Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale | Yards Brewing Co.

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578 Ratings
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Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce AlePoor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
yardsbrewing.com

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Based on Franklin’s original recipe, which called for barley, molasses, and essence of spruce, our Tavern Spruce is as approachable and engaging as was the man himself. We source blue spruce clippings from a local organic farmer, steeping them in the kettle to create this one-of-a-kind deep amber ale.

Added by NeroFiddled on 01-05-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
578
Reviews:
207
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
15.98%
 
 
Wants:
25
Gots:
108
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 578 |  Reviews: 207
Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of metter98
3.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear brownish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that gradually died down, leaving patches of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of molasses are present in the nose along with notes of dark malts and hints of spruce.
T: The taste follows the smell and has some hints of initial sweetness; there are notes of spruce tips in the finish. No bitterness is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This isn't that bad for a beer that followed Ben Franklin's original recipe. The spruce flavors aren't that strong, but seem to keep this from being too sweet.

 783 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a cloudy dark amber body, small head and no lacing

Smell: Herbal aroma from the spruce and molasses

Taste: Overwhelming herbacious taste; somewhat medicinal

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting brew, but not my cup of tea; just a little too over the edge; I much prefered the Poor Richard's from Olde Hickory in North Carolina

 414 characters

Photo of oline73
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear dark amber color with three fingers of off tan head that leaves only a layer as it fades.

Smell: Definitely picking up the spruce, along with some caramel malt sweetness. There are some fruity notes, and I'm also picking up the molasses.

Taste: I really enjoy the taste of this beer. I'm picking up the spruce along with a fairly strong sweet malt presence. Not picking up the fruity notes here, but I do find some caramel and molasses. Mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to somewhat thin body, the carbonation is on the high side, but it seems to work here. The finish is mildly dry.

Overall: This is a really interesting beer. I'm enjoying the spruce along with the malt sweetness. I would definitely have this one again.

 815 characters

Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of dmorgan310
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Thorpe429
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass.

Pours a moderate brown-amber color with an off-white head and a tiny amount of lacing. The nose is dominated by the spruce and there isn't much else there. Maybe a tiny bit of light brown sugar. A bit of bready malt.

The nose brings some more pine and spruce as well as a bit of light earthy character. Some other mild herbs there as well. A bit of very light sweetness and bread crust, but this is a bit plain and relies too heavily on spruce alone. Feel is fairly light with good carbonation. Interesting, but not all that great.

 557 characters

Photo of mothman
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Beige khaki head. Dark copper caramel color.

Flavor is of lots of spruce and spice. Very earthy and herbal. Some sweet malts. Not overly spiced which is nice. There is something that I taste but I can't determine what it is. It is really unique.

Mouthfeel is spiced and smooth. Medium bodied.

Overall, better than expected. Not overly spiced which is nice.

 361 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.34/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Aroma of light wintery pine, malt caramel. Taste mild pine, herbal, malt, spice. Nice!

86 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the City Tavern in Philadelphia. Deep copper with orange tints. Solid cream colored head. Distinct malt & hop aroma, but not real specific. The yeast character is prominent: lightly fruity, some vanilla, perfumy, quite unique. Fruity malt up-front, thin bodied, almost Belgian in a way with some earthiness. Some hop flavor mid-swallow leading into a bitterness that coats the back of the mouth and throat - very solid. Long lasting malt finish that just lays in your mouth. Very English except for the strength. A good pint that combines a good drinkability with a decent amount of complexity.

 604 characters

Photo of mactrail
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Attractive amber in the glass. Pleasing maltiness with a dose of piney woods. Very mellow flavor. Of the few spruce flavored beers I've had, this one is the best.

A hint of what tastes like licorice, though that may be a component of the spruce. Oh, looking at the label, it ust be the touch of molasses. Not as resiny as you might think, but more aromatic. Aroma of violets and sage. The beer itself is a rich and mellow ale, quite a big mouthful. The aromatic spruce with a touch of hops give it a nice balance.

Way bigger and richer than the 5% ABV would suggest. This is a thoroughly drinkable ale with the friendliest flavors. The molasses gives some spice and fruitiness along with the hoppy edge that is really worth a try.

 734 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not sure where or when I first had this.

Somewhat hazy, reddish-brown pour, with a half inch or so of foamy white head. Aroma is herbal with notes of spruce and dark sugar. I'm definitely not a big fan of spruce or juniper flavor (I hate gin with a passion), but fortunately this beer isn't too potent in that area. Taste of woody spruce and sap, fairly balanced by brown sugar sweetness and molasses, herbal, nutty, with somewhat medicinal notes. Medium body, and decent overall. For what it's worth, this is okay, but it's not something I'd go for more than once or twice in a lifetime. Luckily Yards has lots of other good stuff to chose from.

 647 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of billab914
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. It poured a very dark amber color with a bit of a reddish hue to it. It started with a huge foamy head to it. The head faded but as it did there were some nice thick sheets of lacing left.

The spruce really shows in the aroma. It has a very fresh, green, Christmas tree like flavor to it. A little bit of malt sweetness comes through but the spruce is the dominating flavor.

The taste has a similar fresh and green spruce flavor to it. Towards the finish though more of the sweeter, malty flavors come out. It has a bit of a syrupy/sappy feel coming through in the finish as well. The spruce is the main flavor here, but it's not bad and interesting at least.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is decent, it was pretty drinkable for a spruce flavored beer. The spruce isn't something I would like very often, but it was a decent beer with a very cool concept behind it.

 966 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ShanePB for this bottle!

A: Pours a dark red, almost mahogany/brown color with a white one finger head. The head dropped quickly to a small layer of fine bubbles on top.

S: A unique aroma to say the least. A heavy dose of spruce up front followed up by some spice, mostly nutmeg. At the end there is a definite bready/caramel aroma as well. There is a little bit of mint too.

T: Very herbal/spicy from the spruce, also a bit sticky. Some nice caramel malts and I can taste a little bit of the molasses used to make this one as well.

M/D: Medium bodied with good carbonation, a touch more would have been nice, but its not a problem at all. Has a sticky/dry finish. Definitely a fall/winter beer, would pair nicely at Thanksgiving. Not an everyday drinker, but something I would consider picking up from time to time.

 833 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
1.9/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

First I wanna mention the really cool blue bottle this came in, nice touch. Poured a very dark amber with a big creamy white head. Slow fade left a thick coating of gooey lace on the glass. This looked very very nice, but looks can be decieving. Smell was how do you say, odd. Smelled like a pine tree air freshner, very dry, with hunts of flour, yeast, almost tree bark. Caramel, bread, and other sweet smells came through as it dried. The taste did not suit me well at all. Only word I could think of is huh? Tasted like a soda, very light and highly carbonated. Sugary, amost trying to be fruit like but not making it. Did have a dry finish, but I could barely get the glass down. This was one of the strangest beers I have ever drank. It was like chewing on a fresh cut xmas tree, but not in the good way.

 809 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was purchased at Wegman's, poured chilled in a glass mug from the 12oz brown bottle.

The color is deep brown like maple syrup with hazed clarity and thick beige cream with rocky head. The settling leaves a thin layer of average sized beads. The smell is very pleasant with slight herbal presence and mild sweet malt aroma. There is a good amount of malt body in the feel with medium carbonation and light bitterness with a slight dryness and low alcohol influence on the palate.

the Taste has a nice flavor of malt up front with a woody hop and the spruce provides a subtle earthy and clean element to the somewhat sweet flavor. The spruce is aromatic and contributes to the taste but the bready taste is the malts primary contribution with a subtle molasses element adding flavor toward the middle. Overall I really enjoy beers like this that have a traditional element or a backstory as to why the ingredients were used. I think this is very drinkable and would probably handle several in a sitting.

 1,011 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - A rust/dark amber color with little head of carbonation.

s - Smells strongly of spruce and pine, as well as cinnamon, some spices, and maybe a little bit of malt.

t - Small amounts of spruce and pine, but not as much as I was expecting. Tastes of pepper and spices.

m - Very carbonated and light bodied.

d - This beer was decent, but not my favorite. I didn't think the spices and spruce were very flavorful, and thought the smell and taste were a little lacking. I wouldn't buy this one again.

 550 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on-tap on 10-31-2007

This arrived with a thick, off-white/medium tan head with decent retention. The color was a deep amber with reddish highlights. The nose was not-quite redolent with with a pine/spruce scent. I say that because I had some of the early batches that were like Pine-Sol in a glass. This was a bit more subdued, but still notable. The mouthfeel was somewhere between medium and full with a great minty presence on the tongue. The finish was very clean and refreshing with a lingering taste of pine. It was not as intense as my first exposure to it, which was a shame. However, it was not a detractor. Rock On, Yards!

From a bottle on 06-09-2013:

I picked this up at The Foodery (N. Liberties) as I thought it the only one of the Yards Ales of the Revolution that I had not previously reviewed. Whoops!

From the bottle: "Crafted following Ben Franklin's original recipe."; "Malt beverage brewed with natural flavors (molasses, spruce tips and sprigs.); "Revolutionary Times Call for Revolutionary Ales. Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce (TM) is based on Franklin's original recipe. Enjoy a taste of history courtesy of Yards Brewing Company."

Someone must have read my original review because as soon as I popped the cap, the room smelled like Pine-Sol! My initial pour created a finger of fizzy tawny head with limited retention, quickly falling to wisps. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Leaning in, it smelled like a freshly cut Christmas tree. Yes! Mouthfeel was medium and on this iteration, not only did I get that fresh mintiness, but I could also perceive the molasses on the tongue. Is my palate becoming more sensitive or did they tweak the recipe in the last six years? Finish was semi-dry with the commingled flavors of pine and molasses really lingering well after the swallow.

 1,841 characters

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Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 578 ratings.
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