Spruce tips.

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Cosyden

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I’ve been looking for a Spruce wine recipe but so far I’ve fallen short. There’s a few references but they all seem to be based on opinion rather than actual experience.
Does anyone have any first hand experience of using spruce tips either as a main ingredient or just as an additional aromatic
I’ve got 1 gallon of spruce beer on the go at the moment just to try. It looks like dishwater but smells not too bad.
 

Cosyden

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I’m guessing that is a no.

Here’s the spruce beer (the brown brew at the centre back). It’s a very basic country type wine recipe using about a pound of brown sugar to 1 imperial gallon. It should ferment dry to around 6.5% abv and I’ll bottle with a little sugar to carbonate.
It wouldn’t be a big deal to use white table sugar or a mix and up the volume to make say 12%. If the beer turns out ok I’ll try a wine. Plenty of spruce around here. It would definitely be a cheap option if it turns out worthwhile.
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vinny

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Interesting. A+ for using what you have around you.

No experience with it. I'm just getting out of the starting gate myself.

I do have a ton of spruce on the property, though. I 'd appreciate an update down the road when you have had a taste.
 

BigDaveK

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No experience with it, either, but in my never ending unusual ingredient quest I have chewed the needles of 6 different conifers on the property. Not appealing to me. But I tasted mature needles - perhaps new growth has a completely different flavor profile. Guess I'll be chewing some trees this week.

Speaking of unusual - I have a boatload of mayapples. Ripe fruit edible, plant poisonous. Hmm....
 

Raptor99

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Let me know how this tastes. I have some spruce on my property as well. This is the first time I have heard of spruce tip wine.

@BigDaveK Taste (almost) everything! I might need to go out and chew on some evergreen tips.

Meanwhile, I'll wait for this year's hazelnut season to see what I can get from my trees. I love the idea of making wine from the things around you.
 

Cosyden

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I’m using Sitka and Norway Spruce tips but I’ve found a couple of references that suggest black spruce is the best.
I’m using the freshest new tips. They taste very citrus. Nearer grapefruit than orange and lemon and very ‘dry’ like a sloe berry. They hold a lot of flavour so I’m going to guess less is more. I’m using 250g in 4.5ltrs for the this beer.
I haven’t tried any pine. Some are poisonous as are some cedars. Once I work out which ones are safe I’ll probably give them a go too. Pine tea seems to be the big thing at the moment, flavoured with lemon and honey.

I also made some beech leaf wine last week. They have a light citrus nutty flavour so I’m looking forward to tasting that. I couldn’t find a recipe so I’m using 1.2kg in 8 ltrs and chucked in the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 orange and 1 grapefruit along with 1 ripe banana because that’s what I had.

Spring oak leaf this coming weekend. Then I think that will be hanging up my wine making gear until the strawberries in the garden ripen.
 

BigDaveK

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Let me know how this tastes. I have some spruce on my property as well. This is the first time I have heard of spruce tip wine.

@BigDaveK Taste (almost) everything! I might need to go out and chew on some evergreen tips.

Meanwhile, I'll wait for this year's hazelnut season to see what I can get from my trees. I love the idea of making wine from the things around you.

Oh yeah, I'll taste anything! If it's growing in the yard, though, I'd really like to know what it is. Too many toxic and drop dead now plants.

I'm looking forward to my hazelnuts as well! From what I've read most nuts have too much oil to be used for wine. However, Keller has a recipe for hazelnut mead and I'll try it for wine. I believe he puts them in the secondary but don't quote me.
 

BigDaveK

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I also made some beech leaf wine last week. They have a light citrus nutty flavour so I’m looking forward to tasting that. I couldn’t find a recipe so I’m using 1.2kg in 8 ltrs and chucked in the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 orange and 1 grapefruit along with 1 ripe banana because that’s what I had.
Very curious and interested in the beech leaf!
The very few recipes I've seen for leaf wines measure in volume - 4 qts for oak and just 1 qt for black walnut.
 

Cosyden

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Very curious and interested in the beech leaf!
The very few recipes I've seen for leaf wines measure in volume - 4 qts for oak and just 1 qt for black walnut.
If it’s any good I’ll post the recipe. If it’s rubbish I’ll likely never mention it again….

Yea, you’re right. The leaf recipes I’ve found all measure in volume but don’t state loose or tight packed etc. For ease of replication I just weighed what I had picked and chucked them in the pot. I’m hoping this is a good one as picking was a piece of cake. I’m also curious if copper beech will give me a pink wine.

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BigDaveK

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If it’s any good I’ll post the recipe. If it’s rubbish I’ll likely never mention it again….
Good or bad I'd like to know! Beech leaves are on the short list of doable leaf wines so it's definitely been done. It's on my list but near the bottom. Too much to do for the next few weeks to make any new wine. I'd like to experiment - are young leaves better than mature? Don't know, would like to find out.
 

Cosyden

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I'd like to experiment - are young leaves better than mature?
From what I can gather, for beech use young leaves only, oak any age leaf will work. I’ve no idea about walnut, birch, lime, but they are all options.
I used the very translucent beech leaves with hairy margins. All references say that the tannin rises as the leaves mature which makes them bitter but it might be worth a try anyway.
The local winery does a spring oak leaf and an autumn oak leaf. They are both lovely but very different. My personal favourite is the autumn oak.
 

VinesnBines

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From what I can gather, for beech use young leaves only, oak any age leaf will work. I’ve no idea about walnut, birch, lime, but they are all options.
I used the very translucent beech leaves with hairy margins. All references say that the tannin rises as the leaves mature which makes them bitter but it might be worth a try anyway.
The local winery does a spring oak leaf and an autumn oak leaf. They are both lovely but very different. My personal favourite is the autumn oak.
Can you describe the flavor of oak wine? I see recipes that use ginger; I like ginger wine.
 

Cosyden

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Can you describe the flavor of oak wine? I see recipes that use ginger; I like ginger wine.
Mmm, maybe. I’m not that sophisticated but I’ll give it a crack.
What you probably need to know is that I’m not keen on white grape wine of any type. The spring oak (from cain o’mhor winery near me) is quite close to a fresh zingy white wine. The autumn oak is heavier like a red wine or cider which is probably why I prefer it. Both have apple, citrus and peppery flavours running through. I could happily drink the autumn oak and nothing else.
Next time I’m passing I’ll pick up a couple of bottles. I’ll pay more attention to how they taste and take some notes.
if you’re interested Google “cairn O’mhor fruit winery, Errol, Perthshire”. They don’t take themselves too seriously hence the name (care no more).
 

VinesnBines

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Mmm, maybe. I’m not that sophisticated but I’ll give it a crack.
What you probably need to know is that I’m not keen on white grape wine of any type. The spring oak (from cain o’mhor winery near me) is quite close to a fresh zingy white wine. The autumn oak is heavier like a red wine or cider which is probably why I prefer it. Both have apple, citrus and peppery flavours running through. I could happily drink the autumn oak and nothing else.
Next time I’m passing I’ll pick up a couple of bottles. I’ll pay more attention to how they taste and take some notes.
if you’re interested Google “cairn O’mhor fruit winery, Errol, Perthshire”. They don’t take themselves too seriously hence the name (care no more).
If I can EVER get back to Scotland, that sounds like a "have to visit" spot. I'm beginning to despair...

Anyway, the autumn oak sounds like something I would like. Thanks!
 

Cosyden

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I bottled my spruce beer tonight. 8x 500ml clip top bottles and a small glass left over to try. I’ve got to admit I’m very pleasantly surprised. Very refreshing. It’s got a taste reminiscent of a light ale/larger type beer but without the chemical aftertaste. Definite citrus flavours. I’ve bottled it with 1/2 a tsp of white sugar in each bottle to give it some fiz. I’ll give it a week or 2 and then try it chilled. I reckon it will be perfect after a hot day in the garden.
If I make this again I’ll use unwaxed orange and lemon. Getting the wax out of the demijohn is proving difficult.
It’s sitting at around 6.5%. I like it as it is. I’ve no idea if it would be as good at higher alcohol content but will probably give it a go next spring.
 

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