Spruce Beer

Young growth on Norway Spruce

12th June 2013

At this time of year the young growth on the conifers has reached its maximum size but it still a vivid, bright lime green colour and hasn’t started to darken and harden. This is when it’s at it’s best for using.  Learn wild food cookery in one of our  foraging courses in the UK.

These growing tips on all species of pine, spruce and fir can be used for a variety of things, just make sure it isn’t Yew which also has pale green new growth at this time of year. Yew has very dark, flat leaves rather than needles and doesn’t have a strong smell when crushed.

I came across a large stand of Norway Spruce Picea abies which had lower branches within reach enabling me to collect a decent amount so have decided to give this spruce beer recipe a go. It is based on one in Roger Phillip’s Wild Food, which originated in Russia.

Young growth on Norway Spruce



  • 750g young spruce tips (Norway or Sitka)
  • 9 litres of water
  • 80g horseradish sauce or 6 teaspoons fresh grated horseradish
  • 850g water
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 100g black treacle
  • 6g beer yeast



Put the spruce tips in a large pan with the water and the horse radish and bring to the boil. Boil for 30 minutes then stir in the sugar, golden syrup and treacle. Stir until dissolved.  Strain into a large container and allow to cool to room temperature before sprinkling on the yeast. Cover and leave to brew for 6 days. Siphon into bottles. I recommend old plastic pop bottles as you can see if the gas is building up in them and unscrew the lids to vent them is necessary.  It is ready to drink after 1 week in the bottles.

I’ll let you know what it is like in a fortnight!

Kev Palmer

Related posts