Full Pint Brewing Company

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Herb and Spice Beer
Ranked #225
Ranked #43,798
3.48 | pDev: 11.78%
Full Pint Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Notes: This distinguished ale was brewed in the colonial tradition of using molasses and spruce tips in place of flavor hops to give this beer its unique flavor.

Ale brewed with natural flavors

Malts: Pilsner, Honey, Caramalt, CaraPils
Hops: Chinook, Northern Brewer
O.G. 12.5
IBU 20
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 49 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I am continuing a swath of total destruction & annihilation of the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody! I only have a couple from Full Pint, but they are next up. Afterwards, it is on to Fish Tale Ales and the babes of Old Dominion.

From the bottle: "Spruce [-] This distinguished ale was brewed in the colonial tradition of using molasses and spruce tips in place of flavor hops to give this beer its unique flavor."; "Ale brewed with natural flavors"; "Beer Nerd Stats: Malts: Pilsner, Honey, Caramalt, CaraPils Hops: Chinook, Northern Brewer O.G. 12.5 IBU 20 Alc. By Vol. 5%"; Wild ingredients provided by Wild Purveyors".

I Pop!ped the cap & I was debating on how heavy-handed my pour should be when my mind was made up for me. The gentlest pour was causing a lot of foam to rise unabated & so I had to back off & allow it to do its thing. I wound up with just over two fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with fantastic retention. Color was a button-bright Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17). Oh my! Nose was minty, but I am not sure that I would have identified it as spruce tips, but Chinook would have been a guess. It also had a slight medicinal sharpness, which is why I am not a fan of treacle (molasses) in anything. We made treacle cookies once in Home Ec & I can still taste them. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, and also very effervescent in the mouth & on the tongue. The taste was like a diluted Pine-Sol with a slight, unidentifiable bitterness. Please do not misconstrue that to mean that it was not tasty or enjoyable. I like the smell of pine cleaner & in the Navy, we used it a good bit to kill the pervasive funk of a buncha guys all berthed together. This tasted pretty nice, but I was still getting a sharp, sour note underlying the pine that leads me to question the value added to treacle. Yes, I understand that it is a Colonial-era recipe, but I wonder if they might not have used something else, had it been available. Finish was cool & dry, very minty and quite refreshing. This was about right for this style.

I know that we are not supposed to remark on other reviewers' comments, but invoking Yards B.C.'s Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce is unfair. Tom Kehoe has been tweaking the recipe for years, following its initial release. In that one, he had no idea of just how strong the taste of spruce tips in beer can be & the first iteration was truly like drinking Pine-Sol. He has worked since to dial it in just right where these guys came pretty close to the sweet spot out of the gate.

Jan 16, 2017
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brother_rebus from Maine

3.61/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper amber color. Very ale-like. Not much of a smell besides some malt. Good spruce notes, but nothing overwhelimg and sweet like poor richards. Spruce is more of a pleasant lingering afterthought.

Aug 30, 2015
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.37/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some molasses. Taste has some sweetness, molasses, a bit of spruce, kind of on the mild side. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a decent beer, just lacking a little oomph.

Nov 17, 2014
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ZorroZ from Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

This is a perfectly pleasant ale, but if it hadn't been labeled as a spruce ale, I rather doubt I would have thought it was one. The molasses figures far more prominently in its taste and smell than the spruce does, especially when contrasted with Yards' Ben Franklin Tavern Spruce. I'll finish the 6 pack, but likely won't buy another.

Aug 15, 2014
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WVbeergeek from West Virginia

3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clouded amber copper hue with an off white head forming nice and thick. The lumber jack holding a Spruce tree in his palm aka Paul Bunyan minus Babe the Blue Ox. Aroma has some mild expressive grain character bready notes, with hints of Spruce. No where near as expressive as some of the other Yard's Spruce beers I've had in the past. Flavor has a nice marriage of honey malts/molasses sugar and earthy spruce notes, not as pine needle Christmas tree water as I was expecting. But it definitely works together, a bit watery in the finish but the spruce notes blend nicely with the sweetness, the malts are overshadowed by the concentrated molasses sweetness. Mouthfeel is nice you won't have to cleanse your palate the use the spruce with great finesse. Even carbonation slick easy going mouthfeel great finish of a balanced sugary/spruce character. Overall not the most in your face but actually drinkable spruce ale that's appropriate for a malt lover, enough balance from the Spruce to make it palatable for a hophead as well but the hops are nearly undetectable and I believe it weighs in at 5% abv and 20 IBUs.

Apr 09, 2014
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

-best by 12/31/13. consumed 10/14/13. lot#363. brewed with molasses and spices.

A: Glass consuming foam pour that shows large soapy pocket voids along the inner walls of the glass. Buff colored head, shaving cream consistency, mushrooms up breaching the rim and takes forever to receed. Concerns over infection, especially when nothing but foam is in your glass, seemingly taking forever for the liquid to condense. Bengal tiger orange when it does, low to moderate rate of visible carbonation, with sloppy, soapy patches for lace.

S: On the nose hints of molasses, spruce, but the foam hides a great deal for so long.

T: Flavor is sweet molasses, and fresh spruce right off the bat. Syrupy sweetness, 7-up lemon-lime hints, caramel and some syrupy raisins.

M: Good rate of carbonation, frothy, creamy pils and caramel malts gives this a nice feel.

O: Overall some sweet and sprucey moments, perhaps a bit to sweet for general consumption and multiples. Basically a one and done style, interesting, but not exactly what one invisions for beer. The spruce aspect makes this an interesting single try, dont know if i would bother with a six pack.

Oct 22, 2013
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Boto from Connecticut

3.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Draught @ Brewery: This one pours a fairly clear, orangish golden color. There was a bit of an off-white head that didn’t linger too long or leave much lacing. The aroma is decent. It is mainly spruce and piney hops. The taste is interesting. The spruce is an interesting but good flavor. Bit of pine and spices, a bit of bitterness. I’d have another.

Jul 28, 2013
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Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Full Pint
Spruce Ale

LOOK: Pours a clear orange color. The white head has excellent retention and provides some lace for the pint glass.

SMELL: Has some pine for sure, just a hair more strongly stated than a typical pale ale.

TASTE: Caramel malt and resinous hops, mildly piney from the spruce used but everything is so balanced that it could be confused for hops. The inclusion of spruce is slightly more evident as it warms.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, quite full for what it is. Flavor of hop bitterness and spruce linger in the palate in a fine manner. The spruce is not overstated.

OVERALL: A good beer with moderate spruce flavor. Drinks like a typical pale ale, but has that extra dimension that really adds on. Not a bad local spruce ale, if I say so myself. Pretty good beer here, I'd recommend it.

Jul 14, 2013
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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours a slightly hazy brownish amber, off-white head retains as a film.

Smells of coppery bready malts, piney hops and pine resin.

Tastes of caramel, biscuit malts, very mild citrus hop, and a floral pine.

Medium body with a light tingle of carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

A really interesting and refreshing ale, great flavor, goes down easy, definitely worth trying and trying again.

Jul 11, 2013
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Sammy from Canada

3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Extract spruce. Not bad for extract, but nowhere close to a good spruce beer. Still decently drinkable. Faint sprice aroma, stronger flavour. Carbonation still right there, middling mouthfeel. Brownish colour, lots of retained head. Bottle from Steve in Warren.

Mar 18, 2013
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MusicaleMike from Pennsylvania

2.33/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

"This distinguished ale was brewed in the colonial tradition of using molasses and spruce tips in place of flavor hops to give this beer its unique flavor."
The bottle also says this ale is brewed with "natural flavors," which I wonder....is molasses and spruce natural flavors?

Packaging is very nice. I have been impressed with Full Pint's look. 12 oz brown bottles (longnecks) that have high-gloss, full wrap labels and attractive artwork that has hints of art deco lettering.

The beer itself is a cloudy reddish amber color that has two fingers of white foamy head on top. Head drops down to a thin layer on top.

I think I was expecting more of a "pine" like aroma, but this is quite earthy. There is a sharpness to the smell, like it is going to be bitter. I get some biscuity malts but not much. The aroma is pretty soft.

Wow. I was really expecting something quite different. I was expecting big, bold flavors and what is delivered is a very soft, timid amber ale that has a slight cracker maltiness, and not much bitterness. (I mean, I didn't expect it to be bitter since it says there are only 20 IBU's here) But really, "Spruce" is a misleading name, since one expects a very forward spruce aroma and flavor. Not here. Light sweetness in the finish.

Light to medium bodied beer with a little bite up front. Carbonation is decent.

Overall, I think the beer was a let down. It appears that they put more effort into the beautiful packaging than designing the beer. It is just so mild and...and bland.

Oct 20, 2012
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-10-03 in York, PA at the Holy Hound Taproom.

A - Pretty clear golden-orange with a 1.5-finger offwhite head and moderate lacing.

S - Mild but pleasant aromas of spruce, light bready malt and earthy forest floor.

T - Quite interesting. Some vegetal and spruce at first, sweet/festive spice, touch of honey, lightly toasted sour dough bread and a touch of tangerine. Not bitter initially but it appears in the aftertaste.

M - Light-medium body and carbonation. Crisp and refreshing. Easy drinkin'.

O - A unique and unexpected flavor in a low ABV beer. May not be everyone's cup of tea, er . . . beer, but it was a nice change of space. Wouldn't be an everyday brew for me it's well done and I respect brewers that can craft new flavors like this in a moderately-sessionable brew.

Oct 03, 2012
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a nice looking amber color with a decent off white colored head on top. Not much lacing or retention. The smell of the beer has some light hoppy notes as well as some earthy spruce aromas. The taste of the beer is moderately spicy, spicy from the spruce and some of the hops. There is a nice sweetness in there too. The mouthfeel if nicely carbonated but remains smooth too. Overall this beer is pretty good, I would like to give it another try sometime.

Aug 18, 2012
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy dark amber brown with a creamy 1/4 inch of head that quickly fours a thick lace ring.

S - Not much pine in the smell mostly pilsner malt and a touch of honey. Smells quite nice.

T - A touch of herbal hops and a bit of pine in the taste but it seems balanced behind the pilsner malts and a touch of honey sweetness. Quite refreshing.

M - Light to medium quite good.

Overall I like most of there beers and this is no exception. Not very much herbal to this beer but still a great beer.

Aug 17, 2012
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OneDropSoup from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint: Slightly cloudy golden-orange body under two fingers of glistening, cratered custard head.

First smell is a light, sweet kind of pine, like walking into one of those country craft stores that smells like potpourri, juniper, a little cinnamon, a little lemon. Good smells, but faint. A little orange shows up, too.

There's a biscuity malt presence combined with orange zest & flesh that seems to be characteristic of a lot of Full Pint's beers, but also a little bit of menthol, again a kind of juniper note, with some cinnamon heat. The bitterness kicks & fades, & there isn't a long, lasting bitterness like you get from hops.

Curious mouthfeel, as it's intensely "tingly" at points but dies down, smooths out & ends almost flat.

Not bad overall, but it kind of takes you to the verge of this intense flavor without ever really getting there. That's what I think I'm finding with it - it almost reaches a peak with the aroma, flavor, & texture but then kind of dies down & turns flat. I've had other spruce beers that took me there, but I certainly wouldn't turn this one down again.

Aug 09, 2012
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thecheapies from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy copper color with an eggy white head, retaining with decency despite the overpour. Towers of lace rings.

Creamy caramel malt grain with toasty sweetness and a hint of earthy and piney hops. Likeable.

Spruce tips, almond, toasted grain, toffee bark, earthiness, mild grapefruit, and latent spiciness. Pretty nice flavor. Complements the nose well.

Rich and creamy with a medium-plus body. Further improved feel through tight carbonation. Tiny bubbles that still burp up. Exceptional.

Great chew in this brew. Flavor is herbal and complex beer with an English malt note that I enjoy. I will have to look into whether or not they bottle this.

Aug 05, 2012
Spruce from Full Pint Brewing Company
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 49 ratings