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Imperial Spruce India Pilsner - Short's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial Spruce India PilsnerImperial Spruce India Pilsner

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

371 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 371
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 18.62%
Wants: 121
Gots: 39 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Pilsner |  7.15% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
Original batch (from Imperial Series--750 ml bottles) was 10% abv. New, 2010, 12 oz. bottles are 7.15% abv.

(Beer added by: hoppymeal on 06-30-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 371 | Reviews: 148 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DCDevilDancer:
Photo of DCDevilDancer
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to scubarex for cellaring this gem for 2+ years! Really a perfectly executed, delightfully unique brew. I would say it has held up fine, but that would be a huge understatement. The Matthew Grockau hand combed Northern Michigan Blue Spruce and piney resinous hops have aged remarkably gracefully together.
Looks good, smells inviting..
On the tongue notes of a wonderfully pure, remote wet evergreen forest, with a clean bitter finish. Flavor waves going on for sure.. a spectrum of pine, spicy citrus, wet stones. Not sure to what degree it was ever there, but the "pilsner" element is gone, while remarkably still screaming IPA 2 1/2+ years after bottling!
Drinkability decreases a bit towards the end of the 750, even though I am sharing it with 2 others.
All in all, a real treat!

DCDevilDancer, May 09, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of Eric1Mess
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Keeping this short and sweet. Best beer I've ever tasted so far...

Eric1Mess, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of DanGeo
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

DanGeo, May 17, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
3.11/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No longer "Imperial Spruce India Pilsner", rather the 2013 release is simply "Spruce Pilsner". It's murky, and pours with a shade just pale of true-gold; the bright, yellow edges hold up a soapy and foamy white head that takes a minute or so to recede to a swampy skin. Some drippy, wet lacing is posted up on the glass as the head finds its way downward.

You can't even get your face within a few feet of the glass without getting a swift kick in the head face from copious amounts of spruce tips. Pines, pines, pines, spruce, spruce, spruce. This shit is dank as hell, dripping with wet and resinous pine needles; an over the top amount that comes out swinging like it just ripped the straight-jacket off.

Despite the maniacal, borderline masochistic amounts of spruce in the aroma, a teeny-tiny bit of cracker and biscuit malt can be found underneath if you dig your nose deep enough. It gives just the smallest amount of finishing sweetness to the back-end aroma - pretty much the only thing resembling any type of balance in this brew so far.

I think there's no surprise from the aroma how this one's gonna taste. One sip and a massive wave of spruce tips and pine needles bludgeon your palate to death, beating your taste buds senseless and leaving your uvula gasping for hydration. It carries a palate engulfing bitterness with it; the kind that shocks your senses for a brief moment.

Just like in the aroma, some moderately sweet cracker malt can be found if you search for it, and it gets a little easier as the brew warms up. However the indirect pungency of the liquid Christmas tree you hold in front of you can never truly be washed aside. I hope you like pine, I hope you like resin, I hope you like enamel-peeling bitterness.

Medium-thick bodied, with a largely oily, resinous, and almost sticky mouth feel with medium carbonation. A harshly bitter finish that could wake up a corpse. Jesus, this stuff is pretty damn intense. It's a very polarizing brew, and now I can see why. I understand why some people may dig this stuff... Me? I thought it was alright, but nothing to rave about. Hard to drink in quantity.

tectactoe, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of TCHopCraver
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes on 8-1-10.

A: Pours a fairly dark gold into a standard pint glass. A pure white, 1 finger head fades and leaves a popped-up film on top of the beer. Carbonation bubbles move at a medium pace. The lacing has a fun, Japanese character-like appearance to it.

S: Holy spruce, Batman! That is mostly what I detect from the aroma. It's like sticking my head up the hollowed out trunk of a Christmas tree and taking a huge whiff. I smell a faint aroma of citrus hops to complement the spruce, along with a certain green herbal component.

T: This is certainly unlike any Pilsner I have ever tasted. The spruce is much better balanced in the taste by nice, big citrus hops than it was in the smell. The bittering hops provide a crisp, clean, bitter finish to the end of the sip.

M: This MF is definitely on the full side for a Pilsner with a hefty hop hubris that dries the palate out completely at the end of each sip.

D: I think this is more of a once in awhile experience for me. The spruce flavor is an inventive novelty, especially in a lager, but I don't think this would be a regular in my beer drinking lineup.

TCHopCraver, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of hotglassmama
5/5  rDev +27.6%

hotglassmama, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

A generous dose of high alpha hops was not enough for Short's Brewing so they had to resort to using blue spruce needles to kick it up a notch. Oddly, this might be the new trend if hop prices become too excessive.

The clear orangey golden color displays a very active carbonation as tin bubbles stream to the top. The head is quite amazing with an excellent retention and rings of lace are left after each sip. Whoa! Massive, in-your-face aroma with a sharp crest of spruce and deep undercurrent of pungent hops. Slick and smooth, full body with a solid carbonation. Big mouthful of spruce to start, the taste buds try and beg for mercy but the spruce character weighs heavy until the hops come in for a few licks. Bitterness is not subtle at all with a sharpness that is strong enough to cut through the spruce flavor from middle to end. The alcohol lands right in the middle with a noticeable warmth but never becomes hot; malt flavors toss up biscuity flavors and a touch of sweetness. The finish is cleaner than we thought it was going to be with a lingering hop bitterness and spruce on the breath.

Definitive proof that Short's Brewing knows what extreme beer is all about. No pussyfooting here, taste and learn because this one is the real thing. Without a doubt the combo of spruce and hops within a big lager works.

BeerAdvocate, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. #249 of 886.

Pours from the bottle a deep golden orange color that's somewhat hazy. There's a nice inch of creamy white head atop the brew that leaves spotty lacing as it falls. Aromas begin with a nice melding of citrusy, herbal tones along with a grainy, somewhat sweet biscuit malt undertone. This is all enveloped in huge resinous blue spruce pine needle goodness. Really bright in the nose and more so than I have ever experienced in any beverage.

First sip brings the sweet biscuit/pilsner malts upfront, but it quickly makes way for the bold, resinous blue spruce flavor. It's incredibly vibrant and deep. The card attached states they waited until the last minute to harvest the spruce to get the most resin and sap out of it, and it shows! Citrusy, herbal hops mill around as it flows down as well with a nice earthy character overall. Bitterness is there throughout. Really tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a medium body that makes for a really solid drinking experience. Good carbonation at work here as well. Overall, an incredibly unique brew that ended up being very tasty and unlike any other I have had. I shared this and I think a whole bottle might be much, but hey it's always better to share anyways! I wish I had another of these cause I keep thinking about it. Cheers to Short's!

orbitalr0x, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of nickadams2
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A_Pale transparent gold with a half inch bone white head. Moderate lacing.

S_Heavy pine and hops.

T_Sweet pine up front. Honey and grassy hops. Bold piny, resiny hop profile.

M_Thin but nice body.Dry finish.

D_Great summertime beer. Ridiculously drinkable for the abv. Very refreshing.

nickadams2, Jul 24, 2010
Photo of warnerry
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear straw/golden brown. Moderately vigorous pour yields only one finger of head. Lots of sticky lacing.

S - Huge resinous spruce and pine with a strong presence of grapefruit as well.

T - Slightly astringent taste with massive spruce/pine bitterness. I'm really enjoying it. Grapefruit hops eventually come through. Leaves a long lasting bitter finish.

M - Oily, resinous mouthfeel coats the palate. The bitterness on the tongue seems to last for hours. Intense but good.

O - This is a very good offering from Short's. The strong bitterness may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.

warnerry, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of mikejonze
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

mikejonze, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of jaminjohnson
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

jaminjohnson, Aug 08, 2013
Photo of mjtiernan
4/5  rDev +2%

mjtiernan, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of mikerap100
5/5  rDev +27.6%

mikerap100, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of Cynic-ale
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Cynic-ale, Sep 04, 2014
Photo of glid02
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this thanks to gford217 - thanks!

Pours a copper-amber color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates slowly into a thin pancake on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of robust pilsener malts with good amounts of pine hop flavors and a touch of bitterness and alcohol.

Tastes better than it smells. Sweet malt flavors up front are joined almost immediately by pine flavors, and not pine hop flavors but straight off the tree pine needle flavors. However, somehow the pine manages not to overpower and carries through until a mildly bitter ending leaving a nice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. This isn't the tastiest DIPA I've ever had but I keep drinking it out of awe of the sheer amount of pine flavors.

Overall this is easily the piniest beer that I've had, and it surprised me by not being too over the top. Definitely worth a shot.

glid02, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of goast8127
5/5  rDev +27.6%

goast8127, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of pwoods
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown bottle (197 of 886) poured into a snifter. Thanks to Hoppymeal for this great trade!

A: Pours like a pilsner with a stronger, hoppier head. Hold nicely and lends good lacing.

S: Tons of spruce needles and citrus. Lots of hop resins.

T/M: Hop bomb. More of the big spruce and pine with plenty of citrus. Alcohol is very present, a bit stinging and melds nicely with the spruce needles. Malts just to balance a bit. Body is pretty big with a chewy malt feel.

D: Not overly easy to drink but very interesting.

pwoods, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev +2%

acurtis, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of Beerontwowheels
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Beerontwowheels, Jul 20, 2012
Photo of Dawkins
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Dawkins, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of king75
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- This one is a medium to dark gold in appearance with about a solid inch of off colored foam head that sticks around with plenty of lacing.

S- This one smells strongly of pine needles, a slight hint of hops, and a slight hint of grape fruit.

TM- This one is really bitter and has a bite all the way through. The pine needle taste is overwhelmingly the dominant flavor, with hops and citrus nodes making an appearance throughout as well. This one leaves the palate feeling extremely tangy and dry.

Overall, this is a hophead or spruce lovers dream! Very memorable and unique enough that one is not quick to forget it. Overall, a very solid beer and very indicative of the style.

king75, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of dmorley21
4/5  rDev +2%

dmorley21, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the brewery. Tremendous aroma from the tips of the tree, I enjoyed this forest. Grapefruit body with white lasting head. Carbonation there and helps drinkability, which is easy. Taste is piney,juicy, a bit of citrus. Saaz hops? ABove average mouthfeel.

Sammy, Aug 20, 2009
Photo of danp14
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

danp14, Jul 18, 2012
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Imperial Spruce India Pilsner from Short's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.