Huge Beer Stein, 39 L

This topic contains 12 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Ron 7 months ago.

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  • #40208 Reply


    To all,

    I am researching huge beer steins for an article and I need some help. I first became aware of a huge stein supposedly made by Matthias Girmscheid that was said to hold 39 liters of beer at the Peter Willis web site, The stein was about the same height as the Gerz 211 L stein, so I asked him to give me some measurements so I could verify the claim. He never responded ti ne, I found another site, Schnitzelhaus in Tampa, FL, that had the same stein and made the sane claim that it would hold 39 L. The Schnitzelhaus has closed and has been down for maintenance for several months.

    The Beer Stein Library lists mold X11 in the Matthias Girmscheid catalog as holding 24 L. I found two SCI members that have this stein. One filled his up with water to the brim and it will hold just under 26 L. Based on the measurements I had for the other stein, I can verify the capacity is at least 24 L at just 4.5 inches below the rim.

    Has anybody heard of this 39 L stein or any stein larger than 32 L? Is there any written records or documentation for such a stein? I have two photographs of this Teutonic Wedding stein, but I believe they are both the 24 L version. I have not been able to find any newspaper articles on the Girmscheid stein. I have found articles on the Gerz stein, but they are notorious for misquoting its size. I am still hoping to locate the two sources noted in the first paragraph and get them to provide me with measurements that will either confirm or disprove their 39 L claims. Otherwise, I think this will be like the search for the Holy Grail, it just doesn’t exist.

    The post on WW-Team just below this post also contains information on the Gerz and Girmscheid steins.

  • #40217 Reply



    you opened a very interesting topic asking detailed information and above all certain evidence if the 39L Girmscheid stein was really manufactured. Apparently seems that nobody owns that marvelous giant stein, all we know is that a 24L Girmscheid stein is mentioned in the catalog and a couple of SCI members have that stein.

    I wish to add what happened to me to your valutation. 6 years ago I saw on Peter Willis web site,, both giant stein, the Zoller & Born 32L (Gerz did not work anymore) and the 39L Girmscheid. Height and capacity described were 120 cm (lidded included) and 32L the Zoller & Born, 130 cm and 39L the Girmscheid. Sale price was €2,300 each stein (approx $2,400-$2,500).

    I was interested to the 39L Girmscheid and mailed to asking if he could accord to me a discount for that stein. He answered and offered just 15% off and a not cheap shipping cost to Italy.

    The 39L Girmscheid on was offered in 2 color version, one glazed cobalt blue and the other glazed beige. Honestly I didn’t like them so much. I took a few days to think about it and meanwhile I found on internet a photo of that stein painted colorful, like the 24L showed in the catalog. And it was love at first sight, if I had to spend much money, I wished the colorful version.

    For more detailed information, I add that the 39L Girmscheid in the photo was close a pair of 32L Gerz, and it was so evident that the size was similar, that Girmscheid could never be of 24L capacity only. I still keep the photo, but I’m afraid I’m not able to insert it here.

    I mailed again to Willis and asked if upon custom order I could get that colorful stein, and attached the photo. He didn’t answer.

    I mailed to the Girmscheid and a woman answered that I could order the stein just in the same 2 color version available on, no way to get any other color version.

    A few months ago, considering that all the search to find the colorful 39L stein was vain, I decided to buy the glazed beige 39L stein. And before I took my decision, on (till it was still open), sale price of that stein was €2,560 (more expensive). was closed for manteinance, so I mailed to Girmscheid to order the stein and the same woman (I remembered her name) answered to me that the stein was no more available, neither upon custom order.

    All I want to say is that there’s no reason to have dubts that the 39L Girmscheid stein was effectively manufactured, even if, under the circumstances, sounds strange that nobody say to get one.

    • #40233 Reply



      I’m curious, did Peter’s quote include the VAT or would that be added to the price?

      I decided it was time to initiate a new thread to see if we could attract more interest in getting others to participate. I found another auction where the 24 L stein was sold in the US, This auction was in 2017 and it sold for $4,500, but that included a table with a rotating platform and light. The full color one that sold in a 2008 auction went for $1,300.

      I sent a request for information to Girmscheid, but haven’t heard back from them yet.

      I also found an e-mail address for Peter Willis, so I tried contacting him again. Hopefully he will get it even if his site is down and that he will take the time to answer. At 51 inches, that is not enough to get 15 more liters in it unless it is a lot wider at the base, which I doubt. If Girmscheid wanted to beat the 24 L stein, it would have to be a lot taller and wider. I am thinking that Peter Willis is the one that sold the so-called 39 L stein to the Schnitzelhaus. The Schnitzelhaus claimed it held 10.5 gallons (approximately 39 L), but it is only 48 inches tall.

  • #40249 Reply



    you made a good thing to initiate a new thread, 48 posts were boring to read for whoever might be interested.

    Yes, Peters’ quote included the VAT, customers prefer to know immediately the total amount of a sale price.

    The stein you linked confirms how many different color that stein was manufactured, I’ve never seen it painted this way.

    I’ve been thinking a simple consideration and probably found an explanation. We can make all the calculation as possible, but the evidence that shows the real capacity of a stein is if we fill it up.

    And besides, there’s another important consideration to do. You correctly said that at 51″ is not enough to get 15 more liters in it unless it is a lot wider at the base. You know, I located on the same table 2 32L Gerz stein and 2 12L King Werk I got. It’s not important that I personally filled up the 12L and, as I did tell you in the other thread, there’s room for 1L or even a little more. The point is that if I didn’t know that the Gerz capacity is 32L, I would never say that it can contain almost the triple of liters. Of course the Gerz is wider and taller, but none could bet about triple’s capacity.

    Consequently, I dare say it’s out of question that if the 32L Gerz and the 39L Girmscheid are close each other, visible capacity’s difference should be irrilevant.

    I feel a great sorrow I can’t insert my personal photos, I’d like to show you that old photo of a German stein shop which are together the Gerz and Girmscheid giant steins and mine that shows the 32L and 12L close each other. Is it possible or allowed to write your personal email address here? I’m afraid it won’t.

    • #40266 Reply



      The trouble with going offline is that other people won’t know what we are learning. Why don’t you try sending the photos to the web master to see if he can post them. I know he has done it for others.’

      I have seen the two steins side by side. While they are close to the same height, the Gerz stein 32 L stein is much wider than the Girmscheid 24 L stein. I know you aren’t a fan of the mathematical formula, but it does work if you have the right measurements. It is not necessary to get a precise measure to verify the claim. The difference between 24 L and 32 is obvious and indisputable.

      I am putting together a paper on how to do the measurements and calculations so others will know what to do if they want to try it.

  • #40333 Reply



    big and very important news to tell you (and to other stein collectors interested).

    I mailed to Bob asking for some photos that shows his 32L Gerz stein and his 24L Girmscheid, so to check the difference of size. Bob kindly (as usual) sent to me the photos and added precious information.

    So, Girmscheid’s lid is bigger, Girmscheid’s walls are thicker and despite Girmscheid capacity is minor, but the it is heavier. Difference of size is more evident without lid, with lid on the stein, they look about the same height.

    Now let’s go to what we both want to know. Does the 39L Girmscheid stein was really manufactured or not? There’s an old photo of a stein shop in Germany that I already sent to Bob and asked to sent to you. That photo shows the Girmscheid big stein close to the 32L Gerz. After seen Bob’s photo, the 24L Girmscheid close to the 32L Gerz stein, I dare say that the Girmscheid stein in the shop was quite effectively bigger than 24L. If it might be 39L I don’t know, but it looked big.

    I sent to Bob another photo, the 2 32L steins I got with the 12L King Werk, and when you will see this photo, you won’t believe that the 32L Gerz can contain almost the triple of liters. Difference of size is not so evident, but capacity is that.

    If you agree, you can insert those photos on this topic, I mailed to the webamster too, he didn’t answer yet.

    • #40972 Reply



      The Grimscheid 24 L stein may be as tall as the Gerz 32 L stein with the lids on the steins. but without the lids Girmscheid is shorter and not as wide as the Gerz stein. If there is a 39 L stein out there, it would be taller and wider than the Gerz 32 L stein. I doubt it exists. claims his Girmscheid stein is 130 cm tall (51 inches). I think he may have measured the stein and the lid separately and added them together to get 130 cm. The extra three inches would be the part that goes into the body of the stein and does not really add to its height.

      There is another Girmscheid 24 L stein up for auction, although it does have some issues. I confirmed with the auction company that the initials “KB” do appear on a pot on the table behind the German getting married. See invaluable auciton at They also have the Gerz 32 L up for auction.

  • #40352 Reply


    Here are eight photos I received from francatan.

    a pair of 32L Gerz and pair of 12L King Werk steins in francatan's personal collection;
    a pair of 32L Gerz and pair of 12L King Werk steins in francatan’s personal collection

    pair of 32L Gerz and 1 12L King Werk nearer vision
    pair of 32L Gerz and 1 12L King Werk nearer vision

    39L Girmscheid stein close to pair of 32L Gerz in a Germany stein shop (photo very old)
    39L Girmscheid stein close to pair of 32L Gerz in a Germany stein shop (photo very old)

    39L Girmscheid stein glazed salt beige color no more manufactured.
    39L Girmscheid stein glazed salt beige color no more manufactured.

    a pair of 32L Gerz and pair of 12L King Werk of my personal collection
    Girmscheid 24L close to a Gerz 32L – steins with lids

    pair of 32L Gerz and 1 12L King Werk nearer vision
    Girmscheid 24L close to a Gerz 32L – steins without lids

    39L Girmscheid stein close to pair of 32L Gerz in a Germany stein shop (photo very old)
    Girmscheid 24L close to a Gerz 32L – another view

    39L Girmscheid stein glazed salt beige color no more manufactured.
    Girmscheid 24L close to a Gerz 32L – just the lids

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  Walt.
    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  Walt.
  • #41005 Reply



    All your arguments brought up to now are sensible, in fact, at the moment we don’t know anyone who owns this stein and we don’t even have testimonies from collectors. And not to mention all the research that a great expert like you has done.

    However, I still cling to some hope and try to express my point of view.

    Let’s look carefully at those photos.

    Bob’s steins 24L Girm and 32L Gerz looks the same height with lid, without lid the difference is visible. Difference of steins’ circumference is not so evident, but visible too. Total height of Gerz 32L with cherub lid included ought to be 45″, height with Gambrinus lid (like mine) is 4 feet (120 cm).

    The old photo of the Germany stein shop shows the Gerz 32L with King Gambrinus lid and little behind there’s the hypothetical 39L Girm. Both steins look the same height, although there are very few inches of perspective. The point is that if the Girm is just 24L, necessarily ought to look lower, considering that the lid of the Gerz is King Gambrinus, not the cherub.

    We could object that the Girm, if it’s quite effectively 39L, ought to look a little wider. Logical answer is yes, but it’s hard to give a proper anwer for a simple reason. Let’s look the other photo with my pair of Gerz 32L and the King 12L in the middle. Obviously the 12L is and look lower and less wide, but suppose we didn’t know the capacity, dare we say that Gerz capacity’s is almost the triple? Absolutely.

    On were on sale both huge steins, Gerz and Girm, description claimed that Gerz’s capacity was 32L and height 120 cm and Girm’s capacity was 39L and height 130 cm. And besides, Girm’s sale price was a little more expensive, if I remember well Gerz was €2,300 and Girm €2,560.(in USD add 7-8%)
    No sense that sale price of a minor capacity stein ought o be upper.

    And another thing to add. 6 years ago I mailed to Girmscheid manufacturer and asked if upon custom order was possible to have a colorful version of the 39L stein such as the one of the Germany shop in the photo. The secretary gently answered to me that the stein was avalaible in 2 version color only, glazed cobalt blue and glazed beige. I was in love with the colorful version and didn’t make the order and now I confess I made a mistake because that stein is no longer in production.

    I can’t swear that the Girmscheid 39L was really existed, but if I had to bet, well, I’ll give it a few chances.

    By the way, I don’t know if you know, I joined the SCI, for a reason or another I forgot to do it earlier.

    • #41009 Reply



      Welcome aboard. Let me know when you have finished reading 55 years of Prosit! You have some catching up to do.

      I never got a response from Girmscheid. Do you remember your contact there? Also, Peter Willis never responded to my last request and his site is still down. Can you try contacting him again? The Schnitzelhaus in Tampa, FL is closed, but I have the name of the owner. I am trying to find a way to contact him. I am pretty sure that he got his stein from Peter Willis.

      I am putting together a paper on how to calculate the size of your large steins without having to fill them with beer. Not that I have anything against beer, but I don’t want to see what happens when you empty the contents! I will include my estimate on what size the Girmscheid stein would have to be to hold 39 L. I think that might help convince you that the 39 L stein is just an Urban Legend.

  • #41036 Reply



    thank you very much for your welcome, I couldn’t miss to join this marvelous club. Proud to be a member, my only sorrow is that I’m too far away from most of you.

    Yes, I have the contact from Girmscheid. Think that I still keep the email that I have exchanged with the secretary last beginning of February. I don’t know if it’s correct to report here her name and all the dialogue, nothing’s bad, but I think it’s a question of privacy.

    And I will tell you more, the secretary is the same woman that answered to me 6 years ago when I wrote to them. I can report here the complete address anyway, email included:

    Töpferei Girmscheid
    Rheinstraße 41
    56203 Höhr-Grenzhausen
    Tel. 02624/7182
    Fax. 02624/4399

    I’d rather not contact Peter Willis, he desappeared and after red all the collectors complain about him, what should I ask, if the Girmscheid stein was really 39L?

    Another information to give you. When Bob sent to me his photos, he told me that the 24L Girmscheid, despite is lower and less wide than the 32L Gerz, is heavier and thicker. He didn’t weight the steins, but he thinks that the Girmscheid weight is almost 3 times as heavy as the Gerz.

    In my personal opinion, the Gerz 32L, called the largest stein in the world, if the manufacturer claims that its capacity is 32L (8.45 gallon), I think it’s true. The only thing that we don’t know is if there’s room for foam, but the only way to know that for certain is only to fill it up. Don’t waste time to figure, as I already told you, my personal experience to verify the capacity of a few steins gave different response: in a 3L stein there wasn’t any room for foam, neither 1/4 inch, in the 12L King, there were 4.5″ and it can contain more than 1L more.

    I still don’t know if the 39L Girmscheid is just an Urban Legend, but admit that the chances you’re right are growing.

  • #41057 Reply



    just to tell you that a few minutes ago I mailed to the Girmscheid asking what we want to know, if the capacity of the Girmscheid stein was 39L or 24L as described on the catalog.

    Let’s wait what they’ll answer and then we finally know.

    • #41821 Reply


      To All,

      By using the WayBack Machine on the Internet Archive, I was able to pull up some of the web pages for even though the site is still under maintenance. Here is the page for the Gerz and Girmscheid steins, This claims the Girmscheid stein is 130 cm (51.2 inches) tall versus the 121.9 cm (48 inches) for the two owned by SCI members. I think the difference might be Peter Willis measuring the height of the body of the stein and the lid separately and then adding them together. I also printed out a picture of the stein and it should be to scale. Using the height of that scale model of eight inches, the width of a 24 liter stein would be about two inches, which it is. Therefore, the stein shown on the web site could not hold anywhere near the 39 liters claimed. The current owners of Girmscheid are neither the original owners nor the same family. I think someone was confused about the capacity of the stein and passed the wrong information on to Peter Willis. Nobody bothered to verify its accuracy.

      The Girmscheid stein at The SChnitzelhaus Restaurant in Tampa can be seen at, He may cite the correct 10.3 gallons for a 39 liter stein, but at four feet it will only hold 24 liters. I think he bought the stein from Peter Willis and was given the wrong capacity.

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