hist-brewing: Gruited or spiced ales

Sean Richens srichens at sprint.ca
Thu Oct 14 16:10:28 PDT 1999


I found that the hard part is getting the herbs.  Most herbalists in North
America have a pharmacopeia of substantially North American Aboriginal
origin.  Good medicine, but not really relevant to mediaeval Europe.

Never did get the Alecost or Costmary, etc.  I read some debate on the
matter in hist-brewing, all I've learned elsewhere is that *Glecheroma* is
a species of mint and is not something your neighbors will forgive you for
planting.  It has gone rampantly wild in Newfoundland, so if you're up that
way, send me a pound, will you?

I *did* finally find some Buckbean leaves at a local store.  The recipe
(just a 1 gallon trial) is based on a note in Clive LaPensee's _The
Historical Companion to House-Brewing_ (Montag, ISBN 09515685 0 7) great
book, you sound like someone who's gotta have it.

Ye Olde Ale

28 g Buckbean leaf

Boil 2-3 minutes, discard water (takes away the extreme astringency)

Add water, boil 1 hour, strain, discard leaf

Steep 2.5 oz crystal malt + 1 oz roast barley
Add 1.8 lb pale malt syrup (not quite mediaeval)
1 g gypsum, pinch Irish moss

Bring to boil, add half of Buckbean extract, take a sample and taste.  Add
more to taste (I added another 1/4 of the extract - it's harsh!).

Pitch a British ale yeast.

I aged it much longer than appropriate (almost 2 months in secondary), but
after 1 month in bottle you can't really tell it's not a regular brown ale.

There's my experience so far.  All the best, and please share your
experiences with us.



I am an experienced brewer of hopped beers. I am looking for a recipe
for gruited ale, along with the difference in technique of brewing. I am
used to the 1 hour boil required for hop utilization. It sounds like the
use of herbs is quite different. I imagine one would boil the wort for
at least 10 minutes for sanitation, but from there I am vague about how
and when the herbs are added. i am also curious if simple powdered
kitchen spices can be used effectively, or is it best to use "bushes"

Geoffrey deWygan

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