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Archive for the ‘gruit’ tag

Hops, Who Needs ’em? A History of Gruit Ales.

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First published on Edible East End

The Mash Recirculating with Frank Filachione and Zippy

The Mash Recirculating with Frank Filachione and Zippy

“Gruit? Did you mean to write fruit?” was one of the edits we received after writing about a Taste of Long Island for the fall issue and the herbal gruits the Brewers Collective plans to make there. Similarly, when we brewed a gruit for the Spring Craft Beer Festival at Nassau Coliseum about half the patrons ordered the “herbal fruit”, which admittedly does have a nice ring to it. So all this confusion raises the question: What the heck is a gruit?

Today beer and ale are often used as synonyms, but there is a distinct difference between the two. Ales do not contain any hops, a key ingredient in beer for bittering and preservation. Hops are the female flowers of Humulus lupulus and were introduced to ale around 1079 in Germany although they did not truly catch on until the 13th century. Prior to hops becoming an integral ingredient in beer, ale was flavored with what is known as gruit. Gruit is a mix of herbs, flowers, seeds or other flavoring components used to balance out the malty flavor of an ale. Heather is the most traditional ingredient, but brewers can get creative and use any mixture they desire. keep reading...

Hopless Romantic: A BLC/Big C Brewing Collaboration

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Hopless Romantic is a gruit ale we brewed alongside Frank F. of “Big C Brewery” for the North Fork Craft Beer, Wine & BBQ Fest. In keeping true-ish to this historical style, it was brewed with shiso, spruce, tarragon, rosemary and mint, but no hops. Traditionally all ales used a “gruit” (a mix of herbs, roots, flowers and/or spices) instead of hops as a bittering and flavoring agent which is what we tried to achieve with Hopless Romantic.

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The idea to brew this beer was born out of our previous gruit ale effort, Saint Remo. As you may recall this beer was served at the 2013 Spring Craft Beer Festival at Nassau Coliseum (and was a favorite of LIB Magazine). We really enjoyed the brewing process combined with the sometimes challenging aspect of avoiding hops. Saint Remo was a bit on the heavier side, as spruce was the main flavoring agent, so we wanted to do something lighter for summer. keep reading...

Crafting a Beer: Realization – Saint Remo Gruit Ale (2013)

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After a long night of recipe brainstorming and an even longer day of brewing, we were coming to the home stretch with our Saint Remo Gruit. Grain had been milled, wort had been boiled, herbs and yeast added, all taking us to the final steps: racking, kegging and most importantly, tasting.

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Our gruit had been sitting in primary fermentation for a week, and it was time to transfer it from our plastic fermenter into two five gallon glass carboys. First though, we tested the gravity using a refractometer as well as a hydrometer and also gave it another taste. The flavors were really starting to come through, but we knew there were still a few important steps left and we were not out of the woods just yet. We then transferred the liquid with the use of an auto siphon, being careful not to disturb the thick yeast cake that had settled on the bottom. Once the liquid was in the carboys, we sealed them each with an airlock and left them to ferment for another couple weeks. keep reading...

Written by A+K

March 9th, 2013 at 12:14 am

Crafting a Beer: Execution – Saint Remo Gruit Ale (2013)

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After carefully constructing our gruit recipe and purchasing the ingredients, it was finally time to brew. Bearing copious amounts of citrus and herbs, we arrived at Franks bright and early to get started brewing on his ten gallon brewing set up. Though this was not our first time brewing, it was the first time we had a hand in writing the recipe, so the stakes seemed a bit higher and we hoped the end result would be even more rewarding.

Despite most people enjoying a cold brew every once in awhile (or a bit more often, for some), the brewing process is something of an illusive mystery for most casual beer enthusiasts. Vorlauf, sparge and mash-tun are words that sound foreign and rarely come up while relaxing with your favorite beer, but they are part of the every day vocabulary of brewers. As two relative novices to home brewing, we are still learning most of the terminology, technique and tips as well. Here is how our Saint Remo gruit brew day progressed: keep reading...

Written by A+K

March 6th, 2013 at 4:35 am

Crafting a Beer: Inception – Saint Remo Gruit Ale (2013)

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This Saturday, March 9, Nassau Coliseum will be hosting its 7th annual Spring Craft Beer Festival. There will be over 50 brewers from Long Island and across the country in attendance pouring 2 oz. samples of their beers. There are two sessions (12:30 pm-4:00 pm and 5:30 pm-9:00 pm) and tickets are still available though the events website. We attended the event last year and were able to sample brews from many of our favorite commercial breweries, but home brewers are fairly represented as well. LIBME (Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts) will have a table at both sessions where home brewers from the club will be pouring their creations. On tap will be Saint Remo, a modern day gruit that Beer Loves Company brewed in collaboration with our friend Frank of “Big C” brewery. keep reading...

Written by A+K

March 4th, 2013 at 10:41 pm