Author Topic: Sprucey rye saison  (Read 1783 times)

Offline unclebrazzie

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Sprucey rye saison
« on: May 28, 2015, 08:45:40 AM »
Peepz,

another commission brew. My cousin-in-law requested a neighbourhood-get-together festive beer, and after tossing ideas around we settled on "something with spruce tips from the trees in the surrounding woodsy parkland".

Here's what I've come up with so far. Your thoughts greatly appreciated.

For 20l of  1.059SG beer:
4kg pale           80%
1 kg rye malt    20%
.5 kg oat husks to prevent the rye from gumming up my mash bed

15' @ 40°C (b-glucanase rest)
50' @ 65°C
Batch sparge.

Boil for 70' with
20g Chinook @ T-60'      ~30IBU
100g spruce tips @T-30'

Cool and pitch with Wyeast3711 French Saison. Ferment @ 23°C

Never brewed with spruce nor Chinook before.
I'm aiming for a dry beer which will showcase the (reported) citrussy flavors of the spruce, combined with the spicyness of both rye and 3711.
The Chinook is there mostly for bittering and an undercurrent supportive to the piney resins of the spruce. I've heard it descrived as "Saaz in a pine forest" which fits the bill as far as I'm concerned.

What this would taste like in my mind is a beery interpretation of a mildly assertive retsina wine.

Things about which I am in dubio:
  • 30' boil of 100g of spruce (~4oz) is about mid-way of what I've found here and there with reported good presence of spruce without the beer becoming a resin-laden puddle of creosote. Too much? Too little?
  • would it benefit from a mild late dose of hops (Chinook or other) without stealing the spruce's thunder?
  • instead of (or in addition to?) boiling the spruce, I could go Sahti on it and infuse the mash water with it. Choices choices...

What say ye, y'all?
All truth is fiction.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 12:26:23 PM »
How much time do you have? I ask because this sounds like a great idea and could be great but too much spruce and it could be a disaster considering that you are sharing it with a bunch of people with various tastes who likely will start out skeptical to begin with. If there is time do a small experimental batch. Also, I haven't used spruce but I wonder if it could be dry "hopped" so you can remove it when it tastes right. Or maybe make a tincture and dose it?
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline goschman

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 01:08:53 PM »
I just picked a few ounces of spruce tips and plan to do a beer later this year. My plan is likely to use them in a hopstand and dry hop them along with hops but this will likely be for a pale ale.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 01:26:52 PM by goschman »
On Tap/Bottled: Haze for Daze IPA, G Pils, Maibock, Kolsch, Summer Gold       

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Up Next: Euro Pale, IPA

Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 01:37:47 PM »
How much time do you have? I ask because this sounds like a great idea and could be great but too much spruce and it could be a disaster considering that you are sharing it with a bunch of people with various tastes who likely will start out skeptical to begin with. If there is time do a small experimental batch. Also, I haven't used spruce but I wonder if it could be dry "hopped" so you can remove it when it tastes right. Or maybe make a tincture and dose it?

Oh I've time, but don't want to keep my cous' waiting for too long.
I wonder how well the spruce would do in dry hopping. I chewed a few leaves/needles and they didn't taste very assertive at first. Only when chewed to a pulp did the flavour start to come out. This doesn't inspire much optimism in me when considering dry-sprucing, but confirms my belief they could with a bit of boiling.
All truth is fiction.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 01:40:15 PM »
The only thing I'll add is to get out there right away and get the spruce tips and freeze them. you want to use the fresh light green spring tips which are still out here in VT, USA but I'm not sure what the seasonal progression is like where you are.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 02:32:43 PM »
My two cents.  Spruce beer = nasty.  Worst beer I ever made.

Be VERY VERY careful about the amount of spruce you add.

Think Pine Sol and you'll have an idea what I wound up with.

Perhaps a lighter hand with the spruce would make it work, but I have no desire to find out.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2015, 02:44:54 PM »
My two cents.  Spruce beer = nasty.  Worst beer I ever made.

Be VERY VERY careful about the amount of spruce you add.

Think Pine Sol and you'll have an idea what I wound up with.

Perhaps a lighter hand with the spruce would make it work, but I have no desire to find out.

^^^  Found out the hard way myself once.  Pine Sol is a good descriptor.
Jon H.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2015, 02:46:21 PM »
We actually saved bottles to see how it would age.  One may still exist somewhere.

It did not improve.  And I'm talking long-term aging.  10 years or so.

The spruce is strong.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2015, 02:48:39 PM »
We actually saved bottles to see how it would age.  One may still exist somewhere.

It did not improve.  And I'm talking long-term aging.  10 years or so.

The spruce is strong.

I tried one of the Anchor holiday ales years ago that had spruce  - they used a lighter hand than I did with the spruce and I still couldn't drink it. To each his own though.
Jon H.

Offline pete b

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2015, 03:27:49 PM »
I think this beer is a good idea but making it for a party the first time, not so much. Even if it comes out perfect my guess is 10% love it, 20% take 1 sip, and 70% have one, say "it's different" and drink something else the rest of the party.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline denny

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2015, 03:30:21 PM »
When I use my "taste imagination" on your recipe, I get conflicts between the spruce, rye, and 3711.  Have you really thought through the final flavors?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2015, 04:58:15 PM »
My two cents.  Spruce beer = nasty.  Worst beer I ever made.

Be VERY VERY careful about the amount of spruce you add.

Think Pine Sol and you'll have an idea what I wound up with.

Perhaps a lighter hand with the spruce would make it work, but I have no desire to find out.
I always thought they were like chewing on a 2X4 until I had one at Fort George brewing in Astoria, OR. Then I saw the appeal as it was citrusy and had a touch of pine.
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Offline denny

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2015, 05:20:57 PM »
My two cents.  Spruce beer = nasty.  Worst beer I ever made.

Be VERY VERY careful about the amount of spruce you add.

Think Pine Sol and you'll have an idea what I wound up with.

Perhaps a lighter hand with the spruce would make it work, but I have no desire to find out.
I always thought they were like chewing on a 2X4 until I had one at Fort George brewing in Astoria, OR. Then I saw the appeal as it was citrusy and had a touch of pine.

There are 1 or 2 gfood ones I've had, that one included.  That contrasts to maybe a dozen others I've tried that were terrible.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2015, 06:26:20 PM »
There are 1 or 2 gfood ones I've had, that one included.  That contrasts to maybe a dozen others I've tried that were terrible.

You've either got more dedication or a more adventurous spirit than I.  I'm not going there again.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline mbarnaby

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Re: Sprucey rye saison
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2015, 06:36:41 PM »
Soo I actually brew with spruce tips a lot, both beer and meads.  The one thing with spruce is you need to pick them early before they get too woody.  early like you have to remove all the brown papery stuff.  The good news is that they freeze great.  also the quality or flavor of spruce tips vary year to year depending on weather.  for all of my brews I boil the tips for a full 60 minutes.  the needles are waxy it takes heat and time to get the flavor.  I would skip late additions and dry hopping (tipping) with the tips.  I actually did a spruce tip rye last year.  Taste great but didn't do so well in competition.  feedback included low rye flavor and sweet.  spruce can impart sweetness, with a saison though I think that additional saison flavor should keep down the sweetness.  the next time I brew this beer I am going to increase the rye, the spruce flavor made it hard to identify the rye.  I kept the hops low to let the spruce shine.

here is my recipe for a 2.5 gallon batch

4.5lb 2-row
1.0lb rye malt
4.0 oz 10L

4.0 oz spruce tip 60 minute
.25 oz Magnum 30 minute
.25 oz centennial 10 minute