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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Spruce Tips are Popping...Do I Dare???
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:07 AM   #21
RadicalEd
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I just dropped a message on the LHBC email list asking if anyone had a write up of the process. I'll check my email as frequently as possible and try to post any response up for you tomorrow, if you're interested.

And yeah, BM, you are an animal!

EDIT:
and the responses begin trickling in:
Quote:
I hear the going rate is 1 brown paper grocery
bag full of spruce tips per 10 gallons. Avoid the woody part and just
use the tips.....in the mash.....do not boil.
EDIT #2:
from the master hisself:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike O'brien
Ah - Spruce Beer!
. . has been brewed for centuries - found to contain sufficient vitamin
C to prevent scurvy - George Washington's troops were given a daily
ration of Spruce Beer.

My discovery of Spruce Beer - came about during my research into
historical brewing. In days of old the mash vessel did not have nifty metal
screening devices - the common practice was to use straw or evergreens
in the the bottom of the vessel as a means of separating the grain from
the sweet wort. I had commonly used straw and pine boughs - both of
which worked very well in the mash tun - but provided little to no flavor
to the beer. Spruce on the other hand - when used in the mash tun -
imparts a delightful citrusy/spruce character to your beer.

I have found that a 'grocery bag full' (a historical measure) of spruce
tips (about 7#) - works well in 10 gallon batches with a decent
gravity - over 1.060. Style makes little difference as I have brewed pale
ales, porters and stouts all with pleasant results. My latest batches have
been made with Belgian yeast. I have alway use some hops for bittering
and flavor and let the spruce take care of the aroma.

Most of my historic brewing takes place in the late summer. By then the
'new growth' is about 6 to 8 inches long.
I have, even been known, to used the tips of 'used' spruce Christmas
trees - I try to pick the ones with the lease tinsel.

My experience has been with blue and white spruce trees - as that is
what I have in my yard. The blue spruce having more flavor.
The two trees that I would like to try are black spruce and Sitka
spruce - anybody have access to these?

I have always used my spruce in the mash - feeling that the lower
temperatures minimize the risk of pulling out the resiny turpentine
characters. Speaking of turpentine character - DO NOT USE the milky bottles of
Spruce Essence found in the home brew supply shops. This is not a
pleasant flavor - though I have heard that it is drinkable after 1 or 2
years!

I have also tasted very nice examples of spruce beers made by club
members (Tom Roache?) who added a small quantity of spruce tips at the end
of the boil.

At Big Brew last week someone shared a Short's Imperial Spruce India
Pilsner - Wow!
This is part of their Imperial series:
http://www.shortsbrewing.com/imperial_beer_series.html

In these day of high priced hops and shortages - spruce is due to make
a comeback.

Drink more Spruce Beer!
So there you go; one of the foremost homebrewers of spruce beer's advice for ya . Hope that interests/helps you guys.



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Old 05-16-2008, 07:12 PM   #22
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Default Here they are...tender and young.

Collected about 4 ounces, but will probably dose these in at the same rate you would do orange peel or coriander...around 1 ounce per 5-gallon batch.
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Funny but the aroma is very subtle. Maybe the boil will release more aroma.
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:49 PM   #23
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^ Looks great, I can almost smell/taste them already...

Now, go pick some more, vacuum pack, and freeze them, so you can brew spruce beer all year with 'fresh' tips. (this would work, wouldn't it?)
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:06 PM   #24
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just prosted this thread - sounds great.... maybe a swap for some of my "Florida" Steam when you are done?
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:13 PM   #25
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I made some with Hemlock. Unfortunately in the process I found Wooly Agelids
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:39 PM   #26
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Here's one that has been done a lot and is trued and successfull.

Ingredients:

* 10 lbs american 2-row malt
* 1/2 lb crystal 40 Lovibond
* 1/3 lb chocolate malt
* 1 oz cascade hops (aa=7.6%, 60 minutes)
* 1 pint fresh spruce growths (30 min.)
* German Ale Yeast

Procedure:
I mashed all grains together and did a protien rest at 122 degrees for 30 minutes and then mashed at 148-152 degrees for 1 hour.

Specifics:

* O.G.: 1.052
* F.G.: 1.010
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:44 PM   #27
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Okay, so you're at 1.052 and one "pint" of spruce tips. I'm at 1.045.

I better find my measuring glass.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:44 PM   #28
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Default Which one of these does not belong???

Can't stop me now... Keggle's filling quickly...

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Old 05-17-2008, 02:17 AM   #29
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"Spruce Tips 15-Min W.T.F.!!"

Ha-ha-ha
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:33 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoaringBrewer View Post
"Spruce Tips 15-Min W.T.F.!!"

Ha-ha-ha
Yeah...I was asking myself "are you sure?" all the way up until I tossed them in.

Surprisingly, the pine needles turned to absolute mush by the end of the mash. Yep...they were mash mush.

Racking to the primary I didn't really detect any strong aroma or flavor from the spruce. I suppose the strong malt smell and flavor still dominated any subtle flavors that may eventually come through.


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