hist-brewing: Gruit List

PBLoomis at aol.com PBLoomis at aol.com
Sat Jan 13 18:50:23 PST 2001

In a message dated 1/13/01 6:05:40 AM Central Standard Time, 
polrena at hotmail.com writes:

> If I have enough recipes from the same person, I try to read all of them to 
>  see if the author ever indicates one or the other, in particular.  If one 
>  recipe calls for "2 ounces parsley root, dried" and then another one calls 
>  for "3 ounces sweet marjoram,"  I generally presume that indicates the 
>  marjoram should be fresh.  If not, here are some other clues I have found: 
>  if the recipe calls for "sprigs" of rosemary, etc., I take it to mean 
>    Same for "slices" of herbs, as dried herbs would normally, I'm guessing, 
>  be whole.
>  For gruit specifically, I found this in "Sacred and Healing Herbal Beers" 
>  Stephan Buhner:
>  For Myrica, "this plant grows of the moors, close to some of the lakes.  
>  was gathered in the autumn, and the leaves were also taken.  When this 
>  was used the ale was strong...-Odd Nordland, 1969"  Later, Buhner says, 
>  branches containing the nut cones should be gathered in fall and used 
>  or recently dried.  The older they are, the less vasodilating effect they 
>  possess, the resins deteriorating with time....some of the fresh herb 
>  be hung in the fermenter to work with the alcohol that the yeasts produce 
>  during fermentation."
>  For [Bog?] Rosemary: "the traditional use of the fresh flowering tops of 
>  rosemary..."
>  For Yarrow:  "The aromatics are especially strong in the flowering 
>  plant...to preserve the aromatics, which will boil off, the plant should 
>  both be boiled and added to the fermentation to infuse over time...or else 
>  simply steeped in the hot wort as it cools."
>  My humble, amateurish guess is, fresh.
    This is a wonderful message, and brings up something 
I need help with.
    There is no one good place where the brewer can go to find 
information about gruits.  There is some good stuff on the Florilegium
(there's *lots* of good stuff on the Florilegium) but it makes no claim
to be complete.  Nathi suggested that we expand that, and Stefan 
has agreed to house it on the Florilegium if I'll edit it.  So here I am, 
about to get in over my head.

    Please send me information you have about specific gruits, 
including any of the following:
Botanical name or names?
Common name or names?
Where is it found (what region or country, and terrain type)?
Part of plant which was used (flowers, root, leaves, budding tips, etc)?
Fresh, recently picked, dried, or what?
Preparation methods (fold, spindle, or mutilate)?
When added (in the mash, beginning of boil, late or end of boil, first wort,
    steep in cooling wort, add to fermenter, etc)?
Preservative, flavoring, or aroma?
What does it smell/taste like?
Where was it used (country or region)?
When was it used (reported by whom)?
*Bibliographic*citation* (author, date, document, translator, where 
Experimental results?
Any other information you have.

    Please make each gruit a separate message.
    Please use this heading and add the common name of the herb.
    If the List Owner will permit, I'd prefer to have the messages 
sent to the list, rather than direct to me.  That way we can all enjoy 
them, and I can garner the comments from all the wonderful
knowledgeable people on this list.
    Thank you in advance,
    Scotti mac Curraugh

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