Parks Canada

Bellevue House National Historic Site

How to Make Spruce Beer

An authentic Victorian-era recipe.

Read

Kitchen Garden at Bellevue House National Historic SiteParks Canada

The heritage grounds and gardens at Bellevue House National Historic Site in Kingston, Ontario, have all you need to make authentic Victorian-era spruce beer.

Kitchen Garden at Bellevue House National Historic SiteParks Canada

Europeans learned to consume spruce from Indigenous Peoples in North America.

Bellevue House National Historic SiteParks Canada

By the time construction began on Bellevue House in the 1840s, spruce beer was commonly known to Europeans in North America and at home.

In fact, when it was published in Kingston in 1831, The Cook not mad, or Rational cookery, included a recipe for brewing spruce beer.

Bellevue House HopsParks Canada

Recipe for brewing spruce from The Cook not mad, or Rational cookery :


Ingredients:
4 ounces of hops
1 gallon of water
16 gallons of warm water
2 gallons of molasses
8 ounces of essence of spruce dissolved in 1 quart of water
1/2 pint of emptins (ale yeast).

Bellevue House HopsParks Canada

Step 1
Boil the hops in 1 gallon of water for half an hour.

Step 2
Strain the hops, then add the warm water, molasses, and essence of spruce. Put the mixture in a cask and shake well.

Step 3
Add the emptins, then let the mixture stand for about one week.

Non-alcoholic Beverage at Bellevue House (2017) by Parks CanadaParks Canada

Step 4
Separate the mixture into bottles, and add a spoonful of molasses to each.

Enjoy experimenting with spruce beer at home! 

Please note that this recipe was reproduced from a cookbook published in 1831. Reduce quantities as required for smaller batches.

Credits: Story

The Cook not mad, or Rational Cookery. Kingston: James Macfarlane, 1831.

Sylvanus Urban, Gentleman's Magazine, 1752.

Download the Parks Canada national app

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.