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Old 04-17-2012, 09:25 PM   #1
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Default Herbs historically used in French/Belgian Ale???

Hey guys,

I was reading my copy of Michael
Jacksons (RIP), Beer Companion this afternoon and in his Saison description he mentions the historical use of herbs for this genre of beer. He doesn't go into great detail but mentions a Belgian brewer named Jean Louis Ditts that uses Star Anise and orange peel for his saisons. I know that Anise comes from China and probably would not have been used by Belgian or French farmers to make Saisons but I am curious as to what herbs would have been available and used to brew 100+ years ago. I know the French used Juniper berries for medicines but would they have been available to farmers and used for the making of beer? I know that Witbier uses Coriander and Orange peel but were they used in Saisons by farmers?

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Old 04-17-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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Spices got around. They may have been expensive, but they were still used. Pepper was expensive, but anyone who could buy it did. Really poor people probably wouldn't have used spices, but the really poor farmers probably couldn't afford to make much beer either. So I'd say use Anise. I imagine some would've used the "regular" gruit spices of northern Europe, if they had access to them.
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