experimental beers with a botanical twist

Abbey Gruit Ale

Brewed on 23 September 2017.

Belgian brewers typically de-emphasize hops, and they’re famously loose on style descriptions, so a Trappist-style gruit ale didn’t seem like a terribly radical departure. And in fact, I found it delicious — and very Belgian. Which goes to show the central role of the yeast in shaping the flavor profile, because my grain bill is hardly authentic. I aged it for three months in a carboy before bottling.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 60 min 0.0 IBUs 21.0 SRM 1.056 1.011 5.9 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale 2-Row - US 9 lbs 78.26
Biscuit Malt - BE 1 lbs 8.7
Caramel/Crystal 90 - US 1 lbs 8.7
Belgian Dark Candi Sugar - BE 8 oz 4.35

Miscs

Name Amount min Type
staghorn sumac heads, frozen and thawed 12.00 Items 0 min Boil Other
sweetfern leaves, dried 2.00 oz 0 min Boil Other
sweetfern leaves, dried 2.00 oz 0 min Boil Other
mugwort leaves, dried 1.00 oz 0 min Boil Other
yarrow tops, dried 1.00 oz 0 min Boil Other
juniper berries, crushed 0.50 oz 0 min Boil Other

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
White Labs Trappist Ale WLP500 77% 64°F - 69°F

Notes

One of my typical gruit blends meets White Labs Trappist Ale (aka Monastery) yeast. I made a gallon of tea ahead of time from the staghorn sumac, mugwort, yarrow, and 2 oz. of the sweetfern, then heated it up and added it to the boil just before the end, after a long boil to reduce the volume of the wort to ~4 gallons. This was probably more work than is absolutely necessary, though I think the caramelization was an asset.


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