Experimental Brewing

Into the kettle
I throw a fistful of spruce
And hope for the best

Photos and haiku by Captain Hops.

References: Yesterday, I attempted to make my first spruce ale. I have been waiting for the opportunity to recreate a vague memory I have of an ale I tasted at a forgotten brew pub in Oregon. That ale may or may not have actually had spruce in it, but I remember this tender, citrusy, piney essence, it wasn’t even really a flavor, just a barely tangible sense. It was amazing whether it was real or not. Anyway, now that I am brewing, I decided to use some of the fresh spruce buds just sprouting on the trees on my property. I created an amber ale with a touch of cascade hops, added a little wild flower honey and threw in some spruce buds at 60 minutes and 5 minutes. I am fermenting with California Ale Yeast and will let you know in a month how it turns out.

Thing of the day: Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass

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  1. Hope it turns out to be everything that you remember. I tried to do this once with a chamomile plant. I have strong memories of drinking chamomile tea in Peru with fresh chamomile flowers floating in it. Mine didn’t turn out to have quite the same effect as I experienced on the road.

  2. How did it turn out? I’m looking to do a spruce beer real soon.

  3. It turned out okay. But it was a little weird. My wife said it tasted like Smurfberry crunch. Others either liked it or hated it. I thought it tasted kind of lemony but also had a bit of a bite. I think that next May I will try adding the spruce at 20 or 30 minutes and 5 minutes.

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