feedback on maple/spruce recipe idea

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I'm trying to come up with a recipe for a maple porter using spruce and maple sap. (We're tapping our own trees.)

I've never used maple sap or spruce before -- any advice?

Here's my idea for a recipe:

Boil:
2 gal. maple sap
6 lbs. light malt extract
1 lbs. black patent malt
1 oz. new growth spruce shoots
2 oz. hops (cascade?) (half to boil, half to finish)

Add to:
3 gal. cold maple sap
1 package ale yeast

Other thoughts? I'd like the maple flavor to come through, I'd like it be sweet but "beery," you know?
 

Reno_eNVy

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Since you're using maple sap instead of brewing liquor then the maple character will definitely come through. It won't be terribly sweet, as you were worrying about, since most of the fermentables will, well.... be fermented. Also, if you want an added blast of maple flavor you could add some syrup when you rack to a keg, if you happen to keg.
 

bnmir

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This doesnt help much, but i had a Yards Brewery Tavern Spruce on Friday, and really enjoyed it. It lists molasses, spruce tips & twigs on the label.
Its dark scarlet color under strong lighting, and the bitterness comes purely from the spruce. Im not sure about using black patent, that might ovepower the subtle maple and spruce.
 
OP
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Just wanted to update. I've continued to look for a recipe and found this really simple one from Euell Gibbons (the wild edibles guy). He says to take 20 gallons of maple sap and boil it down to 4 gallons. Then pour the hot liquid over a half a peck of new growth spruce branches.

I still want to add barley and yeast (maybe hops), but I'm going to at least try the 20:4 gallon boiling ratio.

Now I just need to figure out what a "peck" is!
 

azscoob

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A peck is 1/4 of a bushel so a peck would be about 537.605 cubic inches so you would need about 268.8025 cubic inches of spruce branches for that maple syrup recipe! its just that simple:D
 

Mmenges

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I had a maple Syrup made by Saranac not too long ago and it didn't live up to my expectations. The Maple Syrupy just tasted really strange in a beer, it was too strong. My only suggestion for you would be to try to make the taste a little subtle.
 

JacobS

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Maple Sap is going to provide a significantly smaller flavor contribution than an equal amount of maple syrup.

If you want more maple flavor try adding a bit of fenugreek to the boil, or a tsp powdered to a 5G batch when bottling.

Also if you use maple syrup I recommend against anything that isn't 100% pure maple syrup.
 
OP
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Update on the maple-spruce beer.

I wound up following the Euell Gibbons recipe reducing maple sap boiled down to about 1/3 its original volume, then adding about 1/2 peck of spruce new growth. (I used blue spruce, because it was easily available.) I strayed from the recipe and added some brown sugar (about 2 cups) and some black patent malt (about 1 pound) for the boil.

I just bottled yesterday. I tried some uncarbonated maple-spruce beer yesterday. It was painfully acidic -- tasted like pure lemon juice! I'm hoping it mellows with age. (Otherwise I'm going to have to cut it with . . . something. A little sugar or whiskey maybe.) Anyway, if anyone else tries this, I'm thinking you need WAY less spruce. A little goes a long way.
 
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