This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
1. The following recipe is for spruce beer (common), the ingredients being: forty-eight gallons of water, thirty-six pounds of molasses, one and one-half pounds of essence of spruce, one and one-half pints of good yeast. The method of making it is to put into a cask capable of holding the whole quantity, twenty-four gallons of cold water; boil twenty-four gallons more, and add it to the cold, then put in the molasses, with the essence of spruce. When the heat is reduced, so that the liquid is only just warm, add to it the yeast. Stir the contents well, and shake the barrel about, then leave it with the bung out for two days. After this bottle it at once, using strong stone quart bottles, and wire down the corks. In two or three weeks after bottling it will be fit for use.
2. Spruce beer (superior), is composed of the following ingredients: nine pounds of honey, three pounds of the finest starch, five ounces of essence of spruce, six gallons of water, and one-quarter pint of yeast. In making it, take three gallons of the water, boiling hot, and put it into a cask that will hold six gallons. Boil the starch to a very smooth transparent jelly in the ordinary way, work the honey well into it, and then stir them together into the boiling water in the cask, which fill up, so as to be nearly full; then add the essence of spruce, and when the liquor has cooled down sufficiently put in the yeast; shake the cask well, and leave it to work for two or three days, or rather longer if necessary. The quantity of yeast depends very much upon the state of the weather when the beer is made. If very warm, much less than one-quarter pint may be used, and if very cold, perhaps it may be necessary to increase the quantity. Before placing in the bung, which may be done as soon as the beer has ceased working, dissolve about one-quarter ounce of isin-glass in some water, and stir gently in to fine it. After the beer has been 52 in the cask a week bottle in stone bottles. In a week or so it will be fit to drink.
3. Two ounces hops, ten gallons water, two ounces chip sassafras. Boil half an hour, strain, and add seven pounds brown sugar, one ounce essence of ginger, one ounce essence of spruce, one-half ounce ground pimento. Put into a cask, and cool; add one and one-half pints yeast; let stand twenty-four hours, and bottle.
4. Essence of spruce, one-half pint; pimento and ginger, bruised, of each, five ounces; hops, one half pound; water, three gallons. Boil the whole for ten minutes, then add of moist sugar, twelve pounds (or good treacle, fourteen pounds); warm water, eleven gallons; mix well, and when only lukewarm, further add of yeast, one pint; after the liquor has fermented about twenty-four hours, bottle it.
It is regarded by many persons as an agreeable "summer drink". When made with lump sugar it is called "White Spruce Beer;" when with moist sugar or treacle, "Brown Spruce Beer".An inferior sort is made by using less sugar, or more water. It is made with one and one-quarter to one and one-half pounds of lump sugar per gallon, and without yeast; it may be kept a twelvemonth or longer in a moderately cool place.