Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
It’s been about a week and a half since I brewed up the newest version of the Spruce Ale. The fermentation had slowed, meaning that it was time to rack the beer. Below, I will list some observations.
This is one cloudy brew. It almost looks like cider. I remember that the others took a while to clear, but this one is even more extreme. I decided to add a small amount of clarifying agent.
Feels a bit too thin – not much body for this style of ale. Most likely this was caused by the accidental “protein rest” that occurred on brew day.
Hydrometer reads 1.024. Quite a bit higher then calculated FG of 1.014. The strange thing is that the fermentation was strong and at the correct temps. It still may drop down, but if not, we will have a drinkable 4.3ABV (vs 5.5).
This is the real surprise… It does not taste like a pine tree – despite the addition of 3.75lbs of spruce! Instead, it tastes crisp and clean. I would not be able to identify the spruce by the taste or smell. It is more of a citrus flavor – though I can’t decide on which one (not orange, or lemon… perhaps lime-ish?) There is also a slight astringency.
Initially, the plan was to use more spruce to “dry hop” half the beer. Instead, I decided to use actual hops. 2oz of cascade were added to 5 of the gallons. Another 2 will be added in a week. This is an experiment to see if it helps balance the final beer – remember, there were no aroma hops added during the boil.
This is an odd beer with an odd ingredient pushed to an extreme level. I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised when odd things happen. That said, I think it is going to be very drinkable. Let’s check back in a week or two.