1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale - Yards Brewing Co.

Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce AlePoor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

387 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 387
Reviews: 183
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 17.6%


Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Based on Franklin’s original recipe, which called for barley, molasses, and essence of spruce, our Tavern Spruce is as approachable and engaging as was the man himself. We source blue spruce clippings from a local organic farmer, steeping them in the kettle to create this one-of-a-kind deep amber ale.

(Beer added by: GeoffFromSJ on 11-12-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 387 | Reviews: 183 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of bubseymour
bubseymour

Maryland

4.16/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up at "Good to Go" in Chambersburg PA on road trip. Haven't seen this one in MD

Looks like a great brown ale with nice 1 finger head. Smells malty and some sweetness and a slight sulfur metallic scent but very faint.
Has a very interesting and refreshing taste. Sort of a Vienna Lager but with something else which I guess is the spruce tips. Nice and different and it works. I definitely enjoy this one after doing 4 hrs of outdoor work today. It's a very refreshing and flavorful beer. Not sure if I'd go out of my way to find it but I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 17:39:15 | More by bubseymour
Photo of gillagorilla
gillagorilla

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Dark amber brown body that leaves almost no lacing. Basically no head, you only get a slight swirl of white bubbles in the middle if you swirl it. All there is is a light collar of bubbles.

S: Interesting smell here. It smells like what I would think the color red smells like. Sorry if that sounds weird, but I can't really place the scent. Slight sweetness that smells like it tastes.

T: Slightly sweet malt body that isn't like the regular taste of sweet malt. There is just this one dominant taste. Very light body, with only a slight lingering taste. I guess the difference in sweetness comes from the use of molasses and spruce.

M: Quite thin with only a tingling of bubbles/carbonation.

O: I've had douglas fir tea, but not a spruce tea. But they are both brewed with the tips. It is similar but the malt body makes it different. Different. I was most excited to try this one, but I have a feeling the porter in the series might be my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 07:54:33 | More by gillagorilla
Photo of Ursula1007
Ursula1007

Pennsylvania

4.98/5  rDev +39.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I love the robust depth of the nuances that play on the palate. Molasses is detectable and welcome. With Spruce tips and sprigs in the recipe, this original recipe from the Revolutionary War period, is to be cherished as an American beauty.
Nicely carbonated for those of us who enjoy a tinkle mouth feel.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 21:36:54 | More by Ursula1007
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear brownish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that gradually died down, leaving patches of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of molasses are present in the nose along with notes of dark malts and hints of spruce.
T: The taste follows the smell and has some hints of initial sweetness; there are notes of spruce tips in the finish. No bitterness is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This isn't that bad for a beer that followed Ben Franklin's original recipe. The spruce flavors aren't that strong, but seem to keep this from being too sweet.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 15:55:23 | More by metter98
Photo of IronLover
IronLover

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber in color with a brownish hue and perfect clarity. Poured with a short, off-white foam that reduced to a healthy cap that left sheets of wet lacings on the glass. Fresh, earthy spruce aroma along with sweet maple syrup notes and bready malt beneath. Medium bodied, slightly oily feel, refreshing carbonation over the top, and a crisp dry finish. Spruce flavor up front along with a slighty metallic taste. Sweet maple into the middle followed by a spicy, herbal tanginess. Finished crisply and dryly with an herbal, spruce aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 20:55:04 | More by IronLover
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was purchased at Wegman's, poured chilled in a glass mug from the 12oz brown bottle.

The color is deep brown like maple syrup with hazed clarity and thick beige cream with rocky head. The settling leaves a thin layer of average sized beads. The smell is very pleasant with slight herbal presence and mild sweet malt aroma. There is a good amount of malt body in the feel with medium carbonation and light bitterness with a slight dryness and low alcohol influence on the palate.

the Taste has a nice flavor of malt up front with a woody hop and the spruce provides a subtle earthy and clean element to the somewhat sweet flavor. The spruce is aromatic and contributes to the taste but the bready taste is the malts primary contribution with a subtle molasses element adding flavor toward the middle. Overall I really enjoy beers like this that have a traditional element or a backstory as to why the ingredients were used. I think this is very drinkable and would probably handle several in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 16:01:37 | More by Slatetank
Photo of BWED
BWED

Pennsylvania

3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tumbler.

A- Clear and brown. Light tan head retains okay. A couple spots of lacing.

S- Molasses and the spruce. Caramel undertones. Very sweet. Almost soda, like.

T- Light molasses and spruce again. Everything is very subtle.

M- Light. Slight dryness in the finish.

O- I respect that Yards has adapted the "original" recipe. But there isn't a lot to this beer. I wouldn't want to go out and buy a case of this.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 17:16:34 | More by BWED
Photo of IchLiebeBier
IchLiebeBier

Virginia

2.33/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: amber/bronze; small head; no real lacing

Smell: sweet, soda-like, almost like Pepsi with a whiff of ginger ale shandy; I can pick up the spruce smell because I know it's there, otherwise I wouldn't have figured spruce; I can pick up tobacco, too, after seeing it in a review.

Taste: Reminds me of a specialty soda from Panama Jack or something, or an attempt at a Shandy with the wrong ingredients; I can't describe the flavors any better; finishes with a dry, lingering aftertaste that seems kind of like tar, most likely from the spruce resins

Mouthfeel: thin and slightly flat

Remarks: I've wanted to try one since reading about it in Joy of Home Brewing, but I can definitely say this is not my thing

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 00:41:17 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of RandomExile
RandomExile

Maryland

3.05/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: brown amber, little head, spotty lacing at best
S: sweet, almost tobacco-like, definitely spruce
T: the spruce may be a gimmick, but it's definitely present; only slightly bitter; malty
M: light-bodied, a bit watery
O: Not much here, other than the novelty of pine. If you want a swing of Christmas tree, minus the Christmas ... here you go.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2013 03:28:39 | More by RandomExile
Photo of Beermaster70
Beermaster70

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

All about the Benjamins tonight. Copper appearance with nice head, lacing. Spicy aroma. Smooth to drink with an enjoyable flayor. Makes we want to explore other beers like it. Another winner for Yards, I am becoming a fan. Bought as part of a sampler case of the Revolution series.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2013 00:58:12 | More by Beermaster70
Photo of socon67
socon67

New York

3.74/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark copper pour with a beige foam that has lacing that clings. Small bubbles of carbonation are seen.

S - Very spicy beer. I smell English tea leaves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A mild malt profile is behind this beer.

T - Up front spicy notes that give an array of flavor. Nothing is overbearing and the taste is pleasant.

M - Balance could be a little better on this. Minimal carbonation, and leaves a bit of spice in the finish.

O - Maybe the best of the Ales of the Revolution. An easy drinking spiced ale that goes well with a light meal.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 18:28:40 | More by socon67
Photo of Act25
Act25

New Jersey

3.54/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a brown-amber with a 1 finger frothy, tan head w good retention. Much carbonation brings the cap back with a shake. Good lacing. Nice looking.

S: The nose is light, with more spruce, (air freshener one reviewer wrote, but I think that's unfair) than malt or molasses. This beer if only slightly stale would sink into soapiness and staleness, but as a fresh bottle, it's nice.

T: The flavor is light, with a thin sweetness start. caramel, hints of brown sugar and then more spruce as it goes along. It's interesting, but not for me. I could see it being better in a tavern, as a celebration, with a tavern meal, heavy on meat and sauce and sausage. Slightly sweet, and ice tea like. Low alcohol, making it an ok lunch time brew.

M: The mouthful is oily with thin-to-medium weight. Again ice tea like. Slightly original. Would be good in costume.

D: An authentic, iced tea-like ole time tavern ale with drinkability. I'd not have 2 in a row. But I'd order it at a tavern for sure.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2013 18:23:46 | More by Act25
Photo of Jeffreysan
Jeffreysan

Maryland

3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very dark, very murky brown color with a quarter of a finger of off-white head (the head also seemed to me to have flecks of green in it too, but that might have been my imagination due to the beer being brewed with spruce tips and sprigs) that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that practically covered the entirety of the beer. I’m actually surprised at the color, it’s so murky, almost like swamp water. I’m not too sure about that, as it makes for an unattractive beer.

Aroma: However, it doesn’t at all smell like swamp water, rather, I get malt and bread and some very earthy notes. Subtle yeast aroma as well. Finally, there’s some good floral notes present too, but not the evergreen spruce that I was expecting, more like grass and clover.

Taste: Floral notes up front, thanks to the spruce tips and sprigs that the beer is brewed with, followed by malt and caramel. There is a yeasty finish that I found pleasant too. Very interesting beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium, with some good carbonation to tickle the tastebuds, and a slight chewiness. Because of the low alcohol content, the beer only clocks in at 5% ABV, there’s practically no alcohol present on the palate, maybe just a slight hint.

Overall: According to Yards, this beer was crafted from Benjamin Franklin’s original recipe, using molasses, spruce tips and sprigs. It is a very interesting beer, with good flavor and mouthfeel, however, that appearance really puts me off. It certainly is a bottle beer for me, but just not one that I’m probably going to be searching out on a consistent basis. It was a great choice for the 4th of July weekend though, which is why I got it.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2013 21:33:05 | More by Jeffreysan
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a muddy brown with a burnt orange hue on the edges. There was a thin layer of head most of which dissipated rather quickly. The nose had the definite essence of spruce - like a Christmas tree in a glass. Spruce notes certainly were noticeable in the flavor profile as well. There was a mild hint of similar spices and a simple but pleasant semi-dry finish. This beer was a nice change of pace, but there is nothing particularly outstanding here beyond the creative use of the spruce flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2013 22:09:40 | More by 57md
Photo of admccabe
admccabe

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- I poured from bottle into pint glass, had a small head, dark amber color
S- I thought I smelled some honey, light "earthiness", something similar to coffee
T- This had a smooth taste, light taste of what I thought was pine. Had a molasses flavor, but not the "thickness" of molasses you can sometimes get with similar beers, this is where it tasted like light honey.
M- Light carbonation, suited the beer well as I think the flavors of it can be easily overwhelmed
O- Overall, I liked this beer. It was worth the purchase and I would get it again if I saw it at a bar.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2013 16:44:05 | More by admccabe
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

4.16/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours medium dark brown, some reddish tints, good white foam. Rings around the edge. Pine nose, molasses too. Syrup as well. Taste is a subtle sweetness. Slight root beer taste. Mint/spruce sprig taste. Smooth & flavorful. Pretty damn good original recipe.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2013 20:10:19 | More by KTCamm
Photo of Omnium
Omnium

Pennsylvania

3.84/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle > Alpine Spring glass
A - Pours a nice clear brown, one finger head with decent retention and lacing.
S - Smells like sweet toffee malt and a nice fresh pine and spruce hint with some spices, a little dried fruit, and hint of toasted nuts.
T - Good malt foundation that has just the right amount of spruce and other spices, a touch of mint and some earthy hops in the mix as well.
M - Good carbonization, well bodied, medium feel.
O - This is really refreshing and different, its not the best, but a good addition to this series.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2013 23:57:49 | More by Omnium
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Beige khaki head. Dark copper caramel color.

Flavor is of lots of spruce and spice. Very earthy and herbal. Some sweet malts. Not overly spiced which is nice. There is something that I taste but I can't determine what it is. It is really unique.

Mouthfeel is spiced and smooth. Medium bodied.

Overall, better than expected. Not overly spiced which is nice.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2013 16:19:42 | More by mothman
Photo of justintcoons
justintcoons

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip pint.

Appearance
Brownish amber with 1 fingers of loose, white head. Excellent clarity and moderate carbonation.

Nose
Spruce and mint.

Taste
Mint and spruce. Toasted bread and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel
Light-medium bodied, crisp, clean and refreshing.

Overall
It tastes like an Irish Red had a baby with some mint leaves. I like it!

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 17:30:12 | More by justintcoons
Photo of BeerKangaroo
BeerKangaroo

Alaska

4.34/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 1/28/2013:

Into a pint glass:

A: dark red body yields a two finger head that slowly concaves into the body, light lacing clings to the pint glass

S: spruce, molasses only comes out once the beer warms a bit

T: earthy/rustic sweetness through previously mentioned flavors

M: medium, sessionable, sweet spruce aftertaste, feels hot going down - I`m thinkin` spruce is doin' that b/c the abv is only 5%

O: these herbed/spice beers can be hard to judge b/c the spices and herbs vary so much that I can only say this one is very good to me because all of the previously mentioned aspects combine very well. This one goes against the grain for the rest of its style because I don't see too many beers made with spruce, molasses and sprigs. Well done Ben Franklin and Yards!

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2013 04:20:27 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of WissBrauSean
WissBrauSean

Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

This beer is in the category Herbed/Spiced Ale and it is a pretty broad category including pumpkin beers and the like. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Benjamin Franklin actually as it is one of his originals. Yards brewery has 4 beers in their Ales of the Revolution collection I believe and this is one of them. I suggest trying them all, they are really interesting.

This beer pours a deep amber to mahogany red colour with a thin rosy/tan head that fades to a tiny ring around the glass and leaves some nice mobile lacing on the glass. Very clear and attractive.

I poured this from a bottle at 50 degrees into a tulip glass and was immediately hit with molasses and malt sweetness. There is some slight aromatics of evergreen in there, spruce to be exact, but I couldn't really decipher it to tell the truth. I also read from another review about a tea aroma, I get that a little as well.

Throughout the sip is the base of caramel malt sweetness. I think it starts off that way and then mid way through a tea-like herbal taste sets in and smooths out some of the carbonation and then leads finish that is maybe a little bready, peppery and slightly hoppy. It's balanced a little better than you would believe by the aroma.

I think the mouthfeel is a little lighter than medium. Almost slightly watery, yet sweet. The carbonation starts off just above moderate and fades nicely ending well balanced and slightly dry.

Overall I think this is an excellent beer and only a tiny bit watery (like tea). It's hard to judge a beer of this category and that is the only thing that I think is wrong with the beer, if it is wrong at all.

Get out and try one because life is too short to drink crappy beer!

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2013 23:17:20 | More by WissBrauSean
Photo of dacrza1
dacrza1

New Jersey

3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Date: 13 January 2013...
Glassware: Hoegaarden tumbler...
Occasion: Golden Globes--what, no Hobbit? Guess I will be my wife's Les Mis date tonight...
Appearance: iced tea-colored body with a pencil-thin, hazy off-white head; sparse effervescence; not really a looker...
Aroma: spruce, yes, but cinnamon and nutmeg as well?...
Taste: the molasses is sweet but palatable; the spruce is not so pronounced at the tongue--elusive, flat malts...
Palate: smooth, unexpectedly soft and medium-bodied, with a warm ending despite the 5.0 abv...
Overall: Does Ben Franklin ever get anything wrong? This is curiously mellow and drinkable, but the profile is not quite the pine cone pinata I expected... warmed me on this winter's night for sure!

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 02:29:25 | More by dacrza1
Photo of SolipsismalCat
SolipsismalCat

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass mug.

A: Clear amber with two-finger, off-white, fizzy, foamy head that lasted a few minutes. Pretty good lacing.

S: Strong spruce aromas. Tea-like and sweet smelling.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Spruce and tea-like flavor up front, then caramel malt. Finishes with toasted bread.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

O: I like this much more than i was expecting to. Nice herbal quality to it.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 23:01:46 | More by SolipsismalCat
Photo of ianjsullivan
ianjsullivan

Maryland

3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ST: 12oz poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear brown with amber, red tints in the light. The head is half-a-fingernail off-white and the carbonation sounds like soda when being poured.

S: Sweet malt, spicy hint of spruce, a bit of molasses, and a slight woody aroma.

T: Mellow malt, a touch of molasses, and a bit of wood on the back before a clean finish.

M: Medium (surprisingly light though) and creamy

O: A mellow enjoyable drink. I wouldn't mind more spruce and wood flavors, and the body could be a bit more substantial, but there is nothing wrong with this beer. It really is a perfect quaffing ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 19:23:00 | More by ianjsullivan
Photo of abcdefghijkyle
abcdefghijkyle

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A brown amber color that I wasn't really expecting. Decent sized off white head with some lacing.

S: I primarily picked up tarragon and sage in the nose. The spruce is something that I never would've smelled had it not been the actual name of the beer. In some ways the smell reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing

T: The taste followed the smell for the most part, very herby and interesting.

M: Not a lot of carbonation going. Made for a fairly thick drinker. Not a bad thing at all.

Overall, I really thought this one was interesting and I'm really glad I gave it a whirl. I definitely wouldn't session with it but if the planets align again, I'll have it again. Another unique and quality brew from Yard's.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2012 06:17:33 | More by abcdefghijkyle
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 387 ratings.