Spruce Tip Ale at Brewbecue 2013


We recently held Brewbecue 2013 at Mostly Harmless and our brew o’ the day was Just the Tip spruce tip ale.  Brian picked fresh spruce tips on a trip to the great northwest and we used a Mirror Pond clone as the base recipe.  Brian took the lead on this brew as I could barely walk due to tweaking my back, I was pretty pathetic but since the day involved beer and BBQ and cigars I pushed through.  I’m a trooper like that.

Brian checking the mash.

Mash it up realll good.

In this brew we tried First Wort Hopping for the first time.  FWH is used to add a smooth, uniform bitterness to your beer.  The hops are added as the kettle is filled from the mash tun and before boiling starts, therefore the hops start releasing their oils right away.  Centennial hops were added as the first wort hops and we also used Cascade and spruce tips later to add aroma and flavor.  A sample of the wort before pitching was very nice, hopefully we’ll get a great brew out of this.  Our goal was to showcase the spruce tips without having a beer that tastes like pine tar.

Spruce Tips

Oooh, sprucey.

To accompany the brewing we fired up the smoker and made a couple of Bacon Explosions, hot dogs and brats and of course all the sides that go along with them.  If you’ve not been introduced to the magic that is a Bacon Explosion you’re missing out, it essentially breakfast sausage stuffed with your choice of fillings the wrapped in a bacon blanket and smoked.  Yes, I just said bacon blanket, try to contain yourself.  Sheesh.  We’ve tried these with a lot of fillings (Pepperoni pizza, Philly cheesesteak, Mexican, Apple) but so for the favorite seems to be Hawaiian with ham, mozzarella and pineapple glazed with pineapple juice and brown sugar.  Awwww yeahhh….

Bacon Explosion

Bacon Explosion. BOOM!

The festivities were rounded out with a bottle share and we had some pretty big names show up – Black Tuesday, Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Black Butte Porter, Bell’s Black Note, Batch 10,000 and several offerings from Mostly Harmless.  Our Unemployment Ale (SMaSH) was very well received and White House Honies was decent as well.  Unfortunately something went wrong with our Hair of the Dog Oatmeal Stout and it’s almost undrinkable, it’s quite sour so we’re thinking a bug got into the process somewhere.  Hopefully our V 2.0 stout, an all-grain batch, will fare better.

Bottle Share

We took one down and we passed it around.



2 thoughts on “Spruce Tip Ale at Brewbecue 2013

  1. I’ll be interested in hearing how the spruce beer ended up. When I brewed mine I used much younger looking growth from the trees and really didn’t get enough flavor out of it. The beer turned out great, but didn’t have any strong spruce flavors. Sounds like a fun day!

    • We’ll definitely update with results. We tried to go easy as a lot of reviews we saw said it’s easy to turn a spruce ale into a pine tar tea. Hopefully we used enough to get the spruce to come through.


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