Gruit Ale

Gruit ales were the beers predominantly brewed in medieval Europe. The ingredients in a gruit ale were limited only by whatever herbs, plants and spices a brewer could obtain locally or through trade, and each brewer's recipe for gruit ale was a closely guarded secret. However, most gruit ales had three common ingredients - bog myrtle (also called sweet or Myrica gale), yarrow and marsh (or wild) rosemary. (WARNING: SOME OR ALL OF THESE PLANTS ARE CONSIDERED TOXIC AND ARE NO LONGER RECOMMENDED FOR CONSUMPTION.) Because of these particular plants, gruit ales were highly intoxicating and aphrodisiacal and could even be psychotropic and slightly narcotic when consumed in sufficient quantities. Gruit ales were a favorite of the Catholic clergy, so they greatly diminished in popularity as the Protestant movement against the Catholic Church swept through Europe. Today, hops are the primary plant used in brewing beer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon water

  • 1-3/4 pounds pale malt

  • 1-1/2 pounds crystal malt

  • 1-1/2 grams bog myrtle

  • 1-1/2 grams marsh rosemary

  • 1-1/2 grams yarrow

  • yeast

(WARNING: NOT INCLUDING THE MALTS, SOME OR ALL OF THESE PLANTS ARE CONSIDERED TOXIC AND ARE NO LONGER RECOMMENDED FOR CONSUMPTION. THEREFORE, BREW AND CONSUME THIS BEER AT YOUR OWN RISK.)

Instructions:

  1. Mash in at 170F. Use just enough water to create a stiff mash.

  2. Cover the mash and let it rest for 3 hours.

  3. Sparge the grains with water at 170F until a total of 1 gallon of water is acquired.

  4. Boil the wort and herbs for 90 minutes.

  5. Cool the wort to 70F then strain it into a fermenter and pitch the yeast.

  6. Allow the beer to ferment completely then bottle and condition for 4 months before drinking.

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