Gruit = LME!? and nothing to do with herbs!?

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dmtaylor

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CAUTION: This is NOT a thread about beer with herbs as you probably expect. Beers with herbs are great; I enjoy many of them very much. But, that's NOT necessarily the topic here. If intrigued, read on. If not, you can back out now before you fall down this rabbit hole.

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One beer historian has found that "gruit" has nothing to do with herbs at all. It was in fact a concentrated brown/black syrup or paste from various grains (whatever was available in the area), mashed and boiled much like a normal beer, but the boil time was very extensive, reminds me of making maple syrup, or like an olde time way of making liquid malt extract (LME)! The resulting sweet dark "gruit" syrup or paste had various uses -- it could be added to a normal beer to strengthen and darken, and it could also be a food ingredient, or eaten with bread, or mixed with medicines in small amount to improve the taste ("a spoonful of gruit(!) helps the medicine go down"). So maybe put some of THAT on your ice cream!?

Don't take my own word for it of course. I've just learned this information today. As of right now it hasn't had time to fully sink in yet. But please, if interested, read the following two articles and see for yourselves.

https://www.witteklavervier.nl/us/history/myths-about-beer/essence-of-gruit

https://www.witteklavervier.nl/us/history/myths-about-beer/essence-of-gruit-2

Now let's please discuss in a somewhat historical, scientific, and constructive manner. We've all heard myths and legends, famous people telling us old stories of what they heard gruit might have been... but what are some other real sources of information similar to this? Feel free to bring out your own references if based on actual historical fact. Seeking truth. Thank you.
 

Dave Sarber

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The only gruit I've tasted was Koyt Gruitbier, which I thought was exceptional. Supposedly recipe is dated back to AD 1407, but no ingredients given, I'm still researching.
 
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