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Old 02-28-2007, 11:28 PM   #1
BrewFrick
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Default Herbs that can be added to Beer?

Does anyone have any experience with brewing using herbs?

Not spices like cinnamon and cloves, but herbs like oregano, basil, mint, etc.

I am particularly interested in brewing with rosemary and wondering if anyone has info on this.

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Old 02-28-2007, 11:38 PM   #2
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Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation is a good reference. Rosemary can't be too different from using spruce. "1 pound of the outer twigs of spruce fir at 15 minutes" is typical.

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Old 02-28-2007, 11:58 PM   #3
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Medieval style beers (called grout or gruit) were make without hops, but without some kind of bittering herb, they were wicked sweet and went bad fast. Sometimes they used stuff like heather, so you can use more or less anything. Let me know how it turns out, I really want to try this kind of stuff.

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Old 03-01-2007, 12:06 AM   #4
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Juniper berries have been used as well. Actually I know garlic beer has been around for a while.

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Old 03-01-2007, 12:28 AM   #5
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BYO had an artical on Gruit a while back, thats what gave me the idea for my sasparilla (rootbeer) ale. I have had heather and rosemarry beers . . . I'll pass next time

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Old 03-01-2007, 12:33 AM   #6
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I recently brewed a Heather Ale for a hop intolerant friend of mine and to me it tasted like beer. Searching for Gruit will net you some interesting websites, the recipe I used was from one of them. I'll search around a bit and find the ones I know of.


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=19403

http://www.gruitale.com/intro_en.htm

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Old 03-01-2007, 02:16 AM   #7
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papazian's bible has a yarrow ale recipe (no hops, just yarrow for bittering) I've been wanting to try... finding fresh yarrow isn't the easiest though...

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Old 03-01-2007, 04:23 AM   #8
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might anyone know anything about brewing with tea leaves (i.e. green) and/or would it be something that would taste good? i like green tea and so i figured maybe a green tea beer might be up my alley

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Old 03-01-2007, 04:59 AM   #9
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David42 is right to mention Buhner's "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers"... It is a pretty good read and gives some insight into how the rise of civilisation and man's use of fermentation are inextricably linked together.
I would be cautious using yarrow; it can indeed be pleasantly inebriating when mixed in solution with alcohol, but the after affects can be quite unpleasant.
Also know that one cannot use just any herb instead of hops, or the beer will eventually spoil. Hops was originally used because of its antiseptic properties, so when substituting a different herb, you should also choose one that has antiseptic properties, like yarrow or wormwood. Brewing with rosemary would be fine, but brewing with rosemary instead of hops could pose problems. I'm a tad buzzed, so I hope that all makes sense. At any rate, good luck, and share your findings.

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Old 03-01-2007, 12:39 PM   #10
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Well I would be using these herbs in addition to the hops, with and adjusted hop schedule to let the herbal flavors into the finished beer a bit. I was thinking about Rosemary or Ginko bark in the beer. I am wanting to brew with these things because they are herbal asthma cures and I have a touch of asthma, so brewing a beer that might make my asthma a little better is the goal here.

And yes, you will not likely be able to find fresh yarrow unless you grow it or you have an herb/wicca shop that locally grows their herbs and flowers. We have one little one here in Tulsa that has a whole backlot full of these things growing like crazy every spring, and that is where I plan on getting the ginko bark too.

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