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

Not Rated.
Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce AlePoor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale

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

451 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 451
Reviews: 189
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 17.65%
Wants: 18
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
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
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Ratings: 451 | Reviews: 189 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Sammy, Oct 20, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -10.9%

Served in a pint glass.

Pours a moderate brown-amber color with an off-white head and a tiny amount of lacing. The nose is dominated by the spruce and there isn't much else there. Maybe a tiny bit of light brown sugar. A bit of bready malt.

The nose brings some more pine and spruce as well as a bit of light earthy character. Some other mild herbs there as well. A bit of very light sweetness and bread crust, but this is a bit plain and relies too heavily on spruce alone. Feel is fairly light with good carbonation. Interesting, but not all that great.

Thorpe429, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -9%

zestar, Tuesday at 09:06 AM
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -2%

acurtis, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of metter98
3.51/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

metter98, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of brentk56
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a cloudy dark amber body, small head and no lacing

Smell: Herbal aroma from the spruce and molasses

Taste: Overwhelming herbacious taste; somewhat medicinal

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting brew, but not my cup of tea; just a little too over the edge; I much prefered the Poor Richard's from Olde Hickory in North Carolina

brentk56, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
1.85/5  rDev -48.2%

First I wanna mention the really cool blue bottle this came in, nice touch. Poured a very dark amber with a big creamy white head. Slow fade left a thick coating of gooey lace on the glass. This looked very very nice, but looks can be decieving. Smell was how do you say, odd. Smelled like a pine tree air freshner, very dry, with hunts of flour, yeast, almost tree bark. Caramel, bread, and other sweet smells came through as it dried. The taste did not suit me well at all. Only word I could think of is huh? Tasted like a soda, very light and highly carbonated. Sugary, amost trying to be fruit like but not making it. Did have a dry finish, but I could barely get the glass down. This was one of the strangest beers I have ever drank. It was like chewing on a fresh cut xmas tree, but not in the good way.

mikesgroove, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Knapp85, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%

Served in a Killian's imperial pint glass.

Pours a cluttered light ruby brown with a small white bubbly head that doesn't really lace much at all. The smell has a lightly syrupy smell, with some subtle piny and floral notes as well. The spruce comes through pretty well in the taste, with some light hoppy bitterness, pine needles, and some subtle molasses as well. The body is nicely moderate, but there's a sharp tinge of carbonation at the end that serves to keep things a little awkward. That aside, this is a nice, solid, drinkable brew.

TMoney2591, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%

On tap at the City Tavern in Philadelphia. Deep copper with orange tints. Solid cream colored head. Distinct malt & hop aroma, but not real specific. The yeast character is prominent: lightly fruity, some vanilla, perfumy, quite unique. Fruity malt up-front, thin bodied, almost Belgian in a way with some earthiness. Some hop flavor mid-swallow leading into a bitterness that coats the back of the mouth and throat - very solid. Long lasting malt finish that just lays in your mouth. Very English except for the strength. A good pint that combines a good drinkability with a decent amount of complexity.

NeroFiddled, Jan 05, 2003
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%

First off, I love the glass. I wish it was used more. The earthy and leafy profile on this beer and a minor caramel like sweet tone make it a really nice one to sip on. After a while it seems to lose its interesting edge, but I still think it is pleasant. Kind of a slick mouthfeel and a very low carbonation. This started out well and kind of dropped off at the end. Still a decent beer though.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Gotta love the blue bottle plus it keeps more light out than the other varieties...appears a chestnut ruby amber in body with a nice tan head leaves some even thick coats of lacing down my glass. Aroma is very pleasant with outdoorsy spruce tips, fruity toastsed malt tones with an evident maple syrup character, however I stand corrected b/c the label states it contains molasses I can definitely smell some concentrated thickened sugar. Flavor...spruce ain't no joke, kinda like drinkin' your christmas tree water, but in addition to the pine tree flow this beer offers subtle malt sweetness with the spicing coming from the tree nice flowing ale. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lighter more moderate carbonation but the flavors stay on the palate. Drinkability is definitely one of the most interesting brews I have had in awhile I'm glad I gave it a go can't wait to try more strange colonial style brews.

WVbeergeek, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%

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.

Slatetank, Feb 02, 2014
Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%

Not sure where or when I first had this.

Somewhat hazy, reddish-brown pour, with a half inch or so of foamy white head. Aroma is herbal with notes of spruce and dark sugar. I'm definitely not a big fan of spruce or juniper flavor (I hate gin with a passion), but fortunately this beer isn't too potent in that area. Taste of woody spruce and sap, fairly balanced by brown sugar sweetness and molasses, herbal, nutty, with somewhat medicinal notes. Medium body, and decent overall. For what it's worth, this is okay, but it's not something I'd go for more than once or twice in a lifetime. Luckily Yards has lots of other good stuff to chose from.

Rifugium, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of oline73
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear dark amber color with three fingers of off tan head that leaves only a layer as it fades.

Smell: Definitely picking up the spruce, along with some caramel malt sweetness. There are some fruity notes, and I'm also picking up the molasses.

Taste: I really enjoy the taste of this beer. I'm picking up the spruce along with a fairly strong sweet malt presence. Not picking up the fruity notes here, but I do find some caramel and molasses. Mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to somewhat thin body, the carbonation is on the high side, but it seems to work here. The finish is mildly dry.

Overall: This is a really interesting beer. I'm enjoying the spruce along with the malt sweetness. I would definitely have this one again.

oline73, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of mactrail
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%

Attractive amber in the glass. Pleasing maltiness with a dose of piney woods. Very mellow flavor. Of the few spruce flavored beers I've had, this one is the best.

A hint of what tastes like licorice, though that may be a component of the spruce. Oh, looking at the label, it ust be the touch of molasses. Not as resiny as you might think, but more aromatic. Aroma of violets and sage. The beer itself is a rich and mellow ale, quite a big mouthful. The aromatic spruce with a touch of hops give it a nice balance.

Way bigger and richer than the 5% ABV would suggest. This is a thoroughly drinkable ale with the friendliest flavors. The molasses gives some spice and fruitiness along with the hoppy edge that is really worth a try.

mactrail, May 23, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
3.13/5  rDev -12.3%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - A rust/dark amber color with little head of carbonation.

s - Smells strongly of spruce and pine, as well as cinnamon, some spices, and maybe a little bit of malt.

t - Small amounts of spruce and pine, but not as much as I was expecting. Tastes of pepper and spices.

m - Very carbonated and light bodied.

d - This beer was decent, but not my favorite. I didn't think the spices and spruce were very flavorful, and thought the smell and taste were a little lacking. I wouldn't buy this one again.

mdfb79, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -9%

mendvicdog, Apr 12, 2014
Photo of jwc215
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%

Pours a mirky ruby brown with a thin head that soon becomes a thin wispy patch. It leaves some tracings of lacing.

The smell is of woody spruce and molasses.

Woody spruce is offset by a molasses backbone. The spruce dominates, but just enough molasses holds it in check so that it does not become overwhelming. It has a medium body. It has an herbal, sappy, almost medicinal finish.

The body holds up well. There is a slight rawness to it while keeping a relative smoothness.

It's an interesting brew, and pretty good for what it is. But, one is enough before it becomes too much. A good one to try for a historical replication. It is what it should be. But, still in all, you really have to be in the mood for spruce and molasses (which normally I'm not). It's easier to drink than other historical beers I've had. Worth trying for the experience.

jwc215, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.5/5  rDev -2%

DrunkinYogi, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.25/5  rDev -9%

oriolesfan4, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of InspectorBob
3.5/5  rDev -2%

InspectorBob, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of woodychandler
4.28/5  rDev +19.9%

Originally reviewed on-tap on 10-31-2007

This arrived with a thick, off-white/medium tan head with decent retention. The color was a deep amber with reddish highlights. The nose was not-quite redolent with with a pine/spruce scent. I say that because I had some of the early batches that were like Pine-Sol in a glass. This was a bit more subdued, but still notable. The mouthfeel was somewhere between medium and full with a great minty presence on the tongue. The finish was very clean and refreshing with a lingering taste of pine. It was not as intense as my first exposure to it, which was a shame. However, it was not a detractor. Rock On, Yards!

From a bottle on 06-09-2013:

I picked this up at The Foodery (N. Liberties) as I thought it the only one of the Yards Ales of the Revolution that I had not previously reviewed. Whoops!

From the bottle: "Crafted following Ben Franklin's original recipe."; "Malt beverage brewed with natural flavors (molasses, spruce tips and sprigs.); "Revolutionary Times Call for Revolutionary Ales. Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce (TM) is based on Franklin's original recipe. Enjoy a taste of history courtesy of Yards Brewing Company."

Someone must have read my original review because as soon as I popped the cap, the room smelled like Pine-Sol! My initial pour created a finger of fizzy tawny head with limited retention, quickly falling to wisps. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Leaning in, it smelled like a freshly cut Christmas tree. Yes! Mouthfeel was medium and on this iteration, not only did I get that fresh mintiness, but I could also perceive the molasses on the tongue. Is my palate becoming more sensitive or did they tweak the recipe in the last six years? Finish was semi-dry with the commingled flavors of pine and molasses really lingering well after the swallow.

woodychandler, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of yourefragile
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%

12 oz blue bottle poured into a pint glass

A: A deep cloudy amber that is very dark in the middle and gets much lighter near the edges. A thin off white head that quickly dissipates to a ring of rather large bubbles very little splotchy lacing. Looks vaguely unbeer like.
S: Pretty strong unique nose of honey, molasses, brown sugar, spruce, some other spices like cinnamon. Potpourri comes to mind.
T: Not quite as sprucey or "christmas-tree like" as expected from description and smell. Certainly a strong spruce taste, but a little sweetness tasting like molasses or brown sugar. Slight bitterness in finish, but generally sweet.
M: Light carbonation and medium body, leaves a peculiar aftertaste, slightly oily not entirely pleasant
D: Better than expected, I really don't like beers that end up tasting like water from a christmas tree (if that makes any sense) and I expected that from this but that wasn't the case. Despite the low abv, not particularly drinkable. I would not be able to enjoy more than one in a sitting.

yourefragile, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of stakem
3.35/5  rDev -6.2%

Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a tan head that doesn't offer much in the way of retension. It isn't long before the beer is left with only a thin ring of lace along the top of the beer. Nose includes a bit of caramel maltiness along with a bit of a citrus zip that isn't quite hops but is close to it. Taste upfront is an overwelming amount of the "spruce" addition. It is quite spicey and it lingers right on through until the aftertaste. Body of the beer has some maltiness but the spruce really distracts from the other flavors that might be in this beer. It has a medium to light feel and light amount of carbonation. For me, this would be a good festive holiday beer. For some reason the spruce is reminding me of the Christmas holiday season. However, it is not something I would want to drink on a regular basis.

stakem, Mar 14, 2010
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Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 451 ratings.