Beer [German version]

Table of contents

Product information
  Container transport
  Cargo securing

Risk factors and loss prevention:
Temperature Odor
Humidity/Moisture Contamination
Ventilation Mechanical influences
Biotic activity Toxicity / Hazards to health
Gases Shrinkage/Shortage
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases

Product information

Product name

German Bier
English Beer
French Bière
Spanish Cerveza
CN/HS number * 2203 00 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Beer is a fermented, frothy (effervescent) alcoholic beverage made from malt, hops, yeast and water.

The brewing process is divided into the following three stages:

wort boiling

Germany produces a very wide range of beers, which are classified according to styles and types.

Original wort content is the basis for classification into the four different German beer styles:

Einfachbiere have a low original wort content (approx. 2 – 5.5%). Their low alcohol content (approx. 2. vol.%) and low extract content mean that they have only a poorly developed flavor.
Schankbiere have a higher original wort content (approx. 7 – 8%) and a somewhat higher alcohol content (approx. 3 vol.%).
Vollbiere have the second highest content of original wort (approx. 11 – 14%), alcohol (4 -5 vol.%) and extracts. These account for a good 90% of the total beer market.
Starkbiere have the highest alcohol content (approx. 6 – 9 vol.%) and are brewed only at certain times (e.g. Maibock). Their original wort content is at least 16%.

The beer types are classified as bottom-fermented and top-fermented, depending on the strain of yeast used:

Bottom-fermented beer types are obtained by fermenting with „bottom“ strains. The yeast is deposited as a layer at the bottom of the fermentation vessel, so allowing the beer to ferment only slowly. German purity regulations allow bottom-fermented beer to be made solely from barley malt, hops, yeast and water. The following are examples of bottom-fermented types:

„Dortmunder“ beers: light color, less hopped and more full-bodied than the Pilsener type
„Pilsener“ beers: light color, strongly hopped, harmoniously balanced, strongly bitter, highly fermented, long-lasting head
„Münchner“ beers: dark brown color, weak hop-bitterness, malty flavor

Top-fermented beer types are fermented rapidly by top strains which rise to the surface. Top-fermented beer may have other types of malt and sugar added to it, in addition to the basic ingredients. Top-fermented types include „Berliner Weiße“, „Kölsch“, „Düsseldorfer Alt“, „Weizenbier“.

Quality / Duration of storage

Beer differs in color depending on type, ranging from light yellow to dark brown. Haziness of the beer may be caused by excessively long, cold storage and yeast residues. Flavor impairment may result from incorrectly sealed containers.

Maximum duration of storage depends principally on type of packaging and beer type.

Canned beer has the longest shelf-life, but it may take on a slightly metallic taste if stored for an extended period.

Bottled beer should be consumed within three months at the most, as its flavor and color may be impaired during storage by the action of oxygen.

Draft beers have the shortest storage life. They should be consumed within a maximum of one month.

Bottom-fermented types have a longer storage life than top-fermented types.

Intended use

Beer is drunk both neat and mixed with other beverages.

Countries of origin

This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive.

Europe Germany, England, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic
Asia China
America USA
Australia Australia

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Beer is packaged in containers such as drinks cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles (PET (polyethylene terephthalate)), barrels and tank containers.

Beer in returnable bottles is mainly transported in stackable plastic crates.

Beer in non-returnable bottles and cans is for the most part packaged in cardboard or corrugated board boxes in groups of 6 bottles or 6 to 24 cans. The packaging size is so selected that the dimensions of the individual area modules or area module multiples are conformed to the conventional pallet sizes (800×1200 mm and 1000×1200 mm) and cargo units may thus be produced.

When beer is transported in cartons, the following markings should be visible on every side of the packaging:

Marking of packages

Fragile, Handle with care


Keep dry

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo
Symbol, liquid cargo

Liquid cargo

Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Beer may be transported as general cargo in standard containers, subject to compliance with limits for water content of packaging, pallets and flooring. Beer may also be transported as liquid cargo in tank containers .

Cargo handling

Since cans and bottles in particular are highly impact- and pressure-sensitive, appropriate care must be taken during cargo handling, to prevent damage. Dented cans constitute a clear reduction in value. Broken bottles entail the additional nuisance of contaminating other cargo.

It is also imperative that the goods be protected from moisture (rain, snow) during cargo handling and from excessively low and high temperatures. Moisture may result in detachment of labels and corrosion of crown caps and cans.

Unfavorable temperatures may cause quality degradation due to increased activity of microorganisms or haziness of the beer.

Stowage factor

2.07 m3/t (cartons on pallets) [1]
1.50 – 1.56 m3/t (kegs) [11]
1.39 – 1.84 m3/t (bottles in boxes) [11]
1.43 – 1.70 m3/t (cartons) [14]
1.57 – 2.00 m3/t (boxes) [14]
1.57 – 1.70 m3/t (wooden barrels) [14]

Stowage space requirements

Cool and dry


Marker pen/oil crayon

Cargo securing

Because of its considerable impact- and pressure-sensitivity, packages of this cargo must be secured in such a way that they are prevented from damaging each other. Spaces between packages or pallets must be filled, to prevent slippage or tipping. By selecting the correct packaging size or cargo unit (area module or area module multiple), holds can be tightly loaded (without spaces).

Figure 1

Figure 1

In the case of liquid cargoes, it is important for the ullage space above the cargo to be as small as possible, so that only slight movement of the cargo is possible. Movement in liquid cargoes may have a negative effect on the stability of the means of transport (e.g. during cornering in the case of trucks and trains).

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Beer requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

A written cooling order must be obtained from the consignor before loading is begun. This order must always be complied with during the entire transport chain.

The following Table merely constitutes a rough estimate of appropriate temperature ranges. Temperatures may deviate from these values, depending on the particular transport conditions.

Designation Temperature range Source
Travel temperature (favorable temperature range) 3 – 8°C [1]
Freezing point approx. -3°C [1]

As the optimum temperature for beer is between approx. 3 and 8°C, it is best transported as refrigerated cargo, to inhibit the metabolic activity of the microorganisms.

At temperatures of below 2°C, chill haze occurs as a result of the precipitation of protein/tannin compounds, although this is reversible if caught early enough. If the chill haze lasts for a relatively long period, it becomes permanent and the beer becomes bitter.

At temperatures of below approx. -3°C (depending upon alcohol content), ice expansion may occur. Cargo handling in frosty conditions in winter must therefore be performed very quickly. In [4], the freezing points for various types of German beer are stated as follows:

malt beer, ordinary: -1.92°C
Vollbier, pale: -2.03°C
Radeberger Pilsener Export: -2.22°C
bock beer, pale: -3.07°C

Beer must additionally be protected from relatively large temperature fluctuations, so as to prevent precipitation or haze. Excessively severe solar radiation may cause light flavor tainting. CO2 solubility reduces, so protection from excessive temperatures and temperature fluctuations must be provided.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Beer requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity approx. 70% [1]
Water content 5 – 8%  (relative to the paperboard of the cartons) [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content approx. 70% (relative to the paperboard of the cartons) [1]

The particular humidity condition guidelines relate to packaging material and packaging aids.

Where relative humidity is excessively high (100%), condensation water may form, causing bottle labels to be detached and crown caps and cans to corrode.

To prevent quality degradation during transport and storage, attention must be paid to the water content and maximum equilibrium moisture content not of the beer itself, but rather of the packaging. The product must therefore be protected from all forms of moisture (seawater, rain and condensation water) and from excessive humidity levels.

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RF Ventilation

Beer requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: 6 changes/hour (airing), if there is a risk of the formation of cargo sweat, which may lead, for example, to label detachment.

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RF Biotic activity

Beer displays 4th order biotic activity.

It belongs to the class of goods in which biochemical and microbial processes have stopped and which are isolated from the external environment, e.g. sterilized and pasteurized goods in hermetically sealed packaging.

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RF Gases

Excessive temperatures and temperature fluctuations cause CO2 solubility to reduce, resulting in quality degradation.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

No risk.

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RF Odor

Active behavior The hermetically sealed packaging prevents the development of any odor.
Passive behavior An unpleasant or pungent foreign odor may damage packaging, therefore protect from odor-emitting products, such as essential oils, acetone, turpentine etc..

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Beer does not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Beer is sensitive to dust, dirt and fats/oils. Holds/containers must therefore be clean and in a thoroughly hygienic condition.

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RF Mechanical influences

The packaging containers, in particular bottles and cans, are sensitive to pressure and impact stresses. Improper handling or stowage may result in damage. Stacked cartons which have become damp may give way and collapse. Cartons should be provided with the following markings: „Top“, „Fragile, Handle with care“ and „Keep dry“. Improper handling may result, for example, in detachment of the adhesive strips or damage to the carton walls and edges. In addition, under more extreme stresses, such as dropping of the cartons, the bottles and cans may break, causing leakage.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

No risk.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Beer is at considerable risk of theft; it must therefore be ensured as early as at the point of acceptance of a consignment that the cargo is complete.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Microbial spoilage is caused by infection of the beer at the brewery and results in haze and the formation of an unappetizing, acidic flavor.

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