German beer purity law
In the Middle Ages, brewers used a variety of additives to give the beer a special taste and aroma. For example, sometimes they replaced hops by bitter and even poisonous intoxicating herbs. Such impurities often led to serious illnesses and poisonings. Due to the poor Barley crop, they replaced it by other grain products, in such cases often used cheaper oats.
Meanwhile, in those days, investigated the beneficial properties of beer and it was determined that beer brewed only from barley malt, hops and water, has a beneficial effect on the human body.
In 1516, the Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria introduced the beer purity law for all, known today as «Reinheitsgebot», requiring only brew beer from barley, hops and water. Use of any other supplements were excluded. This “commandment purity” became a kind of standard quality Bavarian beer.
There was not mentioned about yeast, because in the Middle Ages people did not know about the activities of microorganisms that affect the main stage of beer making – fermentation. Only after the discovery of Louis Pasteur biological essence of fermentation (1860), was begun a purposeful use of yeast in brewing.
Later, in the 80s of the XIX century, thanks to the works of Emil Christian Hansen, and later, in the 90s, of Paul Lindner, were obtained methods of getting a pure culture of brewer’s yeast. These discoveries were decisive in the brewing theory and obtaining of multiple sorts of beer with precise flavouring characteristics. In medieval law was amended, allowing the usage of yeast.
At the end of the XIX century, Bavarian beer purity law, on the initiative of Otto Bismarck, was legally extended to the whole of Germany. Currently, the law of purity officially abolished, but the German brewers observe old traditions, refusing unmalted cereals, sugar, enzyme preparations, preservatives, stabilizers and other additives, pointing to the beer label «Gebraut nach dem deutschen Reinheitsgebot von 1516″ – “Brewed according to the German purity law of 1516 “or simply” 1516. ”