Imperial Spruce India Pilsner - Short's Brewing Company

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Imperial Spruce India PilsnerImperial Spruce India Pilsner

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

152 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 152
Hads: 393
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.94%
Wants: 124
Gots: 45 | FT: 4
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:
Beer added by: hoppymeal on 06-30-2007

Original batch (from Imperial Series--750 ml bottles) was 10% abv. New, 2010, 12 oz. bottles are 7.15% abv.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 152 | Hads: 393
Photo of xnicknj
4.49/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into tulip - thanks to erikkoppin

Pours a clear golden color with a thin crop of white head resting on top. Dissolves almost completely, leaving a collar of haze and a few spots of lacing.

Tons of bitter pine hops and spruce in the nose. This reminds me of Christmas tree shopping with my parents when I was a kid, very earthy, herbal and fragrant. Biscuit and grain malt with some soft sweetness. Faint warmth on the back end.

Bitter and piny right up front with tons of resiny bitterness. Sticky and juicy with herbal spruce tones that continue to remind me of Christmas trees and camping. Mild backbone with grain, lemongrass and bread. Underlying sweetness with more spruce and pine tones towards the finish with a spike of warmth and bitterness.

Medium body, well carbonated, dry and lingering on the tongue. I've been a Short's fan for a while, but this might be one of my all-time favorites. This completely demolishes nearly every other beer in the genre, while completely nailing the described intention from the label - I want more of this immediately. (1,088 characters)

Photo of neobob187
4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a DFH Snifter/Goblet.

A: a light yellowy golden color. Small amount of head but really great lacing all over the glass as you drink it.

S: not as heavy a nose as I'd expect from a beer this flavorful. There is a nice subtle pine/spruce smell, but nothing too crazy. Also a very subtle lemon.

T: For an "Imperial Pilsner" this beer is crazy hoppy. But I'm loving every second of it. Really nice grapefruit flavor from the Alpha Hops. Huge Pine/Spruce tinge. Also some really nice lemon and peppery bitterness in the finish.

M: Some really nice carbonation, very smooth, resinous and slightly dry finish.

O: An excellent and uniquely flavorful pilsner. I can really say I would drink this all the time if I lived in Michigan still. (770 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.42/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 8.21.12.

A - Pours a cloudy, light yellow with small white head that moves quickly to the edge.

S - A pine tree.

T - A pine tree with a lemony-soapy finish.

D - Mild carbonation with a light body.

O - Pine all-over the place. Some lemony-soap in the finish. (279 characters)

Photo of duceswild
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Picked this one up while in MI for about 2.99 for a single. Didn't realize how highly rated it was when I got it.

Pours with about a fingers worth of head and leaves a lacing after every sip. Smell is of pure spruce trees/needles. I also get a some hops on the smell. Very good smelling. Taste is very similar to the smell for me it is a little to over bearing on the spruce almost like I'm drinking a tree, but I totally appreciate what they are going for with this one. Mouthful is nice with a moderate about of carbonation and little hop bite on the end. Overall this is a solid beer from Short's and one I would welcome having again. (677 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light yellow body lots of bubbles, 2 finger head. Lots of lacing.

S: Hops, Spruce leaves/tips (whatever they put in here, you can smell it).

T: So,,, the spruce tips didn't smell very pleasant, but this beer tastes quite nice. Bitterness from the hops and the spruce leaves is offset quite nicely by sweetness.

M: Crips, high carbonation, very dry finish.

O: Unique (again). Very refreshing drink. Perfect for summer. (427 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, bottled 6/14/2012. Pours hazy golden straw color with a nice 1-2 finger fairly dense white head with very good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Good spotty lacing clings down the glass as you drink; with a fair amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of lemon, citrus peel, grapefruit, bread, herbal, floral, spruce, pine, grass, and earthiness. Very nice aromas that are extremely unique; and have great balance with a nice hop profile as well. Taste of big orange, pine, grapefruit, lemon, pepper, spruce, floral, earth, and big herbal spiciness. Nice amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of orange, grapefruit, lemon, pine, spruce, floral, earth, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a while. Great bitterness and hop flavor balance with the malt profile; with good complexity. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice fairly creamy and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very excellent and unique imperial pilsner. Great hop profile and balance; and extremely easy to drink. Highly enjoyable. (1,173 characters)

Photo of chromemittenman
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What can I say but WOW. I loved this beer last year but thought, maybe it was just because of the circumstances of when I tried it. Well, this year i bought a six pack and needless to say had to go back and buy 12 more. This has to be one of the most unique beers I've ever had. The smell of spruce works SO well with the IPA and the flavor is just exceptional. This is a beer I hope to stockpile a bit more of, as last year it really lasted a long time and still tasted good. (476 characters)

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Lord Hobo- poured a very light and hazy yellow with a one finger bone white head with a little retention and nice streaky lacing.

Smells very strongly if piney hops and pine trees.

Tastes very hoppy (the piney variety)- a little sharp and light malt profile.

Mouthfeel is ver fresh- light bodied with medium carbonation and a little oiliness from the hops. Definitely a beer I would get again. (410 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into my hollow floating Pilsner glass with a large foamy white head and heavy lacing and retention. Not crystal clear, there are some tiny particles floating as I suspect this is not filtered heavily like most pilsners are.

S: Holy pine and alpha acid pine aromas. This really smells magnificent. Take my favorite smelling pine tree Blue spruce and combine with a nice light lager aroma and hops.... The result is very good.

T: To start off, this tastes resiny in more than one way. The blue spruce pine resin flavors are strong but not overpowering combined with the Alpha Acid piney flavors. Overall this is clearly the most pine like flavored beer I have ever had no competition. Most other spruce flavored beers I have had were stouts or porters. This is new to me and very good and the new growth spruce tips make the flavors more fresh and almost cooling. Light pale malt flavors are there in the background as well in order to balance the heavy hopping and spruce flavors. A nice crisp imperial pils that has lots of bitter hop presence.

M: Medium body for an imperial pils, but slightly lighter than some other examples I have had. (EX: Twisted Smile) I like this approach better as it is more refreshing and does not taste syrupy for a pils. medium carbonation.

O: This is a great example of what an imperial pilsner can be. I really enjoyed it and would get a growler of it if it were down at my shop. (1,426 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - The beer pours a bright hazy golden-yellow color with a thin finger of frothy white head atop. The head fades down pretty quickly leaving behind some good lace.

S - he aroma is bursting with citrus hop and spruce and pine. There is a some light sweet malt in the background with some lemon peel.

T - The flavor starts off as expected with lots of piney spruce flavor with a bit of the citrus hops coming through with some lemon peel. Just a hint of sweet malt in the background. Through the middle, more grapefruit and apricot hop flavor come through with some good bitterness and a touch more sweet malt. The finish is a mix of hop bitterness with lot of pine and citrus flavor lingering.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a nice dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. The strong spruce flavor works really nicely alongside the strong hop flavors. Great hoppy pilsner. (893 characters)

Photo of BeRanger
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz draught on-tap at Box Bar in Plymouth, MI about a month back. Review from notes on phone

A - Pours a crisp looking light yellow color with about one finger of white head when it arrived at my table which disappated quickly.

S - The blue spruce tips come through first, also can smell a nice fruity flavor of grapefruit/apricot followed by the hops.

T - A bitter taste off the bat but the fruit flavors come through. The alcohol isnt really noticable but it finishes with the pine needle notes. One big thing comparing this *Imperial* versus the regular spruce in bottles this year that most people are reviewing on here is that the Imperial version is much smoother. The fruits and malts come through much better with the spruce tips blending much better.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation. There is no bite to the Imperial version as I found there was with my bottles of regular Spruce pilsner.

O - While I wasn't a huge fan of the Spruce Pilsner in bottles for 2011, I really enjoyed the Imperial version on draught. The flavors and spruce tips meshed a lot better and eliminated the harsh after-taste. (1,119 characters)

Photo of jacob4999
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After two years on BA finally my first review!

Poured from bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice hazy light orange color. Somewhat aggressive pour yields a one finger white head. Leaves a nice lacing with a good amount of consistent carbonation. Nice looking beer!

Smell: Very nice hop aroma and the pine spruce smell. This bottle is a few months old so the malt has definitely come out some. Also has some nice citrus notes. Great smelling beer!

Taste: Oh the hops and the pine. The sweet malt is coming through with the age. Nice light citrus notes. Light medium bitterness in the aftertaste. My kind of beer!

Mouthful: Medium light body with some carbonation, nice dry aftertaste.

Overall: After a few disappointments this is a beer that kind of brought me back to Shorts. If you dig bitter hops and like the smell/taste of pine I highly recommend this beer. Can't wait till next years batch for more. Tasty! (950 characters)

Photo of peensteen
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from northyorksammy.

Hazy pale blonde colour, one finger of white head, good lace. Smell is of sprunce and pine, quite hoppy, citrus fruit in there, biscuity malt backbone, lots of hops in here though. Taste has a sprucey forest note, citrus following, fruity flavours, grapefruit and pine, good amount of maqlt in the finish, nice bitterness with a light alcohol aftertaste. Medium carbonation, medium body, resinious and oily, good feel. Solid stuff, flavourful stuff, very drinkable. (494 characters)

Photo of syrupjoe
4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Pours a light hazy golden wheat color with a one finger off-white head.

Nose is a pungent overripe mango blast, with slight pine and lemon notes.

Taste is very piney, juicy and peppery with hints of barn funk and strong bitterness.

Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy, with medium to low carbonation.

Overall a very very interesting beer - I have never had anything like it. Hard to drink a whole pint, but enjoyable in small amounts. (462 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to akorsak for sharing this, this was the 12oz version.

The beer is deep golden like apple juice with great clarity and thick cream cap, carbonation is visible and lace sticks haphazardly. The smell is both vegetal and pungent like a fresh cut spruce bough, the hops seem to come through as more vegetal/herbal but the spruce really is the main aroma drowning out most of the malt aroma. The feel is smooth and spicy with slight hop bitterness which turns to a sharp prickly acidic spicy texture as it goes down.

The Flavor is intriguing to me, it tastes as you might expect with some bitterness present from the hops with slight citrus edge, but mild in relation to the deep woody and almost tannic sharp acidic and earthy pine-like taste that comes forward in the peripheral and lasts into the finish with only a mild amount of pilsner malt light cracker elements. Overall I found this to live up to the name, it was woody but not so astringent that it was undrinkable. I found the feel to be not very pilsner-like, but that really isn't the point of this. The spruce is conveyed in the taste more than any other spiced or other flavored beer and still compliments the base beer very well. (1,203 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.13/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Steve for sending me this one.

A: The beer pours a slightly cloudy golden orange color with a finger of white head.

S: Intense floral and herbal hop aroma with lots and lots of spruce notes. An almost lemon pine sol sort of smell to it. Candied lemon peel and a bit of sweet malt.

T: Tastes almost completely of spruce and pine needles. Very lemony as well. Quite a bit of woody, maybe a little bit of fruit, too. Some sweet malt and a lot of savory flavors, too.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Just way too much spruce flavor for me. (563 characters)

Photo of prototypic
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spruce Pilnser pours a straw color. It’s very hazy and looks a bit more yellow when held to light. A white head caps it off. It’s rather modest, rising to less than a finger in height. It’s also quick to dissipate to a surface covering. It held there for a bit. Lacing was on the lighter side.

The nose is alright. It could use a little more strength, but isn’t bad. It kicks off with a scent that’s very similar to pine. Must be the spruce. Not bad. Hops are noted and have a citrus lemon scent. Smells like pine too, but that might still be the spruce. Can’t tell. Smells a little malty and a bit sweet. Alcohol is blended very well and isn’t all that noticeable. Pretty good. Just needs more strength.

The flavor is interesting. I’m on the fence. It definitely has a strong, distinct spruce flavor to it. It does tasty a bit like pine. Pilsner malt is definitely noticeable and actually acts as a really nice backdrop. Tastes a tad sweet. Hops are rather strong in the mix. They feature citrus flavors of grapefruit, lemon, and pineapple. It’s definitely bitter and a bit dry. Maybe some pine, as well? Alcohol is a little noticeable, but doesn’t come through as strong. Finishes sprucey and a little bitter. I’ve now made up mind – this is good stuff.

Spruce Pilsner has a medium. Carbonation feels light and soft. It is nice and smooth. It definitely goes down easy. The spruce flavor grows a tad tiresome. I like the 12 oz. bottle serving size. Good call there.

Short’s Brewing Company has a knack for blazing trails. Spruce Pilsner is definitely a unique, trailblazing beer. How is it? Good. Personally, the spruce aspect seems a tad old by the end of the bottle. But, it does work well with the pilsner malt and strong hop flavors. Definitely worth checking out if you have the opportunity. (1,830 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at the brewpub. Poured into a sample glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a half finger of off white head. There is some really great looking lacing.

Smell: Mildly sweet malt with a hint of pine tree and some herbal notes. Pretty mild overall.

Taste: Initially mild, some malt and a strong pine taste. The finish is a bit earthy and a bit like chewing grapefruit rind rubbed on a christmas tree.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with mild carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: Way too bitter in the finish killing all the other flavors. Otherwise I thought this beer was quite nice and very interesting. (640 characters)

Photo of weizenbob
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this at the brewpub last month and was really impressed. I was excited to find this bottle at Jimmie Garant's in Alpena, MI. This was bottled on 8/20/11. It was poured into a pilsner glass...duh.

A moderate pour yields three big fingers of fluffy, bone-white head. Retention is fantastic. The brew is pale golden and hazy. Awesome amounts of lacing lines the entire glass.

Unfortunately this bottle is heavily skunked. I suspect mishandling at Jimmie Garant's as this was a loose single sitting near a window. I should have known better, but I've been craving this brew since I first tasted it. Skunking notwithstanding (my rating will ignore it), this beer smells quite literally of spruce. Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree! A tart lemony twinge manifests in the middle of the aroma. Supposed high-alpha hops are totally tamed by pine. I have smelled no other beer; nay, no other beverage like it. Your enjoyment of the aroma will wholly depend on your feelings toward coniferous trees and whether or not it weirds you out to smell it in drink form. I happen to like it...a lot

Descriptions of pilsner flavors often bring forth adjectives like "delicate" and "subtle". Make no mistake; there is nothing subtle about this beer. C'mon; this is Short's we're talking about. The flavor comes on blunt and strong with lots of oily spruce. Balancing out the spruce is a brutal dose of bitter hop oil. That's it: two alpha flavors slugging it out. Luckily the two flavors are distinct, complimentary, and manifest separately of each other.

It's a pleasant experience in the mouth as well. Riding the line between light and medium bodied, the feel compliments the flavors well and adds up to a beer that is thirst quenching and refreshing. Carbonation is pleasantly fizzy. It doesn't feel very pilsner-like, but it works on its own terms.

Short's does some weird things and most of their brews are hit or miss affairs. As far as Spruce Pilsner is concerned, this is a big hit. It is my new favorite Short's seasonal as well as my new favorite Pilsner. Absolutely awesome!

[As an odd side note, I believe that I'm having an allergic reaction to the spruce in this beer. I work in the landscape industry and throughout the years I've noticed that any time I come into contact with spruce trees I develop a rash. Both times that I have sampled this beer have been followed by an evening of itchy skin and difficult breathing. I don't care; this beer is worth the reaction.]

---

The Two-Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
For all their oddities, Jimmie Garant's had no Schlitz on hand. Regardless, I enthusiastically give two Schlitz for this amazing brew. (2,680 characters)

Photo of BBP
3.34/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- There's a strong resemblence to lemon juice in the appearance. The only thing that ruins that is the slight film of head. No lacing is there to be found.

S- The aroma is quite strong. I could imagine finding this scent in a cleaning chemical. It smells crisp and nice, but the furthest thing from natural.

T- There is a ton of spruce in this, especially in the beginning. Imagine the taste of spruce and concentrate it. It's not subtle. The hops come out soon after as the spruce slowly fades. The drink is far closer in style to a IPA than a pilsner, but I can't say I've ever had an imperial pilsner before.

There's some biscuit malt as well as hints of caramel. The drink maintains a good amount of bitterness throughout.

M- Medium full with a dry stickiness from the hops that comes out immediately. It's somewhat rough as it goes down, but since it sticks around, the flavor lasts a bit longer. Fair enough tradeoff.

O- Yet another interesting beer from Shorts. I don't think I'd buy this one again, but I'm glad that I did try it. I would be curious how it would mix with other beers though, to perhaps round it out a little bit. This may actually be what I consider one of Shorts stranger brews, and that's saying something. Buying a single rather than a 6pk is highly recommended. (1,301 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
3.26/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No bottle date. Poured into a Mason jar. Yep. Thanks to scoot1969 for throwing this one in!

A: Pours a pale golden color with maybe a half finger of white foam. Pretty good lacing and so-so retention.

S: Smells like barbecue sauce. Straight up. I am not kidding. Maybe its just an unholy spruce/orange/pale malt aroma that is somehow coming off as barbecue sauce. I don't know, I'm not a chef. It mellows a little as it warms. A little lemongrass.

T: More in line with what I was expecting: very sprucey (?), a little crispness, with a moderate-high bitterness and pretty long finish. Actually, it's a pretty interesting, kind of like a cousin to a piney IPA. The bitterness lasts for several minutes. Pretty impressive.

M: Mouthfeel is very tannic. Carbonation is low and lightish body is overwhelmed by the bitterness.

O: Interesting, and bonus points for the novelty, I guess. I had trouble finishing the bottle, though. (929 characters)

Photo of claminat420
4.87/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

got at short's a couple days ago.

A- poured a transparent golden color. frothy white head that left a nice bit of lacing.

S- just some crazy pine needles.

T- the pine needles are hit more with the hops i can tell. i drank a 12oz bottle yesterday and have to say that. really delicious.

M- seems more lighter bodied coming in the growler. good carbonation.

Drinkability- shoulda got another growler!

Overall- the growler tastes alil different than the bottle. like i said it seems like the hops are coming through more there. really tasty! (544 characters)

Photo of ryantho00
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a nice English Man United pint glass!! It pours bright golden brown with a really nice foamy wwhite 3 finger that leaves a nice cloudy lacing throughout the glass and drink.

Instant spruce and pines hops from first whiff to last taste. This is really almost similar to a robust IPA, slightly like double crooked tree, but a little more intense and less grassy flavors and much more hops and spruce pine needles! Damn, its really throughout the entirety of the brew, those spruce needles and pines, but really well done and balanced on the background of the malt of the pilsner, which is just the right blend and balance to create this substantiallly great beer. There are nice hop overtures throughout which blends and adds to the beer with some bitterness and spice. I get some brassiness taste to the brew but not an offtaste which just adds to the drink; and a small hint of citrus, mainly grapefruit. Most of the flavors tasted here are also detectable through the nose and initial smell.

Really nice medium bodied fresh crisp beer that goes really nicely with spicy spicy food in the summertime. If you like bold flavored beers, and robust IPA'S I RECOMMEND THIS BREW, REALLY WELL DONE.

(I know this isn't an IPA, however, this imperial pilsner is similar and delicious, and BOLD)
Cheers!! (1,321 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, Brickhouse - Madison

from notes

appearance: served in a shaker pint, bright hazed golden body, light filmy white cap

smell: spruce tips, floral citrus hops, pilsner malts. unique and potent

taste: ive had this a few times at festivals in the past and have always enjoyed - the spruce tips really make drinking this beer a cathartic experience that places your palate deep in the forest - green and fresh, earthy and organic, hoppy yet still traceable back to the pilsner malts. Nice.

mouthfeel: fresh and clean, medium-light body

overall: very nice (562 characters)

Photo of Tripphop
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden hue, glows in the glass. Whispy white head appears and fades to lace. Aromas are very piney. Good hop presence and the spruce wafts in and out. Flavor is very nice, very bitter and foresty. The spruce is nicely integrated, the massive hops carry it through and there is enough base malt to give a slight balance to it. Definitely hop forward but nicely done. Definitely the best spruce beer I've had. (407 characters)

Imperial Spruce India Pilsner from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 152 ratings.