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The only other topic I found on this was here: Using pine in beer - it was asked nearly 10 years ago and didn't have the answers.

Does anyone have experience with using pine in their brewing and if so, What was your method and how much (even roughly) would you say is an ideal ratio of beer/pine? Anything else you can say based on your experience with using pine with brewing? I'm keen to experiment but want to make a decent batch.

I have found that you can add either pine needles or pine buds or use branches with a brew with the following methods (source: https://www.brewingnordic.com/new-nordic-beer/brewing-with-juniper-spruce-fir-pine/):

  • Infuse the ingredients in hot water. Use the infusion for mashing and sparging
  • Add directly it to the wort or fermenter.
  • Filter the mash through branches.
  • Add the ingredients to the mash.
  • Infuse the ingredients in the wort.
  • Add branches, berries, or wood to a fermenter, keg, or cask.

I would be looking to add pine needles and/or buds with an infusion in the fermenter, or add them directly to the fermenter. I am still interested in any of the other methods though. I haven't found anything else on quantities except for one forum post here: https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/brewing-with-pine-or-fir-needles.360806/

Quote: " OP refers to the needles as 'pine'; whereas ... they come from a fir. No reason not to use them (other than if the tree was treated / sprayed with chems to preserve freshness). Some folks add them early in the boil. Some add them late. Having brewed a spruce ale ... a little goes along way. Added 1 dry pint of loosely packed tips @15" to a 2.5G batch. On a re-brew ... I'd cut that @least by half."

But this says nothing in terms of method of using the needles, and he was using spruce which may be a stronger or weaker flavour.

Thanks

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  • I asked a question a few years back about woods used to age and flavour beers, homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/17730/… in my research I found this quote from a thread on Beer advocate "While I haven't experimented with Cypress in beer, I have brewed with a variety of other conifers such as white pine, douglas fir, long leaf heart pine, and red cedar. None have been promising; all have imparted nuances of turpentine and/or other unfavourable chemicals. "
    – Mr_road
    Oct 12, 2022 at 13:28
  • Thanks. Although I understand this may be a risk, I have found some exciting flavours especially in younger needles as well as buds. Dec 10, 2022 at 5:15

2 Answers 2

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Among the conifers, there are two that are used in brewing; Juniper and Spruce. None are used widely I think.

You probably don't want to use Pine because all parts of the pine tree will add some level of turpentine-ish flavour.

Uses I am familiar with:

  1. a) Juniper berries - adds a sweet and spicy flavour to beer when added during boiling of the wort. Juniper berries have been used as a spice since time immemorial and has a very distinct taste. Try with a handful or so for a 5 gallon / 20l batch.

  2. b) Juniper boughs. The long boiling of juniper twigs and boughs (without the needles) have been used in beer recipes in Scandinavia since forever. Originally it was used as an emergency replacement for grain to add fermentables, but it also adds a unique taste. My great grandmothers Yule Ale recipe calls for boiling 1kg Juniper twigs no thicker than your little finger for 2 hours in 5l water and add the resulting liquid to the wort. (again 20l batch. Personally I would probably start with half that until you know if you like the rather distinct taste or not.) It will add to the OG of the wort and a residual sweetness to your final brew as the twigs will add both fermentables and unfermentable sugars. I would recommend it in the darker varieties as it will be somewhat overpowering in a pilsner type beer.

  3. Spruce needles: Young spruce needles added to the wort during boiling will add a light, fresh citrus-y flavour to your beer. Somewhat similar to the effect you get if you add hops 'tea' brewed in a pourover manner post-boil.
    You need to pick the needles early in spring, while they are still soft to the touch. The later they are harvested, the more bitter the taste and at some point it will switch over to turpentine. When harvested early enough, you can also make jams, jellies, or ice-tea from them. Traditionally (again from my great grandmothers recipes) it has been used as a hops replacement.

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  • I think this is the closest to an answer I will get. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I can experiment from here Dec 10, 2022 at 4:48
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You might want to check out "Unlocking Kveik's Mysteries" by Lars Marius. It's a documentary of sorts on the history and origins of Kveik yeast along with the traditional use of Juniper in the brewing process. Maybe follow up on Lars' blog or something if the video sparks any interest.

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