1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

303 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 303
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 19.13%
Wants: 113
Gots: 22 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Imperial Spruce India Pilsner Alström Bros
Ratings: 303 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CoolJosh
CoolJosh

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 Ml split amongst Treyrab, ashherb17, and myself. Pours like a double IPA. I guess because of it's german designation, I would like more translucency. Haze-infused light brown body, with a creamy soft white head that reduces to a layer, leaving an abundance of lacing on the side.

The smell is spot on. Fresh spruce pine needles. Smells just like an evergreen tree, with light citrus notes that hide in the background. A nice malt sweetness lingers as well.

The taste is good, but overpowering. Tons of lilac and an overpowering malt sweetness that becomes overbearing after a few sips. Still very well executed as Short's captured the name perfectly. The hops are incredibly fresh, which makes this easier to throw down. Very creamy mouthfeel. Nicely done boys, keep crankin' out these off the wall beers!

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2009 01:05:24 | More by CoolJosh
Photo of treyrab
treyrab

California

3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Huge thanks goes to kbeals for this one. You are the man! Split tonight with JoshCool and poured into my snifter.

Disclaimer: I am really torn with this beer. The flavors are incredible, but...

A: Pours a nice, cloudy copper gold with a nice, solid one and a half finger white head. Completely opaque with orange, hazy goodness.

S: The smell is not mellow, yet not packed with aroma, but a solid middle ground. Nice and pine with a touch of good ol Christmas tree and some citrus.

T: This is where I am torn. The flavors taste like putting a handful of spruce needles in your mouth, and grinding the hell out of them with your teeth! Completely intense with spruce flavor, almost to the point where I can't taste beer, and only taste spruce needles. I really respect what they were trying to do, and they did is amazing, it's just that it is too much spruce flavor for me.

M: To hell with this, let's get to drinkablity.

D: I am more than pumped I tried this, but the drinkability is rather low as the spruce flavor is overpowering.

Overall, this is an incredible beer. Like nothing else I have ever tried or imagined, but it is so off the wall, that this is a one-and-done for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2009 00:51:47 | More by treyrab
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared very graciously by gford217 at the Brick Store Pub awhile ago. I'm fascinated by these Short's beers, and especially by this one. I happen to be a fan of that spruce flavor, and I strongly suspect that more than a few batches of spruce beers were made by the early settlers. If you like gin, you'll probably love this beer as its got that same strong piney aroma and taste- but sharper and sappier, that gin gets from juniper. Pours a hazy golden with a thin wispy head. Not too bad for a beer this strong that's been around for a while. Smells strongly of spruce and juniper, like a northern forest on a warm day, and with undercurrents of candi sugar. The taste once again spotlights the spruce with the sappy snap of pine ringing out against just enough malt to provide a nice framework for the spruce. You may or may not care for this, but for what it is I think it is perfect and very nicely balanced- this is clearly still beer, and not a spruce eau de vie. Smooth and piney, but not sticky or sappy or too bitter in the mouthfeel. Extremely interesting beer and well crafted from this most exciting brewery. Thanks a bunch, Grant. I'd been wanting to try this for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2009 00:01:46 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of younger35
younger35

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this brew in a trade with OHLRangers some time ago. I've heard a lot about this brew and how intense it is. I'm scared to drink it alone but I'm gonna do it anyways. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale flute.

Imperial Spruce India Pilsner
Date Brewed: 4/30/07
Batch No: 302
Date Bottled: 5/29&30/07
Non Traditional Ingredients: Northern Michigan Blue Spruce
Imperial Beer 13 of 13
Bottle Number 308 of 886

Appearance- Pours a crystal clear yellowish orange with a giant two finger bright white head that never really recedes. A great cap and collar remain the entire beer leaving some thick lacing that really sticks well.
Smell- Wow right away this brew reminds me of the Short's The Curl. Some bits of citrusy hops perfume the glass wonderfully. The spruce is noticeable but definitely not over-the-top. A slightly grainy maltiness hides in the background adding just a touch of sweetness.
Taste- Wow, definitely a pretty intense beer but not as crazy as I was expecting. Very fruity at times with hints of peaches and pears. The spruce is nice and definitely the focal point of the beer but its most definitely within balance. Some cotton candy and bubblegum like aspects as well but for the most part the malt is drowned out by the spruce and hops. The finishes lingeringly bitter with a bit of raw spruce.
Mouthfeel- Medium body with very crisp carbonation that is almost a deterrent at times.
Drinkability- This beer reminds me a lot of the Orbitz Mint Mango gum. My buddy was saying that the spruce is intense, which it is, but I don't think it's exceedingly over the top. This is an extremely unique beer that I really enjoyed. I probably couldn't drink this too often, but I did enjoy the hell out of it. Thanks Ed!

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2009 21:02:23 | More by younger35
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.63/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Randy for passing along this rarity, bottle #466, shared with the usual suspects at the Brick Store.

Pours a light clear golden amber with a creamy off-white head that recedes to a collar pretty quickly and leaves very little lacing.

The aroma is seriously fragrant and jumped out of the bottle. It's dominated by the spruce and pine with some grassy notes and only a hint of the underlying malts. Plenty of similarities to this aroma and that of gin.

The taste is even more intense. I have to imagine this is the closest I'll get to drinking straight spruce sap. There is some juniper and grassy hops as well, but the hops have faded to the point that the spruce steals the show completely. I'd mentioned the underlying malts but I'm not sure I could really taste them.

Them mouthfeel is definitely on the fuller side of things and pretty thick and sticky on the palate.

Well, being a lover of pine hops, I was really looking forward to this one and it absolutely delivered the goods. It's certainly intense and probably a little over-the-top, but since it's intensity is focused on something I enjoy so much, I've got no other option but to love this beer. Thank you Short's!

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2009 02:00:12 | More by gford217
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beertooth for busting out this one...review from notes.

Poured a glimmering hazed gold. Sweet sticky alpha hop aroma, spruce, high quality caramel. Pretty wild that this still has so much aroma 2 years down the road. Sticky, resiny sweet with a building herbal spruce or spearmint flavor that culminates in a long bitter finish. Body is thick and robust for a Pilsner, there's a spicy tingle on the finish, that must be what chewing on spruce needles tastes like. Overall good in small doses, definitely a fine example of creative brewing.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2009 18:53:46 | More by emerge077
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2009 23:49:41 | More by glid02
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

2.4/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Another in the imperial series I decided to open up last night. This one I was rather waiting for to be honest as I have had poor luck with spruce in general, but alas here we go, what a mess. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 06/04/2009.
The pour was the best part, crystal clear amber with a nice head of white on top that only barely settled down as the night went on. Amazing clear copper color though. The aroma as well, loaded down with spruce and piney like aromas had a decent malt balance to it that gave it a thick, yet not overwhelming profile. Then I took a sip. Then I gagged. Wow, talk about overkill here. It was spruce alright, like drinking the water in my tree stand. Way too harsh and obnoxious here, almost no balance to it at all, it was just harsh, harsh spruce tip and car air freshener like taste. Wow. Light body and the alcohol was hidden well but this was just flat out undrinkable. Very rarely could I ever say that, but this was undrinkable.
Overall would have been better served by being toned down a good bit, but it was just way overboard. Sometimes you don't need to go soo big with things,

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2009 18:20:56 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of midnite2sixman
midnite2sixman

Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my sensory glass perfect amount of head fills up the glass almost an inch and a half. Smooth foamy bubbles, slowly massing into larger bubbles around the edges. Top of it looks like a fresh batch of swiss cheese. Fairly light amber/orange in color.

After the foam subsided I was able to get major pine resin notes on the nose backed by a sweet caramel aroma. This beer smells amazing!

More pine than I have ever had before in a beer. Of course. Hay and grass are more subtle notes with some crisp malts and did I mention the pine???

Little bit of a bit, but the beer definitely mellows out, leaving a bit of a sticky residue. Pine tar?

Joe is a maniac. And it turns out that maniacs can make some tasty beer!

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2009 05:59:03 | More by midnite2sixman
Photo of Windigstadt
Windigstadt

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy honey color with a two-inch white head that quickly dissipates.

S: Sweet notes of cotton candy and honey mingle with the pine and citrus notes of the hops.

T: The sweet, slightly bready pilsner malt quickly gives way to a dominant hop bitterness. No real hop flavor to speak of, but the piney spruce flavor is prominent in the back of the palate. Unlike a traditional Pilsner, this one finishes sweet with a slight alcohol burn.

M: Fairly highly carbonated, but neither too thin nor too thick.

D: For a 10% beer it drinks rather smoothly.

Overall: An interesting beer. It has more in common with a double IPA than a Pilsner, with spruce replacing any flavor hops. However, being a lager it lacks the fruitiness of an IPA, while at the same time the alcohol, hops and spruce overpower the bready malt nuances you get from a traditional Pilsner. Not a bad beer and worth trying, but I think this would've been better as a Double IPA (and I say that as somebody who generally prefers a nice Pilsner to an IPA).

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 03:15:44 | More by Windigstadt
Photo of wagenvolks
wagenvolks

Texas

3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle (2007) brought to a BA tasting by thickerfreakness. Many thanks!

Pours a very hazy, pale golden-orange body with a thick tuft of bone white head that retains well and leaves patches of lacing. This is easily the most intricate, interesting aroma I've smelled in a beer (perhaps with the exception of San Juan BC's "Bacon Beer"). Imagine a mix of pine sap, pine needles, and PineSol put into a blender and liquefied with some gin, and you'll have Shorts' Imperial Spruce Pilsner. Nice balance of toffee malts thrown at the pine, but to little effect.

Holy shit, this beer is intense! Soooo incredibly piney. PineSol & booze, with loads of resinous hops and juniper berries. It's all together too much for me, but I respect the ability of Shorts to craft something this monstrous. Mouthfeel is crisp, well-carbonated, and packs a lasting bitter finish of (you guessed it!) pine. I loved trying this beer, and it was perfect for a 3oz tasting, but there is absolutely no way I could make it through a full glass (let alone a bottle!) of this stuff. Potential drain-pour in large amounts.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2009 22:37:30 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle at 54 degrees, Christmas eve 2008.

Pours light, clear gold with a three inch head from a gentle pour. The densely packed foam retreated reluctantly, revealing a solid skim coat on the surface, and a solid webbing of lacework.

Aromatics are stunning. Juniper berries, spruce sap, grapefruit, wet-cut grass, gin-steeped lemon seeds, and bitter orange sived through pine bark. Barely a trace of husky malt way in the back, with woody, earthy undertones following through.

Medium bodied and sticky. A lightly syrupy mouthfeel with a good combination of creaminess and crispness.

The palate blasts off with a deluge of spruce sap, pine boughs, juniper, and Christmas tree extract. Holy crap..This one is off the hook..The intensity level of the Spruce tips lends a quality that makes one ponder "should I be drinking this?".
Spruce shavings, grapefruit pith, fresh cut hay, cedar resin, and potpourri step forward.
A drying, firm bitterness follows through as the sappy, coniferous essence continues.

Finishes with lingering earthy, woody resins, shadows of husky malt, and a peppery warmth.

This one takes you right into the forest and sits your ass down. The nose is intense but does not prepare you for that first sip. I can't imagine how intense this was when it was fresh.
The perfect beer for Christmas eve. It literally tastes like they tossed the tree into the brew kettle.

Big, majorous props to BA EriktheRed for hauling this gem all the way to Cooperstown for me, Thanks man!

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2008 21:06:22 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of pwoods
pwoods

Ohio

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 22:22:17 | More by pwoods
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle acquired in trade with hoppymeal (thanks!). Bottle # 251 / 886.

Poured a medium and hazy golden color with an averaged sized white head. Aromas of spruce, grassy, and citrus. Tastes follow suit. LIght fruitiness as well. Definitely spruce in there!

Notes from 2/8/08

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2008 02:17:36 | More by hopdog
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a huge head that retains beautifully and leaves a lot of lace around the pilsner glass

Smell: Clearly some fruity hops are in there to balance out the spruce, but this is one spryly aromatic beer; as you consume this beer, the aroma will clear out your sinuses

Taste: From the outset, the piney flavor joins the fruit and then just smashes it to smithereens, becoming both medicinal and minty by mid-palate; after the swallow, if you can imagine it, the flavors kick up another notch, although the underlying sweetness of the pilsner malt finally makes its presence felt

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; some warmth from the alcohol

Drinkability: A fascinating experiment, and I do like it, although only in small quantities, I have to admit

Thanks, hoppymeal, for another opportunity to sample beer from this amazing brewery

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 22:01:14 | More by brentk56
Photo of SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN

Kentucky

3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A pillow like three fingers of rocky light tan head seems to last very well. A murky haze of wheat colored glowing orange makes up the body. A crown of scattered lace is left as the head slowly fades. Nose is like a pine forest just after the rain, with a bit of musk thrown in. Taste stays with this same tone with tons of up front musky pine, like liquid pine needles. When it comes down to it, it really tastes like a christmas tree. A bit of a bitter bite joins in on the back of the palate. A bit of sweetness arrives in the middle as it warms. The piney feel is just shy of harsh on the mouthfeel and throughout. Drinkability is well...short. I think the pine needles could have spent about half the time in the brewing process and you would have still got the desired effect.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2008 18:34:33 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle acquired in a trade with OHLRangers, thanks to Ed for the opportunity, 13 of 13, #304/886, split with my dad last night, poured into my Sapporo pilsner glass

A-Clear golden orange with a red tint, massive three inch white foamy head, stuck around for close to fifteen minutes, great retention, but even better lacing, only thing that kept this from getting a five is it weird thickness
S-Spruce, pine needles, earthiness, herbal accents, medicinal scents, soft malts, strong hoppiness, lemons, other plants, and various spices
T-Wow I was not expecting such an overpowering flavor but I was sure wrong, one of the most intense beers I have ever had, flat out harsh, would have been fine with a couple sips, do not know anybody that could finish a bottle of this themselves, it is hopped just like an IPA but definitely has pilsner qualities once you get passed all the spruce and spices, there was a weird stickiness around where the cap was and I am pretty sure it was tree sap, it sure tasted like it at least, not much sweetness in here and tasted more like it should be medicine than beer, by the end once the beer fully warms I can start to taste some cornmeal and molasses, quite a journey while drinking this one, fun to try but not the most enjoyable
M-Thick full body, medium level of carbonation, piney, dry, and spicy mouthfeel, taste lingers so long, it literally tasted like I blended up some needles from the tree in front of my house and were drinking them for a while
D-This beer is hard to drink but not because alcohol is so present, mostly just the spruce, the booze are barely even there which is quite the feat for a ten percent beer, pine flavors are heavy on the stomach, not smooth

One of the beers I was looking most forward to trying from the imperial series and I was a bit let down, could not believe how fresh it smelled and tasted though, interesting experiment but I do not know if it necessarily works, this is a beer I would only need to try once, still worth trying as it is very unique

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2008 17:58:32 | More by Floydster
Photo of cvstrickland
cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The drink pours a bright lemonade color with a thin off-white head that leaves speckles of lacing on the glass.

The smell is piney. Ok, so that's the biggest understatement I ever typed on BA....let me try again. Ok... The drink is loaded to the gills with pine sap, pine rosin, pine boughs, green pine cones, perhaps even a liquid Christmas tree! This thing is a pine bomb, an evergreen extravaganza, a pure-t spruce missile!

Taste is sweetly malty and piney. Ok, so that's the second biggest understatement I ever typed on BA! How's about 'A machinegun belt-fed with pine needles blasts away at the palate'? The taste is much the same as the nose, only more bitter with a touch of grapefruity citrus.

If you're a lover of all things evergreen, check out this sticky little pinesicle.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 14:57:12 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of sfoley333
sfoley333

Brazil

4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been sitting on this bottle since Feb. when I did a trade for several shorts beer with Hoppymeal(Thanks Derek), and wanted to open it ever since. Bottle number #202 of 886 poured into Pizza Port 6th Ann Real ale glass. Pours a golden hazy color with a very slight orange tint and a thick white foamy head, good lacing on the head. Smell is like the name, I got a huge whiff of pine mixed with some citrus and a little spice in the background inter mixing with a sweet malt profile. Taste is pine sap and lots of it but still layers of citrus and bitter sweet malt profile. Mouthfeel is light body with low carbonation. I wish I had another bottle of this beer, I love hops but now I love Spruce and hops together. This beer should be made year round.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 04:00:13 | More by sfoley333
Photo of beachbum1975
beachbum1975

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pimpp, thanks a TON - I am glad I had the opportunity to share this unique and rare beer with ya...

Bottle # 197 of 886

Appearance: Pours a medium yellow, with a white tan (looks like your average pilsner).

Smell: PINE!!! (I am not certain if I have enough exclamation points for that. Heavy, heavy pine with a bitter (hoppy?) backbone.

Taste: PINE!!! Ever wanna eat a pine car air freshener or some Pinesol? If so, this is your chance! Pine is present, with force, all over the place. I was told this bottle was aged 1-2 years, so I can't imagine how much more piney this would be fresh... Honestly, I tasted no pilsner qualities, except for maybe the slightest grain hints after the pine wave. Definitely an Imperial-style and VERY flavorful brew.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and crisp.

Drinkability: I liked this, but I am not certain other people would. This was poignantly flavored and made me feel like I was walking in a pine forest. Unique and worth a try among friends to share.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2008 00:10:03 | More by beachbum1975
Photo of rallison
rallison

California

4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #150 shared amongst some good friends at a little Homebrew fest pre-party. Huge thanks to northernbrews for hooking me up with a couple bottles of this gem.

This is one of the most unique and well pulled off beers I have had in a long time. The double pilsner base beer is nicely soft and creamy (carbonation is low to medium and works perfectly) with an almost toffee-like sweetness. The spruce tips are absolutely amazing - the aroma here is all spruce. Think of the most piny beer you've smelled...but take it that next step to where the smell really is from a tree. The growth was obviously early growth, with a great freshness. The taste? Like sucking on a tasty, tasty Christmas tree. As strong as the spruce flavor is, you can still taste that nice pilsner behind it.

Incredible. I really hope some other brewers get on the spruce tip bandwagon...perfect response to the hop shortage! And with that, I bump this one up to the 10 reviews it needs to be in the top 10 for style, and deservedly so!

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2008 06:45:36 | More by rallison
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

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!

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2008 23:11:50 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of SacoDeToro
SacoDeToro

California

4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a ton of this at GABF.

The beer pours a hazy straw yellow with a dense white head.

The aroma of the beer... holy shitballs! It's like I've got my head burried in a Christmas tree. Mad spruce I tell ya. There is some faint light malt in the background, but not much else.

The flavor of the beer was full of intense spruce resin flavors. The rich pilsner malt backbone helped to support the intensity of the spruce. The hops were assertive and had floral and earthy qualities.

The carbonation was dialed in pretty well for the style. I prefer not to have my imperial pilsners as carbonataed as my German pilsners. The mouthfeel was medium/light and had a touch of creaminess. The alcohol was pretty hidden.

I gave this beer a 5 in flavor and aroma because it was so unique and so outrageously intense. I have no doubt this is what Joe was shooting for when he brewed it. According to him, he used about 16lbs of fresh sappy spruce needles in a 7bbl batch.

This is one of the most unique beers I've ever had - period. IMO, Joe Short is pushing the envelope of extreme/experimental beers in a very meaningful direction.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2008 14:21:06 | More by SacoDeToro
Photo of ncvbc
ncvbc

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice golden color that seems to get closer to amber after a second pour. Great fluffy head rises up with steady carbonation, leaving lacing down the glass. Smell is...wow...of spruce and pine. At first that's all there is. There's also some funky smells mixed with fresh green hops. A little menthol, peppermint type scent throws me off a bit. Taste is the same type of thing. At first all I could get was this minty, sprucy taste. A good hop flavor kicks in, too. Mouthfeel is bitter and drying. Decent drinkability. This is one beer that I can't really describe and one that I don't know I'd try again while I truly appreciated the experience. It was interesting to say the least but just not what I look for in a go-to beer. Original for sure...

Cheers to hoppymeal for this treat!

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2008 22:32:01 | More by ncvbc
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for sharing this bottle(#25/886)...
Appears a hazy, light gold with a small white cap that fades into a mild head. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of spruce, pine needles, tree sap, and heavy citrus...very odd but enticing.
Taste is of weird flavors with notes of sap, funk, strange spicing, and even notes of ginger.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet up front, & yeasty spice.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2008 03:49:47 | More by weeare138
Imperial Spruce India Pilsner from Short's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 303 ratings.