Zillahs Belgian Gruit Ale

From EastKingdomWiki

Full Recipe Name
Belgian Gruit Ale
Recipe Source
Zillah al Sighira al Hurra
Panel Information
Panel Location: Brew U
Panel Date: September 17, 2016
Score: 64
Beverage Information
Period: Renaissance
Division: Division 1: Ales, Beer, Braggot, Lambic, Stout
Origin: Belgian

Original Recipe

I made an attempt to brew a gruit using a modern recipe, that has its basis in history. The recipe I used was from Ale Through the Ages – the anthropology and archeology of brewing. The recipe was found on the blog The Distant Mirror ( I scaled down the recipe from a 5-6 gallon batch to a 1 gallon batch.



  • 2 ½ pounds Belgian Pale Ale Malt
  • 1 pound Briess Caramel Vienne Malt
  • ½ pound Belgian Aromatic Malt
  • .375 pound Belgian Special Malt
  • 1/8 pound Weyermann Acidulated Malt
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 grams Rosemary leaves (from yard)
  • 2 grams juniper berries
  • .11 ounces yarrow instead of .25 (as that was all I had from the bush in the yard)
  • .25 ounces elderflowers

Process and Notes

Mash heated for 20 minutes at 125F –then took it off the heat, letting it cool for 20 minutes for a total of 40 minutes. The mash never went below 125F – or around 57-58C

Then I kept the mash at 57-58C for an hour, which was not hot enough to get sugars out. So I heated it to 70C for an hour. After sparging, I brought the wort to a boil. I then added the rosemary and juniper berries. 30 minutes later, I added elderflowers, yarrow flowers, and sweet gale. The wort was heated for a total of 45 minutes.

I then chilled the wort by sitting it on bags of ice in the bathtub. I started the chilling at 2:55pm and finished at 4:30.

I poured the gruit into a glass carboy for the primary fermentation stage. It was siphoned into a glass growler after 3 weeks.

Bottling: I used sugar in the raw for priming sugar. The priming sugar calculation was gotten from Homebrewing for Dummies p. 145. I used 1/8 cup for 1 gallon of gruit. I added the sugar to the gruit, stirred with a wooden spoon, and then siphoned the gruit out of the carboy into sanitized glass bottles.

Issues encountered: Temperature control. I am still working on controlling the temperature of the mash during the sugar extracting stage. I used a lobster pot on an electric stove. The finished gruit also had a much lower % ABV than I expected (3% versus 8%)


Origin and history of beer and brewing – John P Arnold 1911 Chicago Alumni Association of the Wahl-Henius Institute of fermentology

"grout, n.1." OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. 24 August 2016.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives Edited by Scott C. Martin SAGE Publications, Dec 16, 2014