February 1st is International Gruit day. What a great excuse to experiment!
On Friday January 31st we’ll be pouring the result of our latest gruit experiment. Our gruit will be served in tasters and glasses all weekend, or until we run out. We have two versions of this tart, refreshing ale. One is the result of our brew with no alterations, the other had an addition of tea made from hibiscus flowers added to it. Both are really tasty, but with only 50L of each, they won’t last long!
What is a gruit? Simply put, a gruit is a beer without any hops that uses other herbs and spices to balance the malt sugars and to flavour the beer.
Beer has not always been the delicious balance between hops and malt that we enjoy today. Before hops were used in beer, a mix of spices and herbs were the brewer’s secret weapon to crafting a tasty ale. Ingredients such as wormwood, bog myrtle, dandelion, juniper, yarrow and many other ingredients were used. Imagine the myriad of awesome ales you could make with all of those flavours!
Having made a dark, smokey and savoury gruit in the past, we decided to try to make something that was lighter, somewhat citrusy that only used a small number of ingredients. We feel that many gruits would have been tart or even sour due to the fact that they don’t contain hops and their associated antibacterial properties, I personally feel that gruits would have often been dark, smokey and savoury – of course we don’t know for sure.
After experimenting with Wormwood (wow, that is bitter!) we decided to use the following ingredients:
- Dried Woodruff
- Dried Elderflower
Finally after the beer was finished, we experimented with Hibiscus. The hibiscus adds aroma, flavour and an amazing colour.
If you’d like to learn more about gruits, or maybe try making one of your own, checkout http://www.gruitale.com/
We hope; you enjoy the results of our experiment, we really had no idea how it would turn out which is what made it so much fun.