Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut Bier - Professor Fritz Briem
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Ratings: 254 | Reviews: 157 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by kkipple:
4.45/5 rDev +15.9%
Great Odin's raven, how have I not reviewed this one yet?! Fixing this right now. From notes (and many bottles):
I'M FRITZ BRIEM BITCH! </ Rick James> Okay, now that we've the requisite introduction out of the way... no really, try it out loud, it's funny... who is Fritz Briem? I mean, his name is on the label of this (I assume) contract brewed beer by Wiehenstephan... a quick Google sez: he was "a member of the technical and research staff at Weihenstephan."
Okay. So the good Doctor obviously knows his stuff. Now onto the beer. This is a Gruit. It replaces hops with a tonne of weird botanicals including Ginger, Anise, Gentian (???), Rosemary and Caraway. Oh, and Bay leaves. Okay. So now you have something to go on with.
I dunno... the best review of this unique minor masterpiece is simply to crack one for yourself. Serve at around 55 degrees F and go to town... as it warms all kinds, and I mean all kinds, of weird, impossible to pinpoint aromas come out of this hazy-pale yellow ale. It's sort of mystical, actually.
The nose is quite simply a cornucopia of herbs. Insanity. Potpourri. Lemon, ginger (check), anise, pepper, tart, tea-like, grassy, spicy, earthy. You'll come up with your own adjectives. There is zero hop aroma, of course, and barely any real malt to be smelt, leaving your brain and nose reeling from the (well balanced) herbal assault. Smells sort of like walking through a spice aisle, but fresher. You simply MUST experience it for yourself -- exceptional? Yes.
The flavor is weird, and woolly, and herbal. Fritz Briem (...bitch) has made a beer like absolutely NOTHING else I've ever had.
No food, no drink has come within yards of the unique herbal-fizz punch this... thing... packs. it's soft and drinkable and tart-sour and light and as you sip on this beverage your eyes get wider and wider and you get The Fear and expect elves or kobolds to suddenly leap out from behind the oaks and rowan trees that keep... getting... closer... they'll drag you into the circle and force some vegetal potion down your throat and you'll feel light headed, and dance with them till dawn, till you awake to find yourself face-down in a freshly cut lawn with a three eyed moon-child scattering flower cuttings over your prone form while she hums in a high-pitched, sing-song voice... the trees, the colors...
Er, sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, the Gruit. Please drink some. Find it and drink it out of a goblet while listening to your trip-out music of choice and wearing less clothing than you'd usually.
This is devastatingly unique, to me, and I love it.
On a more... useful note, when I serve this to beer geeks, which is often, I tell them to think of it as an herbal soda. It only remotely resembles beer, but is supremely memorable, mind-expanding and, dare I say, delicious. Surely the best Gruit I have had to date. Fritz Briem, I bow in your general direction. Keep taking orders from the faeries and I'll keep drinking.
07-04-2010 22:10:26 | More by kkipple
More User Reviews:
4.5/5 rDev +17.2%
Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #39 (Apr 2010):
This rare treat is part of the Historic Signature Series of forgotten styles brewed according to the historic recipes by Dr. Fritz Briem of the Doemens Institute. Gruits have their place in lore, with sources citing psychotropic properties and berserking effects. Not sure if we'll get our Viking on here, but this interpretation is brewed with bay leaves, ginger, caraway, anise, rosemary, gentian, wheat, barley and wild hops.
Pale, straw, cloudy, with a ton of carbonation that induces a massive foaming white head. This eventu- ally settles to a creamy lace that sticks to the end. Very fragrant in the nose. Sweet herbal with ginger, floral (lilac), soft rosemary, mint, menthol and wheat husks. Light bodied; flash of crispness, then smooth with an underlying creaminess. A bit tart with a nice wheat twang, mild grassy bitterness and pine sap. Ginger flavors dominate with a soft spiciness. Juniper. Sage. Cloves. Soft licorice. Touch of sweetness, but dry overall. Wheat tannins toward the end with a linger of mixed-bag of spices, grassiness and menthol.
For those looking to experience beer of yore, this is a must. There's a lot going on, but it's delicious, highly drinkable and refreshing; it works well, and gives you a glimpse into beer geek palates of the 13th century. And though examples of the style are quite rare (we currently list fewer than 50 on the website), this is quite possibly one of the best Gruits we've had to-date.
01-11-2011 02:17:48 | More by BeerAdvocate
4.18/5 rDev +8.9%
Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1pt .9oz bottle into a pint glass. The label lists the abv at 4.6% and there is a disruption of the beer. It doesn't have a freshness date however.
Appearance: It has a hazy yellow body with a thin white head. The head quickly fades to just a small ring of foam. Lacing is minimal and slick, sliding right down the sides of the glass as I drink.
Smell: The aroma is full of interesting savory spices over very light whole grain bready malt notes.
Taste/Palate: There is a mild sweetness up front which quickly dries out as herbal and botanical flavors move in over the tongue. Notes of ginger, anis, and caraway seed stand out. There are also some lighter hints of herbal tea, lemon zest, rosemary and pepper. All this mixes with its base of dry wheat and pale grainy malt. The finish is slow, dry, and herbaceous (tea like) with an odd complex mix of flavor notes. Medium bodied with lively carbonation it drinks surprisingly well.
Notes: Overall I find this beer to be interesting, complex and oddly delicious. For me this one pushed the limit of what is and could be.
05-20-2010 12:36:42 | More by generallee
4.2/5 rDev +9.4%
Pours a hazy and light-yellow. Very little head remains after a couple of minutes.
The aromas are decidedly herbal with ginger, lemon and an earthy mineral character. I could have sworn heather was a component in this gruit but alas it is not present. Instead it is made with bayleaf, ginger, caraway, anise, rosemary and gentian.
The flavors and mouthfeel are refreshing with zingy lemon, ginger and a slight sourness that lingers. None of the flavors are overpowering but instead blend in a complex yet vivacious harmony.
This is by far one of my favorite gruits so far and a nice contrast to the often darker siblings.
12-31-2011 05:00:28 | More by mj001jk
3.1/5 rDev -19.3%
(Served in a dimple mug)
A- This beer pours a thick soapy white head that sits on a glowing pale lemon yellow body with a slight bit of haze. With the second pour this beer becomes completely hazy. There is a very strong carbonation of tiny bubbles racing through this beer.
S- The smell of fancy designer soap has a bright floral perfume quality with some lemony citrus notes and some medicinal herb fragrances.
T- The flavor of ginger and bay really pop at the first sip with the brightness of rosemary and lavender following behind. The finish is a soft soapy anise and ginger heat that lingers for a moment.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a fizzy finish and no alcohol heat or astringency at all.
D- This beer has strong medicinal herb and soapy flavors that make it a hot mess. The herbs and spices all taste like they are competing against each other and just make for a strange cough drop in a glass experience.
03-12-2009 15:59:46 | More by rhoadsrage
4.35/5 rDev +13.3%
This beer is a cloudy and pale yellow gold, obviously (clearly?) unfiltered, with a little bit of sediment settling down to the bottom. The head is a creamy pillow of pure white, roughly one finger tall and holding its form for the session while dropping down deposits of webbing, patching and spotting in tandem.
This is an aromatic and fragrant bouquet with raw, rustic, herbal and earthy qualities. it's also slightly sweet, plenty tangy, and quite spicy overall. In the aroma and the flavor there's an overlying floral quality and, beneath that, a consistent perfume. I'm reminded of flowering heather in the slightly bitter, stemmy and general particularity of the spicing, while a firm backbone of dry grains and wheat-like notes hold it up and a strong taste of tangy and zesty lemon juice, maybe a hint of peel as well, hit the nostrils and the tongue at all times. There's a light minty note as well mingling with the rest, and the spicy bite has an edge like ginger or wasabi. It goes generally grassy, too, with a hint of something similar to spruce tips but underneath the rest. With all the complexity, depth and overall flavor to this beer, it may, as strange as it is, be as good a Gruit as one could find.
Flowing smoothly on the tongue and with a crisp bite that never fades, there's a dryness both from a leafy and woody feel and from a certain acidity that carries through without being harsh. The lemony tang and zest evens out the dryness and lingers well.
07-19-2014 18:22:52 | More by Brenden
2.65/5 rDev -31%
Review from notes. Thanks to Shane for splitting this one with me.
A: Pours a pale yellow with a decent sized white head that had decent retention and left behind spotty lacing. There was a ton of carbonation bubbles released form the bottom for the entire time drinking. There were also massive chunks in the beer, normally they would be floaties, but the chunks were so big that they sank.
S: Strong spice aromas of spruce, spearmint, rosemary, and other herbs.
T: Tastes almost like I was having a Halls cough drop. Spicy and minty, and a bit overwhelming. The rosemary and spruce are present as well. Not a fan at all.
M: Medium bodied with very high carbonation. Sticky/dry finish.
O: The medicinal quality of the beer just threw me for a loop. I understand that spices are a part of what makes a gruit a gruit, but this beer was so hard to drink. Hopefully it was only this beer and not the style that I just don't like. Will try to get another gruit in the future.
07-15-2011 17:27:05 | More by mdaschaf
3.38/5 rDev -12%
This beer is LOUD. Possibly the most audible beer I've ever poured, this one doesn't have much head, and has some tiny floaters flitting about like Sea Monkeys. Lightly-hazed lemon-juice yellow color.
Aroma immediately recalls ginger ale, but quickly morphs into something more complex. Remarkably spicy and herbal nose, the best word is "exotic." It's an aroma that gives a zillion impressions if you sit there sniffing it long enough. Details aren't necessary, although the label gives much away: brewed with bay leaves, anise, ginger, rosemary and other herbs/spices. Intriguing, scintillating, flowery and vibrant, to say the least.
Flavor is very medicinal. Not in an alcoholic way, obviously, but in terms of how concentrated the herbal flavors are. More like designer soda than beer. Bay leaves, rosemary and ginger are especially prominent. The finish leaves a coating of ginger, very much reminding of Tom's of Maine's Ginger toothpaste, which is great toothpaste, but we're talking beer here, right?
Highly carbonated, yet managing a softer texture--helps that the body is light.
"Refreshing" says my wife, and I agree--although the weirdly medicinal vibe has me wondering what illness I have. Kudos to Dr. Briem for keeping a centuries-old tradition alive. Not one I'd try again, though...but hey, nice aroma.
06-01-2010 02:32:05 | More by Metalmonk
4/5 rDev +4.2%
Pours a very unexpectedly light color, slight hazy yellow/gold with good berliner weissish color and carbonation.
Nose is basically a home spice cabinet. This one smells like a naturopathic doctors office. Bay leaves, caraway.
Taste pretty much follows suit. Open the pantry and take a sip of the spice shelf. Bay leaves, Gingeryness, all kinds of spice going on. The base of the beer feels like a light wheat beer, berliner weissy almost. Not as dry as i was expecting.
Mouthfeel is light and carbonation is right where it feels like it should be.
Drinkability is probably great for the style, but due to the slight overdoing of the spices in this one (I know, I know, its gruit) i dont see myself drinking more than one of these bad boys.
Overall a very interesting beer, and certainly fits the style profile, at least as far as my extremely limited experience with gruit goes. An enjoyable and educational brew, but not one i will be drinking very often. Cool beer.
06-03-2009 04:48:43 | More by AKBelgianBeast
3.93/5 rDev +2.3%
Pours light yellow with a whitish internal haze. Smells like bay leaf shaving cologne. Mouthfeel is both creamy and a tad sour with fizzy carbonation. Very interesting tastes, its a sipper until I am used to it, and then it goes easier. This brewery puts together some high quality products.
01-20-2009 03:49:14 | More by Sammy
4.33/5 rDev +12.8%
Sparkly, foamy white head, about 1 finger, which fizzes away. Unusually light, taux blond body, like champagne.
Powerful herbal nose, vegetal with plenty of basil plus some kind of sweetness, maybe berry.
Rosemary in the taste. Very light, but not watery. Rich with herbal flavor and would probably pair with food amazingly. Consider creamier cheeses. Faint, delightful tartness that is in no way overpowering. Light, very balanced.
Mouthfeel is bright, champagne-like carbonation, but not unpleasantly fizzy.
Quite refined, nice for toasting or as an apertif. Again, this begs to be paired. I was nervous it wouldn't justify the price. I'm still not sure it does, but I'm nonetheless impressed.
09-11-2011 03:46:37 | More by zaphodchak
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
A- The aroma is a hazy golden yellow color with a large creamy white head that sticks around forever and leaves a good amount of lace around the glass.
S- The flowery aroma is filled with many different spices, most notably ginger and rosemary.
T- The taste like the aroma is dominated by the array of spices with a mild earthy hop presence in the finish.
M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a high amount of carbonation.
D- An interesting beer from an interesting style. Another solid beer from this great brewery. Recommended.
10-18-2008 22:03:55 | More by cjgator3
3.78/5 rDev -1.6%
I can always rely on kkipple to send me the oddities. Thanks a ton for this one, Dan! Very interesting.
Grut Bier pours a very light lemon color. It's a little hazy. Backlighting gives it a gold look. A soft white head covers the top and rises to a finger and a half in depth. Retention was definitely on the shorter side. Lacing was very, very light.
The nose is pretty good. It's very herbal and spicy. That's actually a bit of an understatement. There's a host of interesting, spicy notes here. I'm getting pepper, perhaps a bit of clove, possibly some juniper twig. It smells a little like a Sahti. It's very grainy and earthy. There's maybe some light lemon here. Alcohol is buried. Very intriguing.
The flavor is oddly reminiscent of a Sahti. I believe it's the juniper twig or something. It's a very distinct smell and flavor. It's damn spicy and herbal. I am getting pepper, light clove, and ginger. There's definitely more that I can't identify. It's grainy and quite earthy in character. It has a light citrus presence. Tastes like lemon to me. Hops are definitely in the mix. They have a slight bitter kick, and dry it out quite a bit. Alcohol is not at noticeable. Finishes spicy and dry, dry, dry. Honestly...I like it.
Grut Bier has a very light body. Carbonation is active and a little crisp. It's actually quite refreshing. Not bad at all. Drinkability is above average. The flavor is unique. No question about that. I like it, but it's definitely odd. Not something I'd want more than a bottle of in a sitting. It goes down easy though.
I'm much more impressed with good ol' Professor Fritz Briem's Grut Bier than I anticipated. It's quite unique, has an interesting flavor, and a definite throwback feel to it. It does remind me a Sahti, but that's not a bad thing at all. If you're looking for an interesting experience, try this one on for size. It's a good one. Thanks, Dan!
06-11-2010 01:42:53 | More by prototypic
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
Picked up a bottle at Four Firkins. Pours a hazy bright yellow with a white head. I'm not sure what the boundaries of the style exactly are, but certainly is a spiced beer. It's a bit like a spiced wit of hefe in that there's a lot of lemon, ginger and pepper flavors. The body is drinkable and the mellow bready malts are fairly smooth. Certainly worth a try for something different in the style.
01-02-2009 21:18:32 | More by tempest
3.78/5 rDev -1.6%
A: Yellow, cloudy, and hazy with black chunks of floaties; very thin head with minimal retention and lacing
S: A spicy medicinal quality dominates; an herbal funk too; cloves, ginger, rosemary, and lemon are present in the aroma as well
T: Slightly sour with an herbal quality; kind of tastes like unsweetened lemonade
F: A tad thin but with overall decent mouthfeel
D: Quite refreshing though the herbal funk does make this a bit difficult to drink too much of this; a nice venture into an old (and new for me) style
07-11-2010 03:12:52 | More by dbossman
4.1/5 rDev +6.8%
Poured from a 500 ml. bottle into a glass mug with a handle. This bier pours with a bit of haze but is otherwise mostly clear, and more so as the carbonation settles. A thin white head reveals itself after a careful pour as the bier was trying to escape from the glass on its own. Golden in color and with a firm carbonation, yielding strong retention and lacing. A bit Wit-like in appearance.
Wow, an unusual brew. Notes of allspice, caraway/cumin even, bit of apple. More anise and cinnamon with some air. Dried flowers and rosemary. Bit of sourness as the foam settles. Lemon and more dried flowers, in fact a bit of a potpourri basket on the nose.
Taste follows and is in fact overwhelmed by the everpresent nose. Flowery but not sweet up front with spices dominant in the finish. Has the light body of a witbier yet is more balanced and complex.
Smooth and easy on the feel with a fine and continuing carbonation, giving a refreshing citrus feel not unlike having some Fresca as a base beer. A slight bitterness concludes a flowery finish.
Overall a fantastic brew that might overwhelm given the mix of spices and herbs. Surely reminiscent of a potpourri pot or a kitchen spice cabinet.
09-17-2009 04:47:38 | More by HalfFull
3.58/5 rDev -6.8%
Poured from a 500 ml bottle into my Chimay goblet. Short pour, so not much head, but what there was faded instantly and no lacing. Cloudy golden color with persistent bubbles. First smell off the nose is a massive whiff of mint. A hint of perhaps Belgian-ish yeast. Some lemon rind. On the mouth, weird. Very thinly flavored. Tart as hell, but not full on like a sour. Herbacious to the max. Citrus and something pleasantly medicinal. Pretty thin bubbly mouthfeel. I dunno. This is my first Gruit. I don't know what to say.
12-10-2010 04:11:36 | More by WestValleyIPA
3.58/5 rDev -6.8%
Pours a very pale yellow color, slighly hazy, with a wispy pure white head that quickly settles into a light ring. The aroma is spicy and herby. Some banana and pepper, with Vick's vaporub. A bit bizarre but pleasant. The taste is like a Hefe spritzer, with lemon juice, more vaporub action, and other various herbs. A light and very spritzy feel, finishes sweet and tart. Most definitely a different brew, but it was enjoyable. Very light and refreshing. Flavors are a bit bizarre but they work together.
03-27-2009 02:15:27 | More by Gmann
4.28/5 rDev +11.5%
16.9oz bottle poured into a pint glass.
This beer is pretty wild, not sure the quidelines for this beer so not sure how it's supposed to look and feel. But judging by how quickly the head foamed up and faded away I assume that this style is not known for the luxurious heads that cling to the glass like wallpaper. Instead it pours out very bright and light, like a clear lemonade, very odd but also intriguing.
Aroma is like nothing I've experienced before. This doesn't smell like beer, it smeels like a clam bake on the beach. Seaweed, green tea leaves, rosemary, cilantro, it smells like a granish, like the juices left behind after a pot of mussels without the fishiness. Suffice to say, quite good and completly unique in a style sense at least.
Pine, tea, lemongrass, rosemary, seaweed, but at every moment bright and light, nothing is a burden here. It tastes like a carbonated tea but better, the finsh only seems to strengthen these inital flavors and make them more pronounced. The finish is also slightly minty, very interesting to say the least. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium bodied an very lively, carbonation is popping away and the spices in this beer compliment this wonderfully by popping away as well, there is never a dull moment with this beer.
A fun beer to drink as things always seem to be changing taste wise and at 4.6% the flavor profile is intense,lots of complexity and punch you in the face flavors to boot. Just wish it was prettier to look at, but I suppose there was more to worry about in the middle ages.
12-31-2008 04:36:09 | More by bluemoonswoon
Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut Bier from Professor Fritz Briem
86 out of 100 based on 254 ratings.