life, its disgusting!  8)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 02:32:18 PM by The Beerery »

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2017, 02:32:35 PM »
There is a wine for everyone, much like there is a beer for everyone.  The problem I have with wine is they are okay with subpar vintages, they know the product going into the bottle isnt as good as last year but sell them at regular prices.  There is no honor or passion to me in wines, just dumb luck.

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Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2017, 02:35:32 PM »
Personally I have no issue adding chemicals to my beer if it improves it.  Everything is chemicals anyway. 
Dom

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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2017, 02:57:36 PM »
Well, I am pure as pure goes when it comes down to brewing. I follow every single RHG compliant method and process. I refuse to add PVPP, and to filter, as I feel thats cheating. I do however add a modest amount of "chemicals" in the form of natural antioxidants. The funny thing is, is that its is talked about in the major german brewing literature, but normally added at filtering and packaging to help with oxidation. I add it a little earlier  8). Technically it may be RHG compliant because it is undetectable. Plus its safe, every wine you have ever had has about 100X the sulfites as my beer.

The "elegance" of SMB is that when used appropriately, all of it is transformed into a "normal" component of brewing water: SO4. As a professional chemist, I find the word "chemical" to be culturally charged beyond any reason these days. I have given up on trying to make rational arguments about the topic since everyone's mind is already made up one way or another about their perception of the word. Reality doesn't seem to matter.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2017, 02:59:53 PM »
Is SMB a sulfide? If so, does the government require commercial beer with sulfide to label it as such?

Offline The Beerery

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2017, 03:26:35 PM »
Is SMB a sulfide? If so, does the government require commercial beer with sulfide to label it as such?

Only if they exceed 10ppm in the finished beer.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 04:20:11 PM »
Please excuse the novice use of the term 'chemicals'.
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Offline denny

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2017, 04:53:12 PM »
Is SMB a sulfide? If so, does the government require commercial beer with sulfide to label it as such?

It's sulfite, not sulfide.  Been a long time since I was a chem major, but I believe the difference is one O2 molecule.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2017, 05:07:54 PM »
Is SMB a sulfide? If so, does the government require commercial beer with sulfide to label it as such?

It's sulfite, not sulfide.  Been a long time since I was a chem major, but I believe the difference is one O2 molecule.

Denny I think you mean the difference between -ate and -ite, which typically refers to the oxidation state of the non-oxygen component of the anion. "-ites" have a lower oxidation state than "-ates." Thus "ites" can be oxidized into "ates." Nitrites, nitrates, sulfites, sulfates, phosphites, phosphates, etc.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 05:15:17 PM by dilluh98 »

Offline denny

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Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2017, 05:29:24 PM »
Denny I think you mean the difference between -ate and -ite, which typically refers to the oxidation state of the non-oxygen component of the anion. "-ites" have a lower oxidation state than "-ates." Thus "ites" can be oxidized into "ates." Nitrites, nitrates, sulfites, sulfates, phosphites, phosphates, etc.

Thanks...I recalled that part.  But I thought there was something similar with "ides".
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