It's that time of year again when the spruce tips pop out from the ends of the branches, so make a spruce tip beer.
Alcoholic spruce beer was common in the colonial United States and eastern Canada. The Daily Order for the Highland Regiment in North America (early to mid 1800’s) stipulated that: "Spruce beer is to be brewed for the health and conveniency of the troops which will be served at prime cost. Each gallon will cost nearly three coppers."
Harvest some tips soon and give this recipe a try or experiment on your own. Spruce tips work nicely with ambers and browns also. Cheers!
Spruce Tip Pale Ale
8 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row)
1 lb Munich Malt – 10L (Great Western)
.50 lb Carapils
2 lb Caramel / Crystal Malt – 60L
1 oz New Zealand Hallertauer (8.5% - 60 minutes)
.50 oz Cascade (8.6% - 20 minutes)
4 to 8 oz Spruce Tips (15 minutes - less for subtle flavor, more for strong flavor)
1 tsp Irish Moss (15 minutes)
1 oz New Zealand Hallertauer (8.5% - 5 minutes)
American Ale Yeast
Mash crushed grains at 152 degrees for one hour. Bring to a boil and start hop additions. Cool wort in a fermenter and pitch yeast. Rack to secondary after primary fermentation has slowed (usually 3-5 days). Condition in secondary for two weeks before bottling or kegging.