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Thread: Spruce Tips usage and storage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,281

    Spruce Tips usage and storage

    Howdy all,
    Does anyone have real world experience with using fresh spruce tips? I picked 20+lbs of spruce tips today and want to make a batch or two and also store some for later. How long can these tips be stored and how? Vacuum seal? Deep freeze? Refrigerate? Should they be dried before use and storage?
    Help!
    I'm looking at doing a 10bbl batch. How much do I use? 1 pound, 8 pounds, 15 pounds, more?!?

    Prost!
    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    950
    My experience is with redwood tips, but here goes. I used 11 lbs in 20 bbl and it was pleasantly subtle. Even at that rate, if they were broken up and able to release more flavor, that would have been enough to make the beer taste like a Christmas tree. Ugh!
    However, the fresh tips out now after some odd weather, taste very different from the ones I picked in March. These more lemony, previous more piney. I would freeze them in barrier bags if you really needed to. Drying would be absolutely counterproductive. The aromatics are such that fresh is best.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Homer, Alaska
    Posts
    93

    spruce it up

    Like many herbs/spices, characteristics vary with all the many variables. Are they fresh soft spring growth or last years hard stuff? Was it picked before the pollen? Are they Sitka? White? Black? Red? Spruce varieties or what? Get to know your Spruce terroir. Are you using any other herbstoffe (Hops are an herb too!)? What kind of gravity/malt? What yeast? I started with splitting up barrel batches of wort into ten gallon kettles with all kinds of amounts and varieties to hone in on my particulars many years ago. I have only had good luck with fresh use and freezing/vac pac or making extract (all using fresh soft spring growth as the later stuff is not preferred for my palate). But try dried with your local stuff as well and see what its like. Take the time to get to know the herb/spices you want to play with.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,281
    Quote Originally Posted by canyon
    Like many herbs/spices, characteristics vary with all the many variables. Are they fresh soft spring growth or last years hard stuff? Was it picked before the pollen? Are they Sitka? White? Black? Red? Spruce varieties or what? Get to know your Spruce terroir. Are you using any other herbstoffe (Hops are an herb too!)? What kind of gravity/malt? What yeast? I started with splitting up barrel batches of wort into ten gallon kettles with all kinds of amounts and varieties to hone in on my particulars many years ago. I have only had good luck with fresh use and freezing/vac pac or making extract (all using fresh soft spring growth as the later stuff is not preferred for my palate). But try dried with your local stuff as well and see what its like. Take the time to get to know the herb/spices you want to play with.
    Thanks Moonlight and Canon,
    I'm using fresh soft spring growth (think kitten tails) from Montana-grown Colorado Green and Blue Spruce. I was thinking of brewing these with pellet hops as well. I don't think I could exclusively replace my hop bill with spruce. The gravities would be in the range of starting 12P and ending around 1-2P. Since this is the only time of year I can get these things (I haven't had any luck sourcing a commercial, year-round source), I'm wonder if I get more (I have unfettered access to around 10acres of spruce) how can I successfully store them for later use this year and next late winter?
    Prost!
    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    950
    To anyone with 10 acres of Spruce tips, go for it. (Yes, I just contracted hops, ouch!)
    To determine flavor, suck on them or chew them. For determining quantity, try some in teas and multiply the weight to brew size. For god sakes, don't buy them if you can help it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Danielson CT
    Posts
    118
    I have used spruce and concolor fir tips for the past several years. I love em!
    I usually do a kettle sour with the two and plan to brew that soon.
    We do a rotating hop New England pale ale series. I did this one with spruce & concolor fir. Kinda neat, tastes like a citrusy/piney pale ale.
    I also do a "Colonial Strong Ale" that uses spruce tips along with molasses, summer squash, wheat, rye, corn etc. and our house Brett strain.

    For the pale ale, I did about 12 oz/bbl of both spruce and concolor at the end of boil, and 8 oz/bbl of each as a "dry hop" addition and got great flavor and aroma without being overbearing.

    I try to use them as fresh as possible. For those that I do store, they go in a freezer bag and into the chest freezer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    957
    Def vacuum package and deep freeze asap after picking. They do not last long at all. Two day shipping turned some I bought into wilted trash.
    Joel Halbleib
    Partner / Zymurgist
    Hive and Barrel Meadery
    6302 Old La Grange Rd
    Crestwood, KY
    www.hiveandbarrel.com

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