As referenced in Shalom's answer here, the cRc alcohol list here, and many other places, non-flavored, domestic beer can be assumed legally drinkable according to halacha.

What constitutes flavoring of the prohibited type? What if other ingredients are used in processing the beer but don't end up in the finished product, such as the gruit in white beer? Are there regulations about what things need to be listed on ingredient panels and do those regulations always align with halacha?

Disclaimer: I know very little about the beer-making process and how it pertains
to non-Pesach *halacha* or marketing.

4 Answers 4


Quite honestly this is an area where you need to consult whichever Posek you rely upon. My basic reasoning for that is as follows. I received semicha from the Israeli Rabbinute 10yrs ago, and soon after found myself in Kosher industry working for the OK. I haven't been actively working in it for the last 5yrs, but I still receive the various trade publications. What is considered the "standard" today, and what was considered the "standard" just ten years ago are vastly different. 10yrs ago, no one had a problem with beer of any sort, excluding two European breweries that are run by monks and the proceeds go to fund their monastaries. Today beer needs a hescher. When certain agencies started giving hesherim to bottled water, bleach, and rat poison(which al pi halakha is quite interesting as it is a poison) everyone laughed. Today every agency is doing it. I am not going to say CYLOR because quite frankly this may be a little over his head, however if you know a competent posek who does not have a hand in the Kashrut business, consult him.

  • I'm guessing that 10 years ago, nobody put rasberry syrup into their beers, like they do today.
    – avi
    Aug 17, 2011 at 6:43
  • 1
    @avi, beer made with fruit (e.g. lambics) is older than that, but that's actual fruit versus syrup so maybe that makes a difference. Dec 7, 2011 at 16:25
  • @MonicaCellio yes, fruit vs Syrup makes a huge difference. Syrup can have all sorts of non-kosher ingredients, fruit, not so much.
    – avi
    Dec 8, 2011 at 7:04
  • @Rabbi Michael Tzadok Your recommendation of asking a qualified Orthodox posek is appropriate. I think you should explain what you mean by the expression "standard". The Shulchan Aruch hasn't changed. The halacha hasn't changed. Do you mean that the conditions of production have changed which necessitate a change in supervision? (Like they are adding something that wasn't used before.) Or that some new societal need has arisen which requires an adjustment to what is done in practice? Societal engineering (to improve the people according to others opinions) is a dangerous area to be treading. Feb 17, 2017 at 13:56

My understanding is if there's flavoring, it will appear somewhere on the label, and if you see it on the label, it could be problematic. (Occasionally the flavoring itself is just herbs and not a kosher problem, but there's no way for a consumer to tell what flavoring is in his "flavored" beer.)

Here's the US Government saying that if you add anything other than the "normal beer ingredients and processes" (and if you're not sure what that means, ask them), you have to notify them with some extra paperwork; that's probably related to this issue.

(a) For what fermented products must a formula be filed? You must file a formula for approval by TTB if you intend to produce:

(1) Any fermented product that will be treated by any processing, filtration, or other method of manufacture that is not generally recognized as a traditional process in the production of a fermented beverage designated as “beer,” “ale,” “porter,” “stout,” “lager,” or “malt liquor.” For purposes of this paragraph:

(i) Removal of any volume of water from beer, filtration of beer to substantially change the color, flavor, or character, separation of beer into different components, reverse osmosis, concentration of beer, and ion exchange treatments are examples of non-traditional processes for which you must file a formula.

(ii) Pasteurization, filtration prior to bottling, filtration in lieu of pasteurization, centrifuging for clarity, lagering, carbonation, and blending are examples of traditional processes for which you do not need to file a formula.

(iii) If you have questions about whether or not use of a particular process not listed in this section requires the filing of a formula, you may request a determination from TTB in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section.

(2) Any fermented product to which flavors or other nonbeverage ingredients (other than hop extract) containing alcohol will be added.

(3) Subject to paragraph (f) of this section, any fermented product to which coloring or natural or artificial flavors will be added.

(4) Subject to paragraph (f) of this section, any fermented product to which fruit, fruit juice, fruit concentrate, herbs, spices, honey, maple syrup, or other food materials will be added.

(5) Saké, including flavored saké and sparkling saké.


Being someone who was involved with the Budweiser Clamato problem in the Summer of 2008, I highly recommend getting the back issue of Kashrus Magazine that dealt with the problem of Chelada (one of the funnier results was hechsher on clam juice) and the general question of beer and kashrus.

In the meantime, even the cRc says that flavored beers need checking, see among other places http://www.kashrut.com/Alerts/?alert=A2558 (which is not a Kashrus Magazine site) .

But I don't think anyone has an issue with herbs and spices in beer. Just the 'crazy' flavorings that are being added more and more.

  • 2
    The only problem I have with Kashrus magazine is that many of their articles are "paid" as in someone pays them to run it. So it is not uncommon to see overly stringent information passed off as standard halakha. Their alerts and yearly Hescher list are helpful... but on account of the former issue, I have always questioned their overall reliability. Dec 29, 2010 at 9:01

beer which follows that traditional bavarian law called reinheitsgebot does not need a hechsher as the only ingredients are malt, water, hops, and yeast. This would be considered an unflavored beer. Anything outside of that would be considered flavoring and depending on what it is would require a hechsher.

-my source is speaking with various rabbis from the crc as well as my own brewing experience

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