Dead Frog Big Stump – Spruce Golden Ale

Reviewed by on August 2, 2016 in Summer Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Dead Frog Brewing

  • Origin: Aldergrove, BC, CA

  • Rated On: August 2, 2016

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cold to cool

  • Style: Spruce Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Dead Frog Brewery’s ‘Board of Parks & Recreation’ apparently has a local spruce tip harvesting project very much like the one undertaken here in Edmonton by Alley Kat a few months ago.

This 650ml bottle pours a slightly hazy, medium copper amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, rocky and mildly bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent streaky lightning bolt lace around the glass as it lazily sinks away.  Nothing all that ‘golden’ about this ale, eh?

It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, a bit of biscuity toffee, candied orange peel, a touch of wayward son yeastiness, and some complex piney, leafy, and yup, sprucey green bitterness.  The taste is more of the same – grainy and bready caramel malt, even sweeter toffee pudding, muddled domestic citrus notes, some fading innocuous yeast, and a steady earthy, piney, and uh huh, spruced-up hoppiness (spruce tips are not hops, I get it).  The carbonation is structurally sound, via its quotidian frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, and generally smooth, with a wee airy creaminess trying in vain to get off the ground.  It finishes off-dry, the malt holding tight, while the leafy and piney nature of the hops continues to bully the guest spruce around.

Overall, this seems much more akin to an IPA with some shy spruce added to the mix – ‘golden ale’, are you kidding me?  Anyways, fairly tasty, the green forest floor character well balanced by the citrus and strangely robust malt.  Worthy of checking out, especially if you’re afraid that this, like others before it, would be like chewing on a tree branch – it’s not.

Brady White

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