Monday 11 July 2022

1960 DDR beer ingredients (part two)

A little more on the ingredients in East German beers.

One massive difference with West Germany was the absence of a Reinheitsgebot in the DDR. But it should be remembered that it had never been in force very long in this part of Germany. The law was only applied to the whole of Germany in 1906. Take out the two World Wars and you're only left with around 30 years.

Which doesn't mean all sorts of wacky ingredients were allowed. As we've already seen, sugar was only allowed in one type of beer, Doppel-Caramel. The non-Reinheitsgebot compliance was mostlu manifested through the use of unmalted grain.

"The barley rate refers to the exclusive use of barley malt. When using raw grain, this should be compared with the average amount of air-dried extract. The normal values ​​for the air-dry extract are 75% malt, 80% rice and 65% barley. This results in the following application factors:

Rice 0.94 = 94% of the replaced amount of malt
Barley 1.15 = 115% of the replaced amount of malt.

Up to 25% of brewing malt can be replaced by raw grain, whereby the proportion is determined by instructions from the state planning commission. Rice or a milled product made from barley is understood as raw grain.

The composition of the barley brewing malts is left up to the manufacturer. Wheat malt must be used for Weissbier.

Water must comply with the requirements of § 2 of the regulation on the treatment of foodstuffs in the food trade of August 25th, 1956 (GBL.I, 1956, page 780). The manufacturer is free to decide how much cultured beer yeast to add according to the type of beer.

In the case of "Deutsches Porter", in addition to cultured beer yeast, Saccharomyces Brettanomyces is also permitted, for wheat beer, a type of cultured beer yeast and the bacterium Delbruckii. Biological acidification - mash or wort - with bacterium Delbruckii is permitted."
1960 TGL 7764, page 2.

Important there is the "Up to 25%". From evidence I've seen from a specific small brewery, it was usually no more than 20%. In posh styles like Pilsator, less than that. And a few beers intended for export - such as Wernesgrüner and Radeberger - were brewed all-malt.

I found the grains used slightly surprising. Well, one of them: rice. Which seems a bit exotic to me. Though, quickly polling a former DDR citizen (Dolores) revealed that rice was always available in the shops. She has no idea where it came from.

The final paragraph is dead interesting. Confirming the use of Brettanomyces in Porter and Lactobacillus delbruckii in Berlier Weisse. The latter also had to include wheat malt, which wasn't the case in West Berlin. 

Almost forgot. Souring of the "mash or wort". That sounds like like souring and fermentation souring. Very interesting that kettle souring was specifically allowed.


Matt said...

I'd guess that the rice came from Vietnam, one of the world's biggest producers and exporters, with which East Germany had close political and economic links, including sixty thousand Vietnamese guest workers living there by the late 80s.

Rob Sterowski said...

Off the top of my head, I’d speculate that rice would be plentiful in the DDR at least up until the time of the Sino-Soviet split, presumably China was supplying it in exchange for machine tools or similar DDR exports.

Rob Sterowski said...

And as such trade might well have left the DDR with more rice than its citizens really wanted to eat, why not put it in the beer?

Pure speculation of course, but it might be interesting to see whether later editions of the TGL still talk about rice.

Chris said...

No, the important export breweries got the best quality malt. These beers were exported to the West to earn money. In order to produce enough beer for the home market they had to use adjuncts.

Ron Pattinson said...


I don't think it was a shortage of materials that led to the use of adjuncts. One of the two used at this point was unmalted barley. I suspect in its like in the UK during WW II. There was plenty of barley, but some was used in unmalted form. Why? Because it saved on energy and labour.

Anonymous said...

India was also a major post war rice producer and a big trade partner with the Soviet bloc, for what it's worth. Whether that means these two things connected to mean DDR rice was Indian I don't know.

Chris said...


sorry to contradict you. The malting facilities were needed for the premium barley in order to produce export beers. The reason they used unmalted barley is simple. This barley didn't fullfill the TGL-standards for malting barley "Braugerste". So it wasn't malted. Don't forget we talk about Germany in the 1950/60. Many breweries and malthouses had to be rebuild.

Chris said...

In the end if there was no shortage of materials, as you said, why should we Germans, children of the purity law, use rice instead of malted or unmalted barley?

Ron Pattinson said...


the RHG was only in effect in the parts of Germany that became the DDR for 30 years. Bavarians were children of the purity law, not Prussians and Saxons.

Chris said...

That's right, I know. But the Prussians and Saxions became children of the RHG, otherwise it would be still only a bavarian thing. The whole "Reich" said yes to the RHG. And if the eastern part had enough barley, they would never brew with rice, I think. But it was cheaper, brought more extract and brighter beers. Hope you go on with TGL and DDR beers for a while. Love it.