Saturday, April 18, 2020

Blacklist Spruce Review

Name: Blacklist Spruce
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: 90

Let's turn the clock back to 2013, shall we?  It was a different time for myself:  My beer blog was still pretty new, I was living in Duluth and the craft beer scene in Duluth (as well as Northeast Minnesota/Northern Wisconsin general), while vibrant, still wasn't nearly the powerhouse that it is today.  Back then, one of the new breweries that I was introduced to was, of course, Blacklist Brewing.

One of the first beers that I ever tried out from them was their Spruce Tipped. I recall it being a wonderfully made beer that I, at the time, considered off the beaten path in terms of the usage of spruce tips in the brewing process. Well since then, craft beer being made with nontraditional ingredients has become the norm so you could consider my old article to be a product of its time. Also, Blacklist has made this beer again under a different name simply called: Spruce.  To my knowledge, they've also tweaked the recipe a bit so I figured now is a good time to take a look at this beer once again.

Appearance - Mildly cloudy dark orange color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The head takes on a foamy off-white look and some good lacing to boot.

Aroma - Strong caramel malts mixed in with some moderate bitter & citrus hops. I'm also getting some light spruce towards the back in here as well.

Taste - Strong caramel malts make up the bulk of the front end of the flavor, which is followed by that potent piney & citrus hop flavor in the middle. On the back end of the palate, however, is where that spruce shines! It's not too overpowering but it's just right! As for the aftertaste, it's mainly that spruce flavor with some mild maltiness.

Looking back at my notes from 2013, there is a noticeable difference in the overall flavor...but I think it's for the better. The spruce aspect of the flavor is more pronounced than before and it just feels more well-rounded as a whole.

This was already a great beer seven years ago, but I strongly feel that this one is better. As such, this is a very easy beer to recommend and I think it serves as a testament to how much Blacklist has evolved over the years.

Blacklist Spruce - 9.5/10

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