Bathtub Gin
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
4.06 | pDev: 5.91%
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: This gruit ale was inspired by the Phish song of the same name. A traditional gruit in style, Bathtub Gin was brewed without hops. Instead Ben spiced his beer with botanicals typically used to flavor gin: juniper berries, orris root, angelica root, grains of paradise, lemon peel, orange peel and coriander. The result is intensely fragrant, flavorful and fabulous.
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 19 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by westcoastbeerlvr:
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westcoastbeerlvr from California

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Nov 15, 2011
More User Reviews:
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy apricot with a fluffy head; both the retention and the lacing were good

Smell: Smells like a cross between a gin and tonic and a lemon custard; pear elements, as well

Taste: Lemon custard devolving into a gin and tonic, by mid-palate, with the herbal elements building, after the swallow; in addition to pear, I can pick out the juniper berries and the coriander, as well as other floral/herbal tones

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: An unusual beer that I have been tracking down for a while; glad to have had the opportunity to try this unique beverage though I don't think I would want it again; still, a fascinating brew

Thanks, hannont, for the opportunity

Mar 25, 2012
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Apr 24, 2012
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ccrida from Oregon

3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a tumbler, Bathtub Gin is clear gold with a fizzy white head leaving light, scattered lace.

Smell is sweet, fruity Belgian esters, accentuated by the botanical, which are clearly present, although not overwhelming or discretely distinct, but pleasant, reminiscent of Tibetan incense.

Taste is also distinctly Belgian blonde, again with the nice fruity esters and balanced botanical, although the spices are a bit acrid on the bone dry finish.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, with an extremely dry crispness.

Drinkability is pretty good, I really like the base Belgian blonde. While the spices are not overpowering in their distinctness, the sum of their respective parts resulted in a bit of palate fatigue by the end of the bomber. While I was not in a hurry to have another, I definitely enjoyed the one.

Jul 20, 2010
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largadeer from California

3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Yet another Midnight Sun beer shared by nickd717.

Hazy golden body, a firm white head retains well. This looks solid.

Very fruity aroma, juniper, honey, ambiguous botanicals. Hard to pick apart.

Honey and grainy sweetness meets the palate first, with juniper and botanicals following. Soft mouthfeel, medium in body and nicely carbonated. Very fruity, some malty sweetness in the finish along with lingering juniper and botanicals. I'm not very experienced with gruits, but I found this one enjoyable.

Aug 18, 2010
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had to,, its bathtub gin

dark amber, light brown color with some nice highlights of honey mixed in throughout. A small, and fleeting head that stayed on top for a brief second makes and appearance and then quickly fades off. Still though nice overall presentation. Aroma is very woodsy, lots of note4s of berries, grasses, hints of smoke notes as well coming though now. First sip is odd, nice, but off. Twigs and grass coming through, honey, wheat, touches of light bready notes as well. Interesting mix of flavors here. Warming really sweetens it up with lots of honey

Oct 02, 2011
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t0rin0 from California

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Oct 29, 2012
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DefenCorps from Oregon

4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh sweet Jesus, Kyle was kind enough to overnight a box of 16 new Midnight Sun beers right before the Most Epic Fucking Tasting You Wish You Were A Part Of. Thanks a ton, man! This was the last beer of session 1.

Hazy straw yellow with a thin white head with great retention, there (unsurprisingly) isn't any lacing. The nose is just wild. The juniper is evident, but there's some honey, heather, a blend of spices and a mild root-vegetable like character (taro?) Quite fruity, this almost smells like it was fermented with a Belgian yeast.
The palate is great. Opening tart with a touch of lemon, there's also plenty of interesting spice character. There's also some juniper and heather, the juniper being really fresh and quite herbal. Drying on the finish with a lasting juniper character, this is great. Light in body with a medium-high level of carbonation, this beer is surprisingly good and VERY drinkable, I wanted more after I was done with my pour

Mar 29, 2010
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gford217 from Georgia

3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle shared at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a decent white head that recedes slowly to a thin collar.

Aroma is massively herbal with lots of spices. There is an underlying Belgian sweetness but the juniper, grains of paradise and coriander are the major stars in the aroma.

The taste is more of the same with tons of floral herbs, juniper and heather, and other spices with coriander leading the way. I also get more of the the lemon zest in the flavor.

The mouthfeel is tingly to say the least and add a little body to an otherwise light bodied beer.

I've had a few gruits and this one is decent but probably not my favorite. The drinkability is pretty limited and getting through one glass was plenty for me.

Jan 06, 2011
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NittanyBeerFan from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Kyle who shot this beer down in his "Farewell, Alaska" box that arrived the day that our epic tasting was to begin. Sweet mercy he is one generous dude! Consumed as beer number 9, the final beer of night number 1.

Never had a Scottish Gruit before, so this was a step into a whole new world for me. Poured into my tasting glass, the color is like that of a Belgian Tripel. It is a hazy light amber that borders on golden straw.

The smell is completely unlike anything I have ever experienced. There is a definite character of Belgian yeast and a dry maltiness, which is not extremely surprising as a result of the malt-heavy construction of this beer. The herbs and spices add incredible character to the aroma. Juniper, heather, and floral aromas mix with various spices to create a literal bouquet.

The taste follows suit beautifully. The juniper and heather add a completely unexpected kick behind a lemony citrus opening. The juniper is really phenomenally done, extremely fresh, but not overpowering. The sheer unusualness of this beer has me hooked.

On the palate, the texture and carbonation are spritzy and light, respectably. The spices add a feeling of weight to the beer, which I guess is needed because the alcohol certainly doesn't. It doesn't exude even a hint of 8% alcohol content. Truly an experience, and a great beer regardless.

Mar 31, 2010
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Mora2000 from Texas

4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to AmericanBrew for sharing this bottle at a recent tasting. This is my first Gruit, only a handful of styles left to go.

The beer pours a clear medium yellow color with a white head. The aroma is pretty strong alcohol with a lot of floral notes. You also get some yeast and citrus notes. The flavor is alcohol, lemons , spices, honey and herbs. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Apr 19, 2010
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glid02 from Georgia

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours a hazy dark golden color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet medium malts with a large amounts of secondary aromas - medium fruits, earthy notes, juniper, and honey.

Tastes similar to how it smells though more layered and distinctive. Sweet malt flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by medium fruit flavors - mostly pear. Coming in shortly thereafter are earthy juniper and slightly medicinal flavors. Midway through the sip the flavors sweeten with the addition of slight amounts of honey before drying out through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was one of the more flavorful gruits I've had - most others are focused almost entirely on the earthy and pine characteristics, although to be fair this isn't a traditional gruit. Worth a shot.

Oct 06, 2010
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AKBelgianBeast from Alaska

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ben's addition to the 2009 Crew Brews. Brewed with juniper berries and other gin botanicals, no hops whatsoever, and a hefty helping of good old fashioned craftsmanship.

Pours a clear nearly yellow with an orange tint and a large white head of foam that retains pretty well leaving light lacing. Tough to say what the appearance of a gruit "should be" so im just giving this a 4. If you have a problem with that, have your people get ahold of my people and we'll set up a power conference via satellite. Because it's just that important.

Nose is alot of belgian yeast, saison and tripel like esters stand out. The spice profile is evident in the nose, but for as much of a cornucopia of spices as has been put into this beer it is pretty mild.

Hmmm. The spices are indeed quite subtle, but i kind of like it that way in this beer. The cafe amsterdam gruit was a little over the top for me in terms of the spices (not to mention the sourness). Neither of those things are evident here though, which is good. This is really alot like a tripel or a saison that has simply replaced hops with some nice subtle spices. No bitterness to speak of, but the finish does seem like it maintains a certain level of crispness.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, not really much to compare it to in the world of gruit as far as "to style" but in relation to the beer itself it works pretty well, if anything i would want it a touch less viscous, but really its not anything gripeworthy at all.

Drinkability is about as good as i can imagine for something 8% that has no hops in it. And as far as the style is concerned? easily the most drinkable "gruit" i've ever had, simply because the spices aren't out of hand, whereas most other available gruits are like getting slapped in the dick by Mrs. Dash.

Overall, a very enjoyable and tasty beer. Again, i actually prefer the more subtle spice profile here, I think it adds to drinkability and makes the beer more multi-dimensional. This is really like a nice belgian golden, saison or tripel and drinks just like one with a little more intrigue and complexity to shake it up a little bit. A good beer, definitely give it a shot. The finest beer on the market thats brewed without hops!

Jan 01, 2010
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nickd717 from California

3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber via trade thanks to akbeerfiend. I met the brewer of this, Ben, at City Beer's Midnight Sun launch party in San Francisco.

Pours a crystal clear golden color with a nice lasting white head.

The aroma has lots of juniper and other "botanical" notes. A little sweet malt.

The flavor is sweet pale malt with juniper, herbal notes, and spices.

Medium body with fairly lively carbonation.

A really good gruit, not that I'm the biggest fan of the style.

Aug 18, 2010
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brokensail from California

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this one, Bobby.

A: The pour is a pale golden/straw color with a big white head.

S: Intensely fruity and very "green". Lots of juniper aroma, which is nice, and some citrus zest. There's a bit of a sweet berry/fruit aroma too.

T: A very strong fruit character to this, lots of berries, and juniper/gin flavor. There's a bit of a grassy note and plenty of herbal character, which is expected.

M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation.

D: Probably one of the more enjoyable gruits I've ever come across. Pretty nice and certainly easy to drink.

Dec 10, 2010
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DucksFan16 from Alaska

3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Consumed from the bottle on 01/21/2016.

Jan 22, 2016
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GeezLynn from Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On the Wants List for a long time. Let's see what you got Ben...

A: Golden blonde with a huge white head. Great retention.

S: Smells very sweet and herbal. Citrus peel, coriander, and pale malt in particular stand out.

T: Aggressive citrus tartness catches me off guard. The juniper is also very prominent from the start. Further in, other botanical flavor show up (though not individually identifiable). Finish is long, tangy and slightly dry. Somewhat reminds me of Slice soda.

M: Body is medium with full, crisp carbonation. Mouthfeel works well with the citrus flavors.

Interesting beer and aptly named. Had some gin & tonic like qualities. Easily the best of the three gruits I've tried to this point and would have rated it higher, but as tart as this is, 22oz goes a long way. Definitely a great example of the style and well-worth tracking down.

Jan 29, 2011
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GradyS1 from California

3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

notes 2/17/2011

A-bottle was very foamy when popped, may be some oxidatition going on, pours a nice golden haze color with a large with head.
S- there are herbal smells, hints of juniper and floral, i am picking up some lemon lime on the back end
T- this threw me off, lots of sour lemon, small amounts of herbals, there is a nice spice characteristic to the end that helps to balance it out but, there is more sour than I would think would be in this style.
M- Tart and funky up front make you pucker, dry in the finish

O- I enjoyed this beer, the funk whether it should have been there or not added an interesting twist.

Mar 12, 2011
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Gobzilla from California

4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a translucent golden yellow with pale pineapple yellow highlights that had a thin head and left a little bubbly lacing sticking to the glass. I love gin so the juniper berries were very nice to spot out in the nose with herbal spice notes some sweet notes I'm guessing are from the malts and slight grainy character. The taste was also big on the herbs and spices with great juniperbeery accents and a touch of grainy malts to finish off this intresting tasty beer. The brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slight grainy, mild fruity, bitter dry finish. It drank really good and would definitely like to have another bottle of this tasty beer. I also believe it was my first gruit and left a good impression for the style.

Dec 10, 2010
Bathtub Gin from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 19 ratings