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Spirits (to medium high German  gebranter win , since the 16th century in forms such as Brandten WIN , Brenten wine , brantewein ) generally refers to all by burning ( distillation ) prepared Spirits and their blends with more than 15 vol .-% alcohol .

In this sense, but with different minimum alcohol levels and numerous exceptions, the term is used as a sub-area of ​​the alcohol tax (until December 31, 2017, the spirits tax was treated separately under tax law) and in the German Youth Protection Act . The original meaning burnt wine (Latin also vinum distillatum ) is today mostly as brandy called. The EU takes up this meaning again and defines the term in this sense.

Therefore there are two definitions: Brandy denotes

  1. the subject matter of the spirits tax as defined in Section 130 of the German Spirits Monopoly Act (BranntwMonG) ; (Expired in 2017, now part of the Alcohol Tax Act )
  2. According to Annex II No. 4 of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the definition, description, presentation and labeling of spirits and the protection of geographical indications for spirits and the repeal of Regulation (EEC) No. 1576/89 :

"[...] a spirit ,

  • which is obtained exclusively by distillation to less than 86% by volume of wine or branded wine or by re-distillation of a wine distillate to less than 86% by volume,
  • which have a volatile content of at least 125 g / hl r. A. has,
  • which has a maximum content of methanol of 200 g / hl r. A. has.

The minimum alcohol content of brandy is 37.5% by volume [...] "

In this EC regulation, brandy is one of 46 categories of different spirits. This category of the EC regulation includes B. brandy or brandy-based drinks (but "Brandy" or "Brandy" is there also a separate category).


  • Helmut Arntz : Weinbrenner. The story of the spirit of wine. Seewald, Stuttgart 1975, ISBN 3-512-00397-4 .
  • Gundolf Keil : "Aqua ardens". From the short treatise to the profession of brandy distiller. In: Hagen Keller , Christel Meier , Thomas Scharf (eds.): Writing and life practice in the Middle Ages. Capture, preserve, change. Files of the International Colloquium 8. – 10. June 1995 (= Münstersche Medieval Writings. Volume 76). Wilhelm Fink, Munich 1999, pp. 267-278.

Web links

Wiktionary: Brandy  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Herbert Schöppler: A praise of the brandy from the 16th century. In: Communications on the history of medicine and the natural sciences. Volume 13, 1914, p. 443 f.
  2. ^ Gundolf Keil : The German brandy tract of the Middle Ages: texts and source research. In: Centaurus. Volume 7, 1960/61, pp. 53-100.
  3. Doru Todericiu: The brandy recipe in Hans Haasenwein's Sibiu “art book”. In: Sudhoff's archive. Volume 54, 1970, p. 211 f.
  4. Jürgen Martin: The "Ulmer Wundarznei". Introduction - Text - Glossary on a monument to German specialist prose from the 15th century. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1991 (= Würzburg medical historical research. Volume 52), ISBN 3-88479-801-4 , p. 185 (also medical dissertation Würzburg 1990).