This is a recipe that I was inspired to create following a tasting at Craggy Brewing (now closed) in Asheville, North Carolina during my honeymoon in May 2012. It had a very strong spruce flavor and aroma that no one except for my wife, Hillary, seemed to enjoy. I didn’t really give too much thought to brewing one myself because I had no idea where to obtain the spruce.
A few years later while reading up on beer recipes on various internet forums, I came across recipes for spruce beer that also linked to a vendor, Spruce On Tap. A four ounce package of spruce tips for $16 seemed like a good opportunity to try something new. And thus began: The Spruce is Loose.
Here’s the recipe for my first attempt at brewing The Spruce is Loose:
- 5 lbs Marris Otter (82.61%)
- 25 lbs Munich Malt (10.87%)
- 5 lbs Cara-Pils (4.35%)
- 25 lbs Crystal 60 (2.17%)
- 1 oz Cascade FWH (AA 8.60%)
- 1 oz Cascade 10 minutes (AA 8.60%)
- 1 oz Cascade 0 minutes (AA 8.60%)
- 4 oz Spruce Tips 15 minutes
- WLP-001 (California Ale) – 1.0 L starter via stir plate
- Single Infusion Medium Body
- Mash In – 18 quarts at 166 F (Target Mash of 153 F) for 60 minutes
- Sparge – 4.5 gallons at 168 F
- Three weeks at 64F
Brew day went really well despite the cold and dreary weather. It also gave Hillary a chance to play around with the GoPro camera she got for Christmas. Checkout these photos:
After fermentation, I grabbed a sample to taste while kegging it up.
Tasting / Comments at Kegging
- Sample is amber in color with excellent clarity. The aroma is toasty with moderate grapefruit and citrus aroma. There is a subtle piney-ness in the background. The flavor is light toasty and bready up front followed by moderate citrus hops flavor and finishes with a moderately sprucey. I’m very pleased with how balanced the beer is so far. I was very concerned that this would be a spruce bomb, however, it’s actually very enjoyable. A few weeks in the keg to clarify and carbonate should produce a very nice beer.