Spruce IPA

Norway spruce (Pinus Abies) illustration from Medical Botany (1836) by John Stephenson and James Morss ChurchillI brewed a fairly conventional IPA (well, maybe closer to a double IPA) to satisfy my hop-head brother and sister-in-law, but couldn’t resist “dry-hopping” with some Norway spruce tips from our aging plantation at the top of the watershed. Their fresh, pale twig-ends would quickly be encroaching onto the trail, so they needed pruning in any case.

The main take-away from this experiment is that the quantity I used — 10 ounces — seemed about right. Too much less and the pleasantly piney taste would’ve been smothered under all those hops; too much more and it might’ve been altogether too camphory.

I brewed on June 6, using some saved yeast slurry from a previous batch. (This had been refrigerated for a while in a Grolsch bottle and the sediment had separated from the liquid, so without thinking I gave it a good shake before opening. Bad idea! Fortunately I realized my mistake in time and opened it outside. It fired the little rubber stopper about 25 feet! But enough yeast remained in the bottle to start the beer.) I added the spruce tips five days later in the form of a cooled-down tea with one change of water to take off excess bitterness, erring on the side of caution. I suppose that makes this more wet-hopping than dry-hopping. Can’t remember whether I racked into a demijohn or kept it in the bucket, but it was ready to bottle ten days later. My tasting note from bottling time reads “VERY nice — sprucey but not too.” Yeah, I’m a poet.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 60 min 87.6 IBUs 7.7 SRM 1.073 1.012 8.2 %


Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 8 lbs 60.84
Munich Malt 2 lbs 15.21
Wheat Malt, Red 1.75 lbs 13.31
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 6.4 oz 3.04
Sugar, Table (Sucrose) 1 lbs 7.6


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Bravo 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 15.5
Chinook 1 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 13
Mt. Hood 1 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 6
Nugget 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 13
Citra 0.5 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 12


Name Amount Time Use Type
Spruce tips, fresh 10.00 oz 8 days Secondary Spice


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Safale American (US-05) DCL/Fermentis 77% 59°F - 75°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min

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