I am very fond of spruce ale, but I have found sage ale to be its equal. It's great as it is, but you may want to tinker with the fermentables and experiment with additional herbs to suit your preferences. I let mine stay in the primary until the fermenting completes, then transfer it to a secondary for another week to finish and clarify. It's good to drink a week or two after bottling, but fantastic after a month.
5 lbs pale lme
2.5 lbs. brown sugar
5 ounces fresh culinary or clary sage leaves
2.5 ounces licorice root
1 Packet Safale S-04 Yeast
OG 1.058\FG 1.012/ABV 5.43
1. Prepare your sage leaves by rinsing them and bruising them. I run the leaves through my auger juicer to accomplish this.
2. Bring the water to a boil, and turn down the heat just enough to a simmer, say 190F.
3. Add 2.5 oz. bruised sage and all the licorice root to the kettle and simmer (DO NOT BOIL) for 60 min. I use a grain bag.
4. After the hour is up, remove the herb bag and cool the water to 160F. Add the lme and brown sugar.
5. Add Irish moss and/or yeast nutrient if you desire.
6. Chill the wort to 68F, transfer to fermenter, dry hop 2.5 oz. of bruised sage, and pitch the yeast.
7. Fermentation could complete in as little as a week, but I let my ales sit a full two weeks in the primary and another week in the secondary before bottling.
Note: Dry hopping in a narrow-orificed carboy can be a pain, so I recommend a wide mouth variety or a fermenting bucket. My first batch of sage ale was murky in the primary because I didn't use a bag, but the fines did settle out in the secondary in about a week.