Beer (Ger. Bier), a fermented liquor made from malted grain, in Europe most commonly from barley, but in this country from wheat as well, and in India from rice. Corn, oats, peas, and similar articles of food may also be used for its manufacture. Hops and other bitter substances are added to improve the flavor, and to impart their peculiar properties to the liquor. The name beer is also given in this country and in Britain to several partially fermented extracts of the roots and other parts of plants, as spruce, sassafras, ginger, etc, most of which are designated by the term root beer; but as generally used in Europe, it is applicable only to liquors prepared by malting, and seasoned with hops or other bitters. The drink in some of its varieties appears to be of great antiquity, and was probably discovered by the Egyptians. Tacitus notices it as being in common use with the Germans of his time. Pliny describes the celia and ceria, the beer of the Spaniards, and the cerevisia of the Gauls, made from almost every species of grain, and evidently named from Ceres, the goddess of corn. Aristotle speaks of its intoxicating qualities, and Theophrastus very properly calls it the wine of barley. Herodotus (450 years B. C.) stated that the Egyptians made their wine of barley.
An ancient description by Isidorus and Orosius of the process in use by the Britons and Celtic nations defines the liquor as not differing essentially from that now made. "The grain is steeped in water and made to germinate, by which its spirits are excited and set at liberty; it is then dried and ground, after which it is infused in a certain quantity of water, which, being fjrmented, becomes a pleasant, warming, strengthening, and intoxicating liquor." Beer is a nourishing drink from the gum, sugar, and starch it holds in solution; and the bitter substances combined with it impart their tonic properties. The proportion of alcohol is small. In the Edinburgh ale it has been found by Mr. Brande to amount to 6.20 per cent.; in brown stout, to 6.80; Burton ale, 8.88; London porter, 4.20; small beer, 1.28. Burton, or the pale India ale, as found by Hoffmann, contains, in 100 parts: water, 78.37; extract of malt, 14.97; absolute alcohol, 6.62; and carbonic acid, 0.04. Pale ale consists of the same ingredients, in the following proportions: water, 89.74; extract of malt, 4.62; alcohol, 5.57; carbonic acid, 0.07. Lactic acid, aromatic matters, and various salts are detected in the extract. - Although the term beer is generally applied, as above stated, to all kinds of fermented liquors made from malt, a distinction is made between the heavier and lighter kinds.
The more spirituous liquor, made in England and in this country, is commonly called ale, the name given to it before the use of hops (Anglo-Saxon, eala). Upon the introduction of hops into England the word beer (Bier) was also imported, and was used to distinguish the liquor made with hops from the more ancient beverage. A distinction is made by the German brewers between ale and beer on account of the two different modes of fermentation which are employed; ale being produced by rapid fermentation, in which the yeast rises to the surface (Obergiihrung), while beer is fermented in cool cellars by a slow process in which the yeast settles to the bottom of the vessels (Uhtergahrung). The latter is the Bavarian method, which is employed in brewing Lagerbier, Schenkbier, etc. The term lager-bier is indiscriminately applied in this country to the light kinds of beer which are prepared by the slow process of fermentation. Much of this beverage, however, is not genuine lagerbier, for it has not lain a sufficient length of time in the cellar to acquire that title; nor could it have been preserved in casks during the time in which lagerbier is ripening.
It is more technically termed, and is known by the brewers as Schenkbier (schenken, to pour, to retail drinks), i. e., draught beer, or beer ready to be drawn. It contains less alcohol than genuine lager, and less than the various kinds of beer which are brewed in Bavaria, and corresponds to what is known in this country as "present use ale," or the new ale commonly kept in the ale houses. It occupies much less time in fermenting, and has not the keeping properties of German lager, or of the various kinds of Bavarian beer. To Germany we owe not only the general introduction of beer, but also most of the improvements which have been made in its manufacture. There are many kinds of beer brewed in Bavaria, and also in other parts of Germany, which receive particular names, as Bock, Heiliger Vater, Augustine double, and Salvator, of Munich; brown beer of Merseburg; Berlin white beer, or champagne of the north; Broyhan, a famous Hanoverian beer; double beer of Grtin. thal; and white bitter beer of Erlangen, Lich. tenhain, and Upper Weimar. All these possess various excellences, particularly the Bavarian beers, most of which are due to the peculiar mode of fermentation.
Usually, what is called ale contains a smaller quantity of hops than beer, although the term bitter beer is often applied to the East India pale ale, which, besides being very heavy, contains a larger proportion of hops. - Porter was first made in England in 1730. Previous to that time the malt liquors in London were ale, beer, and twopenny. It was customary to call for half and half, or for three threads. To avoid the necessity of drawing from two or three casks, a brewer named Harwood produced a beverage which was intended to embrace the qualities of the three liquors. It was called entire, or the entire butt; and being a strong, nourishing drink, suitable for laboring men and porters, it. received at last the name of porter. It is made from malt, a portion of which has been to a certain degree roasted; consequently it has a deeper color than the other kinds. - The following table, from Watts's "Dictionary of Chemistry," exhibits analyses of some celebrated European beers, by Kaiser, Hoffmann, Otto, and others:
NAME OF BEER.
Bavarian draught (Schenk)...
Bavarian, 16 months old....
Brunswick sweet beer....
Josty's beer, Berlin....
Weroer's brown beer, Berlin..
Blere blanche de Louvain....
- The amount of fermented liquors brewed in the United States during the year ending June 30, 1871, according to Mr. Louis Schade, a statistician, was 7,159,740 bbls. Of this amount New York produced 2,305,145; Pennsylvania, 918,986; Ohio, 656,896; Massachusetts, 525,731; New Jersey, 514,189; and North Carolina, 51 bbls. The total brewers1 tax in 1871 was $7,387,501. The number of breweries in the United States in 1870 was 2,862. Of the ale brewers, only one brewed over 100,000 bbls. Four breweries produced over 70,000 bbls. each. One lagerbier brewery produced over 40,000 bbls. The number of breweries in England in 1870 was 2,671. The ale and beer brewed amounted to 50,724,086 bbls., the duty upon which was £6,878,102. Allsop and Sons employ 1,300 persons in Burton, of whom 100 are clerks. Their two breweries are capable of producing 16,000 bbls. of ale per week. The new brewery covers 40 acres, and the ground is traversed by 12 miles of rail. In Austria and Hungary, in 1871, there were 2,699 breweries, which produced in Austria 7,918,433 bbls., and in Hungary 630,938 bbls. of beer, of which there were exported 126,336 bbls.
The German states, excluding Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Baden, produced from January to May, 1872, four months, 3,733,769 bbls. of beer, and during the same time there were exported 2,576 bbls. Bavaria produced in 1871 about 4,285,000 bbls.
Beer. I. Wilhelm, a German astronomer, of Jewish parentage, the brother of Meyerbeer, the great composer, born in Berlin, Feb. 4, 1797, died March 27, 1850. His regular profession was that of a banker, but he devoted much of his time to his favorite study of astronomy, working in conjunction with Mad. ler. Beer built an observatory in the Thier. garten at Berlin, chiefly devoted to the observation of the planet Mars and the moon. The crowning labor of the two astronomers was a map of the moon published in 1836, upon which the Lalande prize was conferred by the French academy. In 1849 Beer became a member of the Prussian diet. II. Michael, a dramatist, brother of the preceding, born in Berlin in 1800, died in Munich, March 22, 1833. He became known in literature by five tragedies, of which his Struensee is the best. His complete works were published at Leipsic in 1835, and his "Correspondence" in 1837. (See Meyerbeer).