Craftsman Holiday Spruce | Craftsman Brewing Co.

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28 Ratings

Brewed by:
Craftsman Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BrewMaster on 12-22-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 28 |  Reviews: 20
Photo of RoyFokker
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Buzz3d
4.21/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ronricorossi
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.32/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Out of the tap at The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana, CA.

Spruce like Howard Hughes trying to land a wood plane the size of a football field... It's ok, just ok. Malty, "Winter Ale" flavors and such...

Ok, I think I'm done.

I love you.

 242 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of notchucknorris
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy chestnut color with a thin tan head.

S: Hige Christmas tree aroma with a big smack of ripe dark fruit. Tons and tons of spruce.

T: Similar to the smell, there's a ton of spruce in this. Big, minty, sappy spruce. Some hints of dark fruit and a big bready malt finish. I feel like a woodpecker but I kind o like this.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the ColLAboration beer fest at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a small cap. Foamy rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and herbal aromas. Taste is of malt and herbal flavors. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with a flat and somewhat thick mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that is really nothing special.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.12/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

On-tap at Bruery Provisions

The beer is amber in color with a finger of khaki head. Butter and butterscotch dominate the nose, and not pleasantly. There is a little bit of spice and some herbal notes in there. Maybe nutmeg. The flavor is, somehow, better than the aroma. A bit of sweet fruit to go along with the spice and herb notes. There is still some butter, but nowhere near as awful as the nose. Medium body and low carbonation.

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Photo of mactrail
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy dark amber in the pint glass. Spicy note greets the tongue along with a very mellow maltiness. Fairly sharp followed by a perky hoppiness. Smells and tastes like juniper to me, but OK I see that it's spruce. Medium body. A little bit of bubble gum, a touch of woodiness, and orange marmalade. Fairly sweet, but has a distinct bitter aftertaste. Thank goodness, no detectable cloves or cinnamon. A little black pepper.

Quite a pleasant and drinkable winter ale. A nice hoppy touch, not too sweet or too spicy. A good mouthful with food. On tap for lunch at Local Habit in San Diego.

12/12/2013 update: Had this on tap at Pizza Port OB. What a great roasted malt and caramel flavor and that distinctive bitter, aromatic evergreen taste. I liked the aromas better this time. Another Craftsman brew worth trying and way better than the run of the mill over-spiced holiday ales.

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Photo of nanobrew
2.36/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The color resembled a blood orange, maybe slightly redder. There was little to no head and lacing.

S - dried fruit, slightly bready and biscuit like. No hop aroma, smelt really sweet

T - Wow, this beer is sweet. Taste like cranberry juice with a slight bready finish, not enjoyable at all.

M - Very thick that coats your mouth, the carbonation is light and does not help in lifting the beer off your palate

O - this beer is a fail for me. I could not finish my 4oz pour, I offered it to my sister-in-law, she also took a sip and passed on the rest.

 553 characters

Photo of bump8628
2.5/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of Popp24
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of jminsc76
4.17/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Orange.

Pours a light, brown, soapy head atop a body slightly purple in color. Thick legs sliding down the side as I tilt.

Aromas of pine(!), dark malts, and mildly of spices. I feel as if I'm inhaling a freshly-cut Christmas tree with gingerbread men lined up and down.

Flavors primarily of spices (cinnamon, peppermint) and spruce, with some roasty/carob notes near the finish. Highly flavorful and quite smooth considering the ABVs.

Mouthfeel is halfway between light and medium-bodied; fairly effervescent.

Overall, an excellent Winter Warmer that yields an excellent balance of flavors resulting in a highly drinkable status. Ties with Telegraph's Winter Warmer as one my favorites.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood. ABV listed as 7.2%. Served in a generic wide-mouth tulip.

Slightly hazy red-pink body with flame/mahogany highlights. Thin head which recedes to a persistent ivory collar.

Grapes, pomelo, and clean malt aromatics. Faint evergreen and thyme as well. Well-hopped.

Seville orange, pine and citrus-laden hops, and mild ginger on the palate. Very pleasant amber notes along with hints of figs and clove in the finish. Lacks a little depth though.

Medium-light body with almost spritzy carbonation.

A bit thin, and maybe a touch under-spiced for a Winter seasonal, but this still reminds me a little of the Winter version of Yulesmith in some ways which is a good thing.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at O'Brien's.

Pours a dark amber color with clarity. Nice white head becomes a lasting film. Nice aroma of roasted malts, caramel, and some spices. Taste is similar: somewhat sweet with caramel, but with a bit of hops to balance it out. Spices are well-balanced, so as to not be overwhelming. Smooth and medium-bodied. Very drinkable. I'm not usually a fan of winter warmers, but this was quite good: the sweetness and spices were mild, and it finished crisp too.

 472 characters

Photo of scottoale
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at O'Brien's this evening, a nice Winter offering. Pumped into the pint glass a very bright amber-gold with accent on the amber. A fine 1/4" white head that settles to a surface film. The smell starts off with caramel type malt, then whacks the nostrils with a super sappy spruce aire. Almost has a cedar closet scent to it...fresh spruce tips. Pungent.

The taste is quite different than the smell...lot's of citrus, healthy malt dose and a very mild spruce finish. The malt holds it's own, but is seriously infused with hoppy citrus throughout. Lot's of grapefruit, tangelo and even some lemon too it. Very crisp with a lighter medium body and no taste or feel of alcohol. The carbonation is good and lends a bit of spike to the tongue. Not as supple as I was expecting on cask. Overall very drinkable and enjoyable...cheers!

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Photo of GClarkage
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12/10/08- Had on tap at Stone Bistro Gardens.

Presentation- Via the tap into a 12oz tulip style glass.

Appearance- Deeper amber colored pour. About a 1/2 inch head and minor watery lace left behind.

Smell- Some minor spices noted. A touch of spruce, but not as much as expected. Malt is roasted caramel in the nose.

Taste- Tastes a bit odd. Cardboard noticed a bit. Spruce is very much contained and really laid back. Would have liked a bit more spices. Caramel malt comes though well though.

Mouthfeel- Rather smooth and crisp with a medium to slightly less carbonation level. Minor aftertaste.

Drinkability- Have had many better winter warmers. Working for Tips blows this spruce beer away in the water.

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Photo of Gmann
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes from my LA trip. Pours a hazy toasted copper with a decent off-white head; nothin special as it was served out of a frozen glass, booo! The smell was sweet, nice winter warmer aromas; nutmeg being the spice that stood out. The taste was of caramel malt, brown sugar, nutmeg, and toffee. A very nice winter warmer. The feel is light and fizzy, finishes on the spicy sweet side but the sweetness/spiciness is in check. A very nice winter warmer, good spice profile. Just wish it wasn't served in a frozen glass.

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Photo of DrewBeechum
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at Lucky Baldwin's Delirium.

Bright orangey amber with a very crisp white head.

Aroma of biscuit, caramel and munich with a large earthy ton of spruce and licorice.

At first the flavor and aroma seems like its too much, but then its seems to mellow after the first few sips and the beer moves into balance.

A nicely flavored beer that turns out to be a great drinking pint that avoids being too cloying or too intensely spiced.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a medium-dark amber, with a small, off-white head, which leaves good lacing in a glass.

S: Light smell, but got some spices and piney hops.

T: Interesting taste. At first it tastes like an above average spiced beer, but as the beer warms up, this great spruce note comes out. It tastes exactly like a Christmas tree smells. This may not sound appetizing but it is. Very flavourful.

M: Just a smooth, medium-bodied, solid ale mouthfeel.

D: Another good beer from Craftsman, one of the better Winter Warmers I've had thus far this year.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at Lucky Baldwin's, April 2007
This beer has a fairly hazy, dark amber color to it; it is topped by a frothy, amber tinged, tan colored, one-finger thick head that is not quite bad for a beer from the tap. The aroma is a mix of fruit and sweet spice notes that are quite interesting and I can't quite place it, but feel like I should be able to. There are touches of cinnamon and mace here, but not really, as well as notes that remind me of both orange peel and the sweet pulp of an orange. This aroma is quite interesting, and I feel like I should be able to place it; the aroma is really well balanced between the different characteristics and there is almost something like grapes here as well.

This beer has quite a spicy flavor to it; it is a mix of spice notes that give this beer a definitive spiciness, yet are not quite discernable as a contribution from a single spice (perhaps something like cinnamon, mace, orange peel or even some ginger like character is here). There is a solid fruitiness here as well that seems to be a mix of orange, apple a touch of melon and even a hint of raisins. A medium fullness keeps this, along with the interesting spiciness, a sipping brew rather than a full on light quaffing brew. The beer is fairly dry with just a touch of sweetness and even some tartness that must have been added to this brew. This is quite a nice brew, it is perhaps nothing earth shattering, but is a solid tasty beer none-the-less. It was not until I was done with this beer that I realized that the mysterious spice / fruit character was from fresh spruce tips; it make so much sense now, but I couldn't quite figure it out while I was drinking this.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Stone World Bistro

A: Caramely orange color with a clean hue to it. Carbonation is minimal, just a sparse white ring remaining.

S: Nutmeg, clove, spruce and a touch of banana.

T: First impression is rootbeer. Next the spices roll in; ginger, orange peel and cinnamon. Reminds me a lot of orange flavored tea. Spicy caramel malt acts as a watery background. Finishes sweet, slightly cloying and grainy.

M: Medium body with a syrupy texture.

D: Bit too sweet and seasoned for my tastes. Its a fine line with winter warmers I know, this one was just a bit too over the line for me.

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Photo of sloejams
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a fine example of a Winter Warmer transplanted to Los Angeles. Unlike some, Craftsman's version remains somewhat light and subtle on the spicing. In colder climates this might be a bit thin - a thick, hearty Anchor Our Special Ale is what you need. This has the cinnamon and the malts but it also has a slight hoppiness to it. It finishes sweet with a slight brown sugar flavor.

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Craftsman Holiday Spruce from Craftsman Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.6 out of 5 with 28 ratings