Spring Tonic
Scratch Brewing Company

Spring TonicSpring Tonic
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Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #2
Ranked #3,710
4.28 | pDev: 8.18%
Scratch Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
Spring TonicSpring Tonic
Notes: Spring Tonic was brewed with plants that were coming up in our garden during mid-spring this year: dandelion, carrot tops, and clover, with ginger from All Seasons Farm in Cobden. It is fermented with our wild house culture. Spring Tonic has a lemonade-like tartness with a light ginger finish.
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 47 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of joe1510
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Open Bottle - Tinley Park, IL

Spring Tonic is glowlingly copper. By that I mean, it is polished and bright. Good clarity runs throughout and the dirty white, sudsy foam crackles to a sturdy cap in no time. While the foam crackles away as quickly as it appears streams of carbonation can be seen lurching to the surface while other streams shoot past. These bubbles keep a light ring around the surface.

The nose on this stuff is wild. Right off the bat your hit with the most refreshing, high quality tonic water that you could hope for. It's big, bright quinine off the bat. There's a really well rounded floral quality that compliments the tonic well. A tart fruitiness makes up the remainder and it's in the form of yuzu with a good dose of ginger. Like I said, this stuff is interesting. It makes my mouth water immediately.

The flavor pops as bright as the nose but not quite as layered. Softly acidic yuzu and freshly grated ginger kick it off and bring an instantaneous refreshment. The middle is very naturally floral without even thinking of reaching that perfume like artificial quality. It's softly mineral driven, thanks to the house culture. The clover and carrot tops add a bright, lively snap without becoming vegetal. This stuff is good.

The body leans toward light but it also lingers after the swallow. A sturdy tartness seems to invade every square inch that this beer touches and remains until the next drink. It could use a slight bump in carbonation but that's a minor gripe. The drinkability and refreshing quality of this beer is off the charts. This could be drank all day long.

Spring Tonic is a really fun and interesting beer from Scratch. They really did manage to pull out the quality tonic component using uncommon ingredients. This beer is about as bright and quenching as you can get. I'll be picking this one up again for sure.

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Photo of metter98
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is rather hazy yellow in color—too hazy to see if there is any visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that died down but has excellent retention properties and consistently left a short head covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of ginger are present in the nose along with some hints of dandelions and clover.
T: The taste follows the smell and has strong flavors of ginger along with notes of the various types of field greens.
M: It feels light-bodied and tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is nice and refreshing. The ginger can be a little overpowering, so it might have been nicer if the other ingredients could have been a little more prominent.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of bnes09
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Light orange with a subtle, particle haze. No head to be seen. Citrus and ginger aroma. Ginger is heavy on the palate. Lemon and orange zest. Herbal character. Wouldn't have pinpointed dandelions if I hadn't read the description but they are definitely distinguishable. Light wet body with no carbonation. Very good. Lively, bright, earthy, spicy and herbal. A perfect summer sipper.

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Photo of beergoot
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, somewhat cloudy, orange body; no lasting head. Lots of floral and citrus notes; lime; gin in the aroma. Intense sour and acidic flavors, following closely along the lines of the aroma. Medium-heavy body; sharp and acidic on the tongue.

This is probably one of those love-it-or-leave beers, but if you love sharp and tangy citrus flavors, this is a beer for you.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks like a cantaloupe mimosa might, no head.

Very bright and eye-opening ginger with loads of herbs and lemon perfume the nose and translate very well in taste, with a nice, dry finish making this alcoholic-tea-like concoction a healthy-seeming pleasure to drink.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

of the recent scratch stuff to come around, this was delicious, but arguably my least favorite and least impressive in general. still awesome beer, but i wanted to taste some of these unique ingredients a little more. i love these guys, and am always blown away how prominently some of their interesting additives come through, especially in the single tree series stuff and the mushroom beers. this just tastes like a ginger wild beer to me, the carrot tops and the dandelion seem to do little more than add a vegetal bitterness, not really as flavorful as anticipated. the ginger is fresh and spicy though, and really pretty pronounced. the sourness is cool, less wild and more acidic than i hoped it would be, but still far from one dimensional. citrusy acidic, but not nearly carbonated enough (on tap) for what it is. i will have to grab a bottle and see if is any more lively, but that really cut back on this living up to what it could be. more from the carrot tops and the dandelion would also improve this one. still, nothing but love and respect for what these guys are doing. definitely making some of the most unique beers in the world, and i am so glad they sent some beer out this way finally. all of the rest of them that came in aside from this one were mind blowing. this is still great, maybe some time in the bottle will charge it up a bit!

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Photo of Stevedore
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle. Served in a snifter glass.

Pours a slightly hazy orange body, one finger white head, great retention, not much lacing. Lots of bubbles coming about, which is nice. Smells of crisp ginger, floral notes, spices, light sweet clove and touch of bread. Really, really nice. Flavour is unique; lots of floral and ginger notes, tons of interesting flavours for a beer that doesn't have any hops. Not sure about carrot, but there is mild-moderate acetic acidity to go along with the floral and ginger. Not particularly funky. Again, the floral and ginger notes are really nice here. Mouthfeel is lighter bodied, closer to medium, incredibly refreshing with good carbonation. Tons of flavour for a 4.4% beer. Overall- my first Scratch beer, and I'm quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. I look forward to trying more from them.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a hazy pale golden honey in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and faint amber + copper highlights. The beer has a three finger tall foamy off-white head that reduces to a large patch of medium thick film covering a little more than 90% of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of fresh ginger, lemon citrus, slightly funky yeast, and a light amount of tartness.

T: Upfront there is a light flavor of slightly sweet cereal grain malts with a hint of biscuit malts. That is quickly overtaken by moderate flavors of citrus/lemonade and lightly spicy fresh ginger. There is a light to moderate flavor of slightly funky and tart yeast which contributes a light to moderate amount of lingering tartness.

M: Just slightly heavier than light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly stronger than moderate amounts of acidic prickliness.

O: This is really good, really enjoyable, and really easy to drink. Nice tartness and lemon citrus flavor with a very enjoyable house yeast. Definitely would like to have this again, wish I could find it on draft somewhere local.

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Photo of emerge077
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Murky orange, thin layer of foam, fades after a couple sips.

Aroma is slightly funky and sulfuric, yeast forward at first becoming somewhat acidic as it warms. With a swirl there's a mushroomy earthiness that adds an interesting balance.

Taste is tart and lemony, brightly acidic. Earthy mushroom and root vegetable in the periphery, a melange of herbal accents that are hard to pin down. Some sort of leaves, tea, not sure. Ginger is pretty understated, which is a good thing to me. It's light bodied and zesty, really quenching and drinkable. There's a nice level of complexity to it that makes it truly unique.

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Photo of hookah97
4.96/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this beer on tap while visiting the rents.

Really didn't have any expectations for this, being as I have never enjoyed this style, but I was completely blown away. My good friend and guru Ken Mitchell suggested that I would enjoy this beer and man was he right.

If the beer was a little clearer and had slightly higher carb it would be perfect.

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Photo of urwhalegameisweak
4.96/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Hand bottle, thanks Chad!

Best example of style I ever had! Herbs really shined through. Notes of lemongrass, hay, and paprika. Great color, I will have to seek this one out again. I would really like gruit to become the next hot style, much like Berliner weisse

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Photo of SaisonFest
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Hand bottle. screw top type, 2 days after put into the bottle it was shipped and into my glass.

This is a polarizing style for many people, and a feel like a lot of time it doesn't get the attention it deserves. This beer does a good job of representing the style yet still being inviting for the uninitiated.
The spices are on the mellow side, not overtly rye or sharp, and rolls over the tongue smoothly, but remains complex. A dense feeling beer that has a lot of nuances to work through that keeps sip after sip intriguing to both the familiar and the new comer alike.

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Photo of YeahNelsonMandela
4.89/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Got this hand bottle from a trading partner that was just passing through and picked up a few samples he threw in as extras for me to try. Boi am i glad he did!

The color is a bit hazy, but along the same lines as a great hefe, so i can't knock it too much. Looks golden and inviting and capped in a solid white crown.
The aroma and flavor are herbal and tannic like a lavender and chamomile tea steeped in mineral water. Slightly dry on the back end but that is how this should be, excellent. The mouthfeel is a bit slick from the low carb, letting the flavors saturate the palate.
Overall a great example of the style, really glad i got this extra and i will try to hunt what else i can from this brewery.

Keep up the good work.

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Photo of Tone
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloud, gold color. 1/3 inch head of a white color. Decent retention and good lacing. Smells of ginger, slight hops, slight sweet malt, and a hint of tea. Fits the style of a Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of ginger, slight sweet malt, slight pale malt, slight hops, and a hint of tea. Overall, good appearance, feel, body, and blend.

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Spring Tonic from Scratch Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 47 ratings