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Old 05-21-2012, 03:15 AM   #11
lowtones84
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Oct 2011
Montclair, New Jersey
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Just pulled a sample tonight two weeks after brewing. It's down to 1.004 which I really didn't expect. VERY sprucey right now, but that's not a bad thing. I'm guessing it will round out and balance a bit with age too.

 
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:44 AM   #12
Dynachrome
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Oct 2008
Americas Hinterland, Wisconsin
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Spring is right around the corner. Any of you previous posters giving this any thougt. I've been thinking about it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:57 AM   #13
BorealBrewer
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Nov 2012
Winnipeg, MB
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Good on you for trying this, Lowtones!

I'm waiting for it to warm up, and then am planning a one-gallon balsam fir infused scotch ale. Sweet and tree-ish is what I'm aiming for!

I actually really enjoy throwing a few spruce tips into chili on early spring canoe trips!

Keep up the thread - I'm really curious as to how this turns out.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:38 AM   #14
lowtones84
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Oct 2011
Montclair, New Jersey
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Sorry I haven't kept up this thread. But in short-it's awesome. Early on it's a little intense but 5-6 months later it's great. Even some people who aren't into experimental beers or even IPA's are digging it now. Balance and round out with age was totally right. Very dry, sort of hoppy and a bit sprucey at almost 6 months after brewing. It was good before this, but only for people who enjoy very unique beers, I think.

 
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:53 PM   #15
BorealBrewer
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Nov 2012
Winnipeg, MB
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Thanks! Your story of success has pretty much sealed the deal - The balsam fir ale project is a go in a few weeks.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:03 PM   #16
lowtones84
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Oct 2011
Montclair, New Jersey
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Do it. I've never used fir and don't really know of others doing it, but why not?

 
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:06 AM   #17
BorealBrewer
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Nov 2012
Winnipeg, MB
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I picked out the lucky balsam fir at work this afternoon!

What type of spruce did you use? You'll have to excuse me, I'm part forest ranger...and white spruce have a bad reputation as Christmas trees around here because some people say they smell like cat pee.

Of course, I've heard the same thing used to be said about North American hops.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:12 AM   #18
lowtones84
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Oct 2011
Montclair, New Jersey
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To be honest I'm not entirely sure. I only know how to identify spruce in general by needle cross section and the way the needles are arranged on the branches. I gathered from a variety though, some was definitely from a type of blue spruce but I didn't use too much from it because it seemed stronger in fragrance. Another I gathered from was a very large (tall) type where the branches drooped a bit more. I was gathering all fresh growth so I didn't want to take too much from any one tree. Is ranger actually part of your occupation? I was always interested in that...

 
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:13 AM   #19
BorealBrewer
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Nov 2012
Winnipeg, MB
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Hmm. Blue Spruce does has a nicer smell than standard white spruce around here.

Once it really starts warming up, see if you can get a few pollen cones, or male buds - they'll be pinkish, if the blue spruce in Indiana are like the ones grown around MB - they make a nice, sweet, resiny tea. The fir tip brew is on for March, and early May, I'm planning on trying to use pollen cones from white spruce as my flavour/aroma hops in an ESB type thing.

I work in a park setting here, as an education specialist - did forestry in university, and have worked park patrol and will be seconded to that role from time to time. Hence, "part forest ranger." Also, this is why I have access to lots of trees - spruce, balsam, etc., from which to glean a few growing tips or buds use them in a brew!
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