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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Spruce Beer
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Old 09-10-2005, 03:59 AM   #1
joeyuwp
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Default Spruce Beer

I'm thinking about a spruce beer to make soon for the upcoming crappy winter. Anyone have a solid extract recipe? I found one at www.byo.com/recipe/715.html that doesn't look too bad. I've never had a spruce beer before but it sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks and brew on

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Old 09-11-2005, 12:20 AM   #2
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If simplicity is your goal, then the one you are refering to should be just as good as any. I think any brown ale or a porter kit would also be a good alternative. The recipes I have seen use a dark brew that is not too bitter as the base. For what it is worth here is an all grain spruce I am brewing tomorrow.

German Pils Malt 7#
Toasted Malt 1.5#
German Light Crystal .5#
German Dark Crystal .5#
Chocolate Malt .5#
Target Gavity 1.055

Nugget Hops 7AAUS 60min
Saaz .5oz 5min
Spruce Essence 1oz 2min

Bavarian Lager Yeast

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Old 09-11-2005, 03:28 AM   #3
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That does sound kind of interesting, but I'm having a bad visual with this one. To me it would be like drinking my Christmas tree. Yecch....

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Old 09-11-2005, 04:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORRELSE
...but I'm having a bad visual with this one. To me it would be like drinking my Christmas tree. Yecch....
What DOES it actually taste like? Does it really taste...like spruce?
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Old 09-11-2005, 06:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony
What DOES it actually taste like? Does it really taste...like spruce?
In my experience, foul. To be honost, I brewed my first one back in the 90's and it went funk on me and wound up pouring the majority of it down the drain. I just started brewing again after several years and found my spruce essence and figured I would give it another shot. No it is not like a pine tree. It is hard to describe but once you smell it you will recognize the aroma from somewhere. It has a spicey twang somewhat like a wintergreen life saver and an aroma like mentholated tobacco. If I did not know better, because of its soothing aroma it is used in certain lotions. I have a bottle of Aveeno anti-itch lotion that smells just like it.
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Old 09-12-2005, 02:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PT Ray
If simplicity is your goal, then the one you are refering to should be just as good as any. I think any brown ale or a porter kit would also be a good alternative. The recipes I have seen use a dark brew that is not too bitter as the base. For what it is worth here is an all grain spruce I am brewing tomorrow.

German Pils Malt 7#
Toasted Malt 1.5#
German Light Crystal .5#
German Dark Crystal .5#
Chocolate Malt .5#
Target Gavity 1.055

Nugget Hops 7AAUS 60min
Saaz .5oz 5min
Spruce Essence 1oz 2min

Bavarian Lager Yeast
Just got through brewing. Everything turned out well. Instead of Saaz I switched to Hersbruker. Gravity turned out at 1.053 and the wort had a not too bitter taste and a subtle spuce flavor, lets hope it only improves.
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Old 09-12-2005, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyuwp
I'm thinking about a spruce beer to make soon for the upcoming crappy winter. Anyone have a solid extract recipe?
I have three. This one:

Spruce Ale
Ingredients for 5 gallons:
12 oz. Crystal Malt 20°L
7 oz. Unmalted Black Barley 500°L
7 oz. Chocolate Barley
4 oz. Munich Malt
4oz. Domestic Light Roast 300°L
2 ears Dried sweet corn (yes that is what I said!)

All of the above were crushed with my rolling pin and added to 3½ gallons of cold water, bring to a boil! Remove grain bag 1 min. into boil. Then.... add to your boil

7 lb. Dark Malt extract
6 oz. Corn sugar
2" Brewing licorice
1-cup Darkest honey you can lay your hands on.
1 cup Molasses
1 cup Dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. Spruce essence
1 oz. Eroica hops Alpha 14.10 boiling
¼ tsp. Irish Moss (last 15 minutes) @ 10 min remaining add
¼ oz. Yakima Kent Goldings hops
OG: 1.063
FG: 1.012
Total boil time is 45 min
Sparge in to chilled water. Pitch your Champagne yeast at 80°F. Racked to secondary at 7 days gravity set in secondary for 28 days. Bottled with ½ cup of honey.

And these two Porter recipes:
Wisconsin Spring Porter

3⅓ lbs. Plain dark malt extract (Northwestern)
1½ lbs. Light dry malt extract (Laaglander)
1 lb. Crystal malt
¼ lb. Black patent
¼ lb. Roasted barley
1 cup Dark brown sugar
1 lb. Clover honey
5 gal. Maple sap (used as brewing water)
2 oz. Goldings hops
2 tsp. Spruce essence (or half of amount recommended on bottle)
¼ oz. Fresh wintergreen leaves (roll in hands to crush)
1 vial White Labs English liquid ale yeast in a 1-pint starter
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.020
Step by Step:
Steep the grains and remove just prior to the boil. Add malt and boil. At start of boil add 1½
oz. hops, spruce, and wintergreen. Boil 45 minutes. Add the remaining hops, boil two more
minutes, and cool. Pitch yeast at 70°F. The maple sap is very important. Get as much as you can. I had to add water to get five gallons. The taste is very unique and refreshing, with a subtle aftertaste that makes you want more.

Colonial Porter

⅓ lb. Black Patent Malt
⅓ lb. Carapils Malt
⅓ lb. Dark Crystal Malt, 90° to 120°L
6 lbs. Dark Plain LME
8 oz. Blackstrap Molasses
1 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (3 to 4% alpha acid), for 45 min.
1 5-in. Brewers' licorice stick, chopped or shaved
1 cup Loosely packed fresh spruce needles
1 pkg. Fruity dry ale yeast (or 1 qt. liquid ale yeast culture)
⅔ cup Corn sugar for priming
½ tsp. Gypsum
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
OG: 1.046
Step by Step:
To 2½ of gallons of water cold water, add gypsum and salt. Steep malts in a muslin grain bag. Gradually raise temperature to 170°F, remove grains, and sparge into kettle with about 2 qt. of hot water. Bring liquor to boiling, remove from heat, and stir in malt extract and blackstrap molasses. Return to heat and bring up to boiling again. Add hops. Boil 45 minutes. Remove from heat, set kettle in a sink full of ice water. Steep for about 30 minutes in the cooling wort the licorice stick and the spruce needles (it's easiest if these are in some sort of a bag). Remove spruce and licorice, add to fermenter, and top up to 5¼ gals. Cool to 75°F and pitch yeast (Wyeast 1028 or 1275 work well with this brew). Seal up and ferment cool (65°F or less) for about 10 days. Rack to secondary and age cooler (55° to 60°F) for about two weeks. Prime with corn sugar, bottle, and age three weeks.
Notes:
Obviously, to use fresh spruce needles this would need to be brewed in early spring when the spruce trees begin to sprout new growth. If you wish to brew it "out of season," however, you can do a couple of things: in season, gather the spruce growth that you will need and freeze it in an airtight, Ziplock bag until needed, or soak them then and there in enough vodka or grain alcohol to cover them completely until you want to use them and then add this potion at bottling instead of as a finish hop. Out of season, you'll have to use commercial spruce essence that you will probably find at your homebrew-supply store. It's not perfect. In fact I find it a bit strong, but it will impart a spruce flavor to anything (including your kitchen, if you spill it). Easy does it, add a few drops (to taste) at bottling.
Molasses:
Blackstrap is ideal, the richest and heaviest of all molasses (except for treacle, of course, but then that's just too British for this recipe, don't you think?) but other dark molasses will do. Try, though, or find "unsulfured" brands, because the sulfur (a preservative) may inhibit fermentation and leave you with a cloyingly sweet beer.
Licorice:
You really should use "brewer's licorice," or raw licorice root. Licorice candy is not the same thing. Most homebrew shops stock or can get real licorice root, so ask. If it's unavailable, you can get a licorice-like flavor by adding sambuca or Galliano liqueur, or by using some anise instead. But the founding fathers would not have used these, surely.
All-grain brewers:
Mash 7 lbs. pale malt plus 1 lb. dark Munich malt (20° Lovibond) and the specialty grains above in 11 qt. of liquor at 150°F for 90 minutes. Sparge at 168°F to get 6½ gallons, add 8 oz. molasses, and boil to reduce to 5¼ gallons. Add hops and spices as above.

Good luck,
Wild
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Old 09-12-2005, 10:16 PM   #8
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This sounds intriguing...I might have to give that colonial porter shot.

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Old 09-14-2005, 03:06 AM   #9
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I have been thinking about brewing a spruce beer too- I even have blue spruce springs waiting in my freezer.

I've read spruce beers taste/smell very little like you'd think- like an xmas tree & more like pepsi w/out the sweetness.

Go figure...

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Old 09-14-2005, 07:51 PM   #10
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When a blue spruce at my parent's house was pushing new growth this spring, I decided to pluck a bunch of growth off for brewing. A week or so later, I picked up a generic pislner kit at the LHBS. I pretty much added about 4 oz of fresh spruce tips to the boil. I didn't/don't have the means for lagering, so just aged in my basement @ approximately 65 deg. This is one of the tastiest brews to date!

I think that spruce variety definitely affects how much flavor you get in your brew, and that the blue spruces are lower in the flavoring oils compared with other varieties, so you should be safe from brewing anything that tastes like Pine-Sol.

Happy brewing!

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