I Am Gruit—Medieval Herbed Ale

I AM GRUIT

FIRST BATCH
Adapted from Mosher, Radical Brewing 241.

Scaled down to Batch Volume of 1.5 gallons. 

  • 4 oz cherrywood smoked malt
  • 1.4 oz Special B malt SRM 180
  • 1 oz black patent malt SRM 500
  • 2.8 lbs amber LME
  • 1 bay laurel leaf
  • 0.03 oz Rosemary
  • 0.06 oz each of Bog Myrtle, Caraway, Mugwort

Brewing notes:

Upped the boil time on the laurel. Skip cardamom and clove this time. 

I’m concerned that the juniper will completely dominate, so I think I will eliminate it this first time around. Mosher calls for 2 oz per 5 gallons, or 0.6 for 1.5 gallons. 

I think I will substitute Special B for Brown malt, since I have it and perhaps if that would similarly impart an old world taste. Also use my cherrywood smoked malt for the smoked malt, but would that impart too much baconiness? 

Raw herb tasting notes: 

  • WORMWOOD – INTENSELY astringent bitterness. Gonna take a pass on this one this time.
  • Mugwort – very mild herby bitterness. 
  • Myrtle – pleasant mint tea taste.
  • Laurel – slight spearmint that grows. 
  • Caraway – as in rye bread, of course. Pleasant tangy bitter. 

BREW DAY

3/19/2017 

OG 1.064 – substantially higher than BeerSmith calculated. Maybe that’s due to the reused yeast starter. I pitched about 40oz of Krampuslauf Hefeweizen yeast. That’ll likely contribute it’s own spice. 

4/30 – No, BeerSmith might just be off or I’m using the wrong profile: 

Assuming ~1.036OG (36pts) for 1lb LME in 1 gallon water, then: 

36pts x 2.8lbs / 1.5gal = 67 or 1.067OG

http://howtobrew.com/book/section-1/malt-extract-and-beer-kits/how-much-extract-to-use

Made a hot tea from the herbs in the muslin bag after cleaning out the kettle. Might tasty. Rosemary prominent but not overbearing. Second perhaps is myrtle, could be laurel too. Not sure I’m picking up the caraway or mugwort.

3/26 SG 1.022 

Lovely aroma and flavor. Strong mint, perhaps the myrtle. Though fermented down well, far too sweet. Put on heating pad on low. After less than 24 hours, bubbling away goodly.

4/1 SG 1.015 — 6.5%

4/16 Mellowed nicely but still imbalances with heavy sweetness.

4/28 Bottled 9 bottles with sugar cube.

5/26 Thick mouth feel, opaque reddish brown color, great carbonation, very sweet, heavy rosemary nose and taste. Kinda takes away the rest, but there’s some good earthiness. Koren: licorice, mild root beer, chicory, crisp with tart aftertaste.

Gruit - Bog Myrtle, Yarro, and Rosemary

SECOND BATCH

Adapted from Mosher, Radical Brewing 241.

Scaled down to Batch Volume of 1.5 gallons.

Mugwort, bay laurel, bog myrtle, caraway, rosemary

  • removed black malt
  • upped Special B (hardly) to 2 oz
  • 1.5 lbs amber LME. Reduced qty. extract to lower gravity
  • Increased boil time of most herbs to 30 minutes.
  • still nixing juniper, clove, and cardamom for continuity with last batch
  • doubling the mugwort to 0.12 oz.

5/12 SG 1.010
MEGA Brew club seemed to enjoy it. Much more drinkable than first batch, but still rather too sweet and minty for my taste.

Let’s find out what they think at Pennsic.

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