hist-brewing: Spruce Ale

PBLoomis at aol.com PBLoomis at aol.com
Thu Jul 6 17:29:00 PDT 2000

    Sitting here with my evening Guinness (canned, not bottled), I picked
up the April 2000 issue of Brew Your Own, and found a recipe for Scottish
Spruce Ale.  Of course, it's part of my patriotic obligation to read anything 
that claims to be Scottish, but I thought the rest of you might be interested
in the notes on spruce buds.  Sorry, I can't quote the entire recipe without 
    "When the [black spruce] trees start to bud in spring, find a good 
healthy spruce *or*pine* that's free of pesticides.  The buds are the new 
growth you'll see on the branches.  They have little needles on the end; 
they are green, tender, and very aromatic.  Try not to pick any branch 
with the buds, because the wood will impart pine-sap flavors.
    "You'll add the buds to the brew kettle toward the end of the boil 
for flavoring and to sterilize them.  This is the best way to prevent 
contamination from wild yeast.  If the finished beer has a burnt and 
medicinal flavor (imagine hickory smoked Listerine), the wild yeast won.
Toss it and start over."
    The author used two cups of loose fresh spruce buds, and used 
Fuggle hops.  Note the possibility of substituting pine.  When I retire 
to the Nawth, I'll have to try a batch.

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