Umqombothi, from the Xhosa language, is a beer made from maize (corn), maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water. It is commonly found in South Africa. It is very rich in Vitamin B. The beer has a rather low alcohol content (usually less than 3%) and is known to have a heavy and distinctly sour aroma. In appearance, the beer is opaque and light tan in colour. It has a thick, creamy and gritty consistency (from the maize).
Umqombothi is cheaper than commercial lager beers, that are brewed from barley and flavoured with hops flowers.
Umqombothi is used to celebrate the home-coming of young men known as abakwetha in Xhosa culture, after ulwaluko – initiation and religious male circumcision.
This beer plays a very important role when someone contacts their ancestors, the amadlozi, and plays a central role in the social context and so is often used during customary weddings, funerals, and imbizos (traditional meetings).