Schlenkerla Hansla low-alcohol


Historical background:
In the developed world we are nowadays used to being able to enjoy water in drinking quality anytime. Basis for this are an efficient sewage system including purification plants and a hygienic water network. While already in Roman times such a system had been in operation (though not as technical as today), later medieval Europe was not as advanced anymore. Wastewaters flew uncleaned and usually out in the open into rivers; often they were just dumped into the street. Therefore e.g. tanners, which produced particularly dirty effluents, had to be downriver within towns. People drew their water from local wells or from rivers and hence such waters were usually filled with microbes and could cause sicknesses. Anyone who could afford it therefore did not drink plain water.

The beverage of choice was beer: As it is boiled in the brewing process all microbes in the brewing water are killed. In addition, hops has a bacteriostatic effect and prevents new germs from growing. Last but not least the fermentation lowers the pH level of the beer to such an extent that common pathogenic bacteria will not survive in it. Of course the humans of the middle ages did not know any of these scientific facts, but they knew through trial and error, that they often got sick from water, but not from beer.

Standard beers of the time had less alcohol than today, but were closer to light beers with 2-4 % alcohol. For hard labor with high drinking need and for children this was taken one step further: Light beers with an especially low level of alcohol were brewed from the after worts of lautering. The blue print of the monastery St. Gallen (today Switzerland) from 830 A.D. shows a special brewery for this type of beer (plus 2 more breweries for stronger beers). To make such a beer bacteriologically stable despite the low alcohol level, it was hopped more than normal beers (similar to IPAs to make them long lasting for the shipment to India). In the monasteries such beers were called "Kovent" or "Kofent". In Bamberg the term "Hansla" was used (the franconian way of pronouncing "Heinzlein", which means little Heinz, as it was also a children’s beer), and in other German cities similar names are found.

Hansla low-alcohol online shopAecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Hansla continues this tradition today in brewing a low alcohol (1.2 % alc./vol.), hoppy, unfiltered smoked beer using the old Hansla brewing technique.

all smokebeer varieties