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Old 01-10-2013, 03:44 PM   #1
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Default American Colonial Spruce Beer

Smithsonian and NPR had small segments about spruce beer recently. I have also seen a few threads on here about use of spruce tips similar to hop additions.

I searched around and found this recipe. I am really interested in making this, I like the root beer type flavor, plus spruce, plus historical significance.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions about the ingredients, especially yeast variety to use, I would greatly appreciate it.

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups molasses
2 ounces sassafras root, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh gingerroot
3/4 teaspoon oil of spruce
3 cups dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons maltodextrin (optional)

Combine the water, molasses, sassafras, ginger, and spruce oil in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally; let simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Blend the brown sugar and maltodextrin (if using), and gradually add the mixture to the simmering root infusion, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then remove from the heat, let cool to room temperature, and strain.
This syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

The syrup volume is good for 1 gallon, so I need to upscale. I will probably use this thread to figure out spruce additions maybe in lieu of spruce oil in the syrup.

Any thoughts?



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Old 01-10-2013, 03:54 PM   #2
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Sounds interesting. What were your plans for yeast?



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Old 01-10-2013, 04:01 PM   #3
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I would think an English ale yeast would have been most likely used. I might also hit it with some Brett during bulk age or secondary to get the barn/hay flavor that was probably lurking in most beers of the time.

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Old 01-10-2013, 04:05 PM   #4
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I would like to try it but I tried one commercial beer that had some rather overpowering pine taste to it and I tried boiling some green spruce cones and tasting it.

Nope I am not a fan but saying that I just wonder if what I have done was wrong and the flavor could be good.

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Old 01-10-2013, 04:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varmintman View Post
I would like to try it but I tried one commercial beer that had some rather overpowering pine taste to it and I tried boiling some green spruce cones and tasting it.

Nope I am not a fan but saying that I just wonder if what I have done was wrong and the flavor could be good.
I have tried a few commercial beers that used spruce. An Alaskan Brewing was one of them. For most the flavor is subtle, and refreshing. I would definitely prefer the spruce flavor to be light.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:26 PM   #6
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Please make sure that the sassafras you use has the safrole removed as it can cause liver damage. Also do not use wild sassafras root that you collect yourself as the safrole content could be quite high.

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Old 01-10-2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Please make sure that the sassafras you use has the safrole removed as it can cause liver damage. Also do not use wild sassafras root that you collect yourself as the safrole content could be quite high.
Exactly the kind of tips I was looking for.

We have a local spice shop where I will be getting most of the ingredients. Is the safrole something that would be removed before commercial sale?
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:40 PM   #8
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Usually sassafras sold in health food stores is derived from Sassafras root BARK, and contains lower levels of safrole. In my humble and not to be construed as medical advice opinion, I don't think safrole is all that dangerous in the quantities you would be using. Yes, it causes an increase in liver activity, but has been consumed safely for hundreds of years as a sping tonic. You might want to go light on it since alcohol could exacerbate those effects, but I wouldn't sweat it too much. Acetominophin also causes liver damage. Ever taken a couple of those before bed after a night on the town? But to be safe, maybe just don't drink multiple servings in one sitting.

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:47 PM   #9
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Yeah, the evidence has suggested that it would take years for a human to suffer liver damage... but just the same, the FDA has banned commercial use of it unless the safrole has been removed. So, I would think that it would be easy enough to find that way since it is produced on large scale that way.... why not be safe. I would assume that any sassafras you can find would be labled as having the safrole removed if it was.

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
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But to be safe, maybe just don't drink multiple servings in one sitting.
This is highly unlikely, unless it is crap, then it will only be 2-4.


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