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 Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky light orange with a 1/2 inch foamy bone colored head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of grain, herbs, spices, and some interesting sour/tart aromas. Taste is of grain, leafs/herbs, spices, and a sourness on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with an interesting history behind it but it's definitely weird in a good way.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a bright hazy looking yellow color with a big fizzy white head with lots of chunky sediment. The head fades but the carbonation spits from the top of the beer similar to how soda does. The smell of the beer is lemony with some herbal qualities to it. It smells refreshing. The taste of the beer is herbal with some citrus hints in the distance. The mouthfeel of the beer is light, very carbonated and a little on the watery side. Overall I enjoyed trying the beer, I can't say I'd buy it again but it was nice to have once.

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Photo of metter98
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: It poured light yellow in color and slightly hazy. A light to medium level of carbonation is visible and a thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface.
S: The smell is very interesting and unique--there's a strong aroma of herbs and spices. Notes of ginger and rosemary particularly stand out.
T: As soon as you take a sip, the flavor of the herbs and spices hits you right away. There seems to be a good balance amongst them as not one particularly stands out. There's a bit of sourness in the overall taste.
M: It feels light-bodied, bubbly and prickly on the palate; there Is some dryness in the finish.
D: This tasted pretty good by itself and I might have this again the next time I am looking for an interesting change of pace. It might also be interesting to pair with a salad during dinner. Like gueuze, it's definitely an acquired taste, but I am liking it more with each sip. It's also very refreshing and might make for a good drink on a hot summer day.

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Photo of brentk56
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy lemon juice color with what turns out to be a modest head (although it foamed out of the bottle initially); a few dots of lace

Smell: Lemon juice and fresh ginger, with coriander, rosemary and bay leaf elements

Taste: Puckery lemon juice and ginger, up front, with the coriander, rosemary and bay leaf elements developing by mid-palate; all of the flavors come together, in the finish, with the aftertaste being as puckery as the beginning

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with high carbonation

Overall: A very interesting concoction; I appreciated it much more than I liked it

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Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pastel yellow body, it just glows when backlit. A fizzy flurry of bubbles flock to the surface, settling into a white blanket of foam, that settles out soon enough. As this sits and opens up, there's a complex array of spices out there. Lots of floral and citrus, daffodil, coriander, anise, plenty of stuff i'm missing, due to not knowing my specific spices (bottle also lists caraway, bay leaf, rosemary, and gentian). Maybe ginger root, even though I hate ginger, it smells pretty good.

Leafy, herbal taste, core root beer spices without the sweetness, mild popcorn kernel, all on a soft bed of wheat. So fresh smelling, like fresh cut herbs. Really something unique, it's hard to describe. Dry aftertaste that has a natural sweetness to it. Lots of character, and i'm at a loss for words this time. It's really effervescent and that carries it along well. Easy to finish the 16 oz.

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Photo of superspak
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours hazy golden straw color with a small 1 finger foamy white head with decent retention, that reduces to nearly nothing. Minimal lacing clinging to the glass. Aromas of lemon, apple, wheat, pepper, clove, herbal, floral, earth, anise, and steak sauce; seriously, steak sauce. Some very interesting aromas with good strength and decent balance. Taste of lemon, pear, apple, wheat, rosemary, basil, ginger, pepper, clove, anise, and herbal spiciness. Very slight tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruit, spices, herbs, wheat, and pepper on the finish for a very short bit. Nice flavor balance and complexity; quite dry on the finish. Medium carbonation and light-medium body; with a very crisp and clean mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with no warming present on the finish at all as expected. Extremely easy to drink. Overall this is a nice Gruit style ale. The aromas were certainly interesting; but the taste was nicely balanced and very smooth. This was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of nickfl
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with half a finger of white foam on top of a slightly hazy, straw yellow body. The head dissipates rapidly and leaves no lace.

S - Lots of spicy notes with some tart wheat aromas. Notes of coriander, black pepper, basil, and caraway.

T - Spicy and tart with lots of black pepper up front. Distinct ginger spiciness in the middle with more tartness. The finish is light and herbal with a touch of grainy sweetness but little malt flavor. Lingering ginger spiciness with some basil and black pepper notes.

M - Medium-light body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Interesting, this is a very light, but heavily spiced beer. The wheat flavor is fairly dominant and there is some lactic tartness that helps to accentuate this characteristic. The spices are well balanced with ginger notes that are significant enough to lend the beer a little bit of hotness in the finish. This isn't quite as good as the Berliner Weisse, but it is something that must be tried, if only once. I am looking forward to whatever the Professor brews next in this series.

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Photo of jlindros
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this interesting piece of history thanks to kkipple, then later noticed that its around here. But still looks cool.

A: Head rises up the neck of the bottle as I decap it, so I rush to quickly pour it. A fizzy soda like head rises up quickly to 2 fingers, but fades quickly as well. It's probably the haziest mofo I've ever seen! A murky pond water banana colored soup like concoction, with some yellow orange tan colored ugly beast.

N: I could smell this thing wafting out on the pour from a few feet back. It's a spicy mufu! All the spices listed on the side come wafting out to my nostrils, teasing but scorning them alike. Some orange peel to go with that, as well as aromatic malts, some wheat, bitterness from the various bittering spices and hops, some fruits like fig and the lot. It has quite an effervescence. It's almost like a spicy root beer combined with ginger ale and lots of spices all blended together with some malts.

T: Wow again, that interesting ginger ale and root beer combination strikes again. This time the spices are lighter, allowing me to breath a sigh of relief that it doesn't destroy my palate. It has a crazy combination of a myriad of spices one cannot comprehend. Everything from ginger, corriander, orange peel, to the bay leaf all seem to shine on their own. It even comes with it's own fruit, more fig again, a little raisiny, and hints of banana. THere are also some malts somewhere in there, a little wheat, creamy malts, and slightly toasty.

M: Medium to lighter body with tons of carbonation.

F: Semi bitter, lots of light lingering spices, which seem to die rapidly after the nose. More orange peel here as well, a little anise, more bay leaf, and the lot. Pretty dry as well, with again a touch of creamy malt and some fruit lingering.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle.

A: Pours a very hazy egg yolk yellow under an extremely thin (1/16") white head at the rim and leaves a couple of spots of lace.

N: Boat loads of spices and herbs, bay leaves and ginger are prominent along with anise and rosemary, some thyme, clove, perfumy florals.

T: Grapefruit pith, ginger, nutmeg, clove, flowery. Reminds me of a medicinal tonic.

M: Semi-moderate body and very light carbonation. Spicy and herbal finish lingers.

O: Unique and glad to say "thank God for hops".

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a pale yellow color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of strong spices (ginger & bay leaf), light malts, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste doesn't have the spice intensity that you get from the smell, but the ginger and bay leaf flavors are still the more dominant ones. There are background flavors of figs and wheat and the malt character isn't too heavy but enough to provide some substance. The hops presence is mild but brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly spicy and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, light body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, although this isn't a style that I would normally drink, this is one of the best that I've had in it.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful beer in all aspects. Complex herbal bouquet - slightly perfumed and floral, smelling like spring, laurel & bay, rosemary and lemon balm. Flavor adds a mentholated winter green brightness, slight ginger bight, rustic wildness of sage. Slightly mossy and forest edge. Effervescent but not sharp; rounded and soft. All this makes the beer sound incredibly odd. The real accomplishment here is that it's not; its uniqueness is intriguing rather than in your face and challenging. To American palates unaccustomed to herbal drinks, only familiar with herbs as something in your occasional cough drop or medicine, sure; I can see how they may struggle to wrap their minds around this. But for anyone with a modicum of culinary sophistication, this is astounding.

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Photo of mactrail
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pale yellow with just a slight haze. I thought the Brugse Zot glass with the jester would be Medieval enough. Swarms of bubbles in the glass and a coarse white head. It settles down to near flatness after a few minutes. Light weight and rather tart.

The bitterness is a quite intense when it seeps in. Gentian is quite distinct and medicinal and you wouldn't mistake it for any kind of hop. Long aromatics in the nose, but the herbs don't jump out with individual flavors. I taste lavender, which of course isn't one of the ingredients on the label. Maybe it's the bay leaves and anis. A crazy mix.

Overall it's a very interesting interesting quaff, and this "Historic Signature Series" is well worth seeking out. From the 500 ml bottle purchased at Mayfair Liquors in Denver. My first Gruit to rate, at least, though I've had the Scottish heather and seaweed ones.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden yellow with a fair amount of sediment/yeast. The head is about a half finger white head that reduces to nothing but a tiny pool of bubbles in the middle of the top almost instantly. Very little lacing is observed. Also, there is a light amount of visible carbonation as well.

S: Floral aromas with hints of spices/herbs - anise, ginger, rosemary and bay leaf.

T: Again there are a lot of flavors of spices/herbs - bay leaf, rosemary, ginger, anise, and caraway. Also, there is a slight amount of sourness and some lemon. Very complex but not a huge flavor, slightly more subtle.

M: Light to medium bodied with high amounts of carbonation. Very crisp.

O: Very interesting style and a pretty good example of it. I have had a couple of others and this is probably my favorite of them - though not a style that I have frequently. I really enjoy the savory aspects of the smell and taste. Not a real sessionable beer but definitely good.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

And just like that we're off to the 13th century, gruit-style!

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, pale yellow body with a tall, white head.

Smell: Anise and ginger are at the fore followed by various herbs and flowers and even a pinch of lemon peel.

Taste: Touch of soft wheat, then it's time for the spices and seasonings. Bay leaves, anise, and an assortment of herbs. Spicy ginger taste grows and accumulates on the tongue. Floral character throughout. Strong anise flavor as well. Lemony hints here and there. Finishes quite crisp and drying.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: It's different, it's interesting, and it's even refreshing. A fine way to revisit the oft overlooked 13th century. Now I look forward to a beer representing the Protestant Reformation of the 15th and 16th centuries.

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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 mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Gruit, I received this bottle as a most generous extra. Glad to cross this one off the list. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/08/2008.

I poured this very cloudy and pasty looking yellow liquid into a pint glass. Very thick and dull yellow in color. Small fizzy white head reached up and settled rather quickly, leaving just some token lacing behind in its wake,

The aroma was really odd. Lots of spice, random fruit notes, and truly a kitchen sink like feel to it. Following over into the flavor,it was an odd conconcotion. Lots of ginger like flavors, hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, light lemon like zest and some earthy tones. Thin and very well carbonated feel here, really a soda lke consistency. Smooth and very drinkable.

Overall this was an intresting beer if you can call it that. Not at all what I was expecting, though very nicely done. I could see this fitting in quite well and was a nice change of pace.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at State Line Liquors - another Weihenstephaner and Doemens Institute collaboration. From the B United website:

This interpretation of a traditional Grut Bier is spiced with Lorbeer (Bay Leaves), Ingwer (Ginger), Kummel (Caraway), Anis (Anise), Rosemarin (Rosemarie) & Enzian (Gentian). It is brewed with water, wheat & barley malt, "pollinated wild hops" and fermented using top fermenting yeast.d bacteria (isolated from malt) at 18 °C (64°F).

I poured this at 40 degrees into a stange and sipped slowly as the temperature increased.

A - A cloudy pale gold like a fruit nectar w/ a thick, rocky ghost white head of approx 3 fingers. There is plenty of visible carbonation and the bead is tight while the lace is copious and clings well.

S - A slight lactic sour smell w/ instense anise aroma that wafts to my nose as the cap is opened. There is some earthy ginger notes and cooking herb blended in. I would venture to say a tart fruit note w/ the wheat yeast(I am guessing). Pretty appealing for someone who doesn't like anise all that much

M - A crisp yet tart feel, with wild yeast and full carbonation. There is a warmth of spice in the back of the throat - must be the ginger. The malt is slightly nutty w/ a phenolic and astringent qualities. There is a sulfidic yeasty note as it finishes.

T - A gentle tart and medicinal flavor starts this off w/ a big dose of anise. The ginger flavor seems covered slightly by the anise and wild yeast, but the spice is there. The caraway, rosemary and lorbeer are there in equal measure, but nvever having tasted Gentian I am unsure how it plays into the spice melange. There is a mild creamy and herbal flavor w/ some of the slightly tart berliner weiss type flavor w/ a gentle nutty wheat and caraway cushion. The seed -like taste is gently bitter w/ the yeast providing more flavor as it warms. A bit of a unique taste I might attempt to create a homebrew version.

D - This is one tasty gruit which seems like a chameleon of a style. The spice blend w/ the slight sour flavor is intriguing and the drinkability is very high for me. I could return to this multiple times since it is not a boring or bland beer. The closest thing I have tasted to this is Troeg's Scratch 10, but that is hopped - it just has a serious amount of anise. This gruit is mellower, but just as tasty.

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Photo of smcolw
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pale, almost translucent color. Lots of chunky yeast that settles at the bottom of the glass quickly. Long lasting thin head that leaves a slippery blanket of lace (doesn't last on the glass).

Strong licorice, white pepper and juniper berries. Attractively spicy.

Pale malt and very watery up front. The spices kick in quickly and dominate the taste from this point onward. Mildly sour. Lots of effervescence. Surprisingly short aftertaste. Nicely warming in the throat and tummy.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Pours a hazy lemon drop with at best a finger of white foamy head that doesn't have the drive to live a long, healthy life. Depression, maybe, I dunno. When my nose imbibes the aura beneath, it is as though a baker's rack has been spilt into a beer: peppermint (yeah, I said peppermint...but it could just as easily be wintergreen...I could never tell the damn difference), anise, nutmeg, honey, ginger, cinnamon, hops, and a melange of florals punch their timecards, beginning their shift at the olfactory. ...Sorry, I couldn't resist that...pun...?... At first, these workers are adrift in a sea of vague bitterness, but, of course, they wait until after work to let their hair down: At last, a wash of various flavors, anise, peppercorn, ginger, honey, nutmeg, and that minty bastard again, all dance toegether in such a harmony as to make a Benatton collection feel insecure enough to venture into a Wal-Mart or something. In Max's buddy Bobby's words, "It's pretty scrumptious". Look it up, dammit. As bodies go, this one is pretty lithe and readily shows its ability to glide through the mouth, in arabesque, of course, while not suffering from over-effervescence (don't you just HATE the overly bubbly ones? I mean, come on, you've gotta get angry at SOMEthing, am I right, guys?). Overall, I'd definitely partake in this experience again, if only I knew how to upholster scents...

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Hazy and cloudy blonde body with minimal beige head.

S - Smells herbal, spiced, natural.

T - To me this was like drinking cold, carbonated vegetable soup broth. Tastes like barley, oat, wheat, and even bay leaves and other dried green herbal flavors. Some citrus tang there as well.

M - Higher carbonation, not too heavy. More like a standard wheatbeer.

D - I had a hard time finishing this bottle. The taste is strong enough to make this one a bottle to share with a couple friends just for the experience.

Notes - Try it to see what its like. Its worth having something new that you probably havent experienced yet. Definately a unique brew.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a foggy yellow with a small white head that falls to nothing. Nose is oddly spiced and floral. Very different. Flavor is twice as strange. Weird mix of herbs and spices with a mild sweet fruity tone to it. Feel has a lower carbonation and the liquid is okay. This is a strange beer. Try it once if you're daring, but don't really go for it if your palate isn't ready for some strange vibrations.

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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 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 Tone
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, yellow color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and slight lacing. Smells of anise, strong spice, slight yeast, and slight wheat. Fits the style of a Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of spruce/ginger, anise/nutmeg, slight yeast, hint of tart malt, and lemon citrus. Overall, an unusual beer. I'm not sure how to rate this as far as it fits within the style. It had a good blend, body, and complexity.

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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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