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Old 01-07-2005, 07:40 PM   #1
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Default Bog Myrtle instead of Hops

I have heard from a guy I met who was a professional Bog Myrtle gatherer for a perfume maker, that this plant was used by the vikings when they made beer, much in the same way we use hops. Furthermore, that the plant imparted a slight chemical buzz in addition to the alcoholic one.

Does anyone know anything about its use in beermaking? I know where to find the stuff aplenty but am not sure what to do with it.

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Old 01-07-2005, 08:36 PM   #2
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Default also called Myrica Gale

Bog Myrtle was a part of traditional gruit - an herbal flavoring that was used in beer before hops were introduced.

from Buhner's Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers:

Gruit (or sometimes grut') was, primarily, a combination of three mild to moderately narcotic herbs: sweet gale (Myrica gale), also called bog myrtle, Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and wild rosemary (Ledum palustre), also called marsh rosemary.

he goes on to say that while hops tend to promote drowsiness and diminish sexual desire, the herbs in gruit are quite the opposite: "highly inebriating and stimulating when used in ale, far out of proportion to their individual effects outside of fermentation."

Increases in hop growing and the increased controls on gruit are sometimes considered the earliest incidents of government controls on drugs.

The book has some recipes calling for these herbs - but I have not managed to get my hands on any yet (I must admit I have not tried very hard). I would like to give it a go - if anyone knows any good sources for fresh herbs, I would like to hear about them.

If you go ahead and make a Gale Ale - please let us know about it.

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Old 01-12-2005, 06:56 PM   #3
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Wow, I'd also love to hear any experiences anyone has with this sort of old-school brewing. Sounds fun!

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Old 01-12-2005, 09:49 PM   #4
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Default gruit beer

while I was in Denver last summer for the GABF, Wynkoop's had on tap a gruit beer that was very good. Can't say whether it was any more inebriating than other beer - I went directly from the bar downstairs to a party upstairs and drank plenty of beer - then on to a tap house specializing in belgians...

...let's just say that to really get a good understanding, one would have to sample it in the absence of competing factors.

I do recall that it was a very pleasant flavor, though not at all what most folks would expect from something called beer.

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Old 02-22-2006, 04:54 AM   #5
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The websight talks about how one fellow made gruit and shares some resources on where to find the herbs at the bottom.
http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/b...555/gruit.htm#

This is the one stop shop he mentions for all the herbs he used.
http://www.wildweeds.com/index.html
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:06 AM   #6
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This thread was over a year old!!!

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Old 02-22-2006, 05:39 AM   #7
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Wow, I'd also love to hear any experiences anyone has with this sort of old-school brewing. Sounds fun!

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Old 01-23-2008, 01:36 AM   #8
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Default marsh rosemary

that link above is out of marsh rosemary - does anyone know where i could find some?

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Old 01-25-2008, 01:54 AM   #9
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A better resource than Sacred and Herbal Beers is Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher. Chapter 17 is about old and ancient brewing techniques/ingredients. It only has a small section on herbs and gruits, but at least all the recipes are actual beer recipes instead of sugar hooches.

The gruit recipe it has uses:
2 oz. crushed juniper
5 grams each: bog myrtle, caraway, mugwort, and grape tannin (or grape seeds).
3 grams each: rosemary, ground cloves, and cardamom.
3 bay leaves

All are added during the last 5 minutes of the boil.

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Old 01-25-2008, 04:07 AM   #10
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This would be cool, but at an average of $4 per herb added, it'd be an expensive brew.

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