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Imperial Spruce India Pilsner - Short's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial Spruce India PilsnerImperial Spruce India Pilsner

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

381 Ratings

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Ratings: 381
Reviews: 151
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 18.37%
Wants: 120
Gots: 40 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 381 | Reviews: 151
5/5  rDev +27.6%

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4/5  rDev +2%

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4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of syrupjoe
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of Slatetank
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of womencantsail
3.13/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

Photo of prototypic
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of oline73
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

Photo of weizenbob
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Photo of BBP
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

Photo of pmarlowe
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
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.

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Imperial Spruce India Pilsner from Short's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 381 ratings.