This is an all grain conversion of Charlie Papazian's Kumdis Spruce Porter. This is the second time I brewed this, the first being Charlie's extract version. I increased the spruce tips and added some sassafras root but not enough to get any flavor out of it so I left it off the ingredients. I always brew a beer around the time of the year I lost my little brother to a car accident so that beer is usually called Angel Over My Shoulder beer for that year. I really, really, really like this beer. It has such an interesting flavor. It is almost Pepsi like as Charlie says. I will make this one over and over. It really is great to make around Christmas time with that aroma! I do Brew In A Bag.
Label I made for the extract version:
7 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 77.8 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 2 10.4 %
10.2 oz Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM) Grain 3 6.6 %
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.2 %
9.64 # Total
0.55 oz Northern Brewer [8.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 18.0 IBUs
0.10 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.60 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 6.0 IBUs
6.00 oz Spruce Tips (Boil 60.0 mins) Spice 7 -
60 minute mash at 156F BIAB
Batch Volume = 5.5 gallons
90 minutes x 2 gallon/hr boil off = 3 gallons
9.64# x 0.05 gallons/# absorption = 0.48 gallons
8.98 gallons, use 9 gallons
Salt Additions (My water is very void of minerals)
23.2 SRM = Ruby Brown which means I need 50 mg/l Ca and 75 mg/l HCO3 so I will use Calcium Carbonate (chalk)
CaCo3 is 40% Ca and 60% CO3
My base water is 2 mg/l Ca so I need to add 48 mg/l Ca
9 gallons of mash water = 34.07 Liters
34.07 L x 48 mg/l = 1635.36 mg Ca total needed
40% x Ca = 1635.36
Ca=1635.36/40% = 4,088.4 mg = 4.1 grams
CaCO3 is 1.8 grams per teaspoon
4.1 grams / 1.8 grams per teaspoon = 2.27 teaspoons so I’ll add 2-1/4 teaspoons of CaCO3
Tasting Notes (I am by no means a pro)
Appearance: Dark, darker than the suggested SRM-the tips must darken it. Fluffy 2 finger head dissapates a bit to 1/2 finger large and small bubbles.
Aroma: Sweet, a little roasty, very light menthol or mint-it is a hard aroma to nail down.
Taste: Like a less sweet pepsi. Very hard flavors to describe but it is very good. You have to taste it to understand how hard it is to describe.
Mouthfeel: Thin, medium carbonation bite on the tongue. Dry finish.
Drinkability: Neither overpowering flavors nor heavy. Easily quaffable. Might not do well followed by a very light beer but it doesn't blow out your taste buds.
Overall: Brewed it twice so far. Will tweak slightly next year with a bit more hops. Maybe something to increase head retention. Fiddle with the mash temps for a little more body.
The spruce tips:
I brew this at night. For the stars. You see, right after my brother died, I went back to Alaska to pack up and come home. I had to drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage and of course it had to be one of the coldest few days. My car barely kept the cold from freezing me to death. I had to use a cassette case to scrape frost off the inside of my windshield. My car kept stalling from the gas freezing in the lines. At one point the car died. I turned the key and she wouldn't start. Again, no go. I looked up in the sky and a single star twinkled. I pray on that star that my car would start because I knew if it didn't, I would be found frozen to death on the side of the road. My car started. For the rest of the ride, that single star shown above twinkling every once in a while. My car held out and I made it to my destination. Now I believe in Angels-I have my own.
My brewing partner-he's shown up every year I brew.
More spruce information on my blog: