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Old 11-17-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default Gruit Herb help

Does anyone have a list, or could we create one, of the herbs that can be used in beer as a substitute for the preservative qualities of hops? And how they are utilized to best access these properties.

So far I know Yarrow has all of the antimicrobial/antiseptic qualities of hops, and that you boil the leaves in much the same way, but I was hoping there would be others as well.

Some of the herbs I'm already planning on using in my upcoming experiments in Gruit: Licorice, Spruce tips, Ginger, Anise, and in at least one I will be using Yarrow



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Old 11-17-2012, 10:35 PM   #2
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Juniper berries, bog myrtle, caraway, mugwort, grape tannin or seeds, rosemarry, cloves, cardamom, California bay laurel leaves. Yarrow is questionable for health reasons. I wouldn't use it.



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Old 11-18-2012, 12:12 AM   #3
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Thanks for that list, I know that the first four are regularly associated with Gruit. I did some brief research into all of the ones you listed and included what I found bellow.

On the issue of Yarrow, that's actually one of the more benign of the traditional herbs used in Gruit: it's known to be an allergen (similar to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and similar plants), It should not be used by pregnant/breastfeeding women, may impede clotting (much like alchohol) and should not be taken or used within 2 weeks of surgery. Unlike several of the other herbs used in traditional gruit, it has no Narcotic or Psychoactive properties.

Juniper - Not an acceptable substitute (yes a traditional herb used in Gruit, for flavor), no antimicrobial/antiseptic properties. Also, several of the members of my local homebrew club are severely allergic (including my wife) so I won't be using it at all.

Bog Myrtle (Sweet Gale) - One of the big 3 in Gruit, also lacks antimicrobial/antiseptic properties, it's main use was because it's nuts are psychoactive. I will be using a little in one of my Gruits.

Caraway - No antimicrobial/antiseptic properties, mainly used for flavor

Mugwort - No antimicrobial/antiseptic properties, some parts are used in herbal teas as a stimulant/diuretic, used in beer for flavor (bittersweet) and clarification.

Grape Seeds - No antimicrobial/antiseptic properties, way to expensive to use in my beer.

Rosemary - May have antimicrobial/antiseptic properties will look into it further, the seeds were used in gruits, and have narcotic properties. May lead to worse hangovers

Cloves - Proven antimicrobial/antiseptic properties will look into how much would be needed and in what ways to use it. The flavor of cloves can be overwhelming, if it's not the primarily desired flavor it will be difficult to overcome.

Cardamom - May have antimicrobial/antiseptic properties will look into it further. The flavor would probably be good for sweet beers.

Laurel - No antimicrobial/antiseptic properties, probably good for aromatic uses in beer though.

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Old 11-18-2012, 12:19 AM   #4
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Oh! and I found a new one...

Sage - Some antimicrobial/antiseptic properties Needs to be "dry-hopped" to access the volatile oils, as these won't dilute without alcohol.

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:13 AM   #5
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So why the focus on anti microbial properties? Doing a traditional no boil gruit?

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:24 AM   #6
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You should really invest in a book called 'Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers' if you want this kind of information, because it would be quite an exhausting feat to list them all here on this thread along with their properties and recipe usage. I think there are about 80 listed in the book. But good luck!



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