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1796 Spruce Beer

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1796 Spruce Beer

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Beer Style: American Pale Ale, American Amber Ale 
Recipe Type: extract
Yield: 1 gallons


"American Cookery" was the first American-written cookbook published in America. Previous efforts were adapted from English cookbooks, written by men. This cookbook focuses on new world ingredients and was written by a woman, Amelia Simmons - who is mentioned to be an American orphan on the original edition of this book. Not much is known about Amelia, but this is her recipe for spruce beer. The cookbook is actually a very interesting read about a multitude of cooking subjects from a colonial American's perspective.


  • 1 lb Corn Syrup
  • 1.5 oz Molasses
  • 3.5 g Cascade (30 min)
  • 0.25 oz Cascade (10 min)
  • 1 oz Spruce Tips (5 min)
  • 0.25 oz Cascade (flameout)
  • Danstar - Nottingham Ale Yeast

Additional Instructions

Primary Ferment: 14 days at 68 degrees

Beer Profile

Alcohol by Vol: 0.0%
Color SRM: 0.0
Bitterness IBU: 0.0
Recipe Type: extract
Yield: 1.0 Gallons
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Start with 1.25 gallon of water. When boiling, add molasses (not corn syrup/golden syrup), spruce tips, and hops according to schedule, and boil for 30 minutes total.

Strain hops and spruce tips out of mixture into another pot, remove from heat.

Add 1lb golden syrup or corn syrup. One bottle of Lyle's Golden Syrup is about 1lb. If you don't have fresh spruce tips, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of spruce essence. Stir until dissolved.

Cool to approximately 70-80 degrees, transfer to a 1 gallon jug, and pitch 1/2 packet of Gluten Free yeast like a Danstar variety (Nottingham preferred). Ferment about 2 weeks, then bottle.

Use 1oz of dextrose or 0.9oz table sugar at bottling for carbonation.

Please note: This is an adaptation of the Spruce Beer recipe from American Cookery. This recipe was written mentioning "molasses," however this is what we would call light molasses/golden syrup today...not dark molasses or blackstrap molasses. Dark or blackstrap molasses darkens the color of the brew and changes the flavor characteristics (the 1oz addition of molasses is in fact dark/blackstrap molasses - for color mostly). Ensure that you use golden syrup (like Lyle's) or corn syrup, NOT dark or blackstrap molasses for the 1lb addition.

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