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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Brewing Forum --> Brewing Discussion --> And now, for something completely different

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ingoogni
nl
314 Posts


The Larch

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug8nHaelWtc

This is the public part of a response to a PM by Uberg,

Brewing started for me when I was 15 and there was little material to work with. Yeast for example had to be harvested from bottles Belgian beer and some German. There where several gaps in my brewing periods and after a certain time I found that my beers lost depth. Ingredients got better and better, processes too, more refined. The beers too got more refined, but where still lacking.

When the internet emerged I never checked it for brewing beer, why would I? If you've been cooking rice for so many years would you look up how to do it. Brewing -beer was part of the household jobs, every second weekend a batch was made, just as I'd bake bread every second day. Day job got more important and time consuming and these things where the first to drop.

Then disaster struck, crisis and unemployment. Slowly I took up the old habits of baking and brewing, but this time I actually used the internet. All the information has slowly pointed me in the 'right' direction.

In the history of beer there are three big break lines, the (forced) introduction of hops, the separation of malting an brewing and Pasteur. All with economic motives. All responsible for a decline of flavour.

Bottle dregs, in the end I didn't know any more what culture was from what bottle/brewer so everything ended mixed up. In retrospect I think that is where I gained depth and lost it later on when using the then newly available dry and liquid yeasts. So time to do a little test:

12 Plato, 100% Pale Malt, 20 IBU, split batch with the following yeast combinations:

    Windsor,
    WB-06,
    T-58,
    W34/70,
    Windsor, WB-06
    Windsor, T-58
    Windsor, W34/70
    WB-06,   T-58
    WB-06,   W34/70
    T-58,    W34/70
    Windsor, WB-06, T-58
    Windsor, WB-06, W34/70
    Windsor, T-58,  W34/70
    WB-06,   T-58,  W34/70
    Windsor, WB-06, T-58, W34/70


currently I'm collecting bottles for the fermentation. The two most preferred combinations will be propagated in several steps to see what happens to the flavour profile.


Ah, yes, The Larch, here it is

OG 1057
FG still fermenting
17 EBC
27 IBU

Mash: 60 min @ 66°C
100 % Mild malt
5 g/l Larch tips

Boil: 60 min
27 IBU Cascade       @ FWH
0.5 g/l Myrica Gale  @ FWH
0.5 g/l Apple tree saw dust @ FWH
2.5 g/l Larch tips   @ FWH
1   g/l Myrica Gale  @ 10 min
1   g/l Ginger root  @ 10 min
1   g/l Mandrin peel @ 10 min
1,5 g/l Myrica Gale  @ flame out
3   g/l Larch tips   @ flame out
4   g/l Larch tips   @ whirlpool
1   g/l Lemon Balm   @ whirlpool
Myrica Gale flowers, not leaves

Yeasts: @ primary
Danstar Munich
Zymaflore Alpa Toraspula Delbrueckii
Gozdawa Porter/Kvas
Fermentum Mobile FM11 Wuthering Hights
Orval dregs
Historic IPA dregs Brett. C & WY IPA yeast blend
















Posted 34 days ago.
Edited 34 days ago by ingoogni

homebrewdad
Charter Member
Birmingham, AL
2480 Posts


Really interesting stuff!



Posted 34 days ago.

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


That looks really gruit!




Posted 34 days ago.

homebrewdad
Charter Member
Birmingham, AL
2480 Posts


We are Groot.

Wait...





Posted 34 days ago.

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


Very interested. I just brewed a small gruit - exploring doing beers to honor characters from Terry Pratchett's discworld. Mine is crashing right now - and the flavor is very weird, medicinal which is what I was going for - but not sure licorice/anise go well with ginger. Will see. Will most likely make big adjustments and rebrew, and plan to make a matching mead to go along.




Posted 34 days ago.

ingoogni
nl
314 Posts


Gruit is a funny thing. Nowadays many call hop less or herbal beer gruit. The word on what gruit exactly was is still out. But where it was is quite well known, the northwestern coastline of Europe ( Google Map ) and about 200 - 300 km into the land was the gruit area, Flensburg to Amiens. The rest of the world also tossed everything they could find in their beers but that did not make it gruit. The Brits didn't know gruit, actually mostly drank their ales without any herbs, the Swiss, southern French etc. probably didn't know gruit other than as a name of beer imported from that specific area.

Isn't it strange that some herbs everyone could just pick from the land is something so precious and controllable that it would and could be taxed? How would you prevent a brewer to pick her own Myrica Gale? With some time and effort every brewer can come up with a herbal mixture that tastes good, so why go to a gruit house? What's so special about their mixture?

Maybe it was the preparation, there are references that in a gruit house something was boiled for a long time, a black syrupy stuff.

There are also references that (malt?)flour was part of the mix. Why would you do that? Brewers malted their own, so why add flour? Think bread. Was is a kind of mother? A starter? Yeast? Mixing yeast slurry with flour is a well known way to keep it over a longer period of time. But why? Every brewer ends up with more yeast than he started with. Was the brewing to infrequent to reuse it?

So, the Larch is just that, The Larch.




Posted 34 days ago.

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


Part of my gruit recipe is honey bochet'd nearly black with a bunch of rosemary. I used licorice early in the boil - sweet gale (myrica) for bittering and late for aroma/flavor, rosemary tips and flowers, and a lot of ginger. Looking forward to tasting it with mild condition. It will age until the 1 year Anniversary of TP's passing, a dinner of roasted chickens and a viewing of Hogfather or one of the other mediocre BBC renditions of his books. Tried to stay somewhat traditional, but the literature is pretty sketchy on amounts of herbs and processing. Oh, used S-04 (dry english) and added some green oak shavings to the ferment. I also have some runnings on brett & lacto to blend back.

The idea of flour is interesting - I would think a farmhouse home remedy might use a bread mother which would likely be fairly sour. Since I am a novice forager - I skipped things like mushrooms that might add some savory layers. Plan to experiment more with this for fun.

If you have some decent references to amounts and flavor expression of traditional herbs that would be helpful... every time I search I get trapped into the holistic healing crap that just makes me nuts. Seriously - boiling crystals with herbs to increase their potency! :) Well maybe if the crystals were drugs... but still.

That rosemary burned honey has become part of my BBQ bag o' tricks. Glazed a slow and low smoked pork joint (full shoulder) with it, finished high to get some burned sugar aspects - and it was incredible. Boiled down the runnings with some of the honey and mustard to make a sauce.

I also use 'burned honey' (without the rosemary) in a strong dubbel to add depth to the D180 syrup - and it has scored incredibly well - but no medals yet. I can't keep it around though for the sake of my liver.




Posted 34 days ago.

ingoogni
nl
314 Posts


The amounts of herbs will always be a guess unless somebody is willing to put in the amount of research that has been put into hops and even there is little to predict beside bitterness. Just compare an American, German and New Zealand Cascade.

Making teas and blending them and blending the blend with some beer can give good clues. I tend to overshoot in all ranges and blend the final beer back with a more neutral one. Blending is a very strong but often overseen tool in brewing. With one of my Stouts I overshot on Brown malt and OG 1118 (FG 1020), makes a perfect blend with a oaky Brett C IPA. You could almost brew herb beers as essences.

When you read old Roman cookbooks and cook something along those lines you'll be hit with flavour. They use lots of flavour ingredients, yet still it is all balanced, where in modern cooking, and brewing, we seem to think we need subtlety to get balance. A Helles is a great subtle beer I can really enjoy but I also like a thick piece of rustic sour-dough bread with a slice of stinky cheese and a beer so thick that Gimli would chop up in pieces with his axe.




Posted 34 days ago.

DanABA
Las Vegas
25 Posts


Gruit is indeed interesting stuff.  If I only had more time, I would love to know more about it's history.  One thing that you should read (I am assuming that you have, but for others): http://www.garshol.priv.no/blog/324.html.

Lars goes through evidence of herbs used in beers in Norway from 1850-1950.  It's interesting that the vast majority of beers used either hops or juniper.  I could probably be totally wrong, but I would assume that other countries near Norway probably followed similar trends.  Lars mentions that other herbs were used from time to time, but the majority was hops and juniper.  So I wonder if this period of time is a sort of an "evolutionary step" in Norwegian (and perhaps other Scandinavian countries?) brewing, from Gruit to hopped beer.  

In any case, his assertion that the real history of what herbs were used is more or less very difficult to trace, and that juniper was abundant, in a way kind of diminished the "romance" of Gruit for me.  

Extremely interesting project though!




Posted 34 days ago.

ingoogni
nl
314 Posts


Every region more or less followed the pattern described here : www.gruitale.com/art_fall_of_gruit.htm . In every region they used the antisceptic material on hand an in Scandinavia it is Juniper.

Ingo




Posted 34 days ago.

DanABA
Las Vegas
25 Posts


Thanks!



Posted 34 days ago.

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