hist-brewing: Brewing herbs

eusephus titnicker eusephus at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 11 18:19:48 PDT 2007


Many thanks to all who have responded.

I'm very interested in spruce beer.  In Washington
State, I believe that we have the Sitka Spruce.  So,
no shortage of materials there.  I like the idea of
brewing with maple.  Too bad sugar maples aren't
plentiful here.  Lots of birch, though.

I'm having a bit more trouble finding some of the
traditional european gruit ingredients.  Myrica gale
and marsh rosemary seem pretty hard to find.  I'll ask
my local brew store if they know where to get it
locally.  I didn't notice any herbs there the last
time I looked around, but it's possible that he knows
a source.

I read a borrowed copy of Buhner's HEALING BEERS book
a couple of years ago, which is were I first heard of
gruit.   The friend who loaned me the book brews a
gruit type barley wine that has a LOT of alcohol.  So
much in fact, that I'm not sure if I've ever noticed
any of the fabled narcotic effect of the thujone heavy
adjuncts (as I was too busy nodding out from the
ethanol!.)  He uses wormwood, mugwort, yarrow, and
sage in various combinations.  I've really developed a
liking for the taste of gruit.  My attitude is to not
even try compare gruit to hopped beer, but to try and
appreciate it for it's own unique character.  It's a
hard sell to people used to hops, but I really like
it.  

I think that many of the old brewing herbs can be
grown in the local climate.  Myrica gale (if memory
serves) grows wild here abouts.   Yarrow and wormwood
are everywhere in fact, wormwood is considered a
pernicious weed.  Not sure I like wormwood, tho' -
something about it says "beware..."


       
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