Spruce Tip Ale Review – Wolf Tree Brewery
SPRUCE TIP ALE…
Spruce Tip Ale is Wolf Tree Brewery’s flagship beer. It’s a lightly hopped malty American Brown Ale packed to the hilt with spruce tips. So… what are spruce tips? The tips, or new growth, of Spruce trees at the end of the branch becoming a limb, essentially. Small tips are tender and concentrated and loaded with vitamin C yielding a sweet citrusy taste. When Spring arrives Joe’s harvesting spruce tips with family and friends off the juvenile Sitka Spruce trees 3 to 10 years old that grow abundantly on the ranch.
Ten to fifteen people picking tips and chugging beer half the day can yield approximately 150 pounds. Afterwards he packs and freezes wet spruce tips and brews it year round. He’s found using fresh or frozen tips hasn’t affected the flavor. However, batches do taste different depending on the type of spruce tips used, for example, Sitka Spruce, Engelmann Spruce, Blue Spruce, Brewer Spruce, etc. “In my opinion,” Joe claims, “the best one is Sitka Spruce. And that’s what I use.” There are more spruce tips in this beer than any other around. One pound per five gallon keg. It’s the real deal. Although it has a low 20 IBU, spruce tips provide just the right amount of astringency to balance the malts evenly. Some call it ‘time travel beer’ despite it’s moderate 6.5% ABV. “4 pints it’s black out drunk!” Joe laughs. It’s possible that spruce tips may be an additional fermentable that isn’t completely accounted for. 6/6 Bottle Caps. Doesn’t get any better!