1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Red Spruce Bitter - Lawson's Finest Liquids

Not Rated.
Red Spruce BitterRed Spruce Bitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

72 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 9
Gots: 3 | 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:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 02-06-2009

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.
View: Beers (48) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 22
Photo of gratefulbeerhead
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of Adrianized
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of Yabev15
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of papat444
3.83/5  rDev 0%
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 henskejk
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes

A - Medium brown color, light tan head which retains fairly well

S - Mostly wintery spices detectable in the aroma

T - strong cinnamon flavor, but also somewhat refreshing. a little bit of other spices present and a little bitter in the after taste. does not end overly sweet like some other winter beers

M - Really smooth with light to medium body, nicely carbonated

O - Very enjoyable and drinkable holiday beer

Photo of csiewert
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of rondufresne
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of rdufresn
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Beerdster
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of jh1982
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of nathanjohnson
4/5  rDev +4.4%

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 THECPJ
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
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.



Photo of mdaschaf
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
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 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.


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 kingcrowing
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip, 2010 vintage.

Pours a nice dark hazy brown with a generous, creamy light brown head. The nose is fantastic, spruce and cinnamon dominate with some light maltiness.

Taste is just as you'd expect from the nose, it's super unique - cinnamon and spruce are what you get first. The malt and hops take a back seat. Mouthfeel is a bit light with fairly thick carbonation - a pleasant surprise as I didn't know what to expect with a spruce & cinnamon beer!

Photo of msubulldog25
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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."


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 jlpayne
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky. Little head, some lacing. Deep brown with a light red hue.

S - Pronounced nose. Soy sauce and ginger within a forest of pine. Even a bit of dish soap - in a good way.

T - Cinnamon rolls. Freshly cut, sappy wood.

M - Crisp. Light-bodied. Effervescent.

D - This is an intense beer. Half of a 22oz was enough for me, though I'd definitely be willing to share this beer again.

Well done LFL. The most unique seasonal I've had this winter.

Photo of abuliarose
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

T'is the season for spiced beers. Poured into a Heady Topper pint glass, revealing dark opaque chocolaty brown body under two fingers of thick tanned head. Pretty thing. Smells hoppy and lightly spiced with a nice earthy sap smell. I'm not a spruce connoisseur but the evergreen aroma blends in well with the hops. Pear nectar sweetness comes through as it warms a little, along with a little jasmine tea. Simple smells, but refreshingly clean.

Tastes spiced with a big spruce presence. If you have ever made tea from the needles you will taste it here. Nice clean finish. Chewy. The pear echoes in the malty sweetness along with the dash of cinnamon. Very wintry and very unique. Mouthfeel is creamy and thick with supporting carbonation. Very drinkable; drinks like a meal.

Overall I like it quite a bit. Wish I had more for the winter season.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #171
4.4% ABV

Poured into an Alchemist pint glass. A murky brown body with an orange-red tint supports a finger's worth of white creamy head on top. Light lacing.

Lots of bread, sugar cookie and a hint of cinnamon on the nose. The spruce actually comes through faintly as well. English malts make up the base.

Wow, this is a cool beer. It tastes like Christmas in a glass. Spruce, light cinnamon and sugar cookie malts. It feels like the spruce tree is in the bottle, but not overbearing.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, but still substantial, especially for a 4.4% ABV beer. Slightly bitter and a little resiny. Good.

Drinkability is high. At 4.4% ABV this beer is definitely sessionable. I love how it tastes like winter/Christmas in a glass, but isn't your typical winter warmer, which is a style I don't like very much. The spruce also comes through well in the flavor, which I wasn't really expecting. I'm kind of wishing I had picked up another bottle of this.

Photo of BTPete
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured to pint. I've had this beer a few times.

A: Reddish in color with a thin head that doesn't stick around.

S: Malty, piney, spices in the nose. I am picking up something that is almost maple in character. I'm guessing it is the spruce.

T: Really nice and malty up front. Actually kind of smooth. It ends with a cinnamon and spruce taste which is actually great and a little surprising at the same time.

M: Medium bodied, relatively low carbonation but it works.

D: Good and really interesting. I've yet to be dissappointed by a Lawson beer. This one seemed like it was going to be unique and it fit the bill while being really tasty. It was also really drinkable at only 4.9% I have shared this beer with a few people and most people really enjoyed. Was my last bottle though, so maybe again next year. I'd grab another couple of bottles.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Red Spruce Bitter from Lawson's Finest Liquids
86 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.