Piney IPA

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Yalc, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    I’m looking for noticeable Pine aroma and flavor in my next IPA. I have Simcoe and have experienced the Pine notes from that one (no, this batch is not catty) so will definitely be using that. I don’t have Chinook but am seeing a lot of references online for that one.

    The non-fruity hops I have are Wilamette, EKG & Hallertau.

    Do you think one of those in combo with Simcoe would do or should I make the 1.5 hr drive to my “local” Homebrew store to get Chinook?
    chavinparty likes this.
  2. loebrygg

    loebrygg Initiate (162) Jun 4, 2016 Norway

    Definitely Chinook,
    in combination with Simcoe and Mosaic maybe
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  3. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Make the drive, chinook rules the pine taste.
  4. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    I do have Mosaic. Curious to know what you think it brings to the party? Think Christmas theme here.
  5. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (866) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

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  6. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (130) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Definitely Chinook, and Simcoe would be my second choice. I’d also consider throwing in some Columbus. It has some piney characteristics, but also some resiny, dank, herbal notes that help round out the “forest” vibe.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    @Yalc, firstly best of luck with your Christmas IPA!

    While selecting certain hop varieties (e.g., Simcoe, Chinook,…) is a step in the right direction the challenge for us homebrewers is that we have little control in what we purchase. When it comes to the hop customer ‘food chain’ we are at rock bottom.

    One of my favorite aspects of Simcoe (in the past) was its piney flavor but I have not noticed this flavor in years. I have homebrewed a number of times with Simcoe over the past couple of years and I picked up zero pine from them (despite healthy additions in the dry hop). The best I can figure is that the packets of Simcoe I purchased from the LHBS/on-line vendors lacked this quality (low in the terpene of pinene?).

    I have brewed quite a bit with Chinook but solely for bittering. Maybe Chinook is more consistent over the crop years and hop farm terroir its provision of pine flavor?

    Another option to brew a Christmas IPA is to brew using Spruce tips:

    If you are member of the AHA there is an article about brewing with Spruce in the May/June 2018 issue of Zymurgy.

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  8. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    For me, spruce tips gives a different taste than pine, but it will add to the complexity. Perhaps older tips will. I'll be trying that this weekend.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Please report back.

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  10. MrOH

    MrOH Champion (848) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Simcoe, Chinook, and Columbus
    hoptualBrew and GormBrewhouse like this.
  11. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    Going to pick up some Chinook tomorrow and brewing Saturday. Will report back in a few weeks.
    I’m in south Florida so no spruce tips. I do have a Christmas tree.........
  12. TheWorstBrewerEver

    TheWorstBrewerEver Initiate (40) Aug 10, 2016 Norway

    how about using some essential oil from pine? a quick google search found me some at least. A lot of them are 100% according to the seller, and the oils are perhaps what you will be after anyway?
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  14. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (118) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    Maybe this will help. :grin:

  15. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,755) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    The chart linked above (from Brewing Classic Styles) suggests Green Bullet, Southern Cross, and Super Alpha would provide piney flavor. But Chinook is going to be easier to source.

    So many fruity and multidimensional hop varieties have come out since this chart was first published that it probably would look pretty different if someone tried to update it. Perhaps someone has?
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  16. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Yah, I'd stay away from the stone fruit types of hops. Might cover up or muddle the chinook scent/taste.
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  17. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (120) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    chinook all the way.
    GormBrewhouse and loebrygg like this.
  18. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Aspirant (261) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I have lots of success with spruce and fir tips. Typically though I harvest the new growth around Mother's Day here in Central Pennsylvania. I vacuum bag them and chuck them in the freezer. Note that different varieties can add different flavors and aromas. I like Norway Spruce for an almost berry like smell and Concolor Fir tips for a more grapefruit note in both taste and aroma. A simple method of testing them is just to make a tea from the tips. Adding them at flameout is preferable. Adding them too early in the boil and you may have a nice carbonated Pine-Sol.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    What would be your definition of "too early"?

    Have you noticed this "Pine-Sol" effect with fresh growth spruce tips?

    jimboothdesigns likes this.
  20. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    @jimboothdesigns ,,,,agreed. I dump my fresh cut Norway spruce tips in the last 10 minutes. I don't think they add the "pine" scent/taste that chinook does. I also harvest in May, but after seeing another poster saying they harvest year round, I'm gonna give it a go.
    jimboothdesigns likes this.
  21. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    @JackHorzempa , I did notice a nasty sappy taste the one time I added fresh tips at 60 minutes and do not recommend it, in less you really like the taste od spruce gum.
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Did it remind you of Pine-Sol at all?


    P.S. While I have your attention let me regal you with a story. A few years ago a friend was thrown by his family (and significant other) a 50th birthday party. I remembered him telling me prior that he loved the smell of Pine-Sol so as a gag gift I bought him a bottle of Pine-Sol.
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  23. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Good gift.

    Honestly I really only remember that it had a pitch/sap taste that stayed in your mouth long after the swallow had occurred.

    Pine sol ,,,, I just can't say.

    Just don't dump a pint of tips in at 60 , hahahahahah
  24. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I know this is a Homebrewing forum, but Hey, both you guyz need to pick up a Ballast Point Spruce Tip IPA and report back on whether you think it tastes like Pine Sol :grin:

    Surely it is available where you are because it is owned by InBev :sunglasses:
  25. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (130) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Not sure if you’re trolling, since everyone seems to think that buyout=AB InBev, so I’ll say it just in case: Ballast Point is owned by Constellation. :yum:

    Either way, your point stands, as it should be available pretty much nationwide. Actually, that’s actually a Sculpin variant I wouldn’t mind trying. Should I not?
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I already have a 6-pack in my basement. I have not had one yet but I will indeed report on it in an upcoming New Beer Sunday thread where I will tag you and @GormBrewhouse. Spoiler alert! That post will be entitled "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!":grin:
    And don't call me Shirley!!:astonished:

  27. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    You've seen one multi-national've seen them all...can't keep up with all the sales between them :slight_smile:
  28. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Disciple (367) May 2, 2006 Utah

    I essentially did the same for the one Spruce-tip Pale Ale I've made. Picked new Norway Spruce growth, vacuum sealed (for a year, actually), and then added at the end of the boil (don't exactly remember the timing). I believed I used 5 oz for a 5 gallon batch. The young beer had a rather unpleasant finish (I was tempted to dump it), but with some cold conditioning that flavor went away. In the end I had a rather nice beer that my niece claimed was "like drinking a Christmas tree!" Cheers!
    jimboothdesigns and JackHorzempa like this.
  29. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (120) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

  30. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Aspirant (261) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Whether they are fresh or older tips, I would not put them in the boil for longer than maybe 5/10 minutes.
    GormBrewhouse and JackHorzempa like this.
  31. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (95) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    Wish this one was available, but looks like it might have been a one-off.

    Made with tips from fraser firs. I've sent an inquiry about possible re-release and asked about their fir tips additions.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  32. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Zealot (586) May 29, 2011 Florida

    Curious, why not order online? 3 hr round trip to LHBS does not sound fun.

    Chinook - Piney
    Columbus - Dank, pungent green
    Northern Brewer - Woodsy, pine, mint

    Simcoe has always given me more passionfruit/gooseberry than anything else.
  33. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (130) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Now that I reread the “Think Christmas” comment, I’d be inclined to agree on something like Northern Brewer as well. Minty evergreen flavors scream Christmas. Maybe axe or minimize the Columbus based on that same sentiment.

    Also maybe think about some other seasonal flavors... if you use a simple sugar as part of your grain bill, maybe replace it with brown sugar or maple syrup. I’m even thinking maybe a little time on some oak cubes/chips may not be out of place here.
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  34. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Surely you have tried one by now or have amazing self-restraint :wink:
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes, I am amazing!:slight_smile:

    The benefit of having over a dozen+ 'brands' of homebrews is that I do not feel great anxiety to try the beers that I have purchased.

    If it makes you feel any 'better' two of the Sculpin beers did get 'transferred' from my basement to my refrigerator last evening. Now all that awaits is the 'transfer' of the bottle to my belly!:stuck_out_tongue:

  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I posted the below earlier today in the New Beer Sunday thread:

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

    And what could be more Christmassy than a beer brewed with a Christmas tree? Ballast Point Spruce Tip Sculpin Ale in this instance.

    Below is the story behind this beer courtesy of The Beer Connoisseur website:

    “SAN DIEGO — Just in time for fall, Ballast Point, one of the nation’s leading craft breweries, introduces Spruce Tip Sculpin IPA – a seasonal twist on its flagship IPA. The limited-release beer will be available nationally beginning October 1.

    Sculpin’s complexity shines in this Spruce Tip edition. The addition of Oregon spruce tips, harvested from family farms, brings flavors of pine, red berry, lemon and wine grapes, which complement Sculpin’s citrusy hop profile. On the nose, the spruce tips contribute a unique piney, citrusy and woody character. A great brew for the holidays and beyond, the seven percent ABV Spruce Tip Sculpin is a standout in a forest of IPAs.

    Spruce Tip Sculpin IPA was inspired by Ballast Point’s “Roots to Boots” R&D program, which empowers employees to brew experimental beers. After growing up enjoying his aunt’s teas made with spruce tips, an employee in the program was motivated to add the spruce buds to an IPA he was creating. The beer yielded such a unique and delicious flavor that the brewers at Ballast Point knew they had to continue experimenting with spruce tips.

    “When we added spruce tips to Sculpin, we loved how the pine and berry notes accentuated the aromas and flavors already found in the beer. We thought it would make the perfect fall and holiday IPA,” said James Murray, vice president of brewing at Ballast Point. “Experimentation has always been in our DNA but the fact that the newest member of the Sculpin family was born from our ‘Roots to Boots’ program speaks volumes about our culture of innovation.”

    In a quest to bring a spruce-infused IPA to the market, Ballast Point called on San Diego-based Specialty Produce to source spruce tips from Oregon. The local produce company has sourced fruits, vegetables, and herbs for Ballast Point for more than ten years and shares the brewery’s commitment to quality.

    “Specialty Produce thinks about their sourcing in the same way we think about barley and hops. Quality always comes first,” said Murray.

    Spruce Tip Sculpin comes off the heels of Ballast Point’s recent spring/summer seasonal release, Aloha Sculpin. The original Sculpin IPA launched in 2005 and has since become the hallmark of the west coast-style IPA, winning gold medals at the World Beer Cup (2010, 2014) and European Beer Star (2010, 2011). The Sculpin family now includes Grapefruit, Aloha and now Spruce Tip.

    Spruce Tip Sculpin IPA is a fall/winter seasonal release and will be available nationally on draft and in six-pack bottles through February.”

    As I am sure some of you recall I have a bit of familiarity with Spruce beer having homebrewed a couple of batches of Spruce Ale using fresh growth tips from my next door neighbor’s Blue Spruce tree. My Spruce Ale is more of an APA brewed using fresh growth tips vs. the Ballast Point version being an IPA. For the interested reader you can read my post from last July on my second batch of a Spruce Ale:

    I wonder how a beer brewed with Oregon Spruce tips (Sitka Spruce I presume) would differ from a beer brewed using Blue Spruce tips? As the wise owl would say: “Let’s find out”.

    Served in my Spiegelau IPA glass:


    Golden colored with a two finger white head.


    My initial impression is piney. Perhaps some citrus in the background?


    The flavor is more expressive than the nose. The dominant flavor I am picking up is herbal but there is some pine there as well but of a lesser vibrancy. There is a very slight ‘burn’ in the back of my throat. This beer has a firm bitterness.


    Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. There is a subtle aspect to this beer that registers as ‘sticky’ for my palate.


    I think this beer is very good! I found the overall flavor profile (and mouthfeel aspect) to be quite intriguing.

    I think it would be prudent to emphasize that while this beer was brewed using a Christmas Tree (i.e., Sitka Spruce fresh growth tips) it’s flavor profile is not really like a Christmas tree. There are some piney aspects in the background but the flavor is not predominantly piney.

    For those of you still putting together your Christmas list for loved ones maybe this beer would be a good present for those beer drinkers on your list?


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