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

BA SCORE
82
good
205 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Reviews:
205
Ratings:
573
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
15.98%
 
 
Wants:
25
Gots:
101
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 205 | Ratings: 573
Photo of gillagorilla
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Dark amber brown body that leaves almost no lacing. Basically no head, you only get a slight swirl of white bubbles in the middle if you swirl it. All there is is a light collar of bubbles.

S: Interesting smell here. It smells like what I would think the color red smells like. Sorry if that sounds weird, but I can't really place the scent. Slight sweetness that smells like it tastes.

T: Slightly sweet malt body that isn't like the regular taste of sweet malt. There is just this one dominant taste. Very light body, with only a slight lingering taste. I guess the difference in sweetness comes from the use of molasses and spruce.

M: Quite thin with only a tingling of bubbles/carbonation.

O: I've had douglas fir tea, but not a spruce tea. But they are both brewed with the tips. It is similar but the malt body makes it different. Different. I was most excited to try this one, but I have a feeling the porter in the series might be my favorite.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Ursula1007
4.98/5  rDev +37.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I love the robust depth of the nuances that play on the palate. Molasses is detectable and welcome. With Spruce tips and sprigs in the recipe, this original recipe from the Revolutionary War period, is to be cherished as an American beauty.
Nicely carbonated for those of us who enjoy a tinkle mouth feel.

 305 characters

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 IronLover
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber in color with a brownish hue and perfect clarity. Poured with a short, off-white foam that reduced to a healthy cap that left sheets of wet lacings on the glass. Fresh, earthy spruce aroma along with sweet maple syrup notes and bready malt beneath. Medium bodied, slightly oily feel, refreshing carbonation over the top, and a crisp dry finish. Spruce flavor up front along with a slighty metallic taste. Sweet maple into the middle followed by a spicy, herbal tanginess. Finished crisply and dryly with an herbal, spruce aftertaste.

 540 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 BWED
3.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tumbler.

A- Clear and brown. Light tan head retains okay. A couple spots of lacing.

S- Molasses and the spruce. Caramel undertones. Very sweet. Almost soda, like.

T- Light molasses and spruce again. Everything is very subtle.

M- Light. Slight dryness in the finish.

O- I respect that Yards has adapted the "original" recipe. But there isn't a lot to this beer. I wouldn't want to go out and buy a case of this.

 443 characters

Photo of IchLiebeBier
2.36/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: amber/bronze; small head; no real lacing

Smell: sweet, soda-like, almost like Pepsi with a whiff of ginger ale shandy; I can pick up the spruce smell because I know it's there, otherwise I wouldn't have figured spruce; I can pick up tobacco, too, after seeing it in a review.

Taste: Reminds me of a specialty soda from Panama Jack or something, or an attempt at a Shandy with the wrong ingredients; I can't describe the flavors any better; finishes with a dry, lingering aftertaste that seems kind of like tar, most likely from the spruce resins

Mouthfeel: thin and slightly flat

Remarks: I've wanted to try one since reading about it in Joy of Home Brewing, but I can definitely say this is not my thing

 720 characters

Photo of RandomExile
3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: brown amber, little head, spotty lacing at best
S: sweet, almost tobacco-like, definitely spruce
T: the spruce may be a gimmick, but it's definitely present; only slightly bitter; malty
M: light-bodied, a bit watery
O: Not much here, other than the novelty of pine. If you want a swing of Christmas tree, minus the Christmas ... here you go.

 344 characters

Photo of Beermaster70
3.81/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

All about the Benjamins tonight. Copper appearance with nice head, lacing. Spicy aroma. Smooth to drink with an enjoyable flayor. Makes we want to explore other beers like it. Another winner for Yards, I am becoming a fan. Bought as part of a sampler case of the Revolution series.

 281 characters

Photo of socon67
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark copper pour with a beige foam that has lacing that clings. Small bubbles of carbonation are seen.

S - Very spicy beer. I smell English tea leaves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A mild malt profile is behind this beer.

T - Up front spicy notes that give an array of flavor. Nothing is overbearing and the taste is pleasant.

M - Balance could be a little better on this. Minimal carbonation, and leaves a bit of spice in the finish.

O - Maybe the best of the Ales of the Revolution. An easy drinking spiced ale that goes well with a light meal.

 549 characters

Photo of Act25
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a brown-amber with a 1 finger frothy, tan head w good retention. Much carbonation brings the cap back with a shake. Good lacing. Nice looking.

S: The nose is light, with more spruce, (air freshener one reviewer wrote, but I think that's unfair) than malt or molasses. This beer if only slightly stale would sink into soapiness and staleness, but as a fresh bottle, it's nice.

T: The flavor is light, with a thin sweetness start. caramel, hints of brown sugar and then more spruce as it goes along. It's interesting, but not for me. I could see it being better in a tavern, as a celebration, with a tavern meal, heavy on meat and sauce and sausage. Slightly sweet, and ice tea like. Low alcohol, making it an ok lunch time brew.

M: The mouthful is oily with thin-to-medium weight. Again ice tea like. Slightly original. Would be good in costume.

D: An authentic, iced tea-like ole time tavern ale with drinkability. I'd not have 2 in a row. But I'd order it at a tavern for sure.

 1,051 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very dark, very murky brown color with a quarter of a finger of off-white head (the head also seemed to me to have flecks of green in it too, but that might have been my imagination due to the beer being brewed with spruce tips and sprigs) that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that practically covered the entirety of the beer. I’m actually surprised at the color, it’s so murky, almost like swamp water. I’m not too sure about that, as it makes for an unattractive beer.

Aroma: However, it doesn’t at all smell like swamp water, rather, I get malt and bread and some very earthy notes. Subtle yeast aroma as well. Finally, there’s some good floral notes present too, but not the evergreen spruce that I was expecting, more like grass and clover.

Taste: Floral notes up front, thanks to the spruce tips and sprigs that the beer is brewed with, followed by malt and caramel. There is a yeasty finish that I found pleasant too. Very interesting beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium, with some good carbonation to tickle the tastebuds, and a slight chewiness. Because of the low alcohol content, the beer only clocks in at 5% ABV, there’s practically no alcohol present on the palate, maybe just a slight hint.

Overall: According to Yards, this beer was crafted from Benjamin Franklin’s original recipe, using molasses, spruce tips and sprigs. It is a very interesting beer, with good flavor and mouthfeel, however, that appearance really puts me off. It certainly is a bottle beer for me, but just not one that I’m probably going to be searching out on a consistent basis. It was a great choice for the 4th of July weekend though, which is why I got it.

 1,730 characters

Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a muddy brown with a burnt orange hue on the edges. There was a thin layer of head most of which dissipated rather quickly. The nose had the definite essence of spruce - like a Christmas tree in a glass. Spruce notes certainly were noticeable in the flavor profile as well. There was a mild hint of similar spices and a simple but pleasant semi-dry finish. This beer was a nice change of pace, but there is nothing particularly outstanding here beyond the creative use of the spruce flavors.

 505 characters

Photo of admccabe
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- I poured from bottle into pint glass, had a small head, dark amber color
S- I thought I smelled some honey, light "earthiness", something similar to coffee
T- This had a smooth taste, light taste of what I thought was pine. Had a molasses flavor, but not the "thickness" of molasses you can sometimes get with similar beers, this is where it tasted like light honey.
M- Light carbonation, suited the beer well as I think the flavors of it can be easily overwhelmed
O- Overall, I liked this beer. It was worth the purchase and I would get it again if I saw it at a bar.

 571 characters

Photo of KTCamm
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours medium dark brown, some reddish tints, good white foam. Rings around the edge. Pine nose, molasses too. Syrup as well. Taste is a subtle sweetness. Slight root beer taste. Mint/spruce sprig taste. Smooth & flavorful. Pretty damn good original recipe.

 310 characters

Photo of Omnium
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle > Alpine Spring glass
A - Pours a nice clear brown, one finger head with decent retention and lacing.
S - Smells like sweet toffee malt and a nice fresh pine and spruce hint with some spices, a little dried fruit, and hint of toasted nuts.
T - Good malt foundation that has just the right amount of spruce and other spices, a touch of mint and some earthy hops in the mix as well.
M - Good carbonization, well bodied, medium feel.
O - This is really refreshing and different, its not the best, but a good addition to this series.

 539 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 justintcoons
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip pint.

Appearance
Brownish amber with 1 fingers of loose, white head. Excellent clarity and moderate carbonation.

Nose
Spruce and mint.

Taste
Mint and spruce. Toasted bread and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel
Light-medium bodied, crisp, clean and refreshing.

Overall
It tastes like an Irish Red had a baby with some mint leaves. I like it!

 366 characters

Photo of WissBrauSean
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

This beer is in the category Herbed/Spiced Ale and it is a pretty broad category including pumpkin beers and the like. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Benjamin Franklin actually as it is one of his originals. Yards brewery has 4 beers in their Ales of the Revolution collection I believe and this is one of them. I suggest trying them all, they are really interesting.

This beer pours a deep amber to mahogany red colour with a thin rosy/tan head that fades to a tiny ring around the glass and leaves some nice mobile lacing on the glass. Very clear and attractive.

I poured this from a bottle at 50 degrees into a tulip glass and was immediately hit with molasses and malt sweetness. There is some slight aromatics of evergreen in there, spruce to be exact, but I couldn't really decipher it to tell the truth. I also read from another review about a tea aroma, I get that a little as well.

Throughout the sip is the base of caramel malt sweetness. I think it starts off that way and then mid way through a tea-like herbal taste sets in and smooths out some of the carbonation and then leads finish that is maybe a little bready, peppery and slightly hoppy. It's balanced a little better than you would believe by the aroma.

I think the mouthfeel is a little lighter than medium. Almost slightly watery, yet sweet. The carbonation starts off just above moderate and fades nicely ending well balanced and slightly dry.

Overall I think this is an excellent beer and only a tiny bit watery (like tea). It's hard to judge a beer of this category and that is the only thing that I think is wrong with the beer, if it is wrong at all.

Get out and try one because life is too short to drink crappy beer!

 1,707 characters

Photo of dacrza1
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Date: 13 January 2013...
Glassware: Hoegaarden tumbler...
Occasion: Golden Globes--what, no Hobbit? Guess I will be my wife's Les Mis date tonight...
Appearance: iced tea-colored body with a pencil-thin, hazy off-white head; sparse effervescence; not really a looker...
Aroma: spruce, yes, but cinnamon and nutmeg as well?...
Taste: the molasses is sweet but palatable; the spruce is not so pronounced at the tongue--elusive, flat malts...
Palate: smooth, unexpectedly soft and medium-bodied, with a warm ending despite the 5.0 abv...
Overall: Does Ben Franklin ever get anything wrong? This is curiously mellow and drinkable, but the profile is not quite the pine cone pinata I expected... warmed me on this winter's night for sure!

 733 characters

Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.07/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass mug.

A: Clear amber with two-finger, off-white, fizzy, foamy head that lasted a few minutes. Pretty good lacing.

S: Strong spruce aromas. Tea-like and sweet smelling.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Spruce and tea-like flavor up front, then caramel malt. Finishes with toasted bread.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

O: I like this much more than i was expecting to. Nice herbal quality to it.

 438 characters

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ST: 12oz poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear brown with amber, red tints in the light. The head is half-a-fingernail off-white and the carbonation sounds like soda when being poured.

S: Sweet malt, spicy hint of spruce, a bit of molasses, and a slight woody aroma.

T: Mellow malt, a touch of molasses, and a bit of wood on the back before a clean finish.

M: Medium (surprisingly light though) and creamy

O: A mellow enjoyable drink. I wouldn't mind more spruce and wood flavors, and the body could be a bit more substantial, but there is nothing wrong with this beer. It really is a perfect quaffing ale.

 612 characters

Photo of abcdefghijkyle
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A brown amber color that I wasn't really expecting. Decent sized off white head with some lacing.

S: I primarily picked up tarragon and sage in the nose. The spruce is something that I never would've smelled had it not been the actual name of the beer. In some ways the smell reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing

T: The taste followed the smell for the most part, very herby and interesting.

M: Not a lot of carbonation going. Made for a fairly thick drinker. Not a bad thing at all.

Overall, I really thought this one was interesting and I'm really glad I gave it a whirl. I definitely wouldn't session with it but if the planets align again, I'll have it again. Another unique and quality brew from Yard's.

 716 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 AdamBear
3.29/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-dark amber with a sticky cream colored head

S-faint scent of..evergreen? It's a unique smell. Not one that I love. It's weak

T-comes in with a taste of buttercream, some caramel, and maybe a hint of spruce. It has some winter spices in there. Tastes almost like an old ale. Matching faint after-taste.

M-creamy no carbonation. Expected from the cask.

O-it's just a mediocre beer. I was expecting more from a piney ale. I guess I always expect good beer to be on tap. This was pretty much a let down. The flavors are so weak, it reminds me of an adjunct. Though there are no off flavors!

 592 characters

Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 573 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe