Author Topic: Gruit Help  (Read 2318 times)

Offline dano14041

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Gruit Help
« on: June 05, 2011, 01:05:44 AM »
I am going to make a 1 gal experimental batch of Gruit. The recipe I found is:
Grain bill
    13 pounds / 6 Kg english pale malt
    4 pounds / 2 Kg crystal malt
    3 pounds / 1.3 Kg German pilsner malt (roasted at 350°F / 175°C for 20min)
    2 pounds / 1 Kg German Munich malt

    2 onces / 50-60g of Yarrow
    2 onces / 50-60g of Wild rosemary
    2 onces / 50-60g of Bog myrtle
    1/2 Whirlfloc tab
Perform saccharification rest for 85 minutes at 156°F / 70°C.
Mash out for 10 minutes at 165°F / 74°C.
Sparge with 6 gallons / 23L at 170°F / 76°C.
Collect wort into brew kettle and boil for 30 minutes before adding gruit herbs.
Add 1 once / 28g of each of each herb for a 30 minute boil.
Strain and cool to 70°F / 21°C, pour in fermenter and add yeast.
Hang the remaining 1 once / 28g of each herb in a muslin bag in the fermenter.
Ferment until complete, siphon into bottles, prime and cap.

This beer is modeled on a Scottish Ale. The taste balances quite well between the maltiness, alcohol and gruit herbs. Be sure not to boil all herbs as delicate aromatics and properties will be lost in the process.

Any suggestions for the Crystal? for some reason I was thinking 120L, but that makes a very dark beer. (35.5 SRM)
Any other suggestions?

I plan on making a few versions to see which I like best for a comp.

Tulsa, OK

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Gruit Help
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2011, 03:34:50 AM »
Not a scotch style, but this was brewed by our VP and was damn awesome. Pretty much the best one I've had.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Gruit Help
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 12:48:49 PM »
I haven't brewed a gruit quite yet, but I've done a lot of research.  Based on what I've read, and based on chewing up the actual herbs, you need to tone down the yarrow and rosemary, as those are pretty strong!  I'd chop the yarrow down to half of what they've recommended, and use just a slight hint of rosemary which should be treated more as a spice than a bittering agent, i.e., a little goes a very long way.  The bog myrtle, on the other hand, tastes mellow and should be just fine in any quantity from what I can tell.

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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Gruit Help
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2011, 06:41:21 PM »
A few years ago my HB club did an experiment brewing unhopped "gruit" beers. One of the options was a Scottish ale and it works well as a gruit. Another possible addition to your gruit herbs is heather, which works nicely.

Since it's a specialty beer, and, historically, most gruit beer would have been amber to dark brown,  don't worry about the color unless you're worried about the darker malt giving an unwanted flavor notes that clash with the herbs.

If you're interested in brewing an "authentic" gruit (in so much as it is possible to do so using modern ingredients and techniques), then possibly substitute oat or wheat (malted or unmalted) for the crystal if you want body in your beer. For extra authenticity, perhaps add a bit of smoked malt, since, until the 18th century, most malt was dried over wood fires. While brewers tried hard to eliminate the smoky flavor, some might have still persisted.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Gruit Help
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 02:47:55 PM »
I'm very pleased with my gruit ale today...... scored a 41 and 43 in the Upper Mississippi Mash-Out. It's frustrating scoring that well but it not taking a bronze..... I suppose that's what happens at such a huge competition where there are 1000 entries. But I'm very happy with my 42. The ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. Sounds like a good name for this brew!  And all my research certainly paid off.

The best advice I can give to anyone wanting to brew a gruit ale is..... take the amount of herbs that you think seem appropriate based on research... and divide that amount by about 3 for your own recipe.  That's right -- use very very small amounts of all your chosen herbs.  Don't worry, it will still taste like herbs no matter how much or how little you use!  But it's so easy to go overboard.  Try going with less and you'll be more likely to have a very pleasing beer.

Expect tartness.  For whatever reason, these beers taste like they are afflicted with Lactobacillus, even when they are not.

Good luck on your gruit adventures.

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Offline rjharper

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Re: Gruit Help
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2013, 05:36:15 PM »
To resurrect a zombie, since it's right in line with what I'm asking, how did the OP brew turn out? I ask because I need to brew a gruit as part of a beer history exhibit for a special session at my local science museum.

I have on hand
4oz Yarrow
2oz Bog Myrtle / Sweet Gale
1oz Wild Rosemary
1lb Heather Tips.

I found the same recipe as the OP, but I'm also very aware of dmtaylor's point of toning down  herb additions, especially the yarrow and rosemary. I'd also like to include some heather since I do like Fraoch. So is the OP recipe any good? Does anyone have another recipe they suggest? I'd like to go a little lighter than a 1.088OG.