Friday, 29 June 2018

Substitutes in German brewing (part two)

More on the history of the Reinheitsgebot and the rules of malt substitutes during the early years of the German Empire.

It's quite a surprise to me to discover just how many restrictions there were in North Germany. I thought they's had pretty much a free hand. Not so.

(Translated from German.)
The following questions were submitted to me by Dr. Schidrowitz, and I have hereinafter answered them to the best of my knowledge and belief :—

1. What are the admixtures to beer that are prohibited—

(a) in Bavaria, and
(b) within the districts under the control of the North German Brewing Tax Union (Norddeutsche Braueteuer gemeinschaft) ?

In the year 1516 the Bavarian civil and police authorities issued a regulation prohibiting the employment of any materials other than barley, hops, and water in the manufacture of beer, both in Upper and Lower Bavaria, while at Nuremberg an order to the same effect had been made as early as the year 1200.

A police regulation of the year 1616 reiterates the prohibition relating to the admixture of foreign substances to beer in regard to Upper and Lower Bavaria.

Under an enactment which was made in 1806 for Upper and Lower Bavaria only, but was extended in the ensuing year to the remaining parts of the kingdom, excise dues were to be charged on beer not, as before, in proportion to the quantity of beer produced, but according to the amount of malt employed in its manufacture. Of substitutes (for malt or hops) this particular order says nothing, inasmuch as prior decrees dealing with that point were then in force, and are so even yet, having never been repealed.

The fact that the employment of substitutes was at no time allowed in Bavaria is borne out by the concluding sentence of the Bavarian Parliament (Landtag) on the 10th of November, 1891, which runs as follows:—

“The use of any substances other than, or any substitutes for, barley, malt, and hops in the preparation of brown beer, continues prohibited."

What is here meant by “brown beer” is low-fermented (as distinguished from high-fermented wheat beer, in the preparation of which the use of wheat malt, together with the ordinary barley malt, was permitted).

Article 7 of the Bavarian Malt Law of the 16th of May, 1868, which was amended in 1889, and is now in operation in its new form, provides:—

"That no substances of any description whatsoever shall, in the manufacture of beer, be added to, or substituted for malt (roasted or air-dried), and no unmalted cereals shall be used either by themselves or in conjunction with malt;”

Article 71 of the same law enacts—

“That whoever contravenes the restrictions herein set forth shall be liable to a fine of from hundred and eighty to five hundred and forty marks."

Now in view of existing precedents supplied by the decisions of the Courts, the construction to be placed upon Article 7 is that the law does not merely prohibit the use of malt substitutes proper, but that it makes the admixture to beer of any substances, whatever their nature, a punishable offence."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 243. 
No surprise that brewing with anything but malt and hops was an offence in Bavaria.

This next list of substances banned everywhere in Germany is interesting.
"Precedent, as established by decisions of the highest tribunals, shows that penalties have been inflicted for additions of salicylic acid, liquorice, caramel, and saccharin; also for making use of liquid carbonic acid in the manufacture of what is known as “champagne beer; "while for clarifying purposes isinglass shavings and other "finings” that will not mix with the beer, but the action of which is purely mechanical, are alone tolerated."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 243.
I'm very surprised to see caramel on that list. I'd thought that was allowed outside Bavaria. I knew saccharin had been forbidden. Which is really odd, because it the 20th century it was llowed in some types of low-gravity, sweet beers. Yet finings were OK, but not CO2. It all seems a bit random. Though I guess that's true today, where all sorts of things used in beer manufacture that don't end up in the finished beer are allowed.

"In the district under the control of the North German Brewing Tax Union the question of the employment of substitutes is settled by the provisions of the Imperial Code (which of course applies to Bavaria as well) relative to the manufacture and sale of food stimulants and articles of daily consumption; for section 10 of that law, dated May 10th 1897, says :—

"A term of imprisonment not exceeding six months and a fine not exceeding one thousand five hundred marks or either of these penalties, are incurred by—

“(1) an person who for purposes of deception in the exercise of commerce and trade imitates or adulteratcs food or stimulants ;

“(2) any person who with guilty knowledge and while concealing the fact sells or puts up for sale under a name designed to deceive or milead any food or stimulant that is deteriorated, imitated, or adulterated."

Under this section of the law the addition of saccharin in substitution for part of the amount of malt required for the production of beer of standard quality was held to be “beer adulteration,” and punished as such by judgment of the Imperial Court under date of March 2nd, 1893, and so was the addition to beer of other than pure grape sugar, by a judgment of the same Court dated March 4th, 1884.

Again, the employment of pure sugar and other malt substitutes is punishable where the beer is given a name such as “Bavarian (or Lager) Beer,” which by implication conveys the idea that no substitutes whatever have been used.
(Judgment of Imperial Court dated December 18th, 1882.)
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 243.
Grape sugar is glucose, by the way.

Interesting that the rules were stricter if you mentioned Bavaria or Lager. Like I said before, all a bit weirdly random.


Phil said...

What's this style "known as 'champagne beer'"? Berlinerweiß or similar?

qq said...

"a regulation prohibiting the employment of any materials other than barley, hops, and water in the manufacture of beer, both in Upper and Lower Bavaria, while at Nuremberg an order to the same effect had been made as early as the year 1200."

REALLY? I've seen references to Nuremberg restricting brewers to barley-only grists during a famine in 1293, but 1200 would be terribly early for hops-only.