I made this during the past weekend and I'll update with a review. But I'm curious what y'all have to say about it as I'm not sure if I should add some more licorice as well as molasses when I pop this darling into 2ndary. I snagged the inspiration from a black IPA I saw on the forum because I thought that the bitterness of the wormwood would easily work with hop bitterness. I could be very wrong...
Gruit Fthagn (or however Lovecraft spells the danged thing)
Extract w Specialty
(let steep @ 170F)
1 lb 10L Crystal Malt
8 oz roasted barley
16 oz. Carapils
8 oz Carafa II
Bring to a Boil
@60 add 3.3 lbs Coopers Light LME
@30 add 3.3 lbs Coopers Light LME
and 2 oz crystalized ginger
@10 add 3.3 Coopers Light LME
and 1/2 oz Wormwood
and 1/2 oz Licorice
Cool, bring to 5 gallons, scoop wormwood + licorice into carboy, pitch yeast ( Wyeast 1764 Pacman yeast)
And that's where I am. It is black and the wort was VERY thick. Using whatever online brew-recipe thing there is, it seems like it will definitely turn out rather strong. And since I'm making this for a tabletop RPG crew I play with, I see that as being rather welcome. As long as it doesn't SUCK.
I'm tempted to add another 1/2 oz of licorice to the secondary as well as a cup of blackstrap molasses.
Ok, so I just popped this into secondary and gave it a taste. The wormwood gives it a distinct medicinal quality that I'm hoping will mellow, based on other wormwood threads. The licorice isn't too strong of a flavor, but is definitely there and I put another 1/4 oz in with secondary because I'm curious. The rest of the flavors are pretty nice with some roasty notes, but not so much that it takes away from the herbals. I've gone from curious to optimistically curious.
Never tried licorice in a beer yet ... sounds like it could be tasty if not overdone. Using strong herbal flavors is always a challenge, as you want it to be noticable, yet not overpowering. :)
I have used Gr. Wormwood on several batches of gruit, and found it a very bitter/strong herb indeed! Each batch, I cut it back further & further, as it tends to overpower the beer easily. I currently use about 1/4 oz of Wormwood in 5-gal. for about 15 minutes of boil. I also add a tiny bit to my dry-herb pouch after primary too.
While I start to enjoy my gruit beers a bit earlier, I try real hard to keep them at least 6 months in the bottle before judging them seriously. It takes a while for the spices (wormwood, sweet gale, yarrow) to mellow out. I have a few bottles left of my last batch which are 18 months old.... wonderfully tasty!
Good luck on your gruit! Give it time and let us know how the licorice/ginger/wormwood blend came out and where you would take the recipe on its next try!
Thanks, between reading wormwood threads and dealing with other beers and feedback like yours, I agree that this one will definitely need a few months to reach it's prime. I'll make a point to provide a bit of feedback when I try it next.
Bottled this yesterday and gave it a taste. The licorice sweetness mellowed into a nice component with the roasty notes of the beer itself, and there's really no licorice flavor itself to speak of unless you know it's there. The wormwood is smoothing out but is still the front flavor with a not unpleasant bitterness that alternates between medicinal and orange pith. The boyfriend totally dug it and drank the incomplete bottle all by himself, which surprised me as he hates hoppy beers and vermouth. I'm going to let it sit for at least two weeks if not a month before I give it another try.
Ok. This is a damned good beer. Super roasty, a very unique bitterness with medicinal hints because dangit it's wormwood. The boyfriend and father have been going through it like gangbusters now that I've allowed it to be consumed and it's been well received at homebrew club meetings and dinner parties alike. I think I'll be making it again. The 'trick' is to let it age... like all beers.
That is all.
I noticed on your blog that you might have used some ginger in this brew as well?
Didn't see that in the 1st post, but it sounds like a good addition to this beer!
Yes. You are correct! There is ginger in it. 2 oz @ 30 minutes according to the recipe above as well as the blog. In the early days of the beer it came across as a touch astringent, but it's totally awesome now that the beer has been given time!
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