2013 was my first year to brew Sprøøs Jøøs, an English Old Ale with blue spruce tips gathered from around Annapolis. I brewed this beer for the Brews by the Bay fundraiser for the Annapolis Maritime Museum, where the beer won best use of local ingredients. This was one of my favorite beers from that year, and I wanted to brew this beer again for 2014, but with some minor changes.
Instead of using hippy power this year, I went a different route to get my spruce tips. At Brews by the Bay one of the people attending had connections in Alaska and offered to hook me up with Alaskan Sitka Spruce tips. Then in May I received the following photo with a promise that they were on their way.
What was delivered was three pounds of incredibly flavorful spruce from Kodiak Island, Alaska. The Alaskan Sitka spruce has a slightly different flavor than Blue Spruce grown in Annapolis. Annapolis spruce has a mild citrus flavor with a hint of pine. The Alaskan spruce is full of fruit flavors, citrus, and only the slightest touch of pine. The only way I can describe the flavor is that it’s like chewing Juicy Fruit gum in a citrus orchard.
The goal is for the same level of malty sweetness as last years version, but with a little more alcohol. I decided to scale back the amount of spruce in the 2014 version because of the intense flavor of the Alaskan grown spruce. This year I only made a single 90 minute boil addition of the spruce, and skipped the 15 minute addition entirely.
For increased alcohol I upped the base malt by about 15%, but I also switched from 2-Row Pale Ale malt to Maris Otter for some additional maltiness.
One half of this batch is currently kegged and on tap. The other half just went into bottles this past weekend. I’ll have tasting notes for both in the near future.
Sprøøs Jøøs 2014 Recipe – 11 Gallon Batch
– 15lbs Maris Otter Pale malt
– 5lbs Bairds Munich Malt
– 4lbs Wheat malt
– 2lbs Briess Caramel 40L
– 1lb Weyermann Caramunich II
– 1lb Briess Caramel 80L
Single infusion 152F saccharrification rest for 60 minutes
– 1lb Sitka spruce tips @ 90 minutes
– 1.1 oz Columbus 17.0% AA @ 60 minutes
– 1.0 oz Hallertau 4.0% AA @ 15 minutes
– 0.5 oz Fuggle 4.0% @ 5 minutes