I have assumed that carbonated bottled drinks have the rugged base. But today I purchased a bottled drink in supermarket that doesn't have the rugged base, but it still was carbonated.

So I can't discern carbonated drink from the base of the bottle. How can I discern it then?

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 6:57
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    On a side note, Selters is the name of a German town with a famous well of naturally carbonated water and a name brand for carbonated drinks to the extent that some people use it as a generic name for carbonated water. Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 8:09
  • What do you mean by "rugged"? This bottle seems rugged to me. Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 10:00
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    You can learn German?: Apfelschorle is carbonated by definition-- if if wasn't carbonated, it'd just be watery apple juice... Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 12:45
  • @DmitryGrigoryev I failed to find a better term but what I meant as a "rugged" bottle is like this picture
    – Blaszard
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 13:06

7 Answers 7


First, carbonated is the standard in Germany, and that's what most people expect, so it would be the default assumption for something you see in the shelves.

Of course, it is written on the drink, but you need to be able to understand enough German to read it. 'Still' is the typical term used in German for non-carbonated water-realted; if you see that, it will be non-carbonated. 'Kohlensäure' means carbon dioxide, and if you see it, it is carbonated; typically in connection with the verb 'versetzt', which means that the carbon dioxide was injected in the water.

There is no mechanical key or form factor that signifies it; many companies have carbonated and non-carbonated offers in the same bottles, with the same colors, with only different wording on the label.

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    "'Still' is the typical term used in German for non-carbonated" - but only for water, usually. Other drinks (e.g. juice) are not labeled still because pure juice is always non-carbonated. Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 12:18
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    Caveat: If it says 'ohne Kohlensäure', it is non-carbonated.
    – mkrieger1
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 15:25
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    If it says spritzig, it is also carbonated.
    – univalence
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 17:47
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    Carbonated is not the standard in Germany. E.g. iced tea in Belgium and the Netherlands may be carbonated, but I have yet to find carbonated iced tea in Germany.
    – Alexander
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 7:47
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    Just a minor note: "Kohlensäure" actually means "carbonic acid" (which is carbon dioxide chemically bound in water). Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 8:07

Look for the word "Kohlensäure", it's either on the front or in the list of ingredients:

Mineralwasser Apfelschrole Malzbier

Just make sure it's not accompanied by "ohne" ("without"):

Stilles Wasser Ja! Wasser

  • 2
    That's a good point; but to the first picture: "mit Kohlensäure" (with carbon acid). Of course, it could also read "ohne Kohlensäure", which also contains the key word, but preceded by "ohne" (without). More like this, drinks are sometimes distinguished by these words "still", "ohne" or "mit", without using the word "Kohlensäure" explicitly on their label. The list of ingredients is usually clear about this. Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 16:28
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    @rexkogitans Good point, edited. Water doesn't have a list of ingredients by the way, which is why I included the front pircture.
    – AndreKR
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 16:58
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    If not for the word "Still" on the water bottle at the bottom it wouldn't actually be clear from this answer whether "Kohlensäure" means carbonated or non-carbonated. Also, it looks to me like the OP is looking for non carbonated drinks, so...
    – Rish
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 18:51
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    @Rish It means carbonated, except after the word "ohne". Thus, if you are looking for non-carbonated drinks, buy those without the word "Kohlensäure" or those with the words "ohne Kohlensäure".
    – AndreKR
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 23:14
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    It should be added that there are bottles saying "Wenig Kohlensäure", i.e. "not much carbonic acid". These brands could also be labelled "Sanft" (gentle) or "Medium".
    – Ian
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 10:47

In addition to points already mentioned, there is another indicator for plastic bottles: Try to press and see how easily you are able to dent them. The air in bottles of carbonated drinks is under pressure. When you compare different plastic bottles of the same form factor, you will notice that you can tell by pressing them:

  • rather compressible: non carbonated drink
  • rather uncompressible: carbonated drink

However, this is a method I learned as a kid and which I have rarely used since then. Probably all the limitations noted in the comments below are valid.

  • Was going to post the same answer myself. There absolutely is a mechanical indicator contrary to another answer: carbonated liquid must be under pressure to keep the gas dissolved.
    – Myridium
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 3:15
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    I think this does only work for PET single-use bottles. The bottle in the picture is a reusable bottle, which are usually really sturdy even when empty. We just did the experiment with a blindfold and two 1.0 liter Coca Cola bottles; one factory-filled, one with tap water. I couldn't tell which one is which.
    – Alexander
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 7:54
  • @Alexander Usually the shape of the bottle is different. Plastic bottles for nor presurized liquids can have stripes that would be inflated out under pressure. If you repeat your blinfold experiment with a Coca Cola bottle filled with Coca Cola and a non carbonated water bottle filled with water, you'll notice the difference.
    – Pere
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 8:14
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    There is one other problem with this bottles: often, single-use bottles of water, juice or tea got a tiny amount of CO2 to put them under pressure. It is enough to make a fizzing noise when opening the bottle, but not enough for a sparkling sensation. I guess it is meant as indicator for freshness, but it also makes the bottle feel as hard as the bottles with carbonated water.
    – sweber
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 12:57
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    Please update your answer: you are not explaining how 'you can tell'. I'm testing two bottles, one is harder to compress than the other: now which one is carbonated? Also, is this a physical property of the fluid, or are you saying that carbonated water is in sturdier bottles.
    – user40521
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 6:27

There is absolutely no way that I know (native German) to tell without reading the label. Bottles, colors of caps or whatever, I have never noticed any pattern that discerns carbonated from not carbonated drinks.

non-exhaustive list of indicators that you have a carbonated drink:

  • mit Kohlensäure
  • (anything) Schorle (1)
  • prickelnd / gespritzt (Austria, maybe southern Germany as well)
  • sprudelnd / mit Sprudel (2)

non-exhaustive list that indicated a non carbonated drink:

  • ohne Kohlensäure
  • still / natürlich
  • Saft / Nektar (if there are none of the positive indicators)

There is also "medium" used on mineral water to indicate that it is a little bit carbonated (i.e. less than normal mineral water).

(1) where I come from (northern Germany), "Schorle" always means carbonated. As comments on other answers indicate, in other parts of Germany it might not always mean that. On bottles, however, I have not once anywhere in Germany bought something called "Apfelschorle" and found it to be not carbonated.

(2) this is rarely written, mostly used when ordering in a restaurant, i.e. "Wasser mit Sprudel, bitte" - "carbonated water, please" - or you could be asked "mit oder ohne Sprudel?" - "with or without carbonation?"

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    Yeah, those regional differences … To me, Sprudel is the carbonated water itself, so “Wasser mit Sprudel” sounds like “water with carbonated water”. :-)
    – chirlu
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 8:03
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    @chirlu a Wasserschorle ;-P the new hot product on the market. Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 11:13
  • @chirlu might be regional differences. To me, it doesn't sound odd at all. :-)
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 7:07

The name of the drink often shows if it is carbonated. The drink on the image is named "Apfelschorle". "Schorle" is carbonated juice. "Apfelsaft" on the other hand is natural apple juice (juice is "Saft" in German) without carbon dioxid. For water Aganju said the important thing: Normally bottled water is carbonated in Germany. If not it is usually labeled with "Still". If it is carbonated you often find terms like "Kohlensäure" or "Medium".

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    "Schorle" doesn't mean "carbonated juice". A Schorle is any juice mixed with water. It doesn't say anything about carbonation. I didn't ever get a carbonated Schorle in a restaurant and they use the exact same terminology (<fruit>"schorle"). Edit: I now actually googled it. It seems to be a regional difference whether it always contains carbon dioxide or only sometimes. Even the article of the word changes depending on the region. Where I come from, everyone uses the article "die".
    – UTF-8
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 18:48
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    @UTF-8: I indeed know Saftschorle only as a juice mixed with carbonated water. The juice itself is not carbonated as such. May I ask where you encountered juice mixed with non-carbonated water? That seems like a very strange offer to me; essentially thinning out the taste without compensating by adding fizziness. Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 20:34
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    @UTF-8 That's news to me, where have you noticed that if I may ask? In the usage I am familiar with, a Schorle need not even include juice, you can find things like “Weinschorle”, the only common denominator is in fact that it is carbonated/mixed with sparkling water.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 20:49
  • @O.R.Mapper Where – according to Wikipedia – it has the article "die": In Baden-Württemberg. The north-west of Baden-Württemberg to be more precise, pretty close Würzburg (Bavaria) already. When I'm in a restaurant, I often order a Johannisbeerschorle. When I just Google-image-searched that word, even bottles whose labels say stuff like "Stille Johannisbeerschorle" (example: codecheck.info/img/49017850/1) came up (I only entered the word "Johannisbeerschorle", nothing else). So it appears it's even sold in bottles without added carbon dioxide and is called a Schorle.
    – UTF-8
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 22:50
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    I travelled all over Germany and Austria, and while in restaurants rarely I've been asked "carbonated or not" when ordering Apfelschorle, on bottles I have never even once bought an Apfelschorle and found it to be not carbonated. Note that even the example UTF-8 gives contains the added "Stille" which indicates clearly that it is not carbonated. As a native German, if I want a carbonated drink and it says "Schorle", I would confidently buy it and would be quite surprised if it is not carbonated.
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 6:51

Just a word of warning: if you really cannot abide carbon dioxide, "Still" is not even a guarantee for mineral water to be without carbon dioxide addition. It's just less than in "Medium". Turn the bottle on its head and look for bubbles. "Naturell" or similar are safer in that respect. Heavy glass in the "standard" deposit 0.75l bottle form is usually suspicious but it's not like plastic bottles cannot contain heavily carbonated water either.

If you order "water" without any qualifier, you'll get carbonated in a restaurant.

  • This is perhaps the best point made on the page.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 11:18
  • I have never seen carbonated water labeled "Still" in Germany. Can you please provide references. Frankly, I don't believe you. Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 15:19

"Sprudel" or "sprudelnd" are the German words for "fizz" and "fizzy" respectively, so these too are worth watching out for (as well as the "Kohlensaeure" already mentioned).

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