Which is the correct answer to fill in the gap in "Beer is made ____ yeast, water, hops and malted barley"?

  1. of
  2. from
  3. with
  4. out of

I am leaning toward '2'. "Made from" can be used to describe a manufacturing process.

I originally liked '3', but I don't like it now. I would use '3' if I mentioned secondary ingredients, as in "This beer is made with raw apple cider."

  • 3
    "With" can also imply that the thing was not an ingredient at all. "Beer is made with an enormous vat". Jun 3, 2014 at 12:45
  • Partial duplicate of 'Made of' vs. 'Made from' (and yes, your instinct is confirmed there).
    – RegDwigнt
    Jun 3, 2014 at 12:57
  • 3
    "Of" tends to imply that the ingredients are still there. If you had yeast, water, hops, etc, all there in the bottle, i assure you it wouldn't look much like beer. :)
    – cHao
    Jun 3, 2014 at 13:27
  • This will surely vary wildly with regional dialect. As for what's correct.. any discussion would surely end (or not!) in a debate on what it is for a word choice to be correct. My instinct seeing only the title "made of .." (I'm from Dorset) - it only seemed questionable when I saw your actual ..question, and the options it presents.
    – OJFord
    Jun 4, 2014 at 1:11
  • 1
    @EricLippert I (from the UK) respectfully disagree and think the use of "made with" implies that the vat is an ingredient (though common-sense suggests it isn't). I'd write "made in" or "made using" to avoid that implication.
    – mwardm
    Jun 4, 2014 at 10:27

9 Answers 9


Of and out of both carry a slight implication that the beer is simply assembled from those ingredients, rather than crafted.

With, as you yourself hinted, implies that the listed ingredients are not the only - or even most important - components.

From, therefore, seems to be the logical choice. That being said, the differences are very slight, and I doubt that anyone would correct you for choosing any of the others.

  • "implies that the listed ingredients are not the only - or even most important - components". Importance is a tricky issue when all ingredients are essential, but what's missing from the list is malted grain. Jun 3, 2014 at 9:03
  • @SteveJessop - I didn't notice that - important omission! I just assumed that the ellipses indicated that the list continued. Definitely weakens my case against "with", doesn't it?
    – MT_Head
    Jun 3, 2014 at 16:05
  • @SteveJessop: the question title always had "and malted barley" at the end. When the title was first copied into the question body, the all-important "and malted barley" was replaced by an ellipsis. I've copied the three words in place of the three dots. Jun 3, 2014 at 23:05
  • And just to add a bit of detail, whether "with" is acceptable comes down to whether a brew made with the 4 ingredients, and another ingredient (like a spice, for example) counts as beer. The German purity laws say no. And lots of people say no. But lots and lots of others don't particularly care.
    – nomen
    Jun 4, 2014 at 17:06

to brew is the verb usually associated with beer:

To make (ale or beer) from malt and hops by infusion, boiling, and fermentation.

The process of brewing beer.

  • 1
    That's not the question the OP was asking, but you have contributed a vote for "from".
    – MT_Head
    Jun 3, 2014 at 6:59
  • I guessed I highlighted the preposition 'from' clearly enough. Hope it is better now.
    – user66974
    Jun 3, 2014 at 7:03

Dorothy Sayers' Murder Must Advertise has a lovely paragraph where an advertising executive learns that he may not legally say cider was made from apples unless it has no other components, nor out of apples unless it is mainly apple juice, but fortunately he can say it was made with apples even if most of it comes from turnips. So which is "correct" depends both on how the beer was actually made and on how you wish to imply it was made.

(Note to eager advertising executives and lawyers: though Sayers' research was impeccable, it was in Britain some eighty years ago.)

  • I think that this very passage was floating in the back of my mind when I wrote my answer - thank you for reminding me what it was! Love that book, by the way.
    – MT_Head
    Jun 4, 2014 at 2:23

Beer is made from...

New Oxford American Dictionary provides a definition that fits the exact context:

from (preposition): 6) indicating the raw material out of which something is manufactured


Of works but has (to me) a hint of that you couldn't be bothered to find a more specific word.

From is best, and only weakly implies an exhaustive list. "Beer is made from (among other ingredients) malt and hops" is perfectly sensible with or without brackets. Especially as water is a rather obvious ingredient.

With is just too vague - it could even be taken to mean "in the same factory as", e.g. "beer is made with cider in a brewery" (UK meaning of cider).

Out of has the flaws of of but a stronger suggestion of exclusivity.

Strictly speaking beer is brewed from malted barley and water, using yeast, and only flavoured with hops, however it would seem sensible to ignore this distinction as the hops are fundamental to beer. The yeast is not an ingredient in the cooking sense - it takes an active part in the process.

  • 1
    It's flavoured by hops, surely :-P Jun 4, 2014 at 0:18

I would try option E in this case:

"Beer is made using yeast, water, hops..."

Although to be honest I might be tempted to be a bit more verbose as per Josh61's answer:

"Beer is produced by brewing yeast, water, hops..."

  • But you don't brew yeast.
    – nomen
    Jun 4, 2014 at 17:08

My first gut-feeling was "from", but lest this devolve to a poll, I lean toward Josh61 and maaarghk that you need a different verb (instead of make), rather than a different preposition (in place of your blank).

I think the preferable answer to this broadened question depends on the context in which you're using the sentence. Are you writing a manual on beer brewing? Are you contrasting other fermented products (e.g., bread) or other beverages (e.g., lemonade)? Other verbs or prepositions might be more advisable, depending on context. If you're still interested, would you kindly expand on the context of the sentence? Or an accepted answer could terminate the conversation in a different direction.

Aside from that, I suggest that you also include the word "delicious" somewhere in that sentence... ;-)


What others have said already is true. All words work here but I think there is rather a strong argument for with. As you've already noted, with can make the list seem incomplete and in your example (where you're listing one ingredient of a specific beer) that works fine.

But I don't consider this a fault. If anything, because unspecified "beer" can be made with a huge number of different ingredients, to suggest an open-ended list is more accurate. Other forms might suggest that if you have more ingredients you're no longer making beer.

If, however, we're listing all the ingredients for a specific beer, I'd vote for of or from.
Both sound natural when I say them to myself.


"W made of X, Y, Z" is used for materials/ingredients (X, Y, Z) that don't change their characteristics during the process of creating W.

Chairs are made of wood.

"W made from X, Y, Z" are used for materials/ingredients (X, Y, Z) that are transformed during the process of creating of W and lose their characteristics during this.

Wine is made from grapes.

There are more details in a similar question regarding made of vs made from.

Probably (4) (out of) might substitute "made from", but (3) (with) is certainly not an option here.

  • 1
    medica, thank you pointing out at this. Will expand my answer. Jun 10, 2014 at 19:21

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