homebrew the first – spruce beer

so my new years resolution was too brew more and too brew from scratch, this has lead to a new and interesting part of me, thanks to my current location and the ease at which i can acquire fruit it has made me somewhat adventurous. so my first brew was inspired both by Christmas and James cook, my first brew was drank by old explorers in an effort to keep scurvy at bay. so lets look at how i made it.

Gathering the ingredients:

the recipe i’ll be using is:
100g spruce needles
20g hops
One thumb-sized piece of bruised root ginger
600g malt extract (alternatively molasses, treacle, or honey)
1 packet ale yeast (available from home brew stockist or online)

this was for 5 litre batch, if you wish to make more you have to multiply the ingredients by 2 for every five litres.

so the first thing you have to do is get your ingredients together.


Doing a little garden work, i didn’t want to waste these beautiful things but they grow awfully quickly. the general rule is to harvest the youngest of spruce tips. if they’re yellow they are good, if green discard.

the ingrediants

i measured out 200g of spruce tips, 40g of hops (i don’t know what variety) and a small sliver of ginger. chopped them all up. this should do 10 litres comfortably, if you wish to do more adjust ingredients accordingly.


i decided on a honey base for this brew for a number of reasons, firstly i wanted to keep it as historically accurate as possible, secondly because honey is very easy to find and thirdly because i was curious as to how it would affect the taste.

Gathering the equipment:


if you’ve ever home brewed from scratch you’ll understand how important the super soaker is.

The method:

the most important aspect of any home brew project is sterilization, sterilization is the difference between a good pint and not being able to get off the toilet. sorry to get dirty but that is the truth of the matter. so after you’ve sterilized, you should start the boil.

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so i added the ingredients to the water and boiled them, i got it up to a running boil for 30 minutes before i added the honey, it was then boiled for a further 10 minutes to let the honey infuse, the super soaker is there for when the brew starts to overflow and it needs a spray of water to keep it under control.


after the boiling is done pour into your brewing vessel, make sure to filter it through something otherwise you’ll have a very bitty beer, let it reach room temperature and then add your yeast. leave it at room temperature  for about a week and then drink up.

so that’s it my first brew of 2014, join me in a week when i give this brew a nice taste test, i’ll let you know if this beers is worth your effort.


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