Author Topic: Spruce Tips  (Read 2667 times)

Offline yeastmaster

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Spruce Tips
« on: December 10, 2012, 07:29:40 PM »
I have some spruce tips I collected this spring and have stored in the freezer (probably 1/2 to 1 quarts).  I've brewed with spruce tips before and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions about how much to use, what time in boil, etc.  I think what I have is mostly white spruce.  I was thinking about an amber type ale to put these in.    :)

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 09:23:09 PM »
I've never brewed with spruce but have been interested in doing a Scotch Ale with spruce.  When I went to St. Louis a couple if months ago I had a spruce beer at Urban Chestnut.  It was made with spruce extract.  I didn't ask (or remember if I did) where they got the extract but I'm sure you could make spruce extract by soaking spruce in a few ounces of decent vodka.  I made a bacon extract doing this and it worked well.
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Offline piszkiewiczp

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 09:43:21 PM »
I used sprucetips collected this spring & froze, in a recipe from Gordon Strong's "Brewing Better Beer" for "Ben Franklin's Ale." IMHO it turned out pretty good.  The recipe called for 1 quart by volume - I really prefer weights for consistency. I was a little short, maybe 8/10 of a quart. Spruce tips were added at 60 minutes in a 90 minute boil. That should have extracted all sugars and flavor.

I can't say I really taste or smell the spuce, but there is a definite after taste and tongue coating that I attribute to the spruce.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 11:20:07 PM »
Volume measurements are more consistent than weight measurements for spruce tips because the moisture content of the tips can vary widely.  Use a quart or so (you can use less if you want) in the boil for 60 minutes - sitka spruce tips will give you a delicious citrusy flavor, douglas fir tips are similar.  Not sure about other trees.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline stlaleman

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 03:26:30 AM »
Black spruce give a wintergreen/sassafrass like flavor. Very nice!

Offline gandelf

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 06:21:33 AM »
Volume measurements are more consistent than weight measurements for spruce tips because the moisture content of the tips can vary widely.  Use a quart or so (you can use less if you want) in the boil for 60 minutes - sitka spruce tips will give you a delicious citrusy flavor, douglas fir tips are similar.  Not sure about other trees.

Tom, are speaking form experience with a 60 minute addition? If so, which brewery's product would you compare it to? Have you or anyone you know, experimented with other addition techniques? I.E. First Wort Sprucing, late, whirlpool & Dry Sprucing. I plan on doing my first Spruce ale next summer when the tips are fresh in NE Wisconsin. Until sound advice convinces me otherwise; I plan on doing spruce the same way I do all my hoppy ales; FWH and then torpedo.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 09:14:18 AM »
Volume measurements are more consistent than weight measurements for spruce tips because the moisture content of the tips can vary widely.  Use a quart or so (you can use less if you want) in the boil for 60 minutes - sitka spruce tips will give you a delicious citrusy flavor, douglas fir tips are similar.  Not sure about other trees.

Tom, are speaking form experience with a 60 minute addition? If so, which brewery's product would you compare it to? Have you or anyone you know, experimented with other addition techniques? I.E. First Wort Sprucing, late, whirlpool & Dry Sprucing. I plan on doing my first Spruce ale next summer when the tips are fresh in NE Wisconsin. Until sound advice convinces me otherwise; I plan on doing spruce the same way I do all my hoppy ales; FWH and then torpedo.

Search for a thread here on utilizing spruce tips and you'll find this:
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=12141.msg152697#msg152697
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 11:41:08 AM »
Volume measurements are more consistent than weight measurements for spruce tips because the moisture content of the tips can vary widely.  Use a quart or so (you can use less if you want) in the boil for 60 minutes - sitka spruce tips will give you a delicious citrusy flavor, douglas fir tips are similar.  Not sure about other trees.

Tom, are speaking form experience with a 60 minute addition? If so, which brewery's product would you compare it to? Have you or anyone you know, experimented with other addition techniques? I.E. First Wort Sprucing, late, whirlpool & Dry Sprucing. I plan on doing my first Spruce ale next summer when the tips are fresh in NE Wisconsin. Until sound advice convinces me otherwise; I plan on doing spruce the same way I do all my hoppy ales; FWH and then torpedo.
I'm speaking from experience on the 60 minute boil, mine and some other people's.  But I haven't experimented, I make them so rarely that I just want it to work and I know 60 minutes does.  If you do some tests, let us know your results.  I would compare the flavor and aroma of a 60 minute sitka spruce boil to that of Alaskan Winter Ale.  I'm pretty sure that's how they do it (or did it), and if I'm not mistaken the talk Pete Devaris gave in LV was a joint one with a brewer from Alaskan.

You can do FWS and it should be similar to the 60 minute boil.  I don't know if you'll get much out of the torpedo, but it's worth a try.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline yeastmaster

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 12:46:23 PM »
Does anyone have any thoughts about what hops go well with spruce?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 12:59:04 PM »
I only use hops for bittering in my spruce beers, but I would imagine an English variety hop would pair better than a citrusy American one.  You can boil the tips in plain water to get an idea of the flavor and aroma.  Pete's wife Aimee makes jelly from boiled spruce tips - it's fantastic.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline EHall

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 01:00:24 PM »
noble hops.

Alaskan uses blue spruce.
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Offline yeastmaster

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 02:27:15 PM »
I only use hops for bittering in my spruce beers, but I would imagine an English variety hop would pair better than a citrusy American one.  You can boil the tips in plain water to get an idea of the flavor and aroma.  Pete's wife Aimee makes jelly from boiled spruce tips - it's fantastic.

noble hops.

Alaskan uses blue spruce.

I was thinking about English hops but I could see noble hops working as well....

Offline stlaleman

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 03:32:58 PM »
Volume measurements are more consistent than weight measurements for spruce tips because the moisture content of the tips can vary widely.  Use a quart or so (you can use less if you want) in the boil for 60 minutes - sitka spruce tips will give you a delicious citrusy flavor, douglas fir tips are similar.  Not sure about other trees.

Tom, are speaking form experience with a 60 minute addition? If so, which brewery's product would you compare it to? Have you or anyone you know, experimented with other addition techniques? I.E. First Wort Sprucing, late, whirlpool & Dry Sprucing. I plan on doing my first Spruce ale next summer when the tips are fresh in NE Wisconsin. Until sound advice convinces me otherwise; I plan on doing spruce the same way I do all my hoppy ales; FWH and then torpedo.
I normally add a quart to the mash and another quart at 60 minutes. Get great flavor that way!

Offline speed

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 04:36:34 PM »
i made a spruce beer a couple weeks ago and used saaz hops bittering, and about a cup of colorado blue spruce tips that i had frozen since last spring dropped them in at 20 minutes. you can really taste the spruce. it should turn out to be a real nice beer.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Spruce Tips
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 07:55:47 PM »
Alaskan uses blue spruce.
No, they don't, they use Sitka spruce.
http://www.alaskanbeer.com/winter-ale.html
Tom Schmidlin