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Spruce Beer

5 Star Rating 3.7 stars based on 19 votes Click to vote beer glass color indicator
Beer Style: spiced ale, spruce beer
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5 gallons
Description:
I bottled the beer last weekend and was able to sample a couple of glasses. You can definitely tell that there is something different about this beer, but if I didn't know that there was spruce in it I probably would not be able to guess that it was. Also, Papazian says that spruce beer tastes something like Pepsi, but I think that takes a big stretch of the imagination. There is no detectable hop flavor and very little bitterness in this beer. Next time I brew this beer, I will probably increase the hops a little. I think that I used the right amount of spruce.

One important lesson I learned is that the hops make a much better filter bed than the spruce needles. I brew in a keg with a copper manifold on the bottom for draining. Since I added the hops first, they settled first and made a nice filter bed. During clean up, I noticed that after I removed the hops, the needles kept clogging the copper manifold.

Here are some other things that may be of interest: Scott Stihler says that you can also dry "hop" with spruce. He also says that he has frozen spruce growths to use latter, but the flavor diminishes a little, so you need to use a little more.

Lisa St. Hilaire says she has also added white fir to spruce beer, which has a tangerine-like aroma, but says to avoid using white spruce.

So, that is about all I know about spruce beer. So far, it seems like a good beer that is definitly worth brewing.
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
OG: 1.052 FG: 1.010
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.
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