How much Spruce Essence for Experimental Beer?

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Mirilis

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Im going to enter a hopless IPA into a club competition where hops are illegal.

I want to use Spruce Essence to bitter it with, and maybe some heather tips towards the end of teh boil.

I was just wandering if anyone had experience with those ingredients that can
reccomend the ammount i would use to properly bitter an IPA out

Its gonna have OG, like 1.060-65

I wanted to try heather tips too.

But keep in mind theres gonna be no hops so should i use a lot of essence or just
a little still and keep tryin?
 

homebrewer_99

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Here are a couple of recipes, but they all use hops:

Drinkable Spruce Beer
5 lbs 2-row Klages
2 lbs 6-row Klages
1 lb Crystal 10LV
1 oz Hallertauer 4.9 AAU 60min
4 oz fresh blue spruce tips (3-4" long) 60min
1 oz fresh blue spruce tips finish
1 tsp Irish Moss
Yeast Wyeast #2035 American Lager
Procedure Temperature controlled step mash. Boil hops and spruce for full 60 minu I might consider dropping the spruce to 3oz next time. Obviously, weath conditions will effect the strength of your spruce. Collect your spruce in the country where you're sure they haven't been sprayed. Never tried extract. Wouldn't have a clue as to how much to add. Most importantly, patient! This stuff takes a looong time.


Honey Spruce Ale
We just had some really good luck with a honey-spruce ale. Despite all the complaints of not getting good spruce brews, I believe it can be done quite easily. One week after bottling, it is surprising good. We plan to do it again, and next time I may put 3/4 oz. spruce extract in, though I have to think about it. I am sure it would benefit from liquid yeast as well.

4 lbs. light powerded malt extract
3 lbs. clover honey
1 oz. Spruce extract
2 oz. Mt. Hood hops (boiling)
2 oz. Hallertaur (misspelled?) hops (finishing, @ 5 minutes)
Yeast 1 package EDME (dried) ale yeast

Legendary Mike Brown's Spruce Ale
3.3 lbs Steel City Ale Kit
2.2 lbs John Bull plain light malt extract
1.1 lbs plain light dried malt extract
1/3 lbs crushed chocolate malt
.25 lbs crushed crystal malt
6 oz fresh spring spruce sprigs (boil)
Yeast 2 cups culture of Munton & Fison Ale yeast
Procedure Place Crystal and chocolate malts in 1 gallon cold water and raise temperatire to 158 degrees and immediately strain into the brew kettle and sparge with 2 cups of 158 degree water. Add malt extracts and water to bring volume to 6 gallons. Add boiling sprigs when boil begins and boil for 60 minutes. Add finishing sprigs and boil for 3 minutes. Chill via wort chiller. Pitch yeast at 68 degrees. Single stage ferment in glass for 14 days then bottle using 1 cup corn sugar to prime.


Spruce Beer
6.6 lbs Munton & Fison dark malt extract
3 lbs dry dark extract
3 oz Cascade hops (4.3 alpha)
1 oz Cascade hops
3 tsp gypsum
.5 tsp Irish moss
.5 oz spruce essence
Yeast Leigh & Williams Beer & Stout yeast
Procedure Boil malt and boiling hops for 1 hour. In last 10 minutes add the 1 ounce of Cascade finishing hops and the Irish moss. In the last 2 minutes add the spruce essence. Chill and pitch yeast.

Spruce Beer
10 lbs american 2-row malt
.5 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.)
Yeast 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.

Spruce Juice
5 lbs Premier Malt hopped light malt extract
1 lbs dried light plain malt extract
1/8 lbs roasted barley
2 oz Cascade hops
20 oz cup loosely filled with blue spruce cuttings
Yeast Ale yeast
Procedure Bring extract and 1 1/2 gallons of water to boil. Add Cascade hops and boil for a total of 45 minutes. Rinse spruce cuttings, then toss into the wort for the final twelve minutes of the boil. Cool. Pitch yeast.
 

david_42

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I've only been exposed to one spruce beer that used extract. The maker use 2 ounces in five gallons & the smell was your basic industrial strength floor cleaner. Six months later, you could sniff it without gagging. After a year is was ok.

So, start on the low side, maybe 1/2 ounce.
 
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I almost completely agree with david. I used 1 oz in 10 gallons, and the beer is barely drinkable. If I were brewing 5 gallons, I think I'd start with 1/4 oz of spruce extract. That stuff is POWERFUL!
 
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Mirilis

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ill try a test batch with 1/4oz but is there a way to bitter to taste after fermentation? I mean, is there something i can dump into my corny keg to
help balance it out a little more if the spruce isnt enough?
 

Evan!

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I added an ounce of essence to a hefty porter (a version of Papa Z's Goat Scrotum) at bottling. Papazian called for an ounce, the directions on the bottle said TWO ounces per 5 gals. I decided to be "conservative" and go with an ounce. It turned out to be like Ben Gay. All pine, nothing else. That was in, what, August 2006, and I'll open the occasional bottle here and there. It's drinkable now, but just barely---and it's still all pine.

Now, I'm sure it depends on the strength of the particular essence---mine was a milky white liquid in a whitish-clear plastic bottle with green screen-printed text on it. I can't speak for any others, but if you end up with this particular essence, I doubt I'd go past 1/2oz.

In general, I'd say that trying bitter a beer with spruce essence is...well...a recipe for FAIL. But I've never tried it, so I can't say for sure. In order to get the necessary bitterness, you'd probably have to add so much essence that the beer would be insanely pine-sol-ey. Just my guess, though.
 
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Mirilis said:
ill try a test batch with 1/4oz but is there a way to bitter to taste after fermentation? I mean, is there something i can dump into my corny keg to
help balance it out a little more if the spruce isnt enough?
Hop tea. Boil a up to a gallon of water with some hops for up to an hour. Let it boil down to a cup or two. Add to taste.

Evan! said:
Now, I'm sure it depends on the strength of the particular essence---mine was a milky white liquid in a whitish-clear plastic bottle with green screen-printed text on it. I can't speak for any others, but if you end up with this particular essence, I doubt I'd go past 1/2oz.
That's the stuff I used. I thought I was being conservative at 1 oz per 10 gallons. I was wrong.
 

RoaringBrewer

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Never used spruce in a beer before, but I was considering it. Boy am I glad I found this post first...

I would say, the way it sounds, you should try to bitter the beer with something else - yarrow, the heather, or some other herb. And maybe use a tiny bit (1/4oz. or less) of spruce essence for some 'finishing'... ?
 

RoaringBrewer

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Yuri_Rage said:
Hop tea. Boil a up to a gallon of water with some hops for up to an hour. Let it boil down to a cup or two. Add to taste.
Yuri - I think he is trying to brew the beer with no hops at all, as they are illegal for his competition.

Yuri has a good point though, you would probably be able to make some sort of bitter herb-tea, with the aforementioned flowers/herbs, in the same way you would make a hop tea...
 
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RoaringBrewer said:
you should try to bitter the beer with something else - yarrow, the heather, or some other herb.
Like hops?

I wouldn't try and use more than one "non-traditional" ingredient, at least for a first attempt with spruce. Make a beer that's a little on the malty side, then add the spruce. It's a powerful enough flavor to offset a bit of sweetness, even in small doses.
 
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RoaringBrewer said:
Yuri - I think he is trying to brew the beer with no hops at all, as they are illegal for his competition.
Crap, I totally missed that first sentence - I saw "spruce extract" and got all excited about sharing my rather negative experience. That's gonna be a TOUGH competition!

Now that I've read the full OP, I think an IPA is a terrible choice for a hopless beer comp. The style doesn't just call for hops, it calls for LOTS of hops. You really can't even call it an IPA without hops, and the hearty malt backbone of an IPA is going to be REALLY tough to counter with non-traditional bittering agents. Try a style like brown ale that doesn't rely so heavily on hops.
 
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Mirilis

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I have a really good brown ale recipe.. at least i think its good.. I can probably use it.

theres half a pound of brown sugar and half a pound of maple. But i wouldnt want to dump spruce in it.

How much heather usually goes into a beer, and ive never used it so im not sure
what it will taste like in a malty beer like brown ale.
 
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Mirilis

Mirilis

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I was thinking about making like a chocolate brown ale.. where id put a couple cups of bakers chocolate..

would something like that work.. it may kill the malty flavor with chocolate taste though. Ill have to experiment with 1 gal batch.
 

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I know I'm going back 5 years here, but did this beer ever happen?

I have a friend who is allergic to hops and gluten. I threw together a recipe for a gruit ale that actually turned out rather tasty (the LHBS guy said it's the best of it's kind he's tasted), but I want to get a more traditional beer flavor in the next batch.

I used wormwood, bitter orange peel, juniper berries and mugwort as bittering agents in the original. I'll likely still use these, but tone them down a bit. I was thinking adding spruce and heather to the bill might get me a little closer to an actual hop flavor.

Any thoughts on ratios, when to add, etc?
 
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