I so far brew beer using two different beer brewing kits. One required adding honey, the other sugar, for the bottling.

First of all - isn't this breaking the reinheitsgebot? As a German I feel obliged to it.

Shouldn't the dextrose produced during mashing be sufficient for sweetness?

Then again I read that the sugar added during bottling is supposed to increase carbonation - not sweetness. But how would sufficient carbonation be ensured without adding sugar (sticking to the reinheitsgebot)?

(my question might seem dogmatic but I am more interested in understanding the underlying processes)

4 Answers 4


Yes. Priming with sugar would break the reinheitsgeboten.

The way you want to go is to retain unfermented mash and add it when bottling takes place.

There's a really handy calculator right here: https://www.brewersfriend.com/gyle-and-krausen-priming-calculator/

  • Do you mean simply mixing the fermented beer with fresh (or retained) wort before bottling? That would certainly replenish available dextrose/maltose.
    – Raffael
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 12:06
  • 1
    Yes. You can either use new wort, or simply remove some before fermentation and keep cooled untill bottling. Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 12:09
  • The calculator offers a way to calculate this with your original wort, and also using new wort that may have a different OG. Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 12:09
  • I guess if you wanted to get technical even force carbonation wouldn't be. With CO2 being added. .. Geek mode. :-) Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 18:27
  • Valid point. 🤔 Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 18:28

The easiest way to not break the Reinheitsgebot rules is to use malt extract. Either liquid or dried. Simple as that. Many people do this and most homebrew books have a way to calculate the amounts. Malt extract is derived solely from malt sugars. Therefore, in essence it is barley and water and then dehydrated. So all you are left with is unfermented wort (with or without hops). This does not break the rules.

The other way to do this is to cask condition during fermentation and bottle under pressure.

  • 1
    Well. Yes. If we're taking this stance then technically speaking he could use beet or cane sugars as well as that's actually allowed according to the current version of the reinheitsgebot. My answer was meant to indicate how he'd do it by the strictest definition possible. That method is also quite fun and effective. Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 18:33
  • 1
    Priming with malt extract is not beet or cane sugar. It's derived from malt. The law states "he only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water." Malt extract is barley, period. When the rheinheitsgebot was written most beer was served flat and not carbonated. Same with yeast, they simply didn't know what it was so it wasn't included in the law. But malt extract is essentially dried beer so wouldn't break the rules unlike cane sugar. Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 19:08

As a German I don't get the hype about the Reinheitsgebot. I think it was a nice invention back then and sure is a good marketing thing nowadays. You should read into why the Reinheitsgebot was originally introduced and think about its relevance in present days. I personally just like a good flavoured beer and am open for new creations.

A lot of people also think the Reinheitsgebot was the biggest attack on European shamanism. But that's pretty esoteric stuff....

Anyway, back to topic: I think what most people here explained is the German "Speisegabe" (keeping a bit of the original worth, store it cool and ad it in the end). To my knowledge its only done for bottle fermentation in the Hefeweizen.

Most commonly used is the "GrĂĽnschlauchen". You keep a good eye on the sugar content of your beer and when it has just about enough sugar left to make a nice carbonation you fill it into the bottles.

  • 1
    the appeal of the Reinheitsgebot stems from a natural human desire towards restriction of options to optimize aesthetics. like most people think a poem is beautiful because it rhymes even though expressiveness is higher without this restriction. I'm not saying it's good or bad - but this is the reason why many people like this and similar ideas.
    – Raffael
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 3:55

Take a portion of wort and prime with this. This is how almost all German brewers who do not force carbonate prime. To comply with Reinheitsgebot the forced carbonation must be done with CO2 recovered from the brewing process.

They don't store wort for long periods of time, but ensure they brew on bottling day and mix cooled wort with fermented beer as packaging.

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