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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #39 - Vermont Spruce Tip - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #39 - Vermont Spruce TipHarpoon 100 Barrel Series #39 - Vermont Spruce Tip

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

106 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 14.2%
Wants: 4
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This hearty ale is a showcase for a traditional yet seldom used brewing ingredient: spruce tips. Harvested at their tender, ripe, bright green peak in Downer State Forest, Vermont, these spruce tips impart citrus, pine, spice, herbal and earthy notes. A host of malts, a hint of roasted barley and generous use of Chinook hops complement the unique spruce flavor.

We’d like to thank the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and all of the many great volunteers that helped us with this unusual harvest.

38 IBU

(Beer added by: johnnnniee on 12-02-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #39 - Vermont Spruce Tip Alström Bros
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 43 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AJD1201
4.5/5  rDev +27.8%

AJD1201, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of Eastsideinside
4.25/5  rDev +20.7%

Eastsideinside, Mar 10, 2012
Photo of jondeelee
4.22/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vermont Spruce Tip Ale doesn't smell like it's been brewed with "locally gathered spruce tips," which in my opinion is a good thing, as beers that smell like Christmas trees have, in my experience, also tasted like them. Instead, this one comes across with a heavily malty body, thick with brown sugars, toasted wheat bread crusts, caramels, vanilla, and biscuit. Noticeably light is the hop aroma, which largely lingers around the periphery, adding only subtle hints of citrus and pine. From the nose alone, I would assume this to be a well-made brown ale.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a sweet, sugary, malty note full of brown sugars, vanilla, bread crusts, and caramels. Soon after the presence of hops washes over the tongue, bringing bitter grapefruit and pine, as well as some peppery eucalyptus. The spruce tips arrive soon afterward, sneaking their way in with a sweet sap-like overtone, much like what a tea brewed with spruce tips would taste like. The effect is very light and subtle, adding just a touch more pine to the hop profile than would be normally expected, and lending the beer a slight spicy Christmas feel. There is just enough sugar in the beer to nicely balance this sweet sap addition, and indeed, had I not know spruce tips were used in the beer, I would have assumed the flavors came entirely from the hops. The aftertaste is a continuation of the spicy, sappy hop-and-spruce flavors, with just enough sugars remaining to balance them out (though the sap does slightly overpower them after awhile), and lingers for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is one of the more successful of Harpoon's 100 Barrel Series I've tried, and one of the few that I would consider purchasing on a regular basis. Again, the spruce tip addition shouldn't scare off potential buyers, as the flavors are not overwhelming, but rather catalytic, bringing out more of the hops' natural pines and oils. Well worth trying.

jondeelee, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of JustinAniello
4.13/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear reddish-brown with a foamy two finger head. Dissipates to a light sticky lacing and cap.

S - Heavy breadiness with a very light pine, almost too light to even smell.

T - Sweet caramel at first turning to a medley of pine, brown sugar, malts, and a hint of fruit. Mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

B - Medium body and carbonation, goes well with the flavors.

O - Quite happy with this beer. Nice flavors that jump out without overpowering each other. A better blend of aromas would have improved it. The pine and maltiness really makes this a nice beer for the winter months. Too bad it's a limited edition, because I would be willing to grab this again.

JustinAniello, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of kkipple
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Green's on Piney Grove, I wanted something different and got it. 32 ounce growler into a big TripKarm goblet.

Vermont Spruce Tip is a ruddy, hearty looking chestnut colored ale with a short, light and light tan head. Lace though. Clear and attentive. Nose is something like a generously malty pale ale or Scotch ale maybe, with a good dose of cool piney hops and what I imagine must be the spruce - a herbal, spicy and vegetal quality. Not bad.

The flavor is malt forward, slick and medium bodied. Rather expansive mouthfeel really, and gently spruce-y, this is quite appealing. It's different and restrained, both qualities I enjoy. The 7% is possibly evident. The malt is somewhat English and the whole thing is well-rounded and enjoyable; mildly sweet. There is a strange slickness to this one, which is a bit of a shame, otherwise, I dig it. It drinks very easily.

Give Vermont Spruce Tip a shot, it's a fun and drinkable Winter-ish brew that deserves a chance. I hope Harpoon makes this again, as I can easily see myself settling in on a cold night with a book and a fire or girlfriend or other heat-producing object, and having a grand time of it.

kkipple, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle with an expiration date of 03/15/2012. Sampled on December 29, 2012. It begins with an attractive darker-amber pour with a short-lived hea that disappears quickly. The aromas are finely balanced between sweet malts and earthy, piney hops, which makes sense considering how it was brewed. The body is medium to bold. The taste comes off stronger than the aroma with the same characteristics of pine tree, earth, and sweet malts with a vaguely dry finish. At the same time the piney flavor is something a little different and difficult to describe. Overall likeable.

puboflyons, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of civicm87
4/5  rDev +13.6%

civicm87, May 19, 2013
Photo of amp138
4/5  rDev +13.6%

amp138, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of codon2004
4/5  rDev +13.6%

codon2004, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of UlyssesGastro
4/5  rDev +13.6%

UlyssesGastro, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of frank12
4/5  rDev +13.6%

frank12, Apr 27, 2012
Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear texture. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Smelled of hops, malt, and a lot of pine.

T: Tasted predominantly of pine, with a lot of malt, caramel, and some hops in the finish. An interesting flavor that's pretty tasty, but definitely hard to pin down.

M: A fair amount of carbonation with a somewhat bitter finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is one of those beers that's kind of familiar, but also kind of an oddball. Still, worth a try.

avalon07, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of jgknittel
4/5  rDev +13.6%

jgknittel, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of Vermonthiker
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Vermonthiker, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of bornridiculous
4/5  rDev +13.6%

bornridiculous, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of verdict603
4/5  rDev +13.6%

verdict603, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of Gregwa
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Gregwa, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +13.6%

wrightst, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of zhumphrey
4/5  rDev +13.6%

zhumphrey, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of dunix
4/5  rDev +13.6%

dunix, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Texasfan549, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of jasonheyd
4/5  rDev +13.6%

jasonheyd, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of VTEno17
4/5  rDev +13.6%

VTEno17, May 22, 2014
Photo of mbs11
4/5  rDev +13.6%

mbs11, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of Hophead101
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Hophead101, Dec 13, 2011
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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #39 - Vermont Spruce Tip from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
81 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.