Q: German beer purity law of 1516 (Reinheitsgebot)

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Post by krussader » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:09 am

This is just my personal opinion, but I find that the Reinheitzgebot to be severely outdated. It is fine if you would like to follow it, but I think that you would be safe using softened water for your Pilsner. Just because water is water. The original brewers following the purity laws would just use a local source, they wouldn't alter it, but if you want to adhere to the style as close as possible, go for it. Now pilsners were no where near as popular as ales were before the 19th & 20th centuries, and I thought for them to be served somewhat warm and not really carbonated. So I think they would have used some fresh wort to carbonate it, if it was at all.
The law was passed during an era where there was very little understanding of chemistry or microbiology, if any. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the reason why the laws were first passed was a matter of taxation. It is easy to tax things specific for beer, but it would be hard pressed to be able to tax regular cane sugar since it is has so many different uses, barley and hops ... cannot say I know the last time my mother cooked with them.
Our understanding of beer continually increases, and to withhold it by saying we can only use certain ingredients is almost criminal. Experimentation leads to brilliant discoveries, I cannot see why it should be held back.

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Post by Suthrncomfrt1884 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:07 pm

I think you're overlooking the huge following of period brewing. Lot's of brewer's like to brew this type of beer by those regulations so they know what people back then were drinking and why the enjoyed it.

As for "water is water".... Water is probably the most important part of recreating a beer exactly to style. That's why certain beers originated in certain places, because those water profiles suited that style of beer. That's also why homebrewers get so crazy about their water pH and knowing exactly what's in their water. Maybe your water is neutral, but for most of us, we have to adjust it in some way for certain styles.
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