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Spruce Beer

Classification: spiced ale, spruce beer, extract

Source: Mark Taratoot (, r.c.b., 6/23/93

I recently made a spruce beer and thought I would post some information about it as some people here have been curious about it. To be sure, it is a bit late for harvesting the new spring flush from spruce trees now, but this may not be the case for more northerly latitudes. Also, I saved (and froze) an extra portion of spruce twigs, and if others did also, now is a fine time for spruce beer.

I made spruce beer last year and only used about a pint of twigs in a red ale. I also used ginger, and the ginger masked the spruce flavor.

This year I made a light ale and used a quart of spruce twigs. Many of the comments here have recommended only using spruce in a dark beer. I must disagree. The only problem I have with the light ale is it is cloudy. Big deal.

After two weeks in the bottle, it has not cleared. The flavor is not what I expected at all. I anticipated a "piney" flavor (kind of like retsina wine) but that is not what I got. The flavor is more earthy. Kind of nice. It will be a good beer for when the summer finaly gets hot.



To bottle, make a tea from 1 cup of spruce twigs, then add priming sugar and boil momentarily.