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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

441 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 441
Reviews: 188
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 17.65%
Wants: 17
Gots: 26 | 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: 441 | Reviews: 188 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of longdivision
longdivision

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev +6.4%

A - Poured a dark copper and had a thin head that didn't last long.
S - Spicy, cinnamon, fig. Probably been said already, but it does smell like a Christmas tree. As it warmed I did pick up some black pepper.
T - Big spruce flavor dominates. Also had flavors of spice and a cinnamon-ish bite in the finish. I couldn't detect any hops. Had supporting malts, and there were some interesting, slight sour notes at times.
M - Light bodied and big carbonation. It was surprisingly easy to drink given the unique flavor.
O - I enjoy it. I remember it being stronger tasting a few years ago. It seems they scaled back the spice and spruce more recently.

02-06-2010 15:10:57 | More by longdivision
Photo of Katahdin
Katahdin

Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +28.9%

Pours an amber body with a dirty sand color head that holds well. Smell has hints of molasses and the dried spruce twigs, a bit of a musty forest smell to it with a pleasing aroma of fresh evergreens over the mustiness. The flavor was a bit complex with earthy tastes of wood fiber, some maltiness, and the citrus like flavor of the spruce. Went down quite easily, not at all like chewing on a Christmas tree. A true interpretation of a Ben Franklin beer recipe. Very enjoyable.

02-02-2010 19:44:22 | More by Katahdin
Photo of saccro
saccro

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev +0.8%

A - not much head at all. Fairly clear though. Dark golden brown

S - gruit-spice aroma. sweet, but not like malty wort. no hops. Mild rootbeer-like aroma that may be the spruce

T - tastes like bittered watered-down rootbeer. A real thirst-quenching beer that is obvious in its low gravity. Very watery, but do all our beers have to be huge and malty? Odd choice for beer style -- you think a beer like this would be from its description, something you'd drink by a warm fire, but instead is a beer that would be great for the summer based on its quenchability. I would like to try the beer made from the first runnings of this beer's mash -- if it were to exist.

M - very light body and spritzy carbonation which I think helps give it a little more character.

01-17-2010 02:20:45 | More by saccro
Photo of NJCraftBeer
NJCraftBeer

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -16%

Not bad overall, but not great. It looses the flavor quickly, in my opinion. I mean, I love Yards overall, but this one isn't great. I prefer if I'm drinking a herb beer to have a crazy over the top herb flavor.

The spruce ale is a typical ale but made from an original recipe of ben franklins. he needed to try a bit harder.

12-25-2009 01:52:17 | More by NJCraftBeer
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +9.2%

A: Poured a rustic-amber with a 1 finger frothy, sandstone colored head that displayed a fair amount of retention (2-3min) before lapsing to a patchy covering. Visible carbonation was composed of lazily rising micro-bubbles.

S: The nose was dried molasses and dried caramel being the most prominent mixing well with a sense of dry twigs. The spruce tips are also noticeable giving this a fresh winter scent of evergreen. Overall a light sense making your work to appreciate its scent.

T: The flavor was light with a thin caramelized grain sweetness opening things up. Sweet caramel, hints of warm brown sugar and fresh spruce stand out nicely giving this a fresh burst of greenery. There are fresh citrusy tones lurking in the background adding a wet lemony ice tea twang of the finishing swallow.

M: The mouthful was oily slick with a medium body. A nice touch of carbonation is detected on the swallow. Things finish up with a bright lemony twang combined with a sweet grain lacing on the tongue.

D: A good ole time tavern ale with solid drinkability good for several at a time. A nice change of pace beer, fairly unique flavorwise with a good sense of enjoyment. 6 pack recommend.

12-24-2009 13:24:38 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -0.6%

I have not had this beer since it came in the pretty blue bottles. I was young in my exploration of different beers and this one always left a bad taste in my mouth seriously. I swore I would not have it again, but in the name of reconciliation, I bought a bottle with a different label, probably from the change in the brewery's location.

Chestnut brown from fallen acorns in the fall. The beer pours out pretty muddy brown and becomes chustnuty when condensed. A nice medium cream colored head stays afloat for a few before taking a powder. Not much in terms of lace, just some stringy lines here and there. Decent looking beer.

The smell consists of a big pile of spruce tips gathered up on a tarp by your landscaping company. It's really large but not as much as I remember. Under that a big amount of caramel sweet malt with some molasses hiding in the corner with a dunce cap on. Spicy and nothing in terms of hops although they must be used, right?

Taste is subdued in terms of the amount of spruce they laced this batch with. I remember the spruce dominating this beer ten fold and tree sap with spruce would stay with you for hours after consuming. Now, this is not so much a problem. Caramel, molasses, grain and some malt take the spruces edge away and I like it.

The feel is medium bodied with a solid build, tavern spruce does not slouch in terms of flavor so that's not a problem as well. A decent amount of carb felt on the tounge which I think fits perfectly for this type of beer. The aftertaste is of spruce but not as much as in the past, making this much more bearable for me.

I would not go around and pick up a six of this as spruce does not do it for me, but im glad I picked this bottle up. Maybe it's the change in location of the brewery or maybe it's the recession that's keeping boatloads of spruce from making it's way into the tanks, but I seem to like where this is going. Hopefully Yards makes more steps in this direction in the future.

12-20-2009 22:15:49 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of mtnbikerpa
mtnbikerpa

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +13.4%

I bought this brew quite by surprise as part of the Ales of the Revolution variety pack. Poured from 12 ounce bottle into a fest beer glass. Carmel color and a trace head only on the outside rim of the glass lightly carbonated. Smell is absolutely wonderful a smell of sweet pine and sugary molasses. Outstanding spruce crisp flavor with sweetness like a sugary cookie. No notable hop profile, very moderate mouthfeel. This is a very drinkable brew I could very easily reach for another one.

12-11-2009 23:47:16 | More by mtnbikerpa
Photo of bob3701
bob3701

New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +33.1%

I truely enjoyed this beer, it really caught me by surprise. Poured a dark hazy amber with a creamy white head and laced really well. You could smell the molasses and spruce it was an amazing aroma. And the taste did not disappoint. Sweet from the molasses and that spruce tasted better then I thought it would. Finished with a citrusy after-taste. Euell Gibbons would be proud of this one. Makes me want to Drive to Philly and try it on tap at City Tavern. My hat is off to Yards.

12-06-2009 23:00:57 | More by bob3701
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%

A - One fingers worth of even light tan head with limited retention which gives way to a slight ring of bubbles around the edges of the glass... A medium brown chestnut color... Limited carbonation...

S - The spruce is quite evident in the nose, but not over powering or off putting... Ginger snaps... Toffee... Caramel... A faint nuttiness...

T - Molasses... Ginger... Earthy... Hints of toffee and caramel... Ever so slightly medicinal... I was afraid the spruce would dominate the taste, but its subtle and mixes well with all the other flavor components...

M - Medium bodied... Lightly carbonated... Very smooth... Slightly lush... Just a tad sticky...

D - A unique and quite quaffable offering from Yards... A was a little leery upon opening that the spruce would be off putting, but this was anything but... Solid and a beer I would welcome in my glass at any time in the future...

12-03-2009 02:34:09 | More by philbe311
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +11.5%

Yard's- Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce

A- Light amber brown with a smal light lacing head. Clear and little carbonation.
S- Sweet molasses, brown sugar, and fresh live spruce twigs.
T- Sweet brown sugar and molasses malt with a nice spicy pepper and spruce/ pine bite.
M- Sweet, yet mild. Thick malt with spicy dry spruce body and finish.

Overall- Actually much better than you'd think. The spruce is tasty yet not overpowering.

11-01-2009 20:37:44 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of drtth
drtth

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +10.1%

Moderately chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear dark mahogany color with a 1 ½" creamy off-white tan head that recedes slowly, leaving foam and lacing on the side of the glass. Initially, sipping leaves patches of foam and delicate lacing on the side of the glass. Later as the head recedes to a small ring and some surface patches sipping still leads to a thin sheet of foam that turns into dense patterns of lacing.

Smell: The aroma clearly contains a soft smell of spruce resin and needles modulated and softened by the sweetness of the molasses. The spruce definitely gives it a mild medicinal character.

Taste: As expected from the aroma, the flavors are dominated by spruce and molasses. Throughout the resinous flavor of the spruce is forward and in charge while the molasses provides a back bone and support, keeping the harshness of the spruce tame and preventing it from becoming unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with moderate persistent carbonation and a light silkiness. The finish is moderately long begins with the sweet molasses forward keeping the spruce in the background. It then becomes dryer as the molasses taste fades more quickly than the spruce, leaving a dry almost medicinal finish from the spruce.

Drinkability: I haven't smelled and tasted anything quite like this since I was a kid collecting pinion pine cones and then roasting them to get at the pine nuts and trying to get the pine sap/resin off my hands. I could see having this one again once getting accustomed to these flavors in a beer. It seems a perfect accompaniment to the December holiday season while trimming a Christmas tree. Even now I'd not be unhappy with a few more bottles of this beer for an evening, but this is definitely a beer for slow sipping.

09-09-2009 01:00:17 | More by drtth
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev +4.5%

A - Coppery brown in tone with decent head that thins out quickly.

S - Spruce and hints of molasses and brown sugar

T - Spruce and Molasses... not much else going on. The two ingrediants work well together.

M - the ingredients dictacte an abuse to the palate, but the finnish is medium bodied and does not linger

D - With the balanced Spruce and Molasses combo you'll either love it or feel indifferent, not appaled. Would recommend a clean palate for tasting.

07-08-2009 19:34:03 | More by rfgetz
Photo of Lexluthor33
Lexluthor33

New York

2.95/5  rDev -17.4%

The appearance was hazy,light medium brown with an orange tint that was almost golden. A small head and thin lace.

The aroma of sugar,and spruce.

The taste of spruce is dominant with a sweet, molasses flavor.

The feel was low carbonation and a medium body.

Notes: This was not a bad beer,but I must add that it was not my preferred style. It was cloyingly sweet and while the overall makeup was average I found it hard to finish the whole beer. I mean it was not like when you can't finish a beer because it's awful;it was just too sweet and sprucy for me.

06-04-2009 23:58:41 | More by Lexluthor33
Photo of BeerImmediately
BeerImmediately

Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev +3.6%

Didn't even notice the cool blue bottle color until after the beer was poured!

HUUUUGE 'ed on this puppy ... filled the glass w/only a few oz. of beer. Body was a deep opaque mahogany, head was a tan color and it left a thick lacing.

Most noticeable smell to me was the sweet, malty molasses and a strange hint of metal. Spruce didn't come thru until it warmed.

Taste was shocking - relative to the look and smell... I was expecting something like a dubbel, and I got a puckering lemon and wit-like flavor. I guess w/ spruce tips, I was also expecting more hoppy-forest qualities, but this one was much more like a sweet-and-sour hard candy.

Found the mouthfeel to be tart, but pretty nice - none of the graininess reported in other reviews.

Drinkability was ok - little sour for my liking, and therefore I would be hard pressed to have more than 2 in one evening.

Appreciate the creativity from Yards, though (even if it IS modeled after a centuries-old recipe!)

05-01-2008 01:08:55 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
WilliamPhilaPa

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev +1.7%

Served from a 12 oz. cobalt blue bottle. (I dig the bottle)

Nice surprise to get a beer I have not tried yet in a variety case of Yards. I did not notice until I arrived home :)
Pours a nice rich, slightly cloudy, brown color; w/ a nice head with a rough pour but it does dissipates fairly quickly.
On the nose, hints of spruce, molasses, and spices.
Nice taste (let warm); molasses, spruce, sweet caramel malt, hints of pine/hops.
The mouth feel oily before swallowing, afterwards however it is rough, sand paper-ish. I am not sure what contributes to this gritty after/mouth feel, but it stays around long after. I like the fact the beer taste lingers but the mouth feel is just annoying. (Will need another variety case to test again, however some other reviews seem to confirm the gritty after after/mouth feel)
We shall see how the Yards beers change (if at all) w/ the Yards/PBC split. I'm excited either way!

03-08-2008 18:40:52 | More by WilliamPhilaPa
Photo of jasonjlewis
jasonjlewis

Texas

2.65/5  rDev -25.8%

Pours a nice 2 finger head with a cloudy brown color. Head dissipates half way down the glass.

Smell is of toasted caramel malts, spruce, and molasses.

Taste was pretty bad to start off with and got better as the beer warmed. It has an off flavor and some tannic acid I think. Some undesirable flavors mask the toasty caramel maltiness. The spruce is a little too strong and it overpowers the sweetness of the malts and molasses. I don't really liek this beer.

Weak and watery mouthfeel.

Not a beer that I will try again. I appreciate the sample though, whoever it was from.

03-03-2008 06:30:07 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of Kreuger
Kreuger

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev +3.1%

Served from a 12 oz. blue bottle.

A - Pours out a rich looking, slightly cloudy, brown ale. It starts with a moderate head but it dissipates down to a thin lace pretty quickly. There is slight visible carbonation.

S - There's a very satisfying and appropriate sprucey nose and its strongly supported by a powerful molasses presence; but there is also a metallic note that plays a bit too often through out the life of this beer, and shows up seemingly at random.

T - There isn't much hop representation here, its bite comes almost exclusively from the spruce. But there is a very strong character of the molasses that its brewed with, and the molasses are a lovely malt substitute. I'd look forward to more beers made with molasses. It adds a luxuriant smoky sweetness to the flavor a pleasant lingering aftertaste.

M - The mouthfeel is good. its not overly bulky or malty nor is it astringent. The moderate abv ride very comfortable below the spruce bite.

D - The primary drawback, as other reviewers have observed, is how strong a flavor it is. It can get overpowering.

Spruce is an acquired taste to be sure, and not one that everyone will like. It makes this a very difficult beer to pair with food. The wrong food and suddenly its a mixture of dirt and garden hose instead of molasses and spruce, but the right sharp cheese and you might just be in heaven.

I'd buy it again, and share it liberally. I think its a growth experience every beer connoisseur should have at least once.

02-25-2008 03:21:46 | More by Kreuger
Photo of deapokid
deapokid

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -6.7%

Unbelievably thick lace coats the rim as a heap of rich molasses and heavy carbonation fill the glass.
A forest-y aroma with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg permeates leading up to the first taste, which is reminiscent of Christmas trees and fresh peaches.
This interesting ale pours over the tongue lightly and is quite refreshing, with a taste reminiscent of a winter warmer tinged with a variety of spices like mint and maple syrup. Was really off-putting at first, but grew on me overtime and is quite an original little number.

02-21-2008 01:08:12 | More by deapokid
Photo of splat215
splat215

Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -3.4%

This beer is.... surprisingly drinkable. Now normally when I approach a beer, I don't expect it to smell like a christmas tree farm - but this one does. Which is not necessarily a bad thing - just ... a bit off.

Once you get past the smell of pine tree beer, the taste on this one's fairly decent. The taste is spruce, spruce, and spruce, but fairly subtle and doesn't knock your taste-buds off. Nice mild carbonation, good mouthfeel, goes down pretty easily.

And yes, the bottle is very cool.

02-02-2008 23:10:28 | More by splat215
Photo of Biscuit033
Biscuit033

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +17.6%

A: Dark amber almost brown delivered with minimal head. There was little retention and spotty lacing.

S: Molasses, mint, pine, and some mulling spices.

T: Molasses and brown sugar taste and sweetness is balanced superbly by the spruce, earthy, and spices. I am amazed by how this type of beer is so well balanced and easy drinking.

M: Creamy but with some slight oiliness. The flavors linger on but the spruce almost cleanses the palate.

D: Surprisingly quaffable. This is something that I would consider for a long day of drinking in the winter.

01-23-2008 01:02:29 | More by Biscuit033
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

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.

01-15-2008 17:41:12 | More by yourefragile
Photo of letsgopens
letsgopens

Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -10.9%

This interesting selection pours a rusty brown with some ruby highlights. Well you don't see a cobalt blue colored bottle like that every day. I wonder why they went with that material? The average size off-white head recedes fairly quickly and leaves a thin ring of modest lace. Lots of larger rising bubbles stick to the inside of the glass but eventually dissipate.

Very spicy with a distinct spruce character. Smells like a holiday wreath with some caramel malt sprinkled about. Certainly unique. Cinnamon and nutmeg are prevalent along with some pepper and light citrus. Very floral, not hoppy floral, but potpourri floral. The sizable sweetness really ties this beer together and makes it more appetizing. If not for the caramel malt and spice, the aroma may closely resemble a Christmas scented candle. Nice though; very interesting.

Wow, it’s certainly... sprucey. Tons of molasses, cinnamon and some sweet caramel malt. Initially all you can detect is that super floral, potpourri/spruce needle flavor but it does fade to a more palatable and appetizing sweetness. The finish brings to mind buckwheat hotcakes with molasses and cinnamon. A slightly buttery character is floating around as well along with nutmeg.

With a medium body and moderate carbonation, this brew has a smooth mouthfeel but remains crisp. The lower abv might suggest that it would be reasonably sessionable but I can't see myself drinking more than one in a single sitting. Worth a try, but not necessarily something I'd purchase again. Almost a novelty beer in my eyes; a fun brew to experience but not a great drinker.

01-14-2008 23:33:47 | More by letsgopens
Photo of Jerzdevil1116
Jerzdevil1116

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -2%

Had this beer on tap at the Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA.

Appearance: Cloudy, Deep Reddish Brown. Little to no head.

Smell: Smelt sweet like Molasses. Also piney.

Taste: Like it smells, it tasted sweet like molasses or brown sugar. It also had a very distinct pineyness like a christmas tree.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied. Not much carbonation.

Drinkability: Very unique. Could drink one or two in a sitting. Would be very festive to have around Christmas time.

01-11-2008 07:20:02 | More by Jerzdevil1116
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

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.

01-01-2008 06:29:00 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of orangedive
orangedive

Maryland

2.95/5  rDev -17.4%

A - Dark, dark maroon on its way to brown. Small head diminished quickly.

S - Smells of pine and molasses. Very earthy, malty and sweet. Strong. Nothing terribly subtle but that's okay.

T - Slightly bitter. Not as much sweetness as I anticipatred. Definitely piney, earthy. Having trouble locating any hops.

M - A little thin and watery. Leaves a feeling of grit in my mouth. Almost like after eating hard candy. This isn't to say it's awful--just not great.

D - It's going down pretty easy, but I won't have more than one.

Overall, I'm a little disappointed.

11-24-2007 02:31:12 | More by orangedive
Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 441 ratings.