Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut Bier | Professor Fritz Briem

very good
166 Reviews
Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut BierProfessor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut Bier

Brewed by:
Professor Fritz Briem

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Created by Dr. Fritz Briem of Doemens Institute ( ), brewed by Weihenstephan & Doemens.

Added by Slatetank on 07-29-2008

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Reviews: 166 | Ratings: 299
Photo of rangerred
1.74/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass out of a 500ml bottle.

Pours a hazy straw yellow with a one finger white head. While there is no lacing at all the head retention is quite nice.

The aroma immediately reminds me of a cough drop. Absolutely loaded with menthol along with perfume and cleaner. While it is definitely spicy it sure isn't something that appeals to me.

Unfortunately, the taste is no better. It's like someone dissolved a cough drop in old lady's perfume and mixed it with lemon juice. Nearly gag-inducing for me. To top it all off the overwhelming astringency pretty much makes this undrinkable. I'm trying to appreciate the style and history but I just can't drink this. Down the drain it goes.

Overall, I really can't get past the medicinal taste and extreme astringency. I like to think I have a pretty expansive palate and there are very few beers I just cannot drink but this is one. This might just take the cake as the worst beer I have ever tried.

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Photo of Ragingbull
1.76/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Cloudy gold with a dot of lace and a rim of foam. Spicy and light nose that seems more like a health and beauty aid than a beer. I sampled some of this during a tasting I put on for my wife and my in-laws and they were utterly umimpressed. I was left wanting. At first it was novel and I even wrote "curious." Those drinking with me said it tasted like medicine and also, very specifically, Gilchrist and Soames soap. It just had a "pure cleaner" type of flavor in my opinion. The anise pops out at me with some ginger coming through as well. The attack is actually mild compared to the smells. In the mouth it acts like Ben-Gay. Actually Sucrets is an accurate comparison as I have never eaten Ben-Gay. It numbs my mouth like Sucrets. I do feel as if I ate muscle rub however. The flavors and spices are fairly mild and would maybe garner a higher rating if not for a horrendhous mouthfeel and drinkability. Its tought to be generous with the numbers for this. I was pretty excited about it and I am all about "buying in" to new styles, old styles, and innovative styles. Its probably going to hurt their business that I was able to buy a single of this. Sell it by the case or at least six pack if you want to make money. I won't buy it again unless I have someone who can't resist looking at the train wreck.

I really am trying to be productive here. The spices working together in place of "normal" ingredients is a nice try, but I really think they ought to try again. I have been hesitant to review things I don't like on here in the past, but a B+ rating on BA for this beer is calling into question the integrity of the site in my opinion so I have "sounded off." People who use this site to find good beer as I do on occasion would be upset to go by this review in my opinion. Some stores even print "BA shelf talkers" and I want to have my opinion averaged in here. . . especially since I have three other beer lovers who thought I was being nice.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
1.96/5  rDev -49%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

no date found. from notes, tasted in june 2009.

pale yellow, almost clear (decant 1cm). 1-finger bright white head, soon fades to fizzy wisps and ring. no lace.

aroma: menthol. smells like cough drops. that's it.

taste: like a cheap sparkling white wine, flavored with mint. touch of acidity, faint trace of bitterness. just very herbal and minty.

light and a bit on the thin side. crisp, fizzy carbonation and light acidity. a weird, smooth/slippery texture - from the minty herbs?


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Photo of BrownNut
2.24/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I can't fathom how other reviewers are giving this beer praise. It's awful. Well, I take that back. It's awful unless you like the taste of a lady's bathroom. It smelled strongly of powder and some kind of pungent flower, like one of those seashell-shaped compressed powder things that your mom or grandma would crumble up in the bath back before "bath salts" meant drugs. My dining companions agreed. Four sips was too many.

I looked at its ingredient list and everything in there except one thing checked out just fine - flavors you've had in other applications and have liked just fine (bay leaves, ginger, caraway, anise, rosemary). But gentian flower seems to be the culprit that grandma-izes it. It's the only one I'd never knowingly smelled and has to be the reason this is awful. There's nothing wrong with the smell of powder or perfumey flowers or bath products, but they don't belong in my beer. The powder and flower smells dominated anything else that may have been happening in the background.

It looked fine in the glass and felt fine in the mouth, I'll give it that.

I am excited by the concept of gruits and the wild flexibility and variability they offer - the ability to flavor beer with just about anything and to get away from hops as the main character note. But this one went to a bad place. I'm a little discouraged because the Bros said in their review that this was one of the very best gruits they'd ever tried.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.43/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Bottle into my Rochefort glass.

Pours a light murky honey gold, not head or lacing, not much here...Aroma is strong and varied, lots of fresh herbs bursting through, rosemary, thyme, aloe mixed together. Together its quite pungent almost to strong and not in a good way. Very medicinal...The taste is an instant gagger, way to medicinal, chalky taste and texture...The feel is good, not at all drinkable.

This might be worth trying to get a good idea of what beer was like 400 years ago. But its not at all drinkable. More gimmick than anything else.

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Photo of mdaschaf
2.67/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of drabmuh
2.83/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is a fizzy yellow beer, and that's not a bad thing, I think. Poured from a bottle into a glass, there is absolutely no head, hte carbonation is a bunch of large bubbles and its steady. It is light yellow, the lightest i've ever seen a beer, and completely clear. The smell is of spice only, almost like Chai Tea. Interesting. Taste is sour and dry. Almost like lemon soda. Cloves, anise, rosemary, its hard to drink. Not feeling this beer. Too spicy, its overwhelming. Sorry Grut Bier, not a repeat.

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Photo of laituegonflable
2.97/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy granny smith apple-juice colour, very opaque with whispy sunken head of large bubbles. Some sediment floaties and not much lace. Looks curious, but undeniably weird.

Smell traverses the undeniably weird line into fucking bizarre territory. Huge sour fruit with apple juice and some blackcurrant, and a massive spice hit - cinnamon, clove and licorice root and a good belt of hickory smoke as well on the back. Nutty and gingery and just apple-esque as well. I'd like to love something this bizarre but I can only really give it some cred for originality.

Having expected the taste to be overblown and bizarre, I'm disappointed that it's ultimately quite bland. Has that weak apple juice character up front that descends into a slightly tart mid with a touch of wood, then finish emerges with no lustre, slightly tart and drying with a hint of ginger and star anise, but mostly an insipid tartness. The flavours might - actually, make that, would - have been interesting, but there's just not enough of them. Weird, but also just a bit dull, sadly.

A bit thin on the body, but a decent enough texture. Maybe a bit sizzly though, yeah not a huge fan.

An odd beer for sure, but not really strong enough to be offensive. Can I drink it? Yes. Would I reach for one from my friend's ice bath at a party? No. What would it even be doing at my friend's party?

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Photo of OneDropSoup
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Really intrigued by this one, which I picked up at my last haul from Vintage Estate.

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Kind of weird-looking: cloudy, translucent pale orange/yellow body. Half inch of nice collar & dusting. Dunno, a sort of sickly color.

Smell is herbal & seasoned, reminding me at first of the pizza beer with an oregano-like nose (which fades, thankfully). Menthol smell that builds & really dominates after a while. An acidity not unlike tomatoes. Approaching a saison spiciness, but stranger. Some citrus peel.

Medicinal, menthol taste that my wife likened to Vick's VapoRub. Light lemon tea, tobacco-like dry leaves, wheat tartness, mild pepper. Complex & interesting, if not exactly the most enjoyable. Ends dry with a lingering coolness, again like menthol.

Thin-bodied, very little carbonation. Sticks to my mouth in a strange way, because it's not a sugar stickiness.

Really different & hard to grade because it was fascinating if not actually a great pleasure to drink. The closest beer I can liken it to is Orval, though Orval is much more enjoyable to me. Glad I had it, can't say I'd have it again. A concept beer.

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Photo of bierdeflanders
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

S: fruity, biscuit, with some spice

A: golden color

T: spicy, bitter, floral ( lavender) on finish leaves a lingering sharpness.

O: interesting beverage from the 13th century. A little bread note with hints of spice. bitterness lingers on the back of the palate.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a blonde haze with a fizzy white head. Aroma is unique of some ginger, peppery notes, herbs, and spices. Taste is more sweet than spicy. The ginger comes forth but not as prominently. The herbs are there but lean heavier on the rosemary. The peppery spices seem tamed as well. Sweet malt and wheat come through towards the back end. Body is light and refreshing with the carbonation being creamier than expected. Ends with more ginger and peppery flavors, light rosemary, sweet malt and grains. Definitely an unique beer from old Germany!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

(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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

"13th Century Grut Bier, brewed according to recipes dating back to before the German Purity law in 1516, Historic Signature Series, Forgotten styles brewed according to their historic recipes by Dr. Fritz Briem, of the Doemens Institure, Brewed by Dr. Fritz Briem, Munich, Germany.

"Before the German Purity Law "Reinheitsgehot" of 1516 it was common practice to use any kind of different spices, herbs, fruits and other plants to provide balance to beer. Hops was not yet well known at this time.
Grut beer has roots in many cultures and each culture has it's own "special ingredients."Egyptians, NAtive Americans, Arabian Tribes, Gaulles, Germanic Tribes, and the Vikings.
This interpretation of a traditional grut bier is spiced with lobber (bay leaves), Ingwer (ginger), Kummel (caraway), Anis (anise), Rosemarin (rosemary), & Enzian (Gentian)." 4.6% ABV.

Enough of the long-winded explanations. Let's crack it open!

Cloude, pale yellow appearance. Head starts, then quits forever. Not particularly appetizing. Visually, that is.

Sniffing it: Beautiful, floral, spicy and arousing. Ginger is loudest in this, but the others play their part. Anise and rosemary…very pretty. Wonderful mix.

Now, let's drink it!
Wow! Very sharp on the palate, big spicy lemon citric bite! The promise of the nose is spoiled by the flavor. Harsh, sour, and bitter. Light medium body. Faint finish, the sour and trails off, leaving spice. Effervescent mouthfeel, nice carbonation, but the lack of body and absent malt profile leave me wanting.
In the end, it's all lemon, and I'm finishing it, but I'm not really liking it

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Photo of logicalparadox
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, straw color with thick, but short-lived head. Slight greenish hue to this one. My glass was devoid of lacing less than half way through, which made my glass feel naked. The nose is full of spices, citrus, and herbs. I get a face full of bay leaf right off the bat and hints of the rosemary and ginger. Looking for the anise and caraway, but couldn't lock onto any of those licorice-like aromatics. Taste is tart, but very herbaceous. Lemon and lemon rind, full of pith. Bitter botanicals from the steeping of the herbs and spices. The bay and rosemary really come through in the front, with ginger playing a supporting role, the caraway and anise are there if you really go looking for them, but are easily lost in the complex dance of flavors on this stage. The lasting finish is dry with a prolonged bitterness on the palate that reminds me of over-steeping lemon peels in hot tea. The bay sticks around for a long while. I don't pick up any of the wheat, nor much of the rosemary, but this is one worth returning to more than once, to ponder the depths of this polyglot brew. Mouth-feel is light and the carbonation is not very high in comparison to the initial head, but present enough to play its part.

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Photo of Cresant
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured this 16.9 oz. brown bottle into a Nonic glass. No date. The body was a pale yellow-white color with a crisp white head. Sludge was visible in the bottom of the bottle. The head faded to nothing.

Smell was perfumy. Herbs. Juniper. Cracked pepper.

Taste was ginger and shrubbery. Celestial Seasonings herbal tea with carbonation is an adequate description. Rosemary. Alka-Seltzer cold medicine (in a good way!). Interesting, but I wouldn't want to drink much of this one.

Mouthfeel was nicely zesty. Medium to light body.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

How cool is it that we get to at least try something called 13th Century Grut Bier in 2014? For that reason alone I am glad to be alive in this day and age. And for other reasons too, of course. But that's a good one. Also, how weird is it that some dude in Germany named Professor Fritz Briem is apparently the only guy on the planet brewing 13th Century Grut Bier? I have so many questions about this beer.

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. This beer is a nice opaque straw color. The cloudiness dissipates after a while and it mellows out to a pretty golden straw hue. Not entirely clear, but a shiny gold color. The nose is very herbal, almost medicinal. Strong on the ginger aroma here. I like this smell, but I'm not sure what to make of it. The taste is tart and bitter up front. Heavy rosemary and ginger presence. Unlike any other beer I've ever had, but then again I've never had anything claiming to be a 13th Century Grut Bier before either. Almost unpotable at first, until you sort of get used to the taste. It kinda grows on you, though. Kinda. Very dry and bitter finish. Mouthfeel is light, which I'm presuming was intended.

An odd beer for sure, but very interesting. I'm not a huge fan of this, but I like the idea of the beer completely. I could see sipping on this instead of a hot toddy next time I'm sick with a nasty cold. I would hope all the herbs contain some sort of healing powers that I could extol among my friends when they're sick as well. "Try this! It's strange and hard to drink, but has mysterious healing powers no one can explain!" Yeah, I like this. Give me a 13th Century Grut anytime. Cheers.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Turbid, milky lemon juice color with a thin white head. Aromas of citrus and ginger. First taste brought the words "childhood nature hike" into my head. Then I thought of a dirty lemon lollipop. Then I tasted the ginger, rosemary, and some caraway on the finish. Kinda light bodied. I have to seriously doubt they had a beer this light in color in the 13th century. Still - it's an interesting drink.

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Photo of firkinhophead
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy pale, yellow-gold with a thin, quickly disappating head.

Aroma of flowers, herbs and spices. Very thick and sweet. Honeysuckle, cardamom, clove, lemongrass.

Taste is smooth and a bit odd. Very pale, powdery malts, biscuity wheat, nectar, pollen, lemony-tart yeast. Only a hint of apple and pear. Some buttery notes. Not very bitter, but quite spicy and dry in the finish, with a fairly strong edge of mint, caraway and anise.

The thin body is suggestive of a wheat beer. Fairly spritzy and light. It would be quite refreshing if not for the herbal, medicinal finish.

Quite interesting, though, and worth a try to see how perfect hops are for beer.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut Bier

Appearance: Hazy yellow, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: Flowery, lemon zesty, yeast, and spices.

Taste: Very subtle lemon, even less yeast, and spices galore.

Mouthfeel: Light.

A very odd beer. Tastes like a spice garden with a little lemon on top. The tastes are faint, yet the beer is not watery. The flavors are due to the grut style of brewing. There are no hops used.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

500 mL German bottle with no freshness date. Brewed at Weihenstephan from a base of barley and wheat, and spiced with bay leaves, ginger, caraway, anise, rosemary, gentian and "pollinated wild hops." Brilliant pale gold color, with an inch of noisy head that leaves no lacing. The bouquet starts with ginger and caraway and finishes with, well, ginger and caraway. On the palate there is mostly ginger and rosemary, contributing spice and pine respectively. A dash of malt is in there as well, along with some lemon and a slightly lower pH that helps keep the flavors bright. Its very light, very dry and highly carbonated body gives the impression of tonic water. I doubt that this beer is in any way historically accurate, as I have trouble believing that any beer brewed in the 1200's (including small beer) was this light in color, this dry, this lightly spiced and this cleanly fermented. However, it is possible that the gruit blend is accurate and I applaud Prof. Briem for at least spreading the knowledge of a long-forgotten family of beers. It is no doubt approachable and easy to drink - so much so that it could conceivably be a nice crossover beer for your macro friends - but I feel it lacks a bit in character.

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Photo of CMW
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a hazy yellow color with a small, thin white head. Little to no retention.

S - Smells very, very spicy. It reminds me of halls cough drops mixed with ginger and clove.

T - While there are a couple of flavors floating around here (wheat, coriander, banana) they are all overpowered by ginger. Not a bad taste, just strong and different.

M - Light and crisp. It has a slight bite due to the relatively high carbonation.

D - While I can appreciate the style, I think another poster said it best. "This is a beer that would best be shared with a group of friends".

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Photo of bfields4
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of sediment floating around. Straw yellow body. Little bit of off white head.

Aroma has a lot of lemon, ginger, pick up a bit of the ains. If i didn't know better the aroma would push me towards thinking this was a sour blond.

Light flavors. More lemon. Def picking up the rosemary now a little bit of the bay as well. Very herbal quality.

Very interesting beer. Easy to dink. Low alcohol and low carbonation goes down easy. Not my favorite, but worth giving a shot on a hot summer day.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours hazed lemon-drop yellow with a fizzy white head that thins and stays a bit before disappearing.

The smell is herbal/medicinal - bay leaves, rosemary, a touch of anise - other spices that blend. Potpourri-smelling. Interesting.

The tase is herbal, medicinal and perfumy. The herbs blend together. Some lemon tartness gives balance. Finishes with an herbal bitter dryness.

Light-bodied and almost effervescent.

An "interesting" historical brew. Too overboard on the spices for me. A beer to share with a beer friend as a "conversation piece". I've had gruits that were more enjoyable, but this one goes in a different, interesting direction.

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Photo of frDan
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.75

Bitter like Unicum Zwack. Similar in taste to a herbal bitter (underberg, etc.) would make a very nice digestif. Not a quaffable beer but a nice drink st the end of German. Soapy, bright, herbaceous taste. Golden straw appearance with an almost non-existent head. Overall, worth a try.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut Bier from Professor Fritz Briem
3.84 out of 5 based on 299 ratings.
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