BrewBlog: Red Rye Spruce Ale
Brewer: Brad Miller
Brew Date: October 16, 2010
Tap Date: November 7, 2010
Yield: 5.3 gallons
Color (SRM/EBC):
Bitterness (Calc): 30.3 IBU (Rager)
BU/GU: 0.66
Calories: 150 (12 ounces)
Conditioning: Keg
ABV: 5.1%
ABW: 4%
Batch No: 29
OG: 1.046
OG (Plato): 11.43° P
Target OG: 1.050
Reading 1: 1.012  (5 days)
Reading 2: 1.008  (8 days)
FG: 1.008
FG (Plato): 2.05° P
Real Extract: 3.75° P
App. Atten.: 82.1%
Real Atten.: 67.2%
General Information
Method: All Grain

Sort of my birthday beer (Oct. 7): two additions of Centennial to celebrate the 1976 Bicentennial, the year I was born; spruce and rye to use ingredients I've never used before. The spruce tips were picked from the tree in my yard in May 2010, just as the brown tips were falling off. The tips themselves were cut at 2 inch lengths before they got woody, so still green, fresh and very aromatic. They were frozen until brewday. The Centennials are just to support the spruce if in fact none or little of the spruce find their way into the beer.

The grain bill is quite kitchen sink so admittedly there's probably too much going on here. Pale malt is Rahr Pale Ale malt (1st use). The british crystal is Simpson's 75L. Any crystal malts could be used, they only make up 5% of the grist. If I make this again I would ditch the wheat and up the Munich to a pound or 10% of grist.


Scale Recipe
Enter desired final yield (volume):
Malts and Grains
6.00 pounds 62.3% of grist
2.00 pounds 20.8% of grist
0.50 pounds 5.2% of grist
0.50 pounds 5.2% of grist
0.19 pounds 1.9% of grist
0.19 pounds 1.9% of grist
0.13 pounds 1.3% of grist
0.13 pounds 1.3% of grist
9.62 pounds 100% of grist
4oz Spruce Tips @ 60 minutes  
4oz Spruce Tips @ 20 minutes  
Total Boil Time: 70 minutes
Name: Safale
Manufacturer: Fermentis
Product ID: US-05
Type: Ale
Flocculation: Medium
Attenuation: 75-79%
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium
Temperature Range: 59–75°F
Amount: 12 gr

To 4 gallons Milwaukee tap water add 1 tsp CaCl2 (actually added to grains) and 1/4 campden tablet. This gives the mash a residual alkalinity of 22 . For this type of beer I probably need no additions.

Heat to 180F and add to mash tun to preheat. Add grains when water temp is 163F to reach 154F mash temp. Rest 60 minutes.

2.5 gallons first runnings at 1.067 for ~88% conversion efficiency. Sparged with 3.75 gallons of campden-treated Milwaukee tap water to obtain 6.3 gallons of 1.040 preboil wort. This resulted in ~73% kettle efficiency, which is a bit lower than I expected.

Hops and spruce tips are added to hop bag during the boil to contain resulting mess. This will probably affect my efficiency of extraction with the spruce taking most of the hit, I think. The tips were very aromatic before and after the boil yet.

I usually shoot for 5 gallons post boil but I targeted 5.3 to account for transfer losses. That choice brings down my OG to 1.046 when I originally targeted 1.050.

Yeast pitched directly to wort when chilled to 64F in swamp cooler in basement (60F ambient).

10/18/10 Day 2 Temperature rises to 66F, exchanged ice packs. This brought the temp down 2-3 degrees over the next couple of days.

10/20/10 Day 4 Moved carboy out of swamp cooler, 63F

10/21/10 Day 5 Moved carboy upstairs. 65F and SG=1.012. Krausen falling, tastes citrusy. Not sure if thats spruce or Centennials.

10/24/10 Day 8 SG=1.008

10/26/10 Day 10 Kegged and put in freezer to 42F.

10/27/10 Day 12 Put CO2 to 14psi to set-and-forget.

11/7/10 Day 22 - Rye leaves a creamy mouthfeel and nice persistant head, in a clean glass. The spruce (or Centennial) is showing up a bit in the aroma and taste in the beginning and slightly at the end, so I'd like to think. I think it is a bit dry and still a bit undercarbonated even if it is set at 2.5 volumes now. I've heard significant amounts of rye may do that and a bit more carbonation might be required to make it a bit more crisp. Otherwise I think this one turned out well given my first use of the spruce.

12/23/10 - Spruce tips are becoming much more apparent as this ages. If I use again, I'll reduce by 50%. It's a kitchen sink beer, so I'll need to pare down the malt bill (Munich, wheat, black) or just strip it all down to pale and rye to pick out the rye, which I'm not convinced it has any flavor.


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