Imperial Spruce India Pilsner
Short's Brewing Company

Imperial Spruce India PilsnerImperial Spruce India Pilsner
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American Imperial Pilsner
Ranked #10
Ranked #7,031
4 | pDev: 17.75%
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Imperial Spruce India PilsnerImperial Spruce India Pilsner
Notes: Original batch (from Imperial Series--750 ml bottles) was 10% abv. New, 2010, 12 oz. bottles are 7.15% abv.
Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 443 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jkblr
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 10/7/19 (2 months ago) poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass at fridge temp, no ABV listed on label. The beer pours bright golden amber in color with abundant off white head. The head recedes slowly leaving a big cap and full lacing. The aroma is mild with earthy spruce and evergreen sap. The taste is semisweet caramel malt punctuated with earthy, sappy spruce and old school C hops. Moderate bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, very good. I'm a fan of imperial pils and spruce beer. This is a good example of both. Not cloying or heavy on alcohol presence.

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jkblr from Indiana, Dec 18, 2019
Photo of BB1313
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 7/28/17. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a burnt golden with a subtle haze; creamy off-white head that falls leaving great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are full of spruce. Some tropical berries in the mix. Subtle hints of caramel. A nice amount of malts. The flavors follow the nose perfectly. Lots of fresh spruce. Strong malt backbone. Hints of cocoa and mint. Some pine resin. Some sticky syrupy characteristics are there. Mild spiciness. It finishes with a subtle warmth, but the alcohol is ultimately well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice. It's full-bodied with with moderate to low carbonation. Dangerously drinkable.

This is an awesome brew. It's probably my favorite "spruce beer" that I've had to date. It's also the best beer that I've had from Short's, to date. It doesn't really come off as a pilsener or an Imperial pilsener, but it doesn't even matter to me. It actually drinks more like an Imperial IPA. This beer is a winner!

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BB1313 from Ohio, Sep 15, 2017
Photo of HopDagger
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

I really enjoyed this beer. Poured into a pilsner glass from the tap, it's the yellow of a late summer's sunrise. If you've hiked a trail through stands of pine and spruce of course you know the smell, and in Northern Michigan where it's brewed you'd catch the faint hint of sand and dune grasses. All of this is present but when you sip but it cuts like a chain through pine, very bold, but if you love spruce tips and pine flavor you will absolutely love this. Overall a shocking start and a pleasing and unique finish, a great late summer entry into fall's heavier sipping.

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HopDagger from Michigan, Sep 19, 2016
Photo of stortore
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle into a Pilsner glass.

Pours a bright golden yellow, clear, with a good amount of streaming bubbles, a one inch head with foamy lacing. Smell is yeast, spruce- more as it warms throughout the bottle, malt, some apples. The taste- wooo, there's lots of spruce here, and it is good. Real good. Like sucking on a tree branch. Malt, some yeast, a medium hop bitterness throughout. Very smooth, well carbonated, creamy, light bodied, but feels more full bodied.

This is really good. The spruce is excellent, great body and feel. Wish I bought a six pack instead of one bottle. Won't make that mistake next year. Well worth a purchase.

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stortore from Illinois, Aug 17, 2016
Photo of Jjk0211
2.73/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Back on shelves for 2016! Opened a bottle with date stamp on 7/20/2016 so this bottle is less than two weeks old. Pours a nice crystal clear golden yellow with a finger of white head that persists as a 1/8 inch cap for the entire glass. Solid carbonation. Moderate lacing. Light aroma of mild malt and gentle spruce. First sip of this-- COUGH!!!! Wow! Turpentine!!!

After the burning on my tongue subsided, I went back for more. Less abrasive... Hmmm. Interesting...

Leaving it to sit a few minutes, this turpentine taste and sensation seemed to mellow and became a bit more drinkable and hops more apparent. While this improved, it's not to a point what I would call enjoyable but it is interesting. At least I can now say I've tried a spruce beer and glad it was a single instead of a six pack.

My bottle was VERY fresh. Might be interesting to see how it tastes if it sat for a while. The spruce flavor might be more approachable if dialed back.

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Jjk0211 from Michigan, Aug 02, 2016
Photo of SirEbril
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Smells a little solvent-like, decent carbonation, nice mouth-feel - the spruce is VERY present, though not super pleasant. I would say interesting as a novelty, not a set of flavors I would wish to revisit.

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SirEbril from California, Dec 07, 2015
Photo of arizcards
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a bottle of this as part of my brother's mixed sixer this past weekend while hanging out at the Hampton Inn in Saginaw. Not sure of the freshness date. This was an interesting beer as i was catching sage in addition to the highly pine and spruce infusion of flavors. It was not a bad beer but one i likely would not try again.

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arizcards from Arizona, Sep 24, 2015
Photo of justinp444
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear straw yellow with a thick 2 inch head of white foam (nice retention and heavy lacing). Smell is pine and bread-y malt, with a bit of grass and earth. Taste is overwhelmingly piney with a bit of bread-y malt and grass. Mouth feel is moderate with a moderate to light body. Overall a fantastic beer if you want something super piney.

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justinp444 from Michigan, Sep 01, 2015
Photo of entenduintransit
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is honestly like nothing I've ever tasted before. Short's, like always, delivers with another unique tasting beer and this time, not like always, it actually works. It's pleasant and on each sip I discovered a new aspect about this beer. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden and the spruce flavor is overwhelming, but not to a fault. It is the defining characteristic of the beer and I feel like it could be really hit or miss, but for me it's a big hit.

Now that I think about it, the taste and aftertaste especially both remind me of minestrone soup, as weird as it sounds. I'd like it if anyone else were to back me up on this statement to confirm I'm not crazy.

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Photo of rapayn01
4.56/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 6 pack of this at the brewpub after having the 9.3% version on tap. It is simply terrific, with the spruce and hops combining to make this taste like an IPA.

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rapayn01 from Kentucky, Aug 22, 2015
Photo of CNoj012
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a fantastic light straw bright gold color. It is very clear with lots of carbonation and a big frothy white head that leaves a lot of lacing. Smell is great, very strong spruce and pine with a hint of grapefruit and orange. The taste is completely different though, the spruce is overwhelming and covers up all other flavors. There are many great IPAs that I would describe as tasting like sucking on a pinecone and mean it in a good way, but this tastes like chewing on a christmas tree and I do not enjoy. Most disappointing for having such a nice aroma. The feel is pretty light and there is not hint of alcohol. Overall this is beer has a wonderful look and smell, but unless licking a christmas tree sounds good to you then I would pass on this one.

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CNoj012 from New York, Aug 15, 2015
Photo of BuccoFan
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice golden color that settles with a solid head. Aroma is very nice--pine, of course, but not overwhelming. Body is robust and taste is very good. This is a true pine taste without being too much. A definitely interesting beer.

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BuccoFan from District of Columbia, Aug 02, 2015
Photo of Phoodcritic
2.61/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

I had a fantastic spruce beer at Founders three weeks ago, which led me to try this one. This was altogether different, like chewing on raw spruce. If you like Greek Retsina wine you may like it. I didn't.

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Phoodcritic from Michigan, Aug 01, 2015
Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

massive thanks to thebandit1 for tossing this in a LIF box for guessing songs in the gd50 fare the well tour. enjoyed from a willie b.

a - pours a transparent straw yellow with tons of visible carbonation and a nice frothy head that left some spotty lace.

s - nose is tress and hops. spruce caboose. not too much.

t/m/o - crisp beer with a very pronounced crisp spruce. good bittering hops balance things out. very drinkable. abv is invisible. brisk...crisp...pine needley. like the a glass. really interesting brew, but it works great. loved it!

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cosmicevan from New York, Jul 28, 2015
Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.61/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Number 2 of the evening. Golden glow, fluffy white cap. The smell is Northern Michigan; I want to marry it. Taste is smooth and silky, a little bite of spruce/hop. Not something to drink a six of, but a nice slow sipper on a hot day

EDIT: original review from a year ago, now having it fresh out of a growler filled yesterday. Aroma is lemon zest biscuit with spruce undertones. Not as much bite as when bottled. Fresh it is definitely something I'd drink a sixer of

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Photo of MIbeer27
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, dated 07/10/15.

Appearance is a hazy golden yellow with a quickly dissipating, half finger white head. Lacing was excellent.

Aroma of earth, hay, grass and crackery malt. Blue spruce is readily apparent, as well, eventually taking over as the beer warms.

Taste is all intense, raw blue spruce needles.

Resinous mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Bitterness is medium-high.

Overall, Spruce Pilsner is one of those beers you either love or hate. I don't mind the spruce flavor, but this beer just takes it to the nth degree. Either way, cheers to Short's for making such an extreme beer.

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MIbeer27 from Michigan, Jul 26, 2015
Photo of Brewheadcom
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This strong Imperial Pilsner has a wonderfully earthy flavor. It's flowery, bitter, resinous, and crisp. Makes for a refreshing chill on a hot summer's day. The heavy pine takes a bit to get used to, but in the end it cools the palate nicely and makes for an enjoyable beer.

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Brewheadcom from Michigan, Jul 25, 2015
Photo of gjl75
3.4/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A little to sprucey for my pallette. Wasn't expecting it to be that pungent, albeit I don't dislike it. A sipper definitely. That's Short's for ya. Always pushing the envelope!

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gjl75 from Michigan, Jul 23, 2015
Photo of K-Dog
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is beer where you either think it's great or you hate it. I think it's great. It's very dank and a palette killer. This year's version is very juicy tasting. This is one amazing beer that is not for everybody. Very unique.

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K-Dog from Michigan, Jul 23, 2015
Photo of lupercmda
2.54/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I liked the look of this when poured. Poured a orange hazy color. But the smell of the spruce tips just was overpowering. I like spruce tip beer but this beer smells and tastes like bad cologne. The spruce taste was overpowering to the point that I had to pour this beer out.

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lupercmda from North Carolina, May 23, 2015
Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.95/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Thanks to Another6Pack for this one! I'm only doing a brief write-up, because both of us know this beer is out of season, and it's not really worth doing a full review of something past its prime. Still, it certainly smells piny enough (though the cloudiness is a no-no - a sign of its staleness), and the taste is very spruce forward. Even still, the flavor profile seems past its prime. I can taste a really good big lager behind it all - I'll gladly give this one a second chance fresh.

2.95/5: If it's just like sucking on a pine cone past its prime, how good will it be fresh?

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Photo of kogutmic
4.9/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The smell is wonderful, and is backed up with the taste. Love the bitterness. I love gin, and i love beer, and this is a sort of marriage of the two.
Me likey

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kogutmic from Michigan, Jan 25, 2015
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

love the idea here, playing heavy spruce pine flavor and aroma with a very aggressive hopping. surprised by the color, has an almost brown hue to the pale beer, not yellow at all. big frothy head and a great aroma that smells like cutting down a christmas tree. fresh spruce, really springy and nice, maybe as much spruce as ive ever seen in a beer. the hops go with it so well, bitter and leafy and balancing well. malt is not normal pils malt to me here, its not crackery and thin, but instead a little richer, huge in body, and quite flavorful, even a touch of dry smoke it seems. the spruce is so intense when it comes on, so fresh, i love how flavorful this is, and the curious malt base seems to fit it very well. nice bog body, effervescent carbonation, and not a trace of booze on it at all. there is an almost menthol herbal intensity to it in the throat, eucalyptus or something, real strange, but not unappealing. woody and wintery, i absolutely love how different this is. top notch stuff from a brewery who had really yet to impress me. this is astoundingly delicious.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.56/5  rDev -11%

Bottle received as an extra.

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells exactly as you'd expect. Heavy, heavy spruce and pine, with some mint.

The intense aroma carries over to the taste- the spruce flavor is quite overwhelming. This one's also quite hoppy, with tons of pine and grapefruit. But...if I'm being honest, the spruce is too much. It's good for about 3-4 oz, then just gets overly bitter for the sake of being bitter. There's some mint in here too, which is unexpected.

This one is medium bodied, with a very strong lingering bitterness, and a higher amount of carbonation.

This one is too heavy-handed to be taken all that seriously. I like the flavor of spruce, but it's overused here.

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GreesyFizeek from New York, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of simplejj81
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Very strong pine taste, which i like. Yards brewery makes a spruce amber which is also good but tame in comparison. A good beer to share if your friends have an open mind and a broad palate.

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simplejj81 from Wisconsin, Sep 05, 2014
Imperial Spruce India Pilsner from Short's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 443 ratings