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Old 03-31-2008, 09:21 PM   #1
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Default Spruce Tips are Popping...Do I Dare???

Anyone have experience adding fresh spruce tips to their beer?

I've found recipes for spruce tips on BYO, I've seen that Alaska Brewing uses spruce tips in their Winter ALe.

I'm thinking my next (10-gallon) malty pale ale, I might just toss in half a cup (loosely packed) into one of the fermenters.

Thoughts? Experiences? Warnings?

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Old 03-31-2008, 09:39 PM   #2
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No spruce tips for me yet, it's too early. I am all about adding spruce tips to beer, and am looking forward to giving it a go. I personally think spruce tips could work well in either an APA, IPA, or American Wheat. In order to get any major spruce flavor, I think boiling would be the best option to extract the flavor. Just dry-sprucing might not open up the needles enough to get much of anything.

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Old 03-31-2008, 09:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McKBrew
No spruce tips for me yet, it's too early. I am all about adding spruce tips to beer, and am looking forward to giving it a go. I personally think spruce tips could work well in either an APA, IPA, or American Wheat. In order to get any major spruce flavor, I think boiling would be the best option to extract the flavor. Just dry-sprucing might not open up the needles enough to get much of anything.
Yeah, I've read 10-15 minutes in the boil.
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:13 PM   #4
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I am drinking an Alba scottish spruce/pine ale right now. Saw your post and thought, hmm, time to pop it open.

I have been curious about it myself and other "traditional" seasonings.

It is quite tasty I think. A bit unusual but it is definately beer. According to the bottle it is only malt and spruce/pine tips, no hops mentioned. The first impression is sweet and very reminiscent of a belgian abbey type brew. As you swallow the pine chacarcter is definately there but not unpleasant. Kind of like throwing a pine bough on to a campfire and getting a waft of it burning. Or perhaps sweet piney incense burning...

If you can find Alba pick one up. I think alot of other recipes and literature I have read on using spruce involves rather dark roasty beers like porters and is paired with things like molasses. This however is a bit lighter but still pretty rich and malty. I would imagine if you were to make something like a pale ale you would want to be careful so as not to overpower the malt.

Are you planning on foregoing hops?

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Old 03-31-2008, 10:19 PM   #5
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Spruce is a powerful flavor. I'm cellaring 10 gallons of last year's winter warmer for a year as a result. I used the recommended amount of spruce extract, and it was VERY overpowering. I imagine the same could happen with actual spruce tips.

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Old 03-31-2008, 10:56 PM   #6
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i read a short story in papazan's beer book where he travels the globe and drinks beer, about an icelandic(iirc) brewer who puts whole spruce cuttings in his boil kettle, branches and all...

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zero
...Are you planning on foregoing hops?
No. Normal hop additions for bittering and adjust the late additions to compliment the spruce additions.
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:40 PM   #8
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:45 PM   #9
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My Norway spruce is popping tips too.

I have/had no plans for a spruce beer but, I do intend to collect afew ounces of the tips and put them in a deep freeze for later use.

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:49 PM   #10
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DOOOOOOO EEEEEEEET!

But don't go with some wimpy winter ale, yo. Make a big fatass Imperial Spruce Porter. You need to do some research with regards to amounts, though, because even with actual tips and not the extract, it's easy to overdo it. I made a porter once that I added spruce extract to, and it was/is way too sprucey, even after 18 months in the bottle. A friend poured me a pint of spruce stout (a rather large, hoppy, roasty base beer with tips added) once, and even with age, it was really sprucey. So I would definitely make a big huge imperial dark beer for the base, as it would be much more forgiving and age much better than a milder, smaller beer.

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