Traditionally, the term describes a slightly alcoholic grain brew (mostly not yet seasoned with hops) for domestic use as early as the Middle Ages ( Kovent ). This thin beer was consumed by all family members, including children, mostly with every meal or as beer soup , not least because of the lack of clean drinking water .
Later, in addition to private production, thin beer was also produced in breweries, mainly again for servants and poor people. This drink, also called Nachbier or edible beer , in northern Germany also called Cofent , was usually made by using the spent grain again after producing the normal "thick beer" to make another brew.
In the past , thin beer used to be a derogatory term for poorly brewed beer with a low malt content. The term is also used to denote stale and spicy "fashion beers" or foreign beers (mainly of US origin).
- Georg Heinrich Zincke : General Economic Lexicon 6th Edition Leipzig 1800, Sp. 574