hist-brewing: gruit

BrewInfo brewinfo at xnet.com
Mon Oct 18 14:24:24 PDT 1999

Scotti writes (although I could have quoted any one of the posters
on this topic):
>In a message dated 10/13/1999 11:56:04 PM EST, gene at dwiggins.com writes:
><< I am looking for a recipe
> for gruited ale, along with the difference in technique of brewing. >>
>    This sounds like a great topic!!  I have been able to ascertain that 
>alehoof and costmary were each used as gruits in England.

Being a very careful sort, I would like to suggest that you proceed
with caution when putting together gruit or any spices that are no longer
commonly consumed.  Many herbs and spices can be toxic and there's a
good reason things such as wormwood have become out of favour for brewers.

Personally, I would check any recipe against the warnings in the appendix
of "A Sip in Time" by our very own hist-brewing subscriber, Cindy Renfrow.

Cindy-- please post your website URL... I would have posted it, but seem to
have lost the URL *again*!

>Louis Stevenson's poem alleges that the Picts in Scotland used heather 
>as gruit, but that the knowledge was lost when the Scots purged the 
>Pictish nobility around 850 AD.  I know nothing of recipes or processes, 
>or sources for any of these gruits.  Would very much like to learn.

I'm not so sure the Picts specifically meant to use heather as *gruit*,
but I do know that both the Picts and Scots made fermented beverages
that contained heather.   There was an article on heather ale in a
special issue of Zymurgy a few years ago... call the AHA and ask for
the Special Ingredients Special Issue... there are a lot of interesting
articles in that issue, besides the heather article (which, by the way,
was written by the guy (whose name escapes me at the moment) who brews
a commercial version of heather ale, called "Leann Freuh" (sp?)).


Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
korz at brewinfo.org

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