Spruce Ale | Siletz Brewing And Public House

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Spruce AleSpruce Ale
36 Ratings
Spruce AleSpruce Ale

Brewed by:
Siletz Brewing And Public House
Oregon, United States

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-01-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of Tyrawlings
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of bbothen
2.91/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice looking orange, marmalade like color with a small 1 finger deep white head. Head quickpy dissipates into thin foam across the beer.

Smells fruity & a big earthy, medicinal , herbal tree like aroma.

Wow, wasn't expecting that. Has a tart, almost sour bitterness. Unlike anything I've tasted. Has some fruity, herbal, and spicy qualities as well.

Medium bodied, low carbonation, lingering spruce flavor.

A 22oz was a bit much for me with the flavors I really didn't enjoy. Kudos for being out of the traditional box, but this was a miss for me.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kind of strange aroma. A little like wheat and a little woody. A little tiny bit of hops but not really malty either.

Amber colored, clear with a nice head that fades to a solid 1/4 inch layer with good lacing and decent rising bubbles.

Flavor is probably a personal preference thing. I like the woody christmas tree effect and it's pretty subtle. Good malt backbone with hop bitterness and really no hop flavor aftertaste. Good fruity yeast profile. The spruce lingers on the back end. So it works for me but I could see some people hating this.

Medium bodied with a light carbonation level.

Well, I could match this with food pretty well. But drinking it by itself was a bit much in a 22oz. A glass would have been better.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed bottled versions of this beer sourced from bottle shops in and around Portland for many years. Oddly though, I'd never had it on draught on my visits to Siletz.

On my latest trip I corrected this oversight though I must say, where draught beers at the site of production are generally a better bet for non-oxidized fresh beer, in this case I think I prefer the bottle. Perhaps they just don't have the turnover at the Siletz Roadhouse for this distinct specialty beer to sustain its vigor on tap.

Still, the flavor does deliver precisely what one might expect a spruce ale ought to. It is a beer of pinesap hinting somehow at ginger.

I'd had a pint of Bill's Tavern's Spruce Ale earlier in the day and by way of comparison, Siletz's is far more engaging. Though it's shy on suds, it boasts a more defined spruce profile with a fuller ale body. Presumably, it also has a healthy measure of vitamin C.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.14/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a big ole spruce branch on the label.

Pours a sappy (haha) brown with orange highlights. Minimal head.

Okay, so everyone uses pine often to discribe hoppy beers, thats true. But this is a different type of pine, reminescent of a christmas tree farm/lot.

Not your common 'pine' aroma for sure, not similar to hoppy pine. It's not overpowering, but there is a distinct fresh cut tree aroma, cinnamon, cookies, and in general more of a Christmas flavor than a Winter Warmer or other holiday seasonal, surprisingly. At the same time, i wouldn't consider this a seasonal, and I could see myself enjoying this on perhaps a camping trip here in Oregon among the spruces!

Flavors are rather complex, but a bit light. There is a sweet floral note at first, but sure enough, a spruce taste comes to the palate. Flavor in general is not as deep as I would like. Not that I desire more spruce, but I consider it rather aqueous.

Drinkability is good. The spruce is present, but in no way overpowering. It reminds me a lot of a watered down Rogue Juniper IPA. I believe this is one of my first Gruit/Herbed Ales, and I look forward to more. I would recommend this one.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The spruce poured a cloudy amber with a light foam head. It had no freshness date on the bottle. The aroma was a strong pine scent. It tasted of that spruce pine and berry. The mouthfeel was thin and soft on the palate. I would try again but it would have to be a hot windy day.

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Photo of thesilverhand
3.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up on a recent beer-and-cheese long weekend trip to Oregon, completely organized by my wife....I'm a lucky man.

Pours a nice hazy orange with a decent off-white foam head. Very similar in appearance to an IPA. Nice.

Smells fantastic. Spicy, fruity and different. Definitely some maltiness, but with an overlay of, well, spruce, I suppose. Neat. Really intriguing.

Tastes similar to the aroma -- some malty, almost candy-like, sweetness underneath, but with a strong bitterness taking centre stage. No hop flavour, but interesting spice and fruit tones.

Drinks really well, but I doubt I'd want a session with it. As an occasional departure from the norm, it's really quite nice. I almost wish there was more blatant "spruce-iness" to it... I was expecting a Christmas tree in my glass, and got something much more subtle. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer comes to my glass a deep, seasonally celebratory red. Placid, near-dead carbonation. Minimal swirls of lace.

Nose is nearly vinegar, alcoholic malt heat, and spruce. I recall this last aroma as spruce simply because of years of OSA consumption.

Spruce seems to sit in for hops bitterness in this beer, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Like something’s mysteriously missing. A slight beer with a weird spruce-bitterness this is, and not much more.

Not for me, I suppose, this beer doesn’t hit the spot. Unfortunately, none of this brewery’s offerings have so far.

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Photo of kdoc8
2.45/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up at the Friendly St. Market, Eugene, OR. Pours out a very darkish amber/brown color. It has a medium-thick cream-colored head and lots of lacing. The smell is really bitter and acidic - I'm a little afraid to taste this one, but here it goes....starts out a bland taste, but as it rolls over the back of your tongue and into your throat you suddenly get a burst of bitter/acidic taste. ugh. this doesn't taste like a Christmas tree at all! It's really bitter.

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Photo of rkuhnel
3.56/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 22 oz bottle this poured a remarkably clear ruby to amber that rose into a fat white head that left good lacing. Nose was spruce as the name implies, with a good clean mouthfeel Flavor is not bad after you get used to the spruce with a touch of hops. Finish dry and slightly bitter. Very different and fun to drink. Once that is.

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Photo of quasimoto
2.33/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is an odd beer. Ill review this one very quickly. It poured with no head. Has a light fruity aroma of spruces and some fruity backgrounds. There is a small amount of malt in the middle but is not a balanced beer. mouth feel is light and wet. doesn't dry out and leaves a unpleasant feeling on the palette. It was very hard to review this beer. I didn't really enjoy it at all.

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Photo of akorsak
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 650 mL bomber from Liquid Solutions.

A: The ale is much darker than I expected. I was anticipating a lighter amber colored ale but this one is a dark orange, almost brown color. The head is nonexistent nor is there much indication of carbonation.

S: The aroma is an interesting, almost pine but not quite one.

T: The flavor is different (that is putting it nicely). The use of spruce as a bittering agent is interesting. Similar to Fraoch or Alba, the ale packs a punch that one would not expect to be in a beer. There is a distinct bitterness that is woody and tartly sweet. That bitterness overtakes the whole ale, preventing any malts from coming through. The lack of carbonation is reminiscent of a sahti.

M: The mouthfeel is unusual. The lack of hops is not something that I am used to but it doesn't offend the tastebuds.

D: A very interesting take on how ales used to be brewed. Worth a look if only for the throwback aspect.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer sits an almost brilliantly clear, ruby amber color in my glass. It is topped by a frothy, initially two-finger thick, amber tinged tan colored head that had to be vigorously coaxed to even that height. The aroma has an unmistakable aroma of spicy, fruity, fresh spruce. This note is a mix of sweet citrus fruit (though different from a hop derived citrus character, perhaps it is a bit softer), something sort of like juicy fruit and a touch of spiciness that is sort of like light cinnamon, but not really. Underneath is a malt character heavy on crystal malt.

The taste is actually tart up front and is fairly dry. The tartness sticks through the flavor profile to the finish, where there is also a lightly astringent tannic character that reminds me of green tea. A nice toasty backdrop of malt character is here, but it plays quite the secondary role here. This could really use some malt sweetness, it would help liven up the citrusy spruce notes as opposed to the tart side of things. Still this beer is quite enjoyable, it definitely works as a counterpoint to the sweeter Alaskan Winter beer (which is the only other spruce beer I have had). The spruce character, with its tartness and citrus note, make me think of grapefruit as opposed to an over-tart lemon.

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Photo of blackie
1.87/5  rDev -45%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

the beer rep steered me towards this one...

appearance: Low off-white head with decent retention. Cloudy brown.

smell: Smells like winterfresh gum, gingerbread, and raspberry drops.


it's a spruce ale
tastes like ketchup and carboard
snow showers at 5



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Photo of dirtylou
1.74/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

22oz bottle, split with Satan after he tried to hook up with a fattie at the red shed

appearance: pours into a sweetwater pint glass...murky as hell, dirty amber

smell: chalky, sour malt, umm

taste: spruce? no i think thats just sour chalk.



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Photo of johnniemarg
2.28/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

22 oz bomber poured into an imperial pint glass.

Pours a cloudy reddish orange with a one-finger offwhite head.

There is an underlying sweetness in the smell and then a piney smell, but not like an in-your-face hop pine smell. It's more subtle.

The taste is too sour for my taste. After the almost vinegar-like sourness subsides I can make out some earthiness and the spruce comes through in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied.

Too sour for a positive review on my part.

edit: I let this warm up a little, gave it another few sips and couldn't take it. Drain pour.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
2.02/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Head is a touch fizzy but ok. Light tan colored and made up of medium sized bubbles. I don't expect it to last long or give me much lace but it should bless the beer with a ring. The body is an unfiltered pumpkin/ruby color...very attractive.

S: Damn it, it smells like its going to be sour. Unnatural sour mixed with milk and spruce.

T: Sour. The same awful taste as the cream stout and chocolate porter. Why are these beers sour? Am I getting bad bottles? UGGGHHH.
Its so sour I can't taste any spruce until the after taste. Bitterness rears its head half way thru the process then dies out, dominated by the unattractive cloying sour taste.

M: Thin but smooth.

D: I'd really like to know if I'm the only one getting bad bottles. I ordered them from Liquid Solutions. I'm now 0/3 with the brewery, this beer will be poured out. I've got the wooly bully left, but I don't have high hopes.

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Photo of kgotcher
3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber. Very hazy orange amber color with thin off-white head and a few weak lacings

Aroma has an earthy base but with sweet malt with fruity citrus. Just a hint of mustyness but not in a bad way.

Nice mouthfeel is light and refreshing.

Fruity and citrusy taste with a very thin maltyness. Finishes clean with a light citrusy aftertaste (almost like after sucking on a lemon). If this really is 6.5 % ABV it does an awesome job of hiding it.

Very interesting and refreshing beer with a nice twist. A glimpse of what beer may have been like long ago.

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Photo of oberon
3.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very odd and interesting brew here,pours a deep amber with a llight slightly off white head seems to be pretty heavily carbonated.The spruce really shows up in the aroma man I really like it there is a real sweetness to the aroma and an underlyinf yeasty note.Flavor was more sweet than expected like overripe fruit with the spruce flavor underneath not overpowering but it lets itself be known.Odd but flavor the spruce tip flavor is there but it dont force itself on you,I like and would try again.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caramel-infused dark orange. The head turns the tables and is orange-infused light caramel. The yin and the yang of it all looks quite fetching. Surprisingly enough, the cap persists nicely and lays down a good bit of lace. For a gruit at least.

There's no question that spruce was used in the brewing of this ale. Quite a few IPAs using certain varieties of hop smell and taste piney, but this is the real deal. It really does smell like a tree, dude. Forgetting the evergreen for a minute, the aroma is interesting and is different from anything that I've ever smelled. There's a sweet, perfumy, herbal character that is a pleasure to inhale.

The flavor profile is distinctive and is some kind of interesting. I'm going to have to sip and think, sip and think on this for a bit. My first impression was 'not that great', but Spruce Ale is growing on me as I get deeper into the bottle. It's sweeter than expected, fruity, herbal and... yes... sprucy.

It doesn't taste nearly as evergreen-like as it smells and it was no powerhouse in that regard. The brewers use Sitka Spruce (also known as Yellow Spruce) new-growth tips. It tastes more like White Spruce tips to me, new-growth mixed with old, from the top of the tree rather than the middle or bottom. That's a joke.

The body is no more than light-medium, yet the finish still manages to linger with a nice herbal sweetness. It also imparts a micro-thin veneer of fruity spruce sap to the mouth and tongue. On second thought, I may be imagining that. The finish is actually pretty clean.

Tough call on this one. Spruce Ale is different enough to keep me interested all the way to the bottom of the bomber, but the flavor isn't really compelling enough for me to seek it out again. It's an easy drinker though and is worth a purchase if you have even a passing interest in the style.

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Photo of WesWes
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudy dark amber color with a 1/2" white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a very fruity spruce and yeast aroma; very cool. The taste is decent. It has a fine malt base with a fruity spruce flavor and slight hop bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is average at best. It is a medium bodied beer with very little carbonation. This is a very cool idea. It has good aroma and flavor, but the mouthfeel is lacking. Add some carbonation and you've got something here. I'm scoring it extra for being something unique.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.2/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up the intriguing Spruce Ale on the recommendation of BA Reddiamond, and it turned out to be a good recommendation indeed. The Spruce Ale poured with some crazy carbonation and more then head aplenty, filling the glass and then some. Once things settled down a bit, I was left with a hazy reddish-amber glass of goodness and a cap of rocky beige foam. Aroma is very unusual and perplexing, hops and spruce tips lending a myriad of pine and citrus notes.
Flavor is quite fruity, wit a slight tartness, a mix of tropical fruit and flowers. Bitterness starts out subtle and builds to a nice herbal, piney finish. Malt kicks in some sweetness in the middle, but more of an apple cider sweetness than a clear malt flavor. . Some of that rocky head managed to stick around to the bitter end. Close study as the beer warms and the glass drains reveals a bit of biscuity malt flavor. I wouldn’t call this quite an IPA, but it does have the bitterness like one. Medium body, very drinkable, I’ll definitely look for more of this one….

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Photo of UnionMade
3.56/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Mikeys01. Thanks man!
The beer pours a murky amber brown, almost approaching ruby if not for the cloudiness. A thick cap of almond head tops the brew, growing with fervor, but just shy of escaping it's confines. Great lacing and retention, waves of foam clinging to the glass in a ladder-like pattern.
The aroma is surprisingly neutral. I was expecting something similar to a pine forest, when it's really a rather subdued grove of tall sitkas. The malt is sweet and balancing, mostly a soft toastiness, allowing only a gentle pine scent similar to the kind you get in some hops. Pleasant fruitiness, hinting at milder berries like strawberry and blueberry.
The flavor starts with a sugary caramel toastiness, hints of strawberry and blueberry moving in slowly. The pine flavor comes into the middle, contributing a slight tang that's not quite bitter, more acidic than anything. The spruce picks up in the finish, adding considerable acidity that serves to counter the malt sweetness. A hint of berry and pine in the lingering aftertaste. Sturdy carbonation supports a lightish medium body. Very smooth, easy going mouthfeel.
An interesting brew, to say the least. I would have never guessed 6.5% abv. The mellowness of the flavor would suggest something in the 4.5-5% range, if you ask me. A very gentle beer. The spruce is really interesting in the way that it's more acidic than bitter. Unusual stuff. Worth a try sometime.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
2.96/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This ale poured a deep red with a nice head that subsided slowly. The flavor of this beer blew me away. It was not piney but quite fruity with a sweet malt background. It had a nice amount of carbonation and the beer was easy to drink. The strange flavor of this beer makes an uninitiated spruce drinker stumble over the first few tastes trying to get a grasp of what they are drinking. Once the strong taste of spruce becomes familiar it becomes less agressive as well as being a beer flavor that is quite memorable.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.29/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Siletz Spruce Ale was served from a 22 oz. bomber. In a pint glass, the beer was a nice murky reddish-caramel color, and was topped by a minimal white-ish head. The enticing nose was juicy and bright with a big fruity hop bouquet that was held up by a rich but crisp maltiness. A light spruce undertone melded well with all of this, adding pleasure rather than oddity. On the palate, a delicious crisp, citric-fruit estery malt profile opened up with light hints of enjoyable hop-like spruce accents becoming even more juicy-fruity in the transition to an excellent resiny-hop finish, which left a bowl bubblegum-like fruit esters lingering. The spruce essence in this beer was complementing and added the right touch to the hoppiness, rather than being just an interesting or unusual addition. The body was robust and full, working well with the flavors and character of this beer. This beer was well-crafted, and deftly balanced, making it very drinkable. I highly recommend this spruce-laden IPA, made with fresh young spruce tips picked from the local coast area by fans of the brewery.

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Spruce Ale from Siletz Brewing And Public House
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 36 ratings
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