Beer is a drink that is obtained from starchy substances through fermentation and is not distilled. During the production of the mostly carbonated drink, hops or other spices are often added, such as fruits , herbs such as grut or other spices .
Wine and beer are made by fermenting sugar . For wines, sugars from plant or animal sources ( e.g. honey ) are fermented, while the raw material for the production of sugar in beer is always starch . The sugar is obtained from the starch of cereals ( barley , wheat , rye , oats , millet , rice , maize ) by malting or other enzymatic processes, less often starch is used from potatoes or other vegetables such as peas .
The alcohol content of most types of beer in Germany and Austria is between 4.5% and 6%, depending on the type, even more. Alcohol-free beers are produced using two different methods - stopping fermentation or extracting the alcohol from normal beers.
The etymology is unclear. There are different approaches to explaining the origin of the word “beer”, none of which has yet been able to establish itself in the linguistic sciences. However, the word forms in the historical forms of German and its related Germanic languages are certain, such as Old High German bior , Middle High German beer , Middle Low German ber , Anglo-Saxon beor , Old Frisian biar and Old Norse bjórr . The two most important dictionaries on the etymology of the German language, by Pfeifer et al. and Kluge / Seebold, list the following theories of derivation:
- to the Indo-European root * bhreu with consonant shift also * bherw , to which the verb brew , as well as Latin defrutum "(boiled) must" and Greek-Thracian brytos for "barley beer" belong
- too late Latin beaver "drink"
- to Indo-European root b (h) u b * (e) u-, * bh (e) u-, * "inflate, swell," then would beer, germ. * beuza- , as "the intumescent bubble throwing" to understand
A word for beer that is no longer used in German is the Germanic Äl (cf. English Ale , Danish øl , Swedish oil or Finnish olut ).
The oldest known brewery was in the Rakefet Cave (today Israel) in the area of the Natufien culture around 13,000 years ago. The oldest traditional beer recipe is around 5000 years old and comes from China. There is early evidence of beer from the ancient Mesopotamian region. The Egyptians fermented half-baked bread with water and thus got a kind of beer. The Celts knew several types of beer, in particular the widespread korma or curma , a simple barley beer, and the cervisia or cervesia (cf. Spanish cerveza ), a wheat beer with honey for the wealthy population.
In the Middle Ages , beer was still brewed from many different ingredients. Beer was mainly brewed with top-fermenting yeast . It was not until the 13th and 16th centuries that herbal beers were increasingly displaced by hop beer in Central Europe .
The name jokingly used today for beer as "liquid bread" has a serious historical background: In earlier times beer was considered a suitable drink for children because it had a lower alcohol content and was largely germ-free due to the boiling of the wort , which was not the case with the drinking water of the time could be asserted. In times of bad harvests and hunger, it was an important addition to the often scarce food because of its calorie content , since inferior grain did not have to be thrown away, but rather became halfway enjoyable by brewing beer. In the 17th century, monks took over the term for their fasting beer, because liquid food does not break the fast.
In view of the high beer consumption in the Middle Ages and in the early modern period, beer was of great interest to the city's tax authorities and the state tax authorities that emerged around 1500. Already in the late Middle Ages, production and sales taxes were levied on beer almost everywhere.
There were beer cellars in natural caves in many places. When beer could be stored in cold stores, which the Viennese brewer Adolf Ignaz Mautner von Markhof developed under the patent name "Normal-Bierlagerkeller System Mautner", even at low temperatures, the bottom - fermented brewing method soon caught on. The bottom-fermented lager was already brewed by Anton Dreher in Schwechat and by Adolf Ignaz Mautner in Vienna in 1841 ; this heralded the era of bottom-fermented beers. An important point in the history of bottom-fermented beer brewing is the "invention" of the Pilsner brewing method . It emerged from the Bavarian type of brewing , which was already famous at the time , and was based primarily on only slightly dried malt and on slow fermentation through storage in cold caves and deep cellars. Josef Groll brewed the first Pilsner brew on October 5, 1842. This was first served publicly on November 11, 1842 and thus opened the worldwide triumph of this beer specialty, which is sold as the Original Pilsner Urquell .
In Germany , beer is brewed according to the Beer Ordinance of 2005 based on the Beer Tax Act , colloquially known as the Purity Law . Beer is the most consumed alcoholic drink in Germany and many other countries.
In Austria , commercial production with the Hofstetten brewery in Upper Austria dates back to 1229. In the further Middle Ages, numerous monastery breweries emerged, which were only pushed back by house breweries in the 15th and 16th centuries. Beer was produced with top-fermenting yeast until the 19th century, but that changed suddenly with the invention of compressed yeast by Mautner. With the Schwechat lager , Austria became one of the most important beer exporting countries. The Austrian brewers achieved numerous awards at the Paris World Exhibition in 1867 . In the past, much more wine than beer was drunk in the wine regions - in Vienna there was three times as much wine as beer in 1732 - that changed by the end of the 18th century. During the pre -March period in the middle of the 19th century, beer became a fashionable drink for intellectuals, civil servants, students and artists. At the beginning of the 21st century, the average per capita beer consumption in Austria was around 105 liters per year, with lager and Märzen being the most common types. Due to the long history of beer production, the drink was included in the register of traditional foods.
In 2018, German breweries produced 87 million hectoliters of alcoholic beer, 24 million hectoliters of all kinds (including yeast wheat) came from Bavaria, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia with 19 million hectoliters (including Alt and Kölsch). Of the 1539 breweries recorded, the 853 small operations with less than 1000 hl / year form the largest group. In 2017, 85 new businesses with less than 1000 hectoliters were created.
When brewing beer, the beer ingredients water, malt and hops are mixed with one another and biochemically changed through fermentation (usually with the addition of top or bottom fermented yeast). Basically, depending on the ratio of barley malt, hops and the flow of water added, the Munich (or Bavarian), Dortmund and Pilsen brewing types are differentiated.
After malt has been made from grain, mostly barley, it is crushed . The actual brewing process begins with mashing . Water is heated to around 60 ° C, then the crushed malt is added and the resulting mash is heated to around 75 ° C, depending on the process, with constant stirring. At different resting temperatures, enzymes convert the starch from the malt into malt sugar . Alternatively, parts of the mash are boiled, which leads to a physical gelatinization of the starch. With an iodine sample is then determined whether the dissolved starch is completely saccharified. The mash is then purified in the lauter tun . The grains and wort (the liquid, fermentable part of the mash) are separated from each other. The wort is rinsed out of the spent grains by adding hot water and then boiled in the pan with hops and / or other herbs. The brewer calls the following process knocking out. The brew is pumped from the wort kettle into a whirlpool or through a filter to separate the coagulated protein and other suspended matter from the wort . Finally, the liquid, now called pitch wort, is cooled to the ideal fermentation temperature in a cooler and the appropriate yeast culture is added depending on the type of beer .
Top- fermenting yeasts ferment at temperatures between 18 ° C and 24 ° C, bottom-fermenting yeast at 8 ° C to 14 ° C. During alcoholic fermentation , the sugars dissolved in the wort become ethanol and carbon dioxide . The gas remains partially bound in the finished beer under pressure as carbonic acid . After the main fermentation, which lasts about a week, the young beer has to ferment and store for another four to six weeks. The matured beer is often filtered again and finally filled into bottles , kegs or cans .
Samples are regularly taken from the bottled beer in the breweries and subjected to a sensory assessment. A distinction is made between
- Taste: bitter, salty, sweet, sour, full-bodied, tart, mild,
- Smell: aromatic fruity, fragrant floral, resinous / nutty, cereal-like, caramel-like, soapy, sulphurous, musty,
- Appearance: clear, bright, opal and cloudy
The aim is, as with the chemical-technical parameters monitored during the entire brewing process, to ensure consistent quality for the individual products and to detect errors in good time. If there are deviations from the various quality standards of the respective brewery, an attempt is made to achieve the operating standards by blending with other batches.
Sensory tests are carried out when comparing different types of beer and beer brands. In addition, attention is often paid to the variety and region-specific purity . The taste test is divided into initial , middle and finish . The sampling includes the visual impression, in addition to the color of the liquid, the resistance and pore size of the beer foam is assessed. These characteristics allow conclusions to be drawn about the quality of the beer.
Classification of beers
Beers are classified according to different criteria.
Classification according to original wort content
Due to tax and food law considerations, the legislature divides beers into different types. The alcohol content and the original wort content are used for assessment.
The original wort content indicates how much extract is contained in the wort. The original wort is determined at the end of the cooking process in the wort kettle, immediately before being knocked out using an extract spindle . This value is given in weight or weight percent. This means that a beer with 12% original wort contains 120 g of extract in 1000 g of liquid. The rule of thumb is that the alcohol content corresponds to 30 to 40% of the original wort specification, as the extract is broken down in roughly equal parts during fermentation into carbon dioxide, alcohol and non-fermentable substances.
In Germany, beer types are subdivisions under tax law that are defined by the original wort content.
- Simple beer with an original wort of 1.5% to 6.9%,
- Draft beer with an original wort of 7.0% to 10.9%,
- Whole beer with an original wort of 11.0% to 15.9%,
- Strong beer from an original wort of at least 16.0%,
- Mixed beer beverages are beers with the addition of soft drinks or fruit juices as well as exotic additions such as tequila aroma or energy drinks
- Gap beers are all beers that fall between the old classifications that were valid before 1993 and that were previously not allowed to be brewed. There are beers with contents of 0.0% to 2.5%, 5.0% to 7.0%, 8.0% to 11.0% and 14.0% to 16.0%. These are only permitted through the new beer tax regulation , in which the original wort is directly relevant.
The following classifications apply in Austria:
- Draft beer with 9 to <11 degrees original gravity,
- Vollbier with 11 to <16 degrees original wort, the most popular beer in Austria (such as Pils , lager or Märzen beer ),
- Special beer with at least 12.5 degrees original wort as well
- Strong beer with at least 16.0% original wort, usually more. This beer has a correspondingly high alcohol content (such as buck, Easter, Pentecost, Christmas beers, porter ).
In Switzerland the terms for beer are:
- Lager beer with 10.0% to 12.0% original wort,
- Special beer (Swiss name for Pils, see there ) with 11.5% to 14.0% original wort,
- Strong beer with at least 14.0% original wort,
- Light beer with an alcohol content of up to 3.0% by volume and
- Low-carbohydrate beer with an original wort content of 8.0% to 9.0%, an alcohol content of no more than 4.5% and a carbohydrate content of no more than 7.5 g per liter.
Classification according to yeast types
The following types of beer differ according to the type of yeast used.
|Top-fermented beers||Bottom-fermented beers|
The term top-fermented beer is based on the fact that in top-fermented beers the yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae ) rose to the surface during fermentation in classic brewing processes. In modern brewing processes, like bottom-fermenting yeast, it sinks to the bottom after fermentation. The higher fermentation temperatures (15 ° C to 22 ° C) required for top fermentation lead to an increased formation of fruit esters and higher alcohols by the yeast. These often give the beers a fruity aroma. In the past, top-fermented beers were often marketed directly after the main fermentation without storage. They were not pounded and generally only had a short shelf life . Nowadays, storage is carried out similar to that of bottom-fermented beers.
In bottom-fermented beers, the yeast ( S. carlsbergensis ) sinks to the bottom of the fermentation tank after the fermentation process. They are, so to speak, "developed" beers that require a certain maturation period. Their production requires maturing at temperatures below 10 ° C. For this reason, for example, Märzen could only be brewed until March, which is where it got its name from.
In spontangärigen beers no yeast is added. Instead, the local, free-flying yeast spores in the open fermentation vat are used to stimulate fermentation. It is the oldest way of fermenting the wort and dates from the time when the yeast was still unknown to humans. Spontaneous beers include:
can be brewed both bottom and top fermented. It is made with the addition of smoked malt, which gives it its smoky taste.
is a type of beer that uses top-fermented and bottom-fermented yeast for its production: top-fermented yeast is used for the wheat beer component and bottom-fermented yeast for the pils component. Both components are initially produced separately, final fermentation and maturation take place together. Weißbierpils combines the malty, sparkling and fruity taste of wheat beer with the refreshing properties of pils.
Most “ non-alcoholic beer” still contains a small amount of residual alcohol. The alcohol content is between 0.02% and 0.5%, depending on the manufacturing process. Most fruit juices naturally contain comparable amounts of alcohol through fermentation processes. Beers with 0.0% ethanol have only been available since 2006. For dry alcoholics, pregnant women, drivers and children, the alcohol content of a bottle of alcohol-free beer is not a problem, but for psychological reasons, alcohol-free beer is not safe, especially for alcoholics.
There are two different manufacturing processes: interrupting the fermentation process at an alcohol content of 0.5%, as is done with malt beer ; or the subsequent removal of ethanol up to the desired alcohol content. If fermentation is interrupted prematurely, a low-extract wort with 7–8% original wort content is used. For the removal of alcohol from normal beer either a method is used in which, by reverse osmosis through a membrane or over a vacuum - evaporator , the alcohol content is reduced. In some cases, a combination of reverse osmosis and distillation is used, in which the ethanol and water permeate that has passed through the membrane is distilled off and the remaining water, with any other flavorings, is returned to the concentrate remaining behind the membrane. In Germany, the market share of non-alcoholic beers was 3.5% in 2009, rose to around 5% in 2015 and has stagnated at around 7.5% since 2017
Mixed beer beverages
Beer is also offered mixed with other drinks. Mostly it is mixed with soft drinks or fruit juices. They usually consist of at least 50% beer. These mixed drinks are increasingly being marketed as finished products. For a long time, however, mixtures have been known that were only prepared in pubs immediately before consumption. The mixed drinks with the highest sales in Germany are beer / lemonade mixes with a share of over 40 percent, i.e. v. a. Cyclist.
Beer consumption and brewing economy
In 2009, beer consumption in the EU was 359 million hectoliters . According to "The Brewers of Europe", this corresponds to a decrease of 15 million hl (minus four percent) compared to the previous year. 66 million hectoliters were exported from the EU.
"The Brewers of Europe" estimate the turnover of the 2,800 European breweries at 39 billion euros . Among these were 1247 German breweries, of which almost 1000 have a beer output of less than 50,000 hl per year. The Federal Statistical Office named the number of 1319 breweries for 2008, of which 1193 remained below the annual production volume of 50,000 hl. These include a large number of small breweries below 5000 hl (963), which justify the variety of beer types in Germany. There have been more than 1,000 breweries in the UK since August 2012.
This is followed by Austria with 140 breweries (including around 60 in-house breweries established in 1980), Belgium with 140 breweries and Poland with 65 breweries. A total of around 400 million hl are produced in Europe, making production the largest in the world, ahead of China with 250 million hl and the USA with 230 million hl.
In the first half of 2004, 51.8 million hl of beer were sold in Germany, 0.3 million hl more than in the same period of the previous year. The sale of non-alcoholic beers and malt beer as well as beer imported from non- EU countries are not included . Mixed beer beverages accounted for 1.3 million hl of beer sales in the first half of 2004. 87% of the beer sales in the first half of 2004 were intended for domestic consumption in Germany and were taxed. The tax-free sales amounted hl 6.7 million: 5.1 million hl of which went to the EU countries, 1.5 million hl in third countries and 103,627 hl as house drink to the workers of the breweries.
While a German citizen drank 127.5 l of beer in 1999, it was only 115.5 l in 2004 and only 112.5 l in 2007. In Bavaria in particular, however , the average was higher at 155.4 l. In the wine regions of the Palatinate, however, a lower average value of 69.1 l per capita was recorded. The custom of drinking beer every day was practiced by 14% of German men, compared to 1.7% for women. In 2017, the annual beer consumption per capita was 101.2 liters.
According to the Federal Statistical Office , the consumption of alcoholic beer in Germany has continued to decline annually since 1992 from 115 million hl to 88 million hl in 2007. The National Consumption Study II determined in 2008 a consumption of 92.3 l beer among men and 14.2 l Beer for women in the year.
4.62 million hectoliters of beer were consumed in Switzerland in 2017. Of this, 3.46 million hectoliters were produced by Swiss breweries and 1.59 million hectoliters were imported from 86 countries. At 75%, lager is the most popular, followed by 10% specialty beer (Pilsener brewing style), the remaining 15% is made up of various special beers such as Zwickel, cellar beers, top-fermented beers and mixed beer beverages. The per capita consumption in 2017 was 54.3 liters of beer. With 921 breweries per 8.4 million inhabitants, Switzerland probably has the highest density of breweries in the world. A brewery in Switzerland is a brewery that produces more than 400 liters of beer a year and therefore has to register with the Federal Alcohol Administration and pays between 17 and 34 centimes per liter of beer tax.
In different areas of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the rest of the world, regional names for different sizes of beer glasses, beer bottles , beer barrels and beer cans have been established, some of which have their origin in old (sometimes regional) units of measure.
|Substances||Art||Weight||Required daily requirement|
|Basic substances||carbohydrates||30-40 g|
|carbonic acid||4-5 g|
|Vitamins||B 1 (thiamine)||0.03-0.04 mg||1.0-1.4 mg|
|B 2 (riboflavin)||0.3-0.4 mg||1.2-1.6 mg|
|B 6 (pyridoxine)||0.4-0.9 mg||1.2-1.9 mg|
|H (biotin)||0.005 mg||0.0-0.06 mg or 0.15 mg|
|Nicotinic acid (niacin)||6-9 mg||13-18 mg|
|Folic acid||0.04-0.8 mg||0.4-0.6 or 0.2 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.9-1.5 mg||6 mg|
|elements||potassium||420-570 mg||2000 mg|
|magnesium||80-100 mg||300-400 mg|
|calcium||40-100 mg||1000-1200 mg or 800 mg|
Vitamins and minerals
With moderate consumption, beer can be a good source of many water-soluble vitamins , including the B vitamins riboflavin , folic acid , pantothenic acid , pyridoxine, and niacin . Thiamine is only present in small amounts as it is broken down by the yeast during fermentation. Since alcohol inhibits thiamine absorption, the existing thiamine cannot be used as well. Fat-soluble vitamins are separated out during the brewing process and therefore do not get into the end product. Vitamin C is present in barley and green malt, but it is destroyed during kilning . It is added to some beers as an antioxidant .
Beer is rich in potassium , magnesium , selenium and silicon , but contains little calcium , iron and zinc . The high potassium-sodium ratio makes beer well suited for a low-sodium diet. Since alcohol has a diuretic effect, beer can promote a loss of minerals.
Beer contains numerous aromatic substances that are responsible for the smell and taste. The type and quantity of the aromas differ depending on the type of beer. In addition to alcohol, non-alcoholic beers also contain other aromatic substances only in lower concentrations than conventional beers. A selection can be seen in the following gallery.
Health and risks
As an alcoholic drink, beer can cause strong psychological and, later, physical dependency - i.e. addictive - and lead to alcoholism . Since the consumption of beer and wine in large quantities is socially recognized in many regions and is therefore not considered to be conspicuous behavior, addictive behavior tends to be recognized later by those affected and their surroundings than with other substances.
Heart and circulation
|Type of beer||Polyphenols in mg / L|
|non-alcoholic||366 ± 73|
|camp||452 ± 86|
|Pilsner||484 ± 37|
|wheat||504 ± 44|
|ale||563 ± 52|
|Trappist beer||622 ± 77|
|Buck||875 ± 168|
Beer is an essential source of polyphenolic antioxidants that can protect against arteriosclerosis . In the United States, beer is the third largest source of antioxidants in beverages and is about twice as much per capita as red wine. A protective effect of beer with and without alcohol could be demonstrated in animal models , but the effect was sometimes stronger in alcoholic beer.
For people with gluten intolerance (celiac disease), practically all conventionally brewed beers are not or only to a limited extent suitable for consumption due to the gluten contained in the brewing grain (barley and wheat) . Gluten -free beer is brewed from grains that do not contain gluten . Corn , rice , millet , sorghum or buckwheat are used for this . However, these alternative types of grain can often only be processed inefficiently or have deviations in taste. Traditionally prepared beer or beer-like drinks based on these types of beer are common in various regions of the world, such as Japanese sake made from rice, chicha made from corn in South America or the millet-based drinks Tella , Dolo , Pombe and Merisa in Africa. Industrially produced gluten-free beer is produced using modern brewing methods and the taste is often based on commercial beers.
Promotion of health-related effects
In 2011, the Berlin Regional Court gave the German Brewers Association e. V. (DBB) is forbidden to advertise with positive health-related effects of alcoholic beverages in response to a lawsuit by the consumer advice centers in a competitive process. The DBB had claimed on its website that beer had a beauty-promoting effect, it had preventive effects against heart disease, gallstone and urinary stones and osteoporosis, it reduced the risk of dementia and diabetes. The advertising complained of was not compatible with the rules of a European regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods. The DBB has appealed against the judgment.
Strongest beer in the world
Since brewer's yeast dies from an alcohol content of 12%, supporting processes are required to achieve higher concentrations. These are, for example, the subsequent addition of fresh yeast, the removal of dead yeast cultures, the removal of water ( Eisbock ) or other techniques. Values of over 60% have now been achieved. Since there are no uniform international standards for how these beers may be made, both the records and the drinks themselves should be enjoyed with caution.
- Similar to the wine tasting, there is the beer tasting , where an offer with different types of beer and beer brands is presented to an interested audience. This expert sampling is usually carried out by a beer sommelier.
- One of the internationally best known beer tasters was the Briton Michael Jackson .
- Two barrels of beer were the first freight to be transported by rail in Germany in 1835. That happened on the railway line from Nuremberg to Fürth .
- In Sweden , beer at over 3.5 percent by volume is not freely available in stores, but only in branches of the state chain Systembolaget . In Finland , beer up to 4.7 percent by volume is available in the free trade, while higher-percent beer is only sold in state-run alcoholic stores. In Iceland and the Faroe Islands , supermarkets only sell light beers up to 2.25 % (Iceland) and 2.7 % by volume (Faroe Islands), while other types of beer are available in a few state-owned liquor stores ( Vínbúðin (Iceland) and Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins (Faroe Islands) )) are kept. There are similar regulations for Norway , the limit here being 4.75 vol percent.
- The Codex Hammurapi , one of the oldest collections of laws in the world, is particularly dedicated to beer: numerous paragraphs deal with its production, the price of beer and its allocation. Babylonian provincial administrators and high priests were entitled to a maximum of around five liters per day, while the king's ladies-in- waiting were still entitled to three liters.
- In beer gardens and other bars, beer from barrels is mostly at the chilled temperature. Many people have very individual preferences when it comes to the right temperature, so there are beer warmers to adjust the drinking temperature . There is warm water in a hanging vessel. A beer can be individually tempered by the duration of the use of the beer warmer.
Day of the beer
- The International Day of the beer is celebrated annually since 2008 on the first Friday in August.
- In Switzerland the Swiss beer is celebrated since 19 April 2012, the day.
- The German Brewers Association has been celebrating German Beer Day on April 23 since 1994 .
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- Swiss Beer Day 2014 . ( Memento from August 18, 2014 in the Internet Archive )