In a previous post, I mentioned that I had a couple of disappointing homebrews in a row, before I got back on track with my Holiday and Rye ales. This is one of the troublemakers. It's definitely a nice looking brew - almost black with a creamy brown head. It also has a nice body. The problem is in the spruce. Spruce is not a prominent type of tree here in Florida, so when I decided to try a spruce ale, I had to go with an extract. That's where I went astray. There were no instructions on how much to add, so I put in a couple of drops per bottle, thinking it was a reasonable amount. Wrong. The overwhelming smell and taste of spruce extract overpowers what would have been a nice dark ale. It's malty, and roasty, but the spruce comes in STRONG. My father-in-law usually enjoys my homebrews, but he won't drink this one. Fortunately, I brew in small batches, so there aren't too many left - even though I'm the only one who'll drink it. My other less-than-desirable recipe also involved an extract, so I'm swearing off of them. From now on, only natural flavorings and ingredients for me.