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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

199 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 199
Hads: 545
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 27.55%
Wants: 24
Gots: 76 | 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:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 01-05-2003

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 199 | Hads: 545
Photo of RandomExile
3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

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Photo of Beermaster70
3.81/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of socon67
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of Act25
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of admccabe
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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Photo of Omnium
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of mothman
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip pint.

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

Spruce and mint.

Mint and spruce. Toasted bread and brown sugar.

Light-medium bodied, crisp, clean and refreshing.

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

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Photo of WissBrauSean
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

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Photo of dacrza1
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
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!

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.07/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of abcdefghijkyle
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.29/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-dark amber with a sticky cream colored head

S-faint scent of..evergreen? It's a unique smell. Not one that I love. It's weak

T-comes in with a taste of buttercream, some caramel, and maybe a hint of spruce. It has some winter spices in there. Tastes almost like an old ale. Matching faint after-taste.

M-creamy no carbonation. Expected from the cask.

O-it's just a mediocre beer. I was expecting more from a piney ale. I guess I always expect good beer to be on tap. This was pretty much a let down. The flavors are so weak, it reminds me of an adjunct. Though there are no off flavors!

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Photo of larryi86
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A- A clear brown with a three finger off-white head.

S- Molasses, pine, spruce, some honey, hint of mint.

T- Spruce, molasses, licorice, pine, touch of mint, bready. Not as good as the nose.

M- Smooth, light to medium body.

O- Pretty good and unique tasting. Another solid beer from Yards.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Appears clear ruby red with rocky foam head that fades to a thin lacing. Nose a lot of spruce with some pepper and spice. Spruce is not too overpowering but if you can't dig it, then you probably won't like this. I dig.

Taste is similar to nose with a nice malt backbone. A little sweetness behind the layers of spruce. Nice even bitterness with a medium mouthfeel. The spruce essence makes this seem a little fuller than what it is.

Overall, a very nice beer. You have to be in the mood for this and I certainly am right now with the weather changing to cooler temps. Very nicely brewed. Cheers!

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Photo of KajII
3.02/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

[Suggested Glassware: Lager Glass]

The pour was a clear chestnut brown with a large (2-3 finger) off white rocky head that was mostly diminishing down to just a small collar with poor lacing.

The aroma was of a light bread malt, spruce hops and an earthy yeast with hints of molasses, caramel and a light honey sweetness.

The taste was lightly bitter sweet and mildly malty with a touch of molasses throughout, and then became lightly hoppy yet very mildly sweet at the end. The flavor lasted only a short while after the swallow with the flavor fading quickly off the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was light in body and watery in texture with a very soft carbonation.

Overall the aroma of this brew was stronger than the taste. Although light in flavor, what was there was very tasty and rather satisfying...


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Photo of Ryanm1
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

They serve this a few block from the factory on tap at City Tavern. You can get a taster there.

I had no idea this was of the style of "herbed/spiced beer" but I can definately see that. Didn't know what to categorize it as but upon originally ingesting it, I myself as well as friend have said "it's like drinking a spruce tree". I've had Christmas beers that have been much more overspiced, but I think this is adequite and not overdone. It states that it's brewed in the fashion of Founding Fathers and is in Yard's Ales of the Revolution pack. I've categorized this as the Thomas Jefferson but a little less bite and a little more pine. Once again I'm jocking this beer as it is from one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yards Spruce Ale pours a clear copper color with a creamy head on top. As the foam fades spots and lines of lace cling to the glass.

The aroma has notes of pine, molasses and brown sugar. Earthy with floral notes.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth, dry with light carbonation. The flavor begins with pine and sarsaparilla. That's followed by caramel, molasses and a touch of brown sugar. It finishes mildly bitter and dry with lingering pine notes when gone.

This beer is definitely different. It's like a bad root beer, but easily drinkable.

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Photo of mactrail
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of cpolking
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep and dark reddish-copper in color. There is a short head of off-white foam.

The aroma, not surprisingly, has a good amount of pine. The juxtaposition of the molasses and the spruce makes a sweet-tart note. It is oddly a bit like the old Bottle Caps candy.

The taste is sweet, tart and pine, pine, pine. This is like drinking a pine sap cocktail (with Bottle Caps candy thrown in).

For its deep color and intense flavors, it drinks surprisingly light. It is well carbonated. It is refreshing, but definitely unique and a bit odd.

Thanks to tone77 for this beer.

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Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 199 ratings.