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

While this isn't something I see myself purchasing on any sort of regular basis, it was a fantastically interesting beer and unlike anything I've had before. First few sips were floral and called to mind rosewater and coriander. As the beer warmed, a distinct spearmint flavor emerged. Mouthfeel was a bit thin with some wheat-like notes. Some ginger and other aromatics lurk. Final pour decanted a fair bit of unattractive brown sediment.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a hazy light golden yellow color. It has a big fluffy 2-finger head on it. The head has pretty good retention, and it leaves some lace behind on the glass. There is some carbonation bubbles and a few bits of floating sediment. The appearance reminds me of wittier.

S - Big spice aromas in the nose. There is a lot of ginger, rosemary, mint, floral notes, and some sweetness. The nose is strong on this, and it's very interesting as well. Never had a beer that smelled quite like this.

T - The taste, wow, there is a lot going on here. It starts off with some initial sweetness and some lemon citrus flavor. That is immedietly followed by a slew of evolving spice flavors. There are flavors of ginger, mint, rosemary, black pepper, and more. There are also some light fruit flavors as well. The finish leaves a lot of lingering spice flavor and a bit of sweetness.

M - This has a medium body and average carbonation. It goes down pretty easy and has a lot of spice tingle. There is a refreshing citrus quality here as well. This is a very interesting feel, I haven't come across anything like it until now.

O - This has pretty good drinkability. It goes down easy and has a nice interesting flavor. I really like the lemon citrus flavor at the beginning. The spices are stronger than anything I've had before. This is not a bad thing, just something I think I have to get used to. Overall, I thought this was a really cool interesting beer. I think this is a style that a lot of breweries could really use to showcase their creativity, I'd like to see more of the style. I also, really like experiencing a beer that makes you feel like you are tasting part of history. I recommend picking this up. Even if you don't really enjoy it, although I did, it is still worth the experience.

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

A: Pours a hazy, pale yellow with a fizzy white head that dissipates pretty quickly. It's murky, and for a different beer, I'd probably give lower marks, but it sorta works here.

S: Ginger, wheat, spruce, mint, licorice, clove, lemons. There's a lot going on. It's a fun mix of refreshing spices and wheat beer notes.

T: A bit much ginger comes across but it's quite refreshing and nice for the style. Lightly tart with lemons and wheat spice. Spice is strong but not overwhelming.

M: Well-carbonated. The ginger and lemon tartness pushes the prickliness even more.

O: It's probably the best gruit that I've tried, but I still can't justify giving it a higher score. There's just too much ginger. The tartness is nice but I'll take a berliner weiss over this.

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Photo of bminor7
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16.9 from Permier Gourmet, Buffalo.

what a neat idea. It's like someone read Randy Mosher's mind! I am grateful for this potentially one dude churning these (also Berliner Weissbier) awesome creations out.

Looks cloudy, like hmm...strangely the first thing that comes to mind is, someone forgot to flush the toilet about 2 days ago. There is some whitish sediment falling out on the bottom of the glass. The color is a very light straw yellow with a hint of orange. Some fizzy bubbles form but only a whisp remains.

Smell is lemony coriander, lemongrass, no hops, more like a craft liquer or soda, actually a lot like a soda. when reading the description of all the spices added (ginger, caraway, anise, gentian, rosemary, bay leaves) I can somehow imagine that they are all in there, at the same sensory threshold, making something very unique. and isn't that one of the challenges of brewing?

Taste follows...very refreshing. Lemony, sweet, but with a savory spiciness that is so hard to place. the malts only show in the aftertaste.

this is endlessly drinkable. who wouldnt want to be crushing a 30-pack of GRUTBIER instead of some Schaefer?? Oskar Blues, are you listening?

Try it!

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

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.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pale, very cloudy yellow with bits of yeasts floating around. Moderate half-cm head, which persists well. Nose is very rich and spicy. I can identify ginger and caraway, but there are other things I cannot. The flavor is interesting... very spicy, quite tart, with no real malt presence. The ginger is pleasant. I can pick up the bay, I think, though it tastes more like curry leaves to me. There's a not-quite citrus lemoniness throughout. Surprisingly dry.

I'm not sure I'd seek this out to drink on a regular basis. It doesn't really resemble beer as we expect it. But it's not bad. Paired with the right foods it might be a great meal-accompanying beverage.

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

Pours a very light yellow almost pale. Amost no head .smells very interesting. Lots of caraway, anise and lot more on the nose. Very spicy. Taste light and bubbly lot of intestine spices. Carroway heavy with some other interesting flavours. Overall very tasty. Smething i would definitely have again

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very light yellow, slightly clouded, minimal white head.

S - tart, medicinal. That's it.

T - Ginger, lots of other spices, tart. Interesting. A surprising amount going on.

M - light, dry, palatable. pretty good.

O (D) - This is pretty interesting. Not great, but a pretty good gruit, I think.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: golden yellow with a lot of floaties with a 1 finger white head

smell: spruce, spices, herbs,

taste: lots of spruce, citrus, herb / spices

mouthfeel; mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: not a bad beer at all. you just need to understand the style of the beer to respect the flavors.


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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 Beerenauslese
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Body is hazy yellow gold. Head dissipates really quickly to a ring, and leaves no lacing. Gets flatter with time.

I definitely smell the anise and ginger in this and to a lesser extent Bay leaves. I can't really pick that out the rosemary or the Gentian.

Ginger and anise really comes through in the taste. This really is like a spiced/vegetal ginger ale. The ginger and vegetal spices go well enough together. Also has a mild lemony acidity which adds to the palatability. There is a light green hops bitterness in the finish.

Body is light as is the carbonation, just enough to give this a spritzy mouthfeel. But again, this kind of has the mouthfeel of a ginger ale. The malt structure is very light.

This is an odd beer but worth a try. The alcohol is low and the beer is light in body. For me, it is an acquired taste, mainly because of the anise. I would have to work at acquiring a liking to it, but I would prefer it to many ginger ales. I think it is a beer that could pair well with some foods. While it is a decent interpretation of an historical style, to me, it is more of a novelty beer than one I would seek out with any regularity.

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Photo of seand
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy pale yellow amber, with a small amount of bubbly white head. Most of the head dissipates quickly, leaving just a small ring around the edge of the glass.

S: A complex mix of herbs and spices, of which I'm having a hard time picking out any individual ones. Overall sweet, and somewhat earthy and grassy.

T: Light and pleasant, with a nice sweetness. The spice and herb components give it a nice complexity, while staying light and drinkable.

M: Relatively light body, slightly dry.

Overall it's quite nice, and drinks very nicely. It's almost like a dry cider in some ways.

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

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a white fizzy head that disappears quickly leaving very minimal lacing. Beer is a touch cloudy, straw colored, with no apparent activity

S- Has a very light but pleasant aroma... smells wheat, honey, with definite notes of ginger and lighter hints rosemary

T- Very light refreshing flavor... wheat, honey, light bittering hops, rosemary, and bay leaves with a definite ginger presence in the finish

M- Very light bodied with light carbonation... crisp

O- Really glad I bought this one and can't wait to try some others of the style if I can find them. Perfect summertime beer... I'll definitely be buying more of these


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Photo of BeerNemesis
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Professor Fritz Briem 13th Century Grut Bier | 740 ml. | 4.9% ABV | 2011

Brewer: Professor Fritz Briem
Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Glass: Duvel tulip

Pale yellow with a porous, snow-white head and almost no lacing.

Ginger, anise, lemon peal and various other herbs.

It has got a minor wheat backbone, almost entirely superseded by spicy ginger and lemon peal flavors. Bay leaves, anise, caraway, and rosemarie provide herbal/floral notes. The finish is clean and dry.

Light and effervescent with a tingle provided both by the ginger and carbonation.

The simple herbs and light citrus come through nicely, with hints of greater complexity mid-sip. It's well constructed, and particularly enjoyable together with heavy and/or spicy fare.

Would I get it again?:
Maybe. It's an unusual beer, and definitely not one I see myself drinking on a regular basis. That said, it's purportedly best in class, and I can imagine wanting it for certain occasions.

Bottled: ?
Served: May 4, 2011

Price = $5.99 at Whole Foods (NYC)

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Photo of portia99
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - An aggressive pour from the bottle yields an initially fairly clear pale golden color with hints of orange until the giant clump of yeast at the bottom of the bottle fills the glass with floating chunks of yeast. A low, fizzy white head lingers briefly and dies to a marginal collar and a neverending spring of bubbles in the center of the glass rising from the bottom.

S - First thought...kinda funky/old/past its date Ricola cough drop. Cool aroma overall with a strong herbal quality, fruity/orangey citrus, a bit minty and clovey smells, spicy/gingery, barely noticeable tartness. I like - smells like it is going to a good warm weather beer. As it warms, caraway seeds come on strong.

T - Not really sour, but noticeably tart - far more than the aroma would indicate. Herbal and a bit bitter. Bitterness, again, is only medium in intensity, but far higher than the aroma would indicate. Spicy ginger is really the strongest flavor I'm picking up...the other flavors really seem to blend together without really distinguishing themselves individually. I can pick out the caraway seeds as it warms and the aroma simultaneously appears...I also grab a bit of a cola aspect as well. Very unusual mixture of flavors wrapped into one beverage, but it really seems to work - much better than I had originally hoped.

M - Body is on the light side of medium and there is a very strong carbonation that tingles the tongue throughout. I get the distinctive ginger feel/burn that I associate with a good strong ginger beer...might be the high point of the beer for me.

O - Haven't had too many gruits, so my experience is limited, but I like this one. Very interesting array of aromas, flavors and feel. Nothing too overpowering and extremely complex too. My initial impression proves right for me with this being a warm weather beer...good discovery just in time for summer.

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Photo of teromous
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: It pours a very pale straw color with copious head and carbonation. It is very hazy with lots of yeast sediment.

S: It has a ginger smell, very similar to a real ginger beer. There's a slightly musty and muted earthy scent...or even a cedar smell. Like opening an old cedar chest.

T: It's not extremely spicy like I would have expected from the smell. There is a light ginger taste, and a tartness to the flavor. I honestly have no experience with a beer quite like this. Most beers I've had only experimented with one or two flavors but this one has a huge list of ingredients. I can't pick out too many of the individual ingredients but I do taste what might be the bay leaves. I don't pick up some of the others like rosemary and anise. The flavor intensifies a bit as I reach the bottom of the glass (most likely because of the sediment) and it becomes a little more tart and spicy.

M: The mouthfeel is a little thin. Again I have no experience in ancient beers, so I'm not sure how it's supposed to be exactly. For my preference, it could use a little more body or even some bitterness. The carbonation level is good to me, and it's nice with the ginger. I'll just score it an average because I'm not quite sure how this is supposed to be, but for me it doesn't strike the mark.

O: Overall I think this is a really cool beer. I like that I got a chance to drink an old recipe. However, it seems a little too much like a basic ginger beer, and I'm not completely sold on the inclusion of the other ingredients listed because I didn't pick them up. Maybe a different palate would. I enjoyed the beer so I'm going to rate it good overall.

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Photo of Trilogy31
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very slightly cloudy orange with a rose colored tinge. Left about an ounce of sediment filled beer in the bottle. Nose is a complex mix of rose hips, salty smoked carraway and coriander, dill, a pleasant medicinal band aid note. Very juicy in the mouth with bright lemon notes, a mix of savory spices and finishes with a golden delicious apple flavor. Very drinkable at the abv (not the price) and is a very intriguing beer for a style i admittedly have never tried before. Very impressive.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

a: hazy pale straw with lost of white movement and 1/8th inch of very white and surprisingly thick foam with good staying power

s: spicy and delicious; cloves, sweetness; light citrus; very aromatic

t: spicy with a litte bit of tartness and light medicinal bitterness; definitely citrus zesty; good but there is a little bit of a weird aftertaste and it could use a little more depth of flavor; i bet back in the day when people were drinking moldy water with dirt in it this stuff ruled though

m: a little watery but good fizzy pop

d: definitely worth a try, unlike anything that i have ever had; apparently things weren't that terrible in the dark ages

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Photo of 100floods
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a mini-pint/tasting glass. Lemon/honey pale yellow. Smells of honey and fresh, clean spices. Think of like a honey-herb tea aroma. Lemonade sour with a bite of the spices. Spicey ginger flavors take the brunt of the load. The rosemary provides a nice back bone. Something grassy, too. Not sure if it's a sour or bitter flavor, akin to a saison. I was pleased to find they used anis instead of juniper berries, although it's not a dominant flavor. This a great, light drink. Perfect for the summer. Can't wait to have more.

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

A-Pale, hazy blonde with a thing ring of white bubbles.

S-Cinnamon, juniper, nutmeg, coriander,nag champa incense ginger, etc. Smells like one of those hippie commune grocery stores.

T/M-This gruit succeeds above other versions of the style I've tried in that it isn't over spiced. Many gruits end up tasting like a mouthful of bark and juniper berries, but not this one. It's very light. In fact, the base beer is somewhat to Briem's 1809 Berliner Weisse. The spice is delicate, but with considerable variety. Light bodied with bright carbonation.

D-If you're going to drink a gruit (or grut) drink this one.

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

Purchased at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA, and brought back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable, @FakeCousinAndrew and @tobeerornottobe to celebrate the bottling of our Australian Gruit.

Initially, pours a very light coloured, and quite clear yellow, but the bottom half of the bottom, is filled with sediments and spice-chunks, leaving the beer ultimately cloudy as all hell, and slightly dark apple-juice coloured. Head is frothy but loose-bubbled, subsisting as a ring of white around the edges of the glass. Body is light.

Nose is incredibly redolent with hot spicy ginger, big rubbed herb characters and a peppery bite, that almost twists the whole thing into chemical weirdness. Very heavily spiced and incredibly unusual. Unlike anything I've had before.

Ginger disappears on the palate, leaving only the weird organics of crushed vegetation. Here, we get a heathery spice, an earth-and-root depth and a light crisp bite like lemon-tree leaves. Incredibly, it's very lively and refreshing, and the feel, while quite thin, gives some spritz and buoyancy to the thing as a whole.

Overall, it's quite a delicious beer, if one that is so far outside the realms of expectation. I'm so pleased to have been able to try this. I only wish I could have tried a Gruit from the past when all the ingredients were not only preservative, but also psychotropic.

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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 GradyS1
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2nd in the series of Dr. Fritz Briem, the 1809 was excellent so I grabbed this as soon as I saw It, maybe he will do a Gose next.

A- light yellow, with a greenish tent to it, cloudy with a small amount of head that quickly turns to lacing and then disappears. Left with a minuscule amount of bubbles on top.
S-This smells great, very floral and earthy. Rosemary, Ginger and a small amount of mint as it opens up. Earthy like fresh cut grass.
T- Has a lot more citrus and lemon than I would have ever thought. Spicy up front with zesty citrus notes, herbal finish comes on strong leaving the taste of Ginger on the tounge. Earth in the aftertaste.
M- Light and very nice on the carbonation up front. It has a medium body with a smooth finish. I like all aspects of this beer.

I really enjoyed this beer. It smelled really good if you like a floral, earthy beer. It was a light drinker that has some nice twists to it. I would drink this beer again.

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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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