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

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

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BA SCORE
83
good

196 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 196
Hads: 527
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 22
Gots: 68 | 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
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Reviews: 196 | Hads: 527
Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Odd beer I wasn't sure I'd like as it could be hit or miss but was more of a hit. Poured a light brownish hue with solid one-finger head that left bubbles and lace so no complaints. On first sniff I get a mild sticky malt aroma, with some sweetness, then patches of piney, floral hops and some spice (guess that's the spruce). Light to medium bosy, smooth and chewey, some breadiness and touch of sweet malts in this beer, odd balance with minor floral hops and the spices for a weird sweet/heavy bitter and light mix. Crisp finish, and while not perfectly balanced this could've been a lot worse and I enjoyed relaxing with this beer. (635 characters)

Photo of hopsolutely
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Although I believe this to be a very well brewed beer, it's a distinct taste that I personally wouldn’t consider sessionable...

Pours a hazy darkish amber with a decent cream-coloured head. Aroma is pure "spruce", with an underlying wood spiciness. Malts are more noticeable in the taste, sweetly caramelized, but the overwhelming flavour is that of the spruce tips. The finish is sweet but spruce-prevalent and lingers for an impressive length of time.

A unique beer that I definitely recommend trying! (508 characters)

Photo of DanielBrett
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just through a sixtel in the kegerator.

A: Brown /orange in color, poured about 3 fingers of white foamy head (likely because this was the first pour). It settled relatively quick. Have some lacing but not extremely sticky.

S: Like shoving your face into your Christmas tree, this brew has a big time spruce nose. Definitely one of my favorite aspects of this beer.

T: Very piney with some mildly sweet molasses flavors, not much bitterness. This brew tastes exactly like it smells.

M: Light bodied, smooth, easy drinking beer.

O: The first time I had this was at Yards Taproom, I really enjoyed it. I'm usually a fan of high hops, and higher alcohol content than this. However, this is a great, easy to drink session beer for the colder months. (750 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty auburn color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of spruce and pine. Taste is also spruce, pine, a menthol like flavor, different and unusual. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall I would not want a steady diet of it, but worth a try. (285 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep garnet color with a thin off white head. Big time spruce tips on the nose with touches of molasses and maple. Caramel malt comes through a bit as well. Surprisingly crisp with a light to moderate body which thins a bit on the swallow. Finishes clean yet boring. Flavor up front on the other hand is pretty interesting. Flavorful spruce tips with balanced by molasses and caramel with buttered toast landing someone on the middle palette. The finish is hard to pin point but it does cleanse the palette well leaving an overall dry taste in the mouth. Better than expected and unique as well. (609 characters)

Photo of microbrewlover
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours dark with a medium head and a little bit of lacing.
This brew is malty and like its name says is loaded with the smell and taste of spruce. The smell and taste make me believe that I could really be drinking something similar to what Old Ben Franklin drank. The taste lingers on the pallet after swallowing.

All in all this beer is very enjoyable and I believe it is good for any time of the year. (416 characters)

Photo of keanex
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a bottle with no freshness date, though from a mixed 12 pack which recently came out. Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Clear dark garnet color with a thin light tan head that quickly becomes a ring and some coating.

S: Piney/Spruce scent takes the note with some nut aromas coming through. This reminds me of a spring day in the woods a bit with slight spices coming through. The smell is something I don't know if I like or not, but it's certainly growing on me.

T: A bit bland and watery. The aroma is definitely stronger than the scent here. There's a slight herbal flavor at the end, slight spruce hints, but other than that it's a bit boring.

M: A too watery, definitely bordering on light with light carbonation.

O: I had a bottle or two of this from the bottle and surprisingly it was better from the bottle. While I couldn't smell it really, the flavor was more direct and stronger. From a glass this is too watery and boring. (947 characters)

Photo of BeerLover99
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: tan/orange body, trace white head,
patchy lacing

S: big spruce/pine, malt, caramel, toffee/nuts

T: sweet caramel, mint, nuts, malt,
mild bitter spruce/pine crisp finish

M: med/light, semi-dry mouth

O: Fascinating beer. Not great,
but not bad. Worth grabbing.
Really enjoyed this historical
recipe, quite sessionable.

NICE, WORTH TRYING! (348 characters)

Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.07/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear, amber color with a thin head and lace. The aroma is of pine and grapefruit with maple in the finish, increasing as it warms. The flavor has spruce, bread crust, and sweet malt notes with some spices, mainly ginger. It's mouthfeel is medium. Yards Poor Richards Tavern Spruce Ale is a good beer, dry and slightly warming. Great on a cold Christmas Eve. Recommended. (389 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Dark brown in color with a 1/4 inch head and no real retention

Smell: The nose is very woody and kind of perfumey upfront with notes of molasses on the back end

Taste: The flavor matches the nose to a T. The spruce notes and woody notes present themselves right away and its quite unique. The back end carries molasses and caramel

Mouthfeel: Thin body and mild carbonation

Overall: Different and unique and I actually quite enjoyed (441 characters)

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Opaque clouded darker brown in color, two finger of tan head that leaves absolutely no lace behind but has about three minutes of retention before receding back to nothing.

S. At first I get hit by a strong hit of brown sugar smell, but than I notice dark plum odors mixed with a sahti-like level of spruce tip smell on top with quite the lovely earthy hop accent sprinkled on top.

T. Taste has a lot more emphasis on those spruce tips than the nose did, also I am getting a revisit of the caramelized brown sugar notes held within, but I also find a bit of an allspice-like kick blended in with the pine needles at the finish.

M. Medium bodied, but slightly under-carbonated and at times I get an oddball oily residual feel that fades in and out strangely...if there is a thing that I would consider needing work, this is it. (832 characters)

Photo of ButchAleman
1.36/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I have had this beer before several years ago and found it to be very interesting and unusual. Tried this beer at the brewery
tour. The sample that I had this week was probably the worst beer I have ever had. I don't know how a beer could be this bad but obviously Yards brewery that can make it htappen. (305 characters)

Photo of Suds
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

So, I really love the idea of historic beers...anything from an authentic, old recipe is great. In concept at least. This, however, is one of those beers that reminds me that modern brewing recipes and techniques are a wonderful thing. The beer is an amber color, with a modest white head. It's smell is tree-like, with the spruce nearly overpowering. Still, it's fresh, with a lively malt undercurrent. Really, the smell is engaging. The taste, however, is where the overwhelming comes into play. It's dry-ish, with the spruce, woody component playing against the malt. Not really all that appealing to me. Decent body, full and satisfying. Overall, this is drinkable, but very underwhelming. (693 characters)

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle to snifter. Packaged 2/19/11 and consumed shortly after.

A: A large 2 1/2 finger light brown foamy head lasts long and settles into a slightly uneven cap. The body is dark brown with auburn tints. Opaque except when held to light, when it becomes hazy. Spare smattering of lace in no particular pattern.

S & T: Leans more malty than hoppy with aromas of rendered caramel and toasted bread. The spruce component is noticeable, increasing in woodiness as the temperature climbs. Spice and tobacco are buried in the flavor profile, which is pretty decent for 5% ABV. Lightly bitter.

M: Light to medium light body, average carbonation. Bitter finish is accentuated by the spruce.

D: Tavern Spruce drinks a little better after a month or two. As mentioned in a previous Ales of the Revolution review, a strange concept for a year round brew. Nothing I'd go out of my way to experience again. (903 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three-finger khaki head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy brown color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light molasses nose and flavor is molasses and spruce. Drying finish. $3.00 for a 12oz bottle from Mount Vernon Gift Shop, Mount Vernon, VA. (289 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep garnet red pour with bright highlights when held up to the light. A quarter inch of light tan foam atop the brew. Not getting much lacing. Aromas start with caramel malts mixed with notes of spruce and a touch of molasses and dark fruit. Kind of earthy as well.

First sip brings caramel and toffee sweetness upfront with a nice kick of earthy spruce. Woody notes with molasses and a kiss of fruit. Flows down with some linger pine, pretty tasty!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with steady carbonation. Pretty easy drinking brew and I enjoy the spruce twist and the historical recipe. Have had this once before and would have it again. Thanks smokeypeat. (668 characters)

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
2.88/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Surly Imperial Pint glass.

A- Dark amber color, 3 finger tan head that dissipates quickly, splotchy lacing.
S- Interesting aroma, the spruce gives off an interesting minty aroma, some spice, some pine, nutty malt aroma, floral notes.
T- Tastes just like the aroma but not as minty, not very tasty.
M- Medium/light mouth feel, well carbonated, smooth drinking, crisp finish.
O- The minty pine aroma and taste was very off putting for me, not a beer I would drink again, would not recommend this one to others but that’s just my opinion. (565 characters)

Photo of avaldivia
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from Centennial. Poured 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Light brown color. Very nice head about an inch thick. little lacing all the way down.

S: Very light smell. Christmas tree like scent. a little pint.

T: Little spicy. Little bit of pine.

M: Medium bodied. Nice carbonation.

O: Solid brew. I thoroughly enjoyed this. (346 characters)

Photo of devilben02
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky mahogany color, with a huge, rocky, tan head. The aroma provides a feeling of what it must be like to dry hump a Christmas tree: there is little but evergreen here, although maybe a little bit of pepper creeps in. The flavor is actually more balanced, which is kind of a let-down, with a dull graininess creeping in to muddle the woodsy spruce character. The texture is fine but mostly average. Overall, the distinctive spruce aroma makes this beer, but it's too bad that the flavor can't meet the expectations that are established by the first smell. Even so, the aroma was enough for me to love drinking this beer. (630 characters)

Photo of MrOH
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Orangish brown with two solid fingers of light tan head. Splotchy lace.

Brown sugar and spruce air freshener. Light fruitiness.

Spicey and piney. Molassas comes through. Some gingery flavors. Very Christmas feeling. Molassas cookies/gingerbread with pine. Quite nostalgic.

Medium-bodied with good carbonation.

Interesting. Probably a nice winter beer, especially around the holidays. Definitely not an everyday drink, unless its what you're into. (450 characters)

Photo of mooseo
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Yards brewery in Philadelphia.

A - Clear dark amber with a 1" creamy head. Good retention with decent lacing.

S - Aromas of spruce and pine. Very nice.

T - Taste is excellent. Sweet caramel up front. There are nice spruce, piney notes throughout. The finish is bready, with more spruce and other spices coming through.

M - Smooth and refreshing. Medium bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

D - I really like this beer. The dominant spruce flavor is very appealing. While there are better offerings from Yards, this still a great example of what they can do. The drinkability is high and very sessionable. Being on-tap at the brewery, the beer is extremely fresh, crisp, and refreshing. (715 characters)

Photo of bobhits
2.34/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a tall white yet thin head with a dark body that when held to the light is rather reddish and frankly pretty clear.

Smells of spices, almost mint like without the clean finish, I’m bad at spice names.
Spiced amber without any hop profile is what I’m thinking here. It has a chi tea like flavor with amber malt and perhaps a touch of hops just to attempt some balance.
Light to medium body with enough carbonation I suppose.
Ben Franklin was a great man, but this beer well it is a pass. (500 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (815 characters)

Photo of Haybeerman
3.27/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Ruddy copper color. Poured a 1 finger off-white head that dissipated to a skim. Intermittent lacing in broken rings.

S: Spruce (pine) and spices; notably clove and pepper. Light green apple aroma mixed with alcohol. Very aromatic; almost pungent.

T: Very consistent with the aroma. Mild bitter in the finish has sweet, spice and hop resin lingering. Very interesting beer, but strangely out of balance.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. A nice balance to feel though a little short on the bitter.

D: Interesting beer. A little out of balance to be sessionable, but worth a try. (588 characters)

Photo of ReelBigwigFish
2.9/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured 12oz bottle into large Munchen Mug.

A: Dark copper brown color with minimal head, no lacing to speak of, slight haze, just off from translucent.

S: Smells piney and spicy with hints of apple and clove. Sweet and a little smoke and alcohol in there as well. Interesting pine scent, I'm so used to piney hops, and this is more like steeped pine needles.

T: Same as the nose, starting with a very sweet punch, and a slightly bitter finish. Again, interesting...

M: Perfect amount of carbonation, and I like the consistency; a little on the syrupy side but still quite drinkable.

O: Like others have said, this beer is basically an almost-new take on a rather typical one. It's enjoyable to try a bottle, but I'd be disappointed if I had paid for a 6-pack, at least for the price of $10. Yards has many a good beer, much better than this one; can't hit the bullseye every time. (886 characters)

Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.