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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

43 Reviews
THE BROS
81
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 105
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 6.15%
Wants: 3
Gots: 4 | 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:
Beer added by: johnnnniee on 12-02-2011

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  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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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 105
Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that died down and left a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of pine resin in the nose.
T: The overall taste has malty flavors with hints of lemon citrus and pine resin from the hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: Nothing really stands out about this beer as being interesting but it is quite easy to drink. (548 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fizzy 1/4 head fades quickly, crystal clear orange honey red color.

Nose is sweet malts, maple, candy syrup, juicy reddish malts, caramel, etc. hint of pine sap and resin.

Taste sweet with syrupy malts, reddish malts, caramel, candy syrup, maple, light gritty biscuit like. Then light pine sap and resin, and hops, earthy herbal hops with a light phenolic herbal taste and decent bitterness. Finish is more maple candy, sweet, not as sticky as I thought, and on the back of the tongue a pine taste that is like chewing on a fir tree and earthy dirt taste.

mouth is med bodied, lighter but dec carb.

Overall meh, not bad but not great, the spruce isn't bad at first but gets weird, and plenty of sweet flavors, although the malts add a nice heavy beer feel for winter. (771 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 12/11/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains maple, spices, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste has a burst of spices and fruity sweetness up front followed by flavors of maple and caramel. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence is mild but complementary bringing a little bit of balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, decent representation of style, it’s something a bit different but not a beer I would want to drink on a regular basis. (838 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber w/ a batch # on the label.

LOOK: Head is not shy at all and reaches three fingers high, clear amber color.

SMELL: Toasted bread, mild spruce, caramel, herbal hop, floral and fruity yeast, semi-clean

TASTE: Sweet, modest spruce, mild hop bitterness, herbal, earthy, caramel, estery, ripe pears, hint of hop oil, drying semi-bitter finish

Expected a bit more spruce on the palate or perhaps this beer could have been smaller. Still well balanced and a good quaff. (483 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautifully clear, deep amber color. Decent head that settles to a thin layer of bubbles. Leaves good ring lace.

Smells like a Scotch Ale with a very light pine touch--mostly light crystal malt. Relatively neutral.

This is a complex beer. It is sweet, yet dry (in the swallow). The evergreen comes through, but Ina subtle way. There's enough hop to provide bitterness, but is otherwise nondescript. Full bodied with a decent dose of carbonation. (449 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a crystal clear amber in color with some very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a skin with a small thin patch and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate lacing is observe.d

S: Overall the aroma is very mild and a little more subtle than I expected. Light aromas of caramel and spruce.

T: This beer has a fairly strong malt body that contributes some caramel sweetness upfront. That is fairly quickly followed by some very light lemon citrus and some spruce. The beer finishes with a slight amount of hop bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy enough to drink and an interesting brew... Not sure that I would want to drink this as my session beer but on the other hand the beer goes down quite easily. I do not think I will be likely to get this one again but not sorry to have tried it. I was expecting and hoping for a more pronounced spruce in both the taste and the smell and that aspect was slightly disappointing (though I can see how a little too much could have made this taste like a Christmas tree). (1,159 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber with best before dating(3-15-12)

Pours clear, light amber, with a nice dark orange hue, minor light tan head, fine bubble sheen and some delicate fine lace left on the glass.

Fresh herbs and a just a hint of pine/spruce in the nose.

Fresh and clean tasting, more light spruce, I also get some juniper, perhaps anise, and caramel maltings, all with some hops in the rear end to dry a chunk of the sweatness out. Pretty good stuff, one of my better experiences with this long running series of brews (507 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.86/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium copper color with a huge bubbly white head that sticks around forever as well as to the glass. Smells of caramel and bready malt with a fair amount of non descript fruitiness. Slightly earthy hop aroma mixed with a bit of herbal and medicinal aromas. Really not what I was expecting when I cracked this one open. Taste is caramel and toffee malt sweetness balanced with an earthy herbal almost licorice flavor. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet slick mouthfeel. Decent brew, but not really what I expected. The spruce is there but its not overpowering and comes across as more of an herbal nuance in this brew. I enjoyed it enough that I would drink this again if I saw it on tap somewhere. (732 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.02/5  rDev +12.3%
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. (578 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1/4 inch head that dissipates quickly, red-brown in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: chocolate and light spruce—although the spruce becomes more fragrant as the beer warms

Taste: chocolate is the dominant flavor with spruce that becomes more dominant as the beer warms, light hops and other woodsy flavors.

Mouthfeel: sweet with a bitter spike at the end, moderate carbonation, medium-light bodied

Overall: This is a solid beer in the upper middle of the pack of the Harpoon 100 barrel series that I have tried. It has elements of a sahti in there. I do appreciate the woodsy element, but it is not as dominant as I would have liked. I would get this probably once a year in bomber format if it became a regular offering. A solid beer worth a try. (814 characters)

Photo of Gmann
3.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Pony Bar in NY.

Pours a clear golden brown color with a tight cream colored head that left a wall of lacing.

The aroma was weak and neutral. Some sweet malt with a subtle earthy spice. Nothing really stood out.

The taste was quite bready with some tea like malts. There was some brown sugar sweetness with a light spruce flavor. The spruce was not bitter at all. Some fruit punch berry sweetness as well.

The feel was smooth and balanced. The beer had a moderate body with light carbonation, slightly dry in the finish.

Not as sprucey as I thought. I thought there was going to be a lot of spruce like hop notes but that wasn't the case. It is tastey and very balanced. (688 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice clear and transparent redish brown. There is about 1/2 a finger of white head that fades quickly. There is decent amount of lacing as it drinks.

S: I'm picking up notes of sweet malt, honey, caramel, tree (what I assume is spruce), and some mild spice. It's really interesting.

T: This beer tastes better than it smells. I get a nice mix of flavors. It's big on the caramel and honey. It's also big on the spruce. And it's really well balanced. The spice in the finish is really nice. A very well balanced beer.

M: Medium bodied beer. This brew is smooth and easy drinking. There aren't many flavors that linger on the palate.

O: This is the first "Spruce" beer that I've ever had. It's not great, but it's not terrible either. I'm glad to have tried this beer. (781 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip. As all #39 - brewed on 11/3/11. Drank on 1/13/12.
Pours an amber clear, almost like a maple syrup. Nicely carbonated pour, but head disappears quick. Leaves behind some ok lacing.
Aroma is of sweet malts; almost quad like? but you smell a bit of hops, alcohol, and yes, pine.
Taste is very similar to the smell...sweet malts, again almost quad-like, but a bit more hops than I thought. The spruce is present, along with alcohol, in the aftertaste.
This is a really great brew...drinkable, unique, and just awesome that the spruce was harvested in Vermont, by volunteers. Cheers. (610 characters)

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.1/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pristinely clear copper colored beer with a quick to fade head. Smells like sweet malt, pine resin and log cabin.

Tastes bready, malty sweet and herbal. Lil' bit fruity. There's an odd herbally harumph in there which I'm guessing is spruce residue - now I know what spruce tips taste like.

My least favorite 100 barrel since the oyster stout. (345 characters)

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours bright clear medium amber with a slight cream colored head. some nice foam clinging to the side of the glass.

Light toasted malt, a little caramel, maybe a little herb.

Uh...how does this differ from their pale ale? Moderate toasted malt up front, leading to a a bitter/and slightly tart palate clear -- bitterness has an herbal edge. Decent maltiness in the finish. Looking for something unique here- not getting it. Very decent ale, but could be any common pale ale.

Seems a bit thinner than I'd like.

Not horrible, but a very common, average brew. A little acidic and bitter in the end makes this different, but barely. Kinda disappointing. (653 characters)

Photo of Kendo
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bomber into a pint glass - fairly aggressively. Body is clear coppery-amber with a 1-finger off-white/light beige head that fades slowly and leaves some lace on the glass. No visible carbonation at all, which is odd.

S: Nose isn't very strong: a touch of spice, caramel malt and a hint of hops. I'm thinking I should be smelling pine, but I'm not getting it.

T: Tastes like a basic amber ale, to be honest, with just a tad bit of bitterness at the finish. Some fruity sweetness up front is followed by caramel malt and then some spice mid-sip. The malt is hearty - has a bit of the "winter warmer" presence to it (especially given the spice). Hop bitterness is light but does provide some balance. Finishes fairly clean, though with a wee bit of wet cardboard and a sweeter lingering aftertaste. Heat from the alcohol is felt in the belly but otherwise not really noted on the palate.

M: Light-to-medium body, carbonation is light. Slightly syrupy/sticky impression as a result of the low carbonation.

O: This is OK, nothing great. I expected something more like SN Celebration - i.e., a seasonal that, with the spruce tips, reminded me of drinking a Christmas tree. What I got was something between a standard amber ale and a mild winter warmer. Inoffensive, but not a standout. (1,305 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
3.18/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle.

Pours clear amber with an inch-plus head of white. A partial skim coat and dotted lacing throughout the glass.

Aromatics lead off with biscuity, chaulky malt with a hint of spicy hops. No spruce to be found.

Medium bodied with a slightly tacky, crisp mouthfeel.

Malt and a kiss of bitterness starts the palate. A minerally, drying character runs underneath and the beer finishes quick.

A malt-forward English style pale ale with zero Spruce character. False advertising or an extreme failure? (510 characters)

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a NOLA Brewing pint glass.

A: Medium, copper amber color with a thick, foamy head of off-white foam which causes a small bit of lacing to build up around the edge of the glass.

S: Semi-roasted caramel malt sweetness couples with a spicy, fruity ale yeast complicated by a pine and woody herbal hop resin.

T: Sweet doses of fruity, caramel malts up front which lend a bit of body and alcohol to the flavor. Up next is the spicy hop bitterness brought upon by the piney, spicy addition of spruce tips. The finish is a bit viscous with a touch of booziness but also a hint of piney hop goodness thanks to the Chinook additions.

M: Full-bodied ale with some spicy, bitter notes imparted by spruce tips and dry, Chinook hops. Pretty satisfying and easy to drink.

O: This 7% ABV essentially "American Strong Ale" for all intents and purposes, was not half bad. It has some balance and identity issues, but on the whole, I liked the spicy, floral, fruity and piney effect brought on by the Chinook hops, yeast strain and craftsmanship. Not the best in the series but certainly a unique and tasty one. (1,130 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:
A nice, clear copper with very little to no head after pouring. Drinking leaves a little bit of lacing.

Smell:
A strange caramel smell and a really crisp and piney smell. The smell is similar to hops but crispier and fresher.

Taste:
Strong caramel malts and after taste. The pine taste is nice but not as strong as hops but could definitely be mistake for it. The caramel overpowers the pine taste.

Mouthfeel:
Smooth, biting and very little carbonation.

Overall:
A fairly nice beer and definitely worth drinking because of its novelty. (551 characters)

Photo of AleWatcher
3.59/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My last blind beer from Shogo...

Beer #12.
Bomber served in an imperial nonic.

Phil left the cap uncovered on this one and it has a big Harpoon Brewing 'H' on it... So unless this is a homebrew that re-used a cap...

Anyway-- pours a reddish orange copper color with a head the color of that belonging to Coca-Cola. Pretty weak retention and virtually no lacing. Very clear.

Nose holds some caramel malt, some odd fruity ester notes, and something I associate with Xmas. Is this a spiced Xmas ale?

The beer starts off sweet with a decent dose of caramel malt before the Xmas tree vibe takes over and dries it out. The finish is dry and somewhat bitter with an odd lingering resiny vibe. Pretty noticeable boozy note in the finish too. It almost makes me think the was aged on wood or perhaps put in a barrel for some period of time.

Feels pretty decent, medium body with a bit of an oily feel. Lots of carbonation leaves me belching between intermittent sips.

I am thinking this must be some sort of spiced barleywine or strong ale, perhaps even a winter warmer? If it is spiced, it is done so sparingly...

REVEAL-- Harpoon 100 Barrel Series; Vermont Spruce Tip.

Wow-- this is called an herb/spice beer. And it's only 7%... I would have guessed more than that!
Well, after reading the description (and the name!) I totally see that 'Xmas trees' as a flavor descriptor wasn't too far from the mark.

Am interesting beer, as I don't know that I've had a beer made with spruce tips before, but this is not one I'll have again.
To be fair, the booziness I was getting now seems to be more of an abrasive resiny dryness on my tongue than a true boozy bite.

Now that I know what this is, here are my ratings;
A-3
S-4
T-3.5
M-3.5
O-3.5 (1,745 characters)

Photo of dogfishandi
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle at about fridge temp poured into an SA perfect pint glass, split with friends. Best before 3 15 12.

pours a clear light amber color with a nice retentive off white head and some decent looking lacing.

no real spruce in the aroma, maybe a touch of spice. not much hops either. a grainy, biscuity malt is mostly noticable.

again, grains and biscuit malt rule, a little minty pine, slight herbal hop, and the slightest hint of spice.

medium bodied, average feeling carbonation.

this was my first beer with spruce tips, and if i didnt know, i prolly wouldve never figured out thats what it was made with. not really a bad beer, just nothing i would buy again. (673 characters)

Photo of shand
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Pours a clear copper color with a tiny head. Aroma is malty with some earthy and spicy hops. The taste is good, it's got a nice bready base with a slight earthy hop and a bit of the spruce on the finish. Nothing mindblowing, but a good drink. The mouthfeel is smooth and drying, and the drinkability is quite good. Overall, a decent brew, but nothing really worth a premium price and bomber release. (452 characters)

Photo of ksimons
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a clear amber with visible carbonation bubbles and a thin layer of white lace on the top

S-smell is not very powerful but there is obvious roasted malts and a light spruce smell as well

T-taste is better than I anticipated. Roasted malt is still predominant but there is also a bit more caramel sweetness to the beer. A bitterness becomes more apparent towards the end

M-medium body, medium carbonation, leaves a spruce spiciness in the mouth

Overall an interesting beer, not the most complex, but one that I would probably drink again. (548 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
3.56/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the clearest most clean looking brews I’ve ever seen. Decent lacing and great head build-ability. Head is slight off-white with think foamy appearance.

WHOA! Knock your socks-off spicy at first, but then it fades…still a great scent! Very mellow vanilla and pine. Slight citrus (orange) too. A bit too (caramel) malted.

The taste is far from the scent… very mellow and laid-back flavor. Not a forward presentation. Quite dry and quenching, but not much rounds out the flavor profile… Great carbonation and zero heat, but comparatively, the flavor lacks for the type of brew.

An awesome brew only a few steps away from being a winner, but it needs that extra kick to help push it into a different category. I think with less malt this brew would have been a masterpiece worthy of award. Subtly unique, worthy. (829 characters)

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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #39 - Vermont Spruce Tip from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
82 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.