Imperial Spruce India Pilsner | Short's Brewing Company

very good
158 Reviews
Imperial Spruce India PilsnerImperial Spruce India Pilsner

Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.15%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Original batch (from Imperial Series--750 ml bottles) was 10% abv. New, 2010, 12 oz. bottles are 7.15% abv.

Added by hoppymeal on 06-30-2007

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Reviews: 158 | Ratings: 402
Photo of stortore
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
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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Photo of SirEbril
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
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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Photo of arizcards
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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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Photo of rapayn01
4.56/5  rDev +14.9%
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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Photo of CNoj012
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
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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Photo of Phoodcritic
2.61/5  rDev -34.3%
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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Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
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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Photo of gjl75
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
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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Photo of K-Dog
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
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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Photo of lupercmda
2.54/5  rDev -36%
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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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.95/5  rDev -25.7%
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 +23.4%
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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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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 -10.3%

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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Photo of simplejj81
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

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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Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Received 2 bottles in an IP trade last weekend. This paired perfectly with an appetizer/dinner of cheese, grapes, crackers, and salad.

No mistaking the spruce tips here; very piney. My fourth beer from Shorts and all have been unique. So far so good.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Duuude, seriously. At long last, I'm trying this beer. I wanted it last year, but it was one of the only Short's releases I missed, and it was one of the ones I wanted to try the most. Hope this doesn't let me down. $2.49 single poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. There's a date on the bottle, but it was pressed funny, so I can't read it. Almost looks like 22/7/14. If this were England... this would be a pretty damn fresh bottle of a beer!

Appearance: Beautiful. Semi-aggressive pour gives about two fingers of creamy, sticking-to-the-glass head. The color is semi-hazy golden orange.

Smell: Was this bottled yesterday? Holy hell. There are piney smelling hops, and then there's this -- it truly does smell like pine sap/freshly grown pine needles. There's then a fair amount of citrus in there from other sorts of hops... what a unique smelling beer. The combination of it all smells like walking through a pine tree filled forest after a good rain. It seriously smells like it could be a body wash.

Taste/feel: Good Lord this beer is exactly as described. Completely and utterly strange, but it manages to work. Holy hell is that unusual. Beginning to end, it's like you're chewing on pine needles (you know, without that unfortunate prickly texture of death). Assertive sort of hop oil and pine sap bitterness and stickiness, but there's still a very nice amount of sweet malts in there to keep this beer fairly balanced. Finish is clean, slightly piney and citrusy, but mostly with a nice caramel malt flavor lingering. The feel was unexpected -- very creamy feel to this beer with only a slight hint of prickly carbonation underneath... I would have preferred at least a little less creaminess, as it's a bit too heavy for my liking, especially for what's described as a pilsner. It feels a lot bigger than its ABV, although the alcohol can't be tasted or felt at all.

This is the definition of a hit or miss beer for many people, but if you come in seeing this beer and enjoying everything pine, you'll adore it... this beer doesn't disappoint. Massive pine characteristics with a bit of citrusy smelling and tasting hops with a super awesome malt backbone to keep this beer from slumping into the waaay too intensely bitter category.

I really enjoy this beer, but I doubt I could have more than a bottle of it. That pine note is super intense. Regardless, pick this one up without a second thought, assuming you don't hate the smell or taste of pine.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep gold with a one-finger foamy white head. Light sticky lacing.

S - Aroma of pine needles and light citrus.

T - Starts off sweet with a nice amount of citrus. The citrus fades into spruce tips and lots of piney hops. The finish is strong pine with a lingering hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Very smooth with a creamy mouthfeel.

O - This is a really good offering from Short's. Well balanced with lots of great piney flavors.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is probably my favorite offering from Shorts, so it is about time I wrote a review. My two cents, I wish this was the summer seasonal and available the whole summer.

Appearance - Poured into a pint glass, the beer was a handsome golden color with a modest white head. The bubbles were fairly large and clung to the sides of the glass.

Smell - The spruce really shines in the aroma and I love it. It comes through like a really good gin.

Taste - The sour of the spruce jumps through in the initial taste. It really is a little like beer with gin notes. Gentle hop action occur with the background, melting nicely with the sourness of the spruce. The finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel - Recalling that this is an imperial pilsner, it runs a little thicker. The sour notes linger nicely in the back of the throat.

Overall - I usually grab a couple of sixers of this one to get me through the year. I would highly recommend cracking open a bottle with some Indian food.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass. Bottled 07/22/14

A- Pours a deep yellow, good degree of clarity, small white head. Great color for a pilsner.

S- Big evergreen, rosemary, some light citrus notes.

T- Similar to aroma, rosemary. citrus, the bitterness is spot on and note too lingering which usually is my problem with Short's bitter stuff. Has a bit of a fruity finish that good lagers have.

M- Nice full mouthfeel or a lager, and a pilsner at that.

O- This stuff is great and traditionally Short's. I can really imagine sitting among the pine tree in Northern Michigan and knocking back a few of these.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

32 oz. howler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear golden body. No head. Looks flat.

Smell - Very pungent spruce. Lightly spicy and woody in the back. Some grassy hops, too.

Taste - Hops are stronger than spruce up front. Pilsner malt. Spruce builds up and turns into that woody spice that I got in the aroma. Very bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Flat as hell. Very bitter. Makes it seem sluggish.

Overall - Excellent spruce flavor. Wish it had been carbonated.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very light yellow brew with lots of haze and very moderate lacing. Nothing remarkable. Small white head too.

Nice smooth aroma. Slight musty aroma. Lemon and orange. Peanuts with noticeable spruce tips. NICE!

Great dry earthy bitterness with good green after taste. Sweetness is well placed. Only the wet slimy after taste detracts, not greatly, but still detracts. Nice well rounded flavors, complex, deep, unique. You can definitely taste the spruce tips, both in flavors and feel.

Well done, Shorts!!! A great brew, not experimental, but well thought out and executed. Thanks abanton for the hookup, glad I finally got around to this one! Held up well too.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.76/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This pours a clear white gold with nice foam.

It has a light, grassy aroma which turns into a crisp lemony grass flavored hop profile with pleasant bittering and a delightful finish. This is spruce tips? Fantastic!

Bright, clean, crisp and delicious. A definite stand-out.

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Photo of joe1510
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

#139 of 886

Received this bottle in a great trade with Hoppymeal, thanks a million Derek! Short's Imperial Spruce India Pilsner pours like I'd expect of a pilsner (although not one that weighs in at 10%). Beautiful golden body with a glass full of large carbonation bubbles swirling and rushing to the surface. Every other Imperial Pilsner I've sampled has had some viscosity and you really noticed by the crawl of the carbonation. This on the other hand looks more like a standard pilsner. The dense head grew to three fingers on the pour and is cotton white. Falls to a finger plus at it's lowest and leaves big chunky patches of lace.

The smell of this beer is intense! I'm sure the flavor will be too. There's a quick flash of biscuity malts upfront but the Blue Spruce needles come fast and hard. Rosemary like at first but morphing into a glassful of Christmas tree. I'm not getting much in the hop department. Possibly some pine upfront but that's most likely the Blue Spruce. Wait! As it warms there are some citric hop qualities that wave faintly in the background. There's a touch of earthiness from the spruce needles. I can feel my sinus' clear each time I inhale. Very interesting!

The nose doesn't lie! Just as intense on the tongue as in the nose. Slightly sweet biscuity malts flash through again but the spruce needles take over quickly. My mouth all at once becomes earth, resinous, and sappy like I'm chomping on a Christmas tree. The spruce rides roughshod over my tongue. There is more hoppiness than the smell led me to believe, but doesn't show itself until the swallow. That hoppiness is lightly sweetened grapefruit and keeps the spruce from running away with things. I'm growing extremely fond of the bitterness the spruce needles leave in their path.

Most Imperial Pilsners I've sampled in the past have had far too viscous bodies for the style. This has a medium body but the lively carbonation keeps it moving at a fast pace. I can't imagine the mouthfeel being any better then what it is right now.

This bottle is going down pretty easy but the flavors are so intense one bottle is all I could handle in a sitting. The bitterness does a number on your tastebuds too so be ready.

I've been fortunate to have sampled three of Short's beers, all thanks to Derek, and every one of them has been excellent. This is one of the most unique beers I've encountered and would love to get my hands on some more spruce infused beers.

Reviewed: 3/2/08

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Photo of CMUbrew
2.96/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: Clear body and straw yellow in color. Didn't get much head on the pour, although I poured slow to leave the sediment in the bottle. Carbonation isn't overly active.

S: Very herbal. The spruce must be playing a big role in this beer, because I haven't smelled one like this before. Spruce, and a little bit of piney hop and earthiness.

T: Big spruce flavor here. Completely unlike anything I've ever tasted in a beer. Sappy pine needles and a somewhat dirty earth flavor. Some hop flavor in the background. I can't say that I like the taste.

M: Pretty standard pilsner feel, albeit a tad low on carbonation. Very dry.

O: The only Short's beer to date I haven't enjoyed. The huge herbal spruce flavor just doesn't work for me, as only the tiniest amount of hop flavor attempts to balance it. Not my thing, unfortunately.

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Imperial Spruce India Pilsner from Short's Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 402 ratings.
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