1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Red Spruce Bitter - Lawson's Finest Liquids

Not Rated.
Red Spruce BitterRed Spruce Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

72 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 10
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lawson's Finest Liquids visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
A winter seasonal brew infused with fresh sprigs of the red spruce tree and a dash of cinnamon that breaks from traditionally heavy holiday brews with a light body and refreshing zest.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 02-06-2009)
View: Beers (47) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of Knapp85
3.26/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This poured out as a decent looking brownish red color. The head was cream colored and had a light amount of retention and not much lacing at all. The smell of the beer is earthy with some decent malt aromas and spice. The taste of the beer is pretty mild, there is malt sweetness and spruce to bitter the beer up a little. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, nicely carbonated and drinkable. Overall it was a nice beer to try but I wouldn't have to seek it out again.

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of Slatetank
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to akorsak for this bottle, enjoyed chilled and allowed to gradually warm. I shared this with tenderbranson69 while brewing an oatmeal stout.

The color is deep bronze with crimson highlights and translucent in clarity. There is 2 fingers of creamy light beige capping w/ ultra fine beading and speckles of lace left on the glass, but retention is very good in spite of this. The smell is very full with nutty and bready malt w/ light spice and slightly earthy twiggy nose which doesn't hide the cinnamon - it is there in the background. The feel is creamy on entry with resinous and has light tannin with slight spiced effect and gentle roasted influence. The moderate carbonation is good and leads to a semi dry finish.

The strong malt backbone allows the mild roasted tasted to provide the base for the subtle yet flavorful spice and cinnamon flavors. The gentle woody taste is well blended with some toast and caramel from the malt and even slight stonefruit flavors. The hop flavoring is mild, but possibly adds to the woody flavor with an almost bark-like quality which translates to tannin adding balance and not overdoing it at all. The finish is lacluster which is why I didn't score the beer higher overall save for some woody/smoky elements. This was I beer I enjoyed because I am a fan of cinnamon. Really no ingredients are out of place and it was a very pleasing spice beer. I consider it perfect accompaniment to a sunny first day of spring in PA.

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of yourefragile
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle picked up at Warren Store. 2012 vintage.

Pours a clearish chestnut amber with a small cream colored head. Earthy and leafy aroma with bready malt and mild sweetness and a touch of cinnamon. Flavor tastes like a traditional ESB crossed with an exceptionally woodsy Anchor Xmas beer. Doughy malt body, earthy hops, and spruce (?), cinnamon and pine. Medium thick, creamy body with a dry, woodsy finish. Adequate but not worth seeking out.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes 1/29/11.

A: Pours a very hazy brown with a 1.5 finger off white head. Patches of lace were left behind.

S: Get a nice bready aroma, a lot of cinnamon as well. A slight floral hop aroma and a little bit of toasted malt as well.

T: The spices come through very nicely, especially the cinnamon. The flavor reminds me of mulled cider almost with some spruce mixed in. There is a thick bready flavor component and a lot of malt, coming through in some caramel and toffee. The flavors get more pronounced as it warms.

M/D: Medium bodied and extremely creamy and smooth. A lot going on in this beer, a really nice one for the colder months, and amazingly it is only 4.4%. Really like this one a lot.

D: Quite a bit of flavor and complexity for weighing in below 5%. A nice blend of flavors that has a distinctive bite.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is dark copper colored and clear with a small tan head. The aroma brings light spruce and pine. A nice sweet, fruity malt scent charcteristic of a red ale. Biscuits and bread tones in the English style. Lawson's wanted to make an English style red and they succeeded. Exactly what I would expect. Fairly light in body. Light bitterness in the finish with very mild alcohol. A sessionable brew. I am enjoying this.

Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A foil-wrapped 650 mL bomber from the Warren Store, bottle 60 of batch 178. Served in a tumbler.

A: The beer has a rich mahogany color, displaying sharp orange highlights when the light is just right. Generally opaque, the ale supports over three fingers of off-white head. Rare patches of lace followed.

S: Quite malty, plenty of syrupy strong caramel. That base supports shaved cinnamon spices. Alongside the spice, a full hoppiness, very arboreal, comes through. I liken it to an English Old Ale (save for the spruce).

T: Warming and malty, the cinnamon registers first. The fullness seemingly betrays some curacao orange sweetness as well. Plenty of malts, aiding the Old Ale argument. Caramel and toffee are bold but not too strong. The spruce adds an undercurrent of flavor that runs throughout the ale, a spry lively flavor that is piney. For those seeking a comparison to Short's India Spruce Lager, look elsewhere because the spruce is a complement and not the star of the show here. That being said, it is difficult to overlook the unique flavor. The additional hops add a strong zest. It's not what I expected (see India Spruce Lager) but it exceeded my expectations (wrap your head around that one).

M: The mouthfeel, expect for the spruce, is a pleasant English old ale/warmer, toffee and caramel with a mild spiciness. Add the spruce and the beer goes in a whole new direction.

D: Quite a bit of flavor and complexity for weighing in below 5%. A nice blend of flavors that has a distinctive bite.

Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of PEIhop
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of chippo33
2.5/5  rDev -34.7%

Photo of Brad007
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark brown/burgundy-ish color with a thin head into my glass. It's brewed with red spruce tips and extremely low in ABV.

Can only be described as soft, "earthy" and non-threatening. Hmm. It doesn't use hops though.

Drinks like a nice herbed or spiced ale. A spot of caramel here and there with some spiciness. The spruce is hardly noticeable.

Not sure how to rate the mouthfeel but it's possibly over-carbonated. All this does is push the alcohol further into the taste buds creating a burning sensation.

Not the best they've produced. Worth a shot if you're into non-conventional beers.

Photo of THECPJ
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 1/29/11:

Appearance: orangish red brown with 1 fingerhead

Smell: Cinnamon / nutmeg, biscuit,

Taste: Cinnamon, spice, mulled cider

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth,

Drinkability: Very drinkable, very interesting and complex brew. Would be perfect to drink around a fire.

Cheers,

The CPJ

Photo of ShemRahBoo
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of millerbuffoon
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of msubulldog25
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. brown bottle, wrapped in elegant gold foil... and a not-so- elegant desktop printer-quality label. No worries, it's what's inside that counts. Cool that each bottle is hand-numbered (Rare Batch #171; Bottle #9) and signed by the brewer! Thank you goes to sleepydave for sending one westward; poured to an Adnams nonic pint.

"Lawson's 2010 winter holiday ale is a special bitter brewed with English malts, Fuggles hops, real sprigs of Red Spruce trees picked at the brewery, a dash of cinnamon & fermented with an English-style yeast. Enjoy! 4.4% alc.vol."

STRAIGHT FROM THE GREEN MOUNTAINS TO YOUR HEAD

A: What a filthy pour! Muddy hazelnut rust-brown, just translucent enough to show a bounty of fast-moving carbonation. not an issue with jostling the bottle, it's just that unfiltered I guess. A finger-high dollop of dense khaki rises and falls, leaving a thin skim and lace in loose drapes.

S: Expected more aroma, to be honest. With spruce and cinnamon as add-ins, my hopes for cut evergreen and bakery-fresh rolls were too high. Not a bad scent at all, just very mild - even as it warmed, the spice and sappy greenness remained remarkable only for their subtleties.

T: Now THAT'S an interesting flavor. The biscuity and nutty malts and the mildly-spiced hops ascend to a higher plane with the addition of bark-like cinnamon and spruce branches. A nice trick on the senses, the way these flavors mirror things 'wintry', both real and imagined. Bitterness does hang around as a 'ground nutshell' earthiness, even a slight tart twang. I'll write it again: Interesting.

M: Quite creamy, an effervescing carbonation that catches up just as it slides off the back of the tongue. Seems thicker than it is, due in large part to a sticky malt and fine graininess.

D: An appropriately-fortified 'English Bitter', it's measly 4.4% strength epitomizes session-worthiness. Don't know if this is one you'd WANT to have all night, but you could. And it's one I'd definitely recommend... and will pine for til I get another...

Photo of koopa
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle #92 of batch #178

Appearance: Pours the color of dark iced tead with a really nice 2 finger slightly off white (iced tea stained) crown that shows good retention and lace. If the brew were a touch less cloudy I'd score it a 5.0

Smell: Malt dominant with cinnamon and spruce adding some interesting support.

Taste: Same as the nose but less cinnamon and malt. Just a spruced amber thing for the most part. Slight bitterness from the spruce is pleasing.

Mouthfeel: A touch grainy and a bit watery. A bit pedestrian compared to the other fine Lawson's offerings I've tried.

Drinkability: Decent.
Mouthfeel:

Drinkability:

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of MDDMD
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-deep red brown color with a cream-colored head and good lacing

S-roasted malt, caramel , cinnamon, very aromatic spruce

T-roasted malt, caramel, cinnamon, heavy spruce flavors, light citrus, mild to moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-interesting beer with some really good flavors, wish the spruce was toned down just a little

Photo of papat444
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***Rare Batch #252, Bottle # 20***

Poured from a bomber, bottled 12/29/2011.

Appearance: A very foamy head forms above a brown looking body which is actually dark red when held to the light. The head sticks to the glass all around.

Smell: Strong malt and some minerals, typical of a good bitter. Some spruce needles in the back somewhere.

Taste: Bready, malt stronger than hops. Spruce is reminiscent of what spruce needles smell like. More of a feel than a specific flavor. No cinnamon to speak of.

Mouthfeel: A crisp feel, well balanced with medium carbonation. Sticks around in the palate.

Overall: A bit disappointed that the spruce wasn't stronger and that there was no hint of cinnamon, even at room temp. It is still a well made bitter but don't expect too much of the special ingredients to come through.

Photo of CoolEthan
2.75/5  rDev -28.2%

Photo of iatethecloudsfor
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Red Spruce Bitter from Lawson's Finest Liquids
86 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.