I’m not at their scale—I have to drink the beer in the bottles I have before I can brew more, if you get me. A prevalent historical gruit, according to Buhner, and recipes elsewhere, consisted of wild rosemary, bog myrtle and yarrow.The closest beer I’ve had to this would be the CBC Weekapaug Gruit, which is completely awesome and I hope they do it every year.
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I haven’t attempted the homebrew version because it would violate the Code a bit: I haven’t found (fresh, local) sources for wild rosemary or bog myrtle and have yet to try growing them. The Herbs I grew my own lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, rosemary and sage. There are way more herbs than these out there that I could have, may yet, and totally will use in the future. To get an idea what they might taste like in beer, I made “practice” teas from those herbs with which I was less familiar by steeping 1 teaspoon herb in 10 oz boiling water for 5 minutes.
Though the flavors and properties of herbs as extracted by alcohol and by water differ significantly, tea is quick and easy to make, and beer is mostly water anyway.
(Read about gruit’s checkered history in previous Literary Beer entry The Beer of Alchemists and Witches).
There are lots of great, well-educated guesses out there, but the real work lies in experimentation: fresh/dry, boiled/not boiled, quantity, volume vs weight vs exposure time, herb flavors/properties/effects—it boggles the mind.
) were not a primary component of beer, let alone the star of the show.