The German Beer Purity Law, also referred to as the Reinheitsgebot, was first introduced in 1516 when the two Dukes of Bavaria declared barley, hops and water to be the only acceptable ingredients in making beer. At the time, pale and crisp styles of beer were gaining popularity, but because the process required wheat, brewers were quickly depleting the supply of cereal grains needed to make bread. The new decree was meant to standardize beer prices and drive down competition of wheat. Despite the Dukes’ ban, wheat beers were still made commercially and enjoyed in people’s homes. We now refer to these wheat beers as Weissbier or Hefeweizen.
Today, the German Beer Purity law includes four ingredients – grain, hops, yeast and water. Yeast was initially excluded due to the general lack of knowledge of how yeast affects fermentation. However, brewers guilds have identified the use of yeast dating back to the 1400s.
Although, the Reinheitsgebot originated in Bavaria, several U.S. breweries have adapted the beer purity law to ensure quality and standardization. To keep their beers void of any contaminants, many brewers use oil-free air compressors to supply the air needed for equipment process control, wort aeration and powering their onsite nitrogen generators. The oil-free equipment keeps processes clean without the risk of oil infiltrating and ruining the end product.
Next time you’re enjoying a Bavarian beer, don’t forget how oil-free compressed air helps keep your beer pure.
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