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Old 12-23-2010, 03:04 PM   #1
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Default All-Grain - Yule Gruit

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Wyeast 1968: London ESB
Yeast Starter: Yes
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: Wyeast 1084 added at bottling
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.072
Final Gravity: 1.018
IBU: N/A
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 20 SRM
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 54 days at ~65
Tasting Notes: A rich, lightly sweet ale with a subtle balancing bitterness from the herbs.

(Based on 65% efficiency)
14.5 lbs US 2-row
9 oz. Crystal 120
8 oz. Crystal 60
8 oz. Munich
8 oz. Oatmeal
6 oz. Roasted Barley

1 oz. Mugwort 60 min.
1 oz. Heather Tips 60 min.
.5 oz Mugwort 20 min.
1 gm Sweet Gale (Bog Myrtle) 10 min.
1 oz. Heather Tips 0 min.
Pitch a healthy starter of WY1968.

Infusion mash at 151. No mash out, double sparge. This brew took a while to come down below 1.020. Because of the extended primary, I added a little bit of Wyeast 1084 (Irish Ale) to the bottling bucket. I believe this more attenuative yeast took the ale down a couple more points in the bottle as the carbonation level is higher than I was originally targeting. The carbonation level is probably slightly over 3.0.

This ale got 3rd place in category 23a for the first round of the National Homebrew competition for my region. It didn't place in the final round, but the judges comments were good.

Here are a few judges comments:
"One of the best gruits I have tasted. A good drinkable example which is very rare. The carbonation lingers with a strong bite in the aftertaste."

"This is a well made beer with a good recipe. The herbs balance well to keep the beer from being too cloying and overly sweet. The CO2 is a tad too high which adds a slight bite."


Randy Mosher judged this at the finals (yeah, I'm name dropping )
"Nice execution of a difficult concept"

If you brew this, I would recommend you do not add a higher attenuative yeast at bottling time. I think this beer would have done even better if the carbonation was at the level I was originally targeting.

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Old 12-23-2010, 03:13 PM   #2
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One thing to add that is interesting, is this beer has a different "effect." I bottled most of it in bombers and when I drink a bomber, I get a mild alcoholic effect but I don't get the mellowing feeling I get from regular hopped-beers. I get a somewhat happier, almost hyper effect from it. I can't really explain it any better, but it's noticeably different from hopped beers. I have noticed this every time I have drank a bottle.

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Old 10-10-2011, 02:42 PM   #3
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Where did you get the herbs? Local or online? Been looking to do a gruit for awhile now. Glad it turned out! Hops tend to put me asleep so I'm looking for something that might do the opposite

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Old 10-10-2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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I got the herbs online. Our LHBS has started carrying them recently so I'll be able to pick them up locally next time I brew this. I submitted a few bottles to our club-only competition for category 23 last month and this beer won. I think it's far less herbal than most people expect.

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Old 11-05-2011, 09:37 PM   #5
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There's plenty of reasons you feel differently when you drink this brew, Uff Da. Before hops took over beer, there were many, many other types of herbs used---

The Picts and Celts were the original makers of the fabled Heather ales that dominated the British Isles for such a long time. Heather belongs to the Ericaceae family, many of the plants in this family are highly inebriating, and/or psychotropic.

Sweet Gale, or bog myrtle, or myrica gale, is a traditional gruit herb. It is meant to be stimulating or aphrodisiacal in nature.

Mugwort... ah mugwort is a good one. Mugwort is psychotropic, no if ands or buts about it. Mugwort is closely related to wormwood, the ingredient in Absinthe that made it illegal in the states for so long. Mugwort has been used in sacred practices and ceremonies all of the world by indigenous peoples.

WONDERFUL book on this subject: SAcred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner
BY the way... the hubby is off buying the ingredients for this now. A Merry Christmas indeed!

--L

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKnewbrews View Post

WONDERFUL book on this subject: SAcred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner
BY the way... the hubby is off buying the ingredients for this now. A Merry Christmas indeed!

--L
I have that book but haven't started it yet. I need to finish Brewing With Wheat first but will definitely read Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers next.

I think this brew makes a great Christmas beer! Let me know how it comes out for you.

On a side note, I'm brewing a holiday ale today (Yuletide CarØl) that will contain Myrica Gale, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and maybe a few other spices to give it a nice holiday nose.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:38 PM   #7
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Although I know it won't be ready for Yule, (or Jul for you, Uff da) I'm interested in trying this one. I will probably skip the bottling yeast, though, and let it take a bit longer to carb if it sits in the primary so long. I have the same book by Buhner, but haven't tried a gruit yet. I better start reading! Thanks for the recipe...looks like a good one!

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:22 AM   #8
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Although I know it won't be ready for Yule, (or Jul for you, Uff da) I'm interested in trying this one. I will probably skip the bottling yeast, though, and let it take a bit longer to carb if it sits in the primary so long. I have the same book by Buhner, but haven't tried a gruit yet. I better start reading! Thanks for the recipe...looks like a good one!
You raise a point I should have mentioned above. The reason I did a long primary is because it took a while to reach my target gravity. If your yeast behaves better than mine, you should be able to get away with a much shorter primary. Once it reaches your target final gravity, give it another week or so to let the yeast clean up after itself and it should be good to go.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:13 AM   #9
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I decided I want to try this with the Scottish ale yeast from Wyeast. I just made an English ESB and want to change up the yeast a bit. Something with a bit more attenuation power behind it. The English yeast is great, but like you had trouble with, attenuation can be tricky. My ESB attenuated out nicely, but rousing it twice a week or more kept it in suspension to allow it to get the job done.

Going to brew it next Sunday if all goes as planned. The only herb I couldn't find in town was the Sweet Gale. Checked 4 places, plus, had a friend who knows of a couple more places check without any luck. Ended up ordering it online and will get here sometime this week.

First gruit for me.

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Old 11-07-2011, 10:53 PM   #10
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I bet the Scottish ale yeast will do an excellent job on this. That yeast is known for its good attenuation abilities. I think a slightly lower finishing gravity will help the balance between the bitterness from the herbs and the malty sweetness. I may have to use the Scottish ale strain when I redo this one.

This was my first gruit, but it has motivated me to make more. I picked some wild Yarrow in the mountains here in NM. I dried it and vacuum sealed it for a future gruit ale, maybe one for the spring.

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