Beer Styles 201: Gruit Beer (Ancient Herbed/Spiced Ale)
Gruit like fruit can be added to ales to change their flavour profiles. Learn more about this ancient beer style.
By Shira Kogut on Jan. 13, 2017
What is Gruit?
Before hops, herbs, spices and flora were used to give beer flavour. These were called Gruit. Gruit is the German word for herbs. Before the Reinheitsgebot (the German Purity Laws) were created there were no beer standards. Brewers could put whatever they wanted in beers and they were.
Why Use Gruit?
Some brewers put gruit in with good intentions like to take advantage of the herbs medicinal properties while others not so good. For example, some of the herbs like henbane or stinging nettle were used to preserve the beer, but actually had poisonous and other dangerous qualities which the brewers ignored. The German Purity laws were enacted to prevent brewers from wantonly disregarding the effects of dangerous gruits. Gruits when used correctly were able to give the beer flavour and enabled the brewer to use some creativity.
Try some gruit beers and see what you think:
We also liked the recommendations in Spike Carter’s article from Bloomberg Pursuits.
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