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Old 12-10-2007, 12:53 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
I brewed this one two months ago today. I haven't tried it in well over a month. I was going to wait until Christmas to try one...but...should I???
Heck no, don't wait any more! Try one and see if the spruce has mellowed. And then let us know!
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:54 AM   #22
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Heck no, don't wait any more! Try one and see if the spruce has mellowed. And then let us know!
That's all the persuasion I need. Going to chill one down right now.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:59 AM   #23
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Ok. It's been 4 minutes. Is it chilled yet?

I'm looking forward to this...


BTW, Yuri, you blamed your poor efficiency on laziness. Do you recall what you did differently?

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Old 12-10-2007, 01:05 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Sir Humpsalot
Ok. It's been 4 minutes. Is it chilled yet?
...
you blamed your poor efficiency on laziness. Do you recall what you did differently?
It's in 27 degree iced saltwater, so it'll be chilled pretty quickly...

I got sloppy. I didn't use the steam rig which has skyrocketed my efficiency well into the 80's every time I use it. Unfortunately, it takes a bit of time and effort to get it set up, and I figured I'd just go with a single infusion. I also think I found a few dry "dough balls" in the bottom of the mash tun - guess I didn't stir well enough, either. If I'd checked the gravity of the pre-boil wort more carefully, I'd have found that I could've sparged more and boiled off the excess volume.
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:10 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
It's in 27 degree iced saltwater, so it'll be chilled pretty quickly...

I got sloppy. I didn't use the steam rig which has skyrocketed my efficiency well into the 80's every time I use it. Unfortunately, it takes a bit of time and effort to get it set up, and I figured I'd just go with a single infusion. I also think I found a few dry "dough balls" in the bottom of the mash tun - guess I didn't stir well enough, either. If I'd checked the gravity of the pre-boil wort more carefully, I'd have found that I could've sparged more and boiled off the excess volume.
Enough of the chit-chat..... How is the brew?
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:31 AM   #26
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Ok, here's the verdict:

It pours a clear, deep red, dark mahogany color with zero head. Already I suspect carbonation problems, but the color is gorgeous.

The aroma has settled considerably. It smells of dark molasses, raisins, and caramel with fresh pine dominating the aroma. I'm liking this. Even SWMBO says it smells quite nice.

The flavor is mellowing, but it needs more time. Strong bitterness quickly overcomes the tastebuds, and the pine is rather overwhelming. The hot alcohol notes are completely gone. The aftertaste is surprisingly pleasant, leaving an obvious Christmas tree/holiday note.

Carbonation...zero. I bet the yeast gave up on this one. I'll try adding a few granules from a packet of Nottingham to each bottle and re-capping.

I'm going to have a hard time drinking the entire glass of this, but I really think it could turn into a fine beer. It just needs time. I think, after a year of aging, this will be next year's winter warmer. When I brew this again, I will definitely cut the spruce extract to 1/4 oz to start.

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Old 11-02-2008, 12:48 AM   #27
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I gave it another year, and it's carbonated now (a little Nottingham in each bottle did the trick). The spruce manifests itself as a strong medicinal note. It's sharp and biting, especially in the finish. I'm managing to get through a pint of it, but the spruce ruins what would otherwise be a tasty beer. I may brew this one again with NO spruce extract, then add it to the secondary until there's just a hint of flavor. The Simcoe flavor hops probably don't help. It'll be Fuggles or EKG next time.

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Old 11-16-2009, 04:05 AM   #28
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In case anyone was still wondering about this one...I just might be able to stomach a pint of it this year. It's still WAY too spruce heavy, but the base beer is beginning to shine through a little. I still have nearly all 10 gallons stashed away in bottles.

EDIT: I made it through 16 oz! It gets better after a few sips. It's still not good. A word to the wise: easy on the spruce.

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