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Thread: Spruce Beer

  1. #1
    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Default Spruce Beer

    Southeastgirl asked if I'd share a spruce beer recipe, and since I already typed it all up, I figure I might as well post it here. Enjoy


    Here's my spruce pale ale recipe. It's all-grain recipe for a 10 gallon batch. You can sub in light extract for the 2-row and scale down to 5 gallons if you need to. I just throw the spruce tips in the boil along with the hops. I try to always keep a keg of this on tap Hope ya like it

    Sitka Spruce Pale Ale:

    Boil Volume=12 gallons
    Finished Volume=10.5 gallons
    Boil time=60 minutes

    OG=1.057
    FG=1.014
    IBUs=35.3
    Brewhouse Efficiency=75%

    Grain bill:
    18 pounds 2-row malt
    2 pounds vienna malt
    2 pounds crystal 40 malt

    Single infusion mash for 60 minutes at 152 degrees.

    Hops:
    2 oz Northern Brewer 6.0% AA for 60 min
    2 oz Mt. Hood 5.0 % AA for 30 min
    1 oz Willamette 5.5 % AA for 15 min
    1 oz Willamette 5.5 % AA at flame-out

    Spruce tips:
    2 cups sitka spruce tips at 60 minutes
    2 cups sitka spruce tips at 30 minutes

    Misc:
    2 tsp gypsum added to boil
    2 tsp Irish Moss 15 min

    Yeast:
    Wyeast 1098 British Ale Yeast

    Fermentation:
    Primary 21 days at 65 degrees
    Kegged and cold conditioned 14 days at 38 degrees.

  2. #2
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    Default Elderberry Wine

    Skookumchuck and I were swapping brewing recipes and he asked if I knew any Elderberry Wine recipes. I have not tried it and was hoping some else was brave enough to use our Alaskan Elderberry and could give us some pointers.
    The only recipe that I have is from 'The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible.' He says not to use Alaskan Elderberries because they are toxic and cause nausea, diarrhea or worse. Now I have conflicting stories on this. Some books say it is edible and to use only the fruit, no other part is edible, not to mash the seeds too much and that when cooked it the poison is canceled out.
    Anyone else out there tried to make it with our Alaskan variety? My guess is that they are stronger than the southern varieties and a little goes a long way. I can't always believe everything I read, as many books I have say devil's club is poisonous, but I gather it every year and make tea from it. It's Alaskan Ginseng.
    Anyways, here is his recipe:

    3 lb Elderberries
    2 1/2 lb Sugar
    1 Gal Boiled Water
    1 Pkt Wine Yeast

    Make sure that you remove all the stems and leaves, drain, but don't squeeze the mesh bag or you will squeeze out all the nasty stuff from the seeds.
    Move it into your primary fermenter with an airlock for about 10-14 days. He doesn't really say how long to leave it in a secondary fermenter, but you are really just trying to clarify it at this point. After bottling he doesn't say how long to let it set either. I have not really experimented with the wine too much, but I have a buddy that says his is great after just 6 months.

  3. #3
    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Default

    Interesting....I'll have to do some research on elderberries. Are you talking about the little red ones that are everywhere in SE, or the blue ones?

    The only thing I've heard about elderberry wine is that you have to be really careful to get all the stems out b/c they're really bitter.

    I'll second the devil's club tea. I like to drink it before a long hunt. The native folks here also rub the sap on their skin as a bug repelent.

    Do you make fireweed wine? It's really good. I'll post a recipe if ya want.

    i was thinking of maybe trying a spruce tip wine just for the hell of it this year, but I have a feeling it would be gross and tie up a carboy for a year...but what the heck...some people make garlic wine. Also on deck for this year is high-bush cranberry wine and nangoon berry liquor

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    I have only seen the red elderberries, I did not even know that there were blue ones. I have five books on gathering, three say it is poisonous, 1 says just to cook the berry well, which you would do with wine, and the other doesn't say anything at all. I do know many people used to make wine out of it though.

    I have not tried to make any wines, I was always under the impression they took too long to age and have not ever attempted them. I now know they don't have to sit in a cellar for years to be good and would like to try any recipes you have. I gotta get stocked up for after the baby is born... I'll need it then! I'm trying mead tonight, then I'll give that spruce one a try.

  5. #5
    Member mntransplant's Avatar
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    Default chuck

    "I'll second the devil's club tea. I like to drink it before a long hunt"

    Care to share your tea recipe?

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    I would love to share the recipe if I had one. I usually boil a 8 qt pot full of water and add in the inner bark (no measurement, it just looks right) to simmer for a few minutes, remove, add some honey to taste and strain through a cheesecloth.

    I store it in the fridge in a glass jar, the elders won't use anything else, so I figure they have to be right as usual.

    I gather this for my Nonna every year and when she drinks it everyday she glows like a 20 year old even though she is 76. It is a great detoxifier and blood purifier.

  7. #7
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default more on the Devils Club tea

    Southeastgirl,
    So you take the stalks of the Devils club and slit them open to expose the inner material and scrape this off into the water you are going to boil? Is this correct?
    If so, approximately how much inner bark are you adding? (1 teaspoon...1 cup...a couple foot long stalk worth?)
    Also, is there a time of year to harvest this, ie...mature plants or young shoots that are coming up right now?
    Pretty interesting stuff as I hear it has alot of medicinal uses!
    Thanks,
    BK

  8. #8
    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Fireweed wine:

    Gather LOTS of blossoms and try to get as much green stuff out as you can. a little is ok.

    I steep about 2-3 gallons of blossoms, frozen or fresh, in about 5 gallons of hot, not boiling water for 5-7 days with a couple crushed up campden tablets. Strain out as many blossoms as you can and rack to primary. Heat 5 lbs sugar in a couple gallons of water and boil for 15 min. Rack sugar water into primary. Shoot for about 4-5 gallons total volume. Let cool to 70 degrees or so. Hydrate 2 wine yeast packets in warm water and add a couple tsp of yeast nutrient (important). Aerate must and let ferment. When fermentation slows down (couple weeks or so) boil another 5 pounds of sugar with another couple tsp of nutrient (boiled bread yeast works well) to further feed the yeast. Top off the primary to 6.5 gallons or so. DO NOT AERATE again, it will ruin the wine. Let it ferment out...times vary and then transfer to secondary until clear. Bottle and age anywhere from 6 months to several years. If your fermentation is painfully slow, add more nutrient and yeast.

    Hope that makes sense
    Nice Marmot.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    Southeastgirl,
    So you take the stalks of the Devils club and slit them open to expose the inner material and scrape this off into the water you are going to boil? Is this correct?
    If so, approximately how much inner bark are you adding? (1 teaspoon...1 cup...a couple foot long stalk worth?)
    Also, is there a time of year to harvest this, ie...mature plants or young shoots that are coming up right now?
    Pretty interesting stuff as I hear it has alot of medicinal uses!
    Thanks,
    BK
    What I do is cut down the whole stalk, scrape off the outer part with all the thorns, then I slit the stalk down the middle lengthwise and peel that off. That is the only part I use for tea, although many people gather the root, that just seems like too much work to me when the inner bark works great. I am sure if you feel up to it the root is well worth it, since it is a form of Ginseng.

    The only thing I found is that sometimes the thorns get into the tea, so I always strain it through cheesecloth. As far as the measurements go, I have not measured it, but I would say probably best to stick to the standard measurement of 1 teaspoon to one cup of water if you break it down that small. I never used to, but I think I will start. The last time I made it,I made it way too strong and lets just say the rumors of the laxative effect are right when it is made strong. That may be why many people think it is poisonous, although Canadians are farming it now to make herbal supplements.

    The medicinal properites of it are being found everyday, and the Haida people used it more than any other plant. It was used from asprin to cancer treaments. The berries were mashed up and used for poultices and dandruff, they ARE POISONOUS!!

  10. #10
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    Default

    Oh, as far as gethering, you can gether all year, it is just easier in the spring and summer when the stalks are not frozen, but if you are working it in your heated garage or something it wouldn't matter!

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