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 Braz
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought from Tacoma Boys. Pours a hazy pale gold with a lot of sediments floating around. Smells fantastic. Tons of spices, cinnamon, rosemary, fruit and zest. Taste is slightly tart, with some ginger and rosemary notes. Pretty good dose of carbonation compared to the appearance. Very light body with an abrupt finish and absolutely no bitterness. Not bad and I love this style of beer. Always interesting and the history is intriguing as well.

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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 LiquidAmber
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a clear honey amber with a hint of a head that dissipated immediately to a ring around the glass, no lacing. Amazing aroma of rosemary, bay leaves, ginger, apple juice, light citrus; other unidentifiable aromatic herbs. Much like a kitchen dried potpourri. Starts with apple and pear juice, light grape juice; slightly vinous, aromatic herbs dominated by rosemary, slightly sweet. Finishes abruptly with dry, earthy herbs, leaving a light, but pleasant dried herb aftertaste. Light bodied. A very enjoyable reconstruction of this ancient ale style. Although I have greatly enjoyed some of the other, sweeter, gruit reconstructions from Scottish and American breweries, this one struck me as more authentic. A part of me wished for a bit more ABV to bring out the intensity of the bittering herbs. I like this Professor Briem series and am glad that he is bringing these old styles back to life.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy, golden straw color, with a fair amount of floating particulate matter. Head was lackluster (I may have been a little too gentle with my pouring) and faded quickly, leaving a fine lace behind.

S: A mix of champagne and apple cider are the first to greet the nose. Fruity yields to spicy, with aromas of ginger, pepper, and the faintest hint of menthol.

T: Malt sweetness lasts but a second before a tart fruitiness comes to dominate. The raw ginger that was soft in the nose is quite potent on the palate (not like a true ginger beer, but more than enough to grab my attention). As the ginger recedes after a moment, tartness returns with a mildly bitter, herbal finish; a hint of soapy fatty acid lingers on the tongue afterward.

M: Crisp and richly carbonated. Mildly astringent in the finish.

O: Despite a couple of rough edges (the soapy astringency in the finish detracted from the experience slightly), this was a tasty foray Into the sort of beverage our ancestors enjoyed. Not a drink for everyday consumption, but a nice "just because" experience.

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Photo of sommersb
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted On: 09-05-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 500ml brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Balloon glass
Purchased: Single from Liquor Express, Huntsville AL

Appearance is cloudy and yellow, capped by a foamy white head. I see lots of floating particles in my glass which is unusual. I guess this is part of the grut/gruit spices. Head retention is good but lacing is very sparse.

Aromas are very fragrant, with lots of spices I can't identify plus a lemon citrus fruit character.

Taste is tart and fruity, with green apple, lemon and orange peel. Also has some grape/wine like flavors. As noted in the aromas, there are a lot of spices in the beer, but I can't pick them apart to identify them. The label lists many of these.

Mouthfeel has a medium-level body and a high amount of carbonation. The finish is dry and somewhat tart.

Overall a very unique and interesting beer. I'd like to try some other examples of the style, but would probably not seek out this one again. I'm glad to have tried it, but once is enough for me.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dulled golden straw, lots of haze and particulate, moderate cap of big bubbles, short lasting. Scent brings a deep bouquet of of presh picked herbs, quite a bit of ginger and sage on the nose, light sugary and fruity sweetness and faintly bready malt. Again, fresh picked herbs everywhere on the tongue, luckily all work well in conjunction with none being overly palate smashing. Little notes of sweet, juicy berries play well with the herbal notes. Lighter side of medium, moderately carbonated. Suprised by how well the taste came together, enjoyable.

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

Reviewed from tasting notes.

First sniff on cap removal : Ginger Ale. Pours out looking exactly like a nice cloudy Ginger Ale as well, with a very soda-like carbonation and lack of head. Second sniff in the glass reveals the complex aromas of the gentian, anise, and oily piny rosemary that needed the disruption of the pour to stand out. The Bay leaves stay in the background of the nose, thankfully. (I have a personal bias against Bay aroma)

First Sip : Texturally is exactly like a ginger ale as well. Light body and soda feel. very much like a conglomeration of mint, a very dry and spicy hot ginger ale, anisette, and a light wheat-like sort of malt tartness. More aspects of rosemary and even a bit of fresh squeezed asparagus juice sweet/vegetal flavor combo appear as I take my time with the glass. The Bay leaf hits me as the last guest left in the party at the finish, the obnoxious one that won't leave. (Again, I dislike Bay leaves, YMMV)

Still, the oddball herbalism that is contained within WORKS. I can tell that every component has been carefully counter-balanced against each other for the net gain of something better than the sum of it's parts. Well worth experiencing if you can get your hands on it.

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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 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 wordemupg
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into tulip 16/7/12 cheers Masterski and Sean9689 for sending me the bottle

A cloudy pale orange with heaps of sediment all throughout, a thin but well sustained cap leaves a single ring of lace

S lots of ginger hit me on the first whiff, some bay leaves, lemon, herbal tea, and a bit of a sweet whipped egg meringue thing going for it and some fennel and floral notes. Smells different but great

T some apple cinnamon pie perhaps, its slightly sour with some cider notes, not as strong as the nose but most of what I smell's still there in one form or another

M lots of big bubbles in a fairly light body, fairly refreshing even with some tannins, spicy aftertaste lingers with some ginger

O something different but I really liked it, interesting mix of flavors and I never wrapped my head around it before my glass was empty

different can be good, I enjoyed this one for sure, strange at first but it quickly grew on me and ended up going down pretty fast.
I still have a few styles too try but this one brings me a little closer to hitting them all

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Photo of tony223366
4.44/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Three fingers of one of the fizziest beers I've seen in a long time. It's actually kind of amazing how fizzy it is considering how big it got. White color that quickly turned into a fine lace. Golden straw hue with some sediment. Slightly cloudy. Honestly this is hard to judge because I've never had one before.

S: Wow this is incredibly fragrant. I get lots of fruity notes along the lines of a sweet apple but then it's all herbs. I get the rosemary/bay leaves primarily. Especially the bay leaves. And ginger. Wow! It's exciting to smell something so different. Some grain too.

T: I don't even know how to classify this... but I do know it's good! I thought the spices were going to hit me over the head, but they're actually pretty well balanced. Granted I can definitely taste them but they're not overtaking the beer. I get a lot of tangy wheat flavors as well. Then lots of the bay leaf and ginger. This isn't nearly as sweet as I thought it'd be. It's fairly dry and really good! I can't get over how surprising this beer is.

M: Light body with great carbonation. Some mild creaminess. Great!

O: Huge surprise in how much I like this beer. I would actually drink it on occasion! Not every week but definitely atleast once a month! Nice work Fritz

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Photo of jsprain1
4.34/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks like a witbier. Hazy pale golden with a big white head. Settles down to a quarter finger. Some lacing.
S- Wow the nose is a big kick. Ginger gets all up and powerful. There is a light floral aroma. I am picking a bit of the advertised anise too.
T- Very spicy on the tongue. The ginger hits big here. There is a bit of a lemon juice note. A fairly present wheat base.
M- Quite light body. Fairly crisp carb.
O- This is fun. This isn't an every kind of night of beverage, but this is just a fun and different kind of drink.

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Photo of DaveBlack
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Much lighter than I was actually expecting, but still a nice looking beer. Very pale, light straw color. Quite a lot of head and no lacing, with a fair amount of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. The beer is hazy, with some very VERY loose sediment.

S: Intensely spicy smelling. Lots of floral notes and yeast.

T: Very light and crisp, with lots of ginger, nutmeg, some slight rosemary. This almost tastes like a spice cake in a glass, but with a really crisp and light body. It is surprisingly dry on the finish.

M: Light and crisp with a lot of carbonation. Maybe too light.

O: A very good beer. Interesting to say the least, and full of great flavors. I would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of Domingo
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An oddball style that I really enjoy, although there aren't very many examples of it.
Pours a hazy eggshell color. Doesn't look all that different from a weissbier or witbier, although the foam isn't as thick or voluminous.
Ginger is the first thing that hits my nose. That's definitely one of the stars of the show. Bay leaves would be next. Then a citric sourness from the beer itself and a little liquorice. Short of some unusual lactic sour beers, you're not going to mistake this for anything else in Germany.
The beer isn't nearly as spicy as the nose might have you expecting, but it is DEFINITELY spicy. A little acidity up front bleeds into ginger. the bay leaves give it a certain savoriness that offers just a hint of rosemary character, too. The finish has a little bit of bitterness from wild hops.
Fans of witbiers and other unusually spice brews would probably love this. One really nice thing about it is that the spices blend together almost perfectly. The ginger seems strong at first, but it seamlessly carries over into other flavors, too.
Good stuff, and quite the quencher if you wanted, too.
I'm glad to be getting this after hoping to see it for a while.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super excited to try this after reading the herbs that went into it.

The beer is a pale, dull yellow with a thin white head and huge chunks of yeast. This beer is obviously a living organism and smells incredible. There are strong herbal notes without anything distinct in particular along with a sour tartness that screams zesty lemons. Absolutely divine drinking with a thin watery, but zingy mouthfeel...which is rather unexpected. It's highly drinkable and reminds me of a mild ginger beer that would cool off the hottest of summer days. I would definitely recommend giving this beer a shot if you've never tried a gruit before, it puts DFH's ta hen ket to shame (and yes I know THK isn't technically a gruit...but it's full of funky herbs from the egyptian market nonetheless).

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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 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 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 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 BrewerB
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This arrived courtesy of a Healthy Spirits Beer of the Month. This is a new style for me and I'm interested to try it.

Poured into a 3 floyds pint glass. This is a medium gold with a thin white head and little retention. Great clarity.

Intriguing aroma includes a moderately intense anise and ginger. Floral and sweet.

Quick flash of bay leave in the front followed quickly ginger in the middle and an anise finish. Herbal remnants linger briefly after the dry end.

Medium-light in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall, a lot going on the herbal/spice department but not enough to make me keep drinking. Good example of the style, perhaps just not something I want more of.

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Photo of mj001jk
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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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 BeardedBoffin
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another vintage style from the Professor Fritz Briem series. A gruit is today's specimen. The beer pours a clear yellow straw color with a touch of white foam. The strong aroma is packed full of interesting herbs and spices. Bay leaves, sage, ginger, coriander and allspice berries. Very light and nimble on the palate. The flow is laced with similar components to the aroma. This an unusual and tantalizing brew. I would definitely drink again.

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Photo of falloutsnow
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Friar Tuck's in Savoy, IL.
No bottled on date.
Poured into a standard US pint glass.

Amazing aroma, definitely herbal in character, with notable rosemary, ginger, sage mint, and vague flowers. There's a mild wheat malt base that adds a bit of sweetness and acts as the glue between this wild variety of scents.

Tasting opens with slight sweetness and mild lemon flavor, which quickly fades into herbs. Of particular note are ginger, mint, rosemary, sage. Finishes with a bit of sweetness, then, tartness, probably from the wheat malt and yeast used.

Enjoyably light on the palate (not sure a heavier version of this would be appealing) with sparkling levels of carbonation, similar to champagne. Crisp, refreshing, and very drinkable with a dry finish.

At first I thought this might be like drinking soup base, but I was pleasantly surprised by the aromatic and gustatory aspects of this beer. I repeatedly thought how easily drinkable this was, and what an excellent apertif or dinner beer this would make. So it's not an over-the-top RIS or IPA; this is still delicious and a pleasure.

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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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