Schnickelfritz Spruce | Country Boy Brewing

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Average: 3.66 | pDev: 9.02%

Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 17

Ranked #165 Herb and Spice Beer and #32,795 overall.

ABV: 5.70% | Availability: Spring

Wants   Gots 

Country Boy Brewing
Kentucky, United States

Very Good
Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 17
Photo of niall
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I drank this a few times during my last two visits to Lulzville. I like brown beers just fine, and on a scale of ditch water to Surly Bender, I give this about an eight. The spruce tips are inspired, but I really wanted more of that aroma and flavor. It was very... polite. Then again, it was also quite sessionable, so it's definitely a successful attempt to make an interesting brown ale.

If Country Boy should make a bolder version of this, I'd drink the hell out of it. Bring on the Pine-Sol, man.

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Photo of sunshineunicorn
4.26/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap served in pint glass

A: golden-brown, little head which dissipated quickly.

S: minty, pine scent, slight hint of hops.

T: an initial kick of piney-mint and citrus bitterness is quite powerful, almost overwhelming at the first sip. After the initial taste the flavors fade substantially to a malty sweetness which I neither smelled nor expected.. but very interesting and welcome! Taste and smell combination remind me of christmas (perhaps thats personal memories, yet considered noteworthy)

M: solidly carbonated, yet very smooth finish.

O: robust flavors tend to mask the alcohol, the spruce is quite interesting but almost overpowering.. a very tasty beer, worth a try, but I couldn't personally drink more than one pint of this in a sitting because of the heavy flavors outside the regular scope of beer flavors. Well done country boys for pushing flavor boundaries successfully!

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark, murky brown with a creamy, lingering beige head.

S: Aromas of spruce are not all that apparent on the nose; instead, scents of dark chocolate, leather, coffee, vanilla bean, and heather are emphasized. This smells very much like an English brown ale.

T: Notes of roasted grain, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla bean, heavy cream, toffee, coffee, leather, heather, and lemon are underscored by a zesty, spicy, floral sappiness that can only come from the spruce tips. The finish is rounded, long, and smooth with resinous, floral spruce notes underscored by dark chocolate, coffee, and heavy cream flavors.

M: This is a medium-bodied ale that is very creamy and smooth. Appetizingly dry around mid-palate and on the finish. Carbonation is subdued, but not entirely absent. Very quaffable.

O: I tend to like quirky, off-beat ales and this one certainly hits the spot for me. I love the fact that the spruce is obvious on the palate, but not overpowering. The fact that the brewers decided to work with a brown ale/porter base is an ingenious move, as the sappiness of the spruce tips merges surprisingly well with the toasty, chocolatey, leathery flavors of the dark malts, resulting in a beer that is somewhat reminiscent of both a Finnish sahti and a stronger Russian kvass. Intriguing, perplexing, and very well-executed. Recommended to those with an open mind.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With a base beer that straddles the fence of both brown ale and porter, the toasted chocolate elements provide an ideal spring board for the gruit-focused spruce tips.

Pouring a tawny brown color with moderate haze, the nearly still beer releases a dainty foam of cream and ecru. Firm staying power allows for just enough head character to emit the sprucy aromas. Low on lacing, the beer takes on a cask ale-like appearance.

Walnuts, chocolate, medium toast, and light coffee all play delightfully to the nose and give a robust underpinning to the beer. But then it's the spruce tips that deliver the absolute scent of Christmas in the middle of May. Where the earthy broadness or sharper citrusy hops usually roam, instead there's the highly piney scent of spruce that decorates the malt with a nearly perfumy quality.

Flavors extend very consistently from the aromas giving first the malty tone of toasted barley kernels, thin toffee, walnuts, chocolate, and coffee grounds. But then the mid palate opens up to introduce the highly herbal, woody, and resiny taste of true spruce. Nearly minty to taste with a following bitterness of pine sap, there's a sense that the hops are not misssed at all.

Medium bodied, but seeming a touch heavy because of the low-lying carbonation, the beer fades nicely into a lightly texture of silk and cream and only a hint of grain astrincency and sharp drying from spruce in finish.

Schniekelfritz is a fantastic part from the norm with their substitution of spruce aroma, flavor, and bitterness instead of hops. Not sure if I want spruce to replace hops in every beer, but for this instance, it works out just fine.

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Photo of barczar
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a coca cola brown with dull amber highlights and a one finger beige head that leaves a thick ring of foam after it dissipates.

Aroma begins with cola sweetness, chocolate, and nutty, slightly roasted malt. The spruce is not obvious, but can be detected if searched for.

What it lacks in spruce aroma, it delivers on in flavor. Lightly roasted malt and sweet cola carries the profile, with fairly acrid coffee and chocolate adding complexity. And there's the spruce! Initial flavor is reminiscent of an air freshener, but it tames a bit in subsequent sips. Fear not, resurfaces in burps! Pine, mint, and a slight bitterness close the experience. A hint of phenol surfaced late.

Body is a bit on the thick side, with moderate carbonation.

Overall, an interesting experience. Wish the spruce showed up more in the aroma, and perhaps a little less in the flavor...but it IS a spruce beer!

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Schnickelfritz Spruce from Country Boy Brewing
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 17 ratings