69 / 100
Pours a murky red colour, but visible throughout with nothing too dark in there. Head is dense but thin, just a rim of tightly packed bubbles after a while. Unimpressive lacing. Not bad.
Smells boozey, spicy and complex. Big pie spice notes with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Nice battery character as well (like batter-ish) with a caramel toffee and slightly buttery note. Touch of apple; maybe smells like mulled cider to me. Pretty pleasant.
Taste is incredibly sweet and potent and just gets significantly more potent as it goes through, it just keeps crescendoing. Figgy, datey sweetness upfront, with a big toffee malt base, that gets boozey and boozier and warmer as it goes through. Brandy character with a port sweetness, some vinous and oaky notes but just waxing sweetness and sweet dark fruit character. Leaves the spice behind although it is there, and just goes oaky, boozey and sweet. Not uninspiring, but a bit blarey and shoved down your throat as well. If it is properly compared with the previous beer [Epic Brewing Co "Fermentation Without Representation" Imperial Pumpkin Porter], the previous was better nuanced and just generally more palatable for being subtler and more drinkable.
Smooth, full and really creamy. The malt is huge, and it shows. The booze really doesn't seep through into heat or harshness on the body.
A bit too full on, but it's a sweetness I can tolerate when it's done in this huge fuckoff boozey way. It's just a bit strong and feels like being belted in the fucking face with a big sock full of half-frozen fruit ice that's mixed with brandy.
82 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Davidson's Liquor in Denver, CO. At the time of writing, this is, I believe, the third strongest beer I've ever had. Certainly the third strongest I've ever reviewed.
Pours a deep ruby red, with some fizzing carbonation to begin with that promotes a coarse, insubstantial head. This disappears quickly, leaving a dense, still and murky looking brew. Even when swirled, it doesn't give up additional carbonation.
Nose is rich and thick with pumpkin spices. I get loads of sweet cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of liquorice, and also a whiffy potency of booze. That actually adds to the spice character though, giving the heady, intoxicating punch of something like Sambucca. There's probably some pumpkin sweetness underneath as well, but it's somewhat obscured.
Taste is extremely long and rich. There's booze, there's spice, there's slight solvent characters, but everything is smoothed with oak and vanilla. It starts off sharp and hot, with peppery spice and an almost bitter medicinal character from the booze. But almost immediately, it's cushioned with smooth, dark malt—lots of sweetness, brown sugar and delicate cinnamon bun caramel. The back delivers a long vanilla and barrel character, almost turning tannic, but again always held up by the sweetness. Finish has toffee, port and raisins.
Feel is slick, hot and thick. It coats the throat.
Overall. Wowee. That is definitely one of the most intense pumpkin ales I've had—it has such a heat to it that it needs to be worth it. But the complexity to explore there is pretty deep. It manages to stay fairly drinkable despite its weight, and that's no mean feat.
12oz brown bottle purchased from somewhere in California. For some reason, it's not in my spreadsheet though, so it could be from anywhere. Shared with Loz in Sydney.
Pours a very hazy brownish orange hue, with a very meek white head that fizzes then fizzles, leaving almost nothing after about a minute. No lacing. Body looks thick and goopy, and honestly, a little underattenuated. Carbonation is slow. It's not a very appealing looking beer.
Nose is pretty much what you expect fro a pumpkin beer. Spicy aromatic notes with ginger, cinnamon and a suggestion of toffee sweetness. There's even odd darker notes like chocolate and nutmeg. It's not bad at all.
Taste is a big disappointment. There's almost no body to it, and nothing in the way of true sweetness, so everything feel thin and flat. It makes the spices feel like they're weakly doused in water and left to fester. Finish has a blast of seltzer water with nothing else. Unimpressed.
Overall, yeah, this is not a good pumpkin beer. I'm always a bit dubious about a pumpkin beer with this low an ABV—it's never going to have the body to support the flavours right.
89 / 100
Pours a dark brown colour, with nice robust substantial beige head that sinks slowly, leaving some thick lacing curtains. Looks fantastic. Hashtag terrific, even. Maybe just a touch light.
Smells lovely. Sweet pie spice note with really distinct cinnamon and nutmeg, touch of heat with pepper and possibly chilli? Malty dark caramel with a molasses sweetness, yeah a big sweet spicy aroma, it's terrific too.
Taste is more of the same. Dark malt upfront, with chocolate character and more of that molasses. Spice takes over early-mid with cinnamon being huge, some turmeric character, touch of ginger that with the roasty malt and molasses sweetness turns it quite gingerbready. Touch of heat late, dry earthiness. Maybe a touch subdued, it doesn't have the complexity I may have wanted from the nose, but the flavours are all great.
Smooth, just a touch of heat late but goes down nicely for the size. Great texture and body.
Lovely sweet spiced stout. The darkness with the spice is just a gorgeous warming combination. Great flavour construction, great adjuncting; everything about this beer is right in my sweet spot.
74 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from Bottleworks in Seattle. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam.
Pours a firm ebony brown colour, with a rich mocha lace that leaves excellent, intricate, sheeting lace. Body is firm and full, with wonderful powdery carbonation. The body had enough weight to provide a sense of a reverse cascade on the pour as well. It's a really nice looking beer.
Nose is incredibly sweet, with a big pumpkin spice note: mostly loads of cinnamon sugar. If you look for it, there's maybe a faint roasted note underneath it all, turning towards black coffee and tobacco. But it mostly smells like a cinnamon bun.
Taste is better, because there is a very pronounced roasted note that provides a savoury/bitter balance. This cuts through all the sweet spice pleasantly, but it doesn't integrate all that well with the other characters. There's a sweetness to it, but it's connected so much to the cinnamon and the pumpkin aroma, that the roasted note feels like it's sitting lonely in the back. They're nice flavours though, and it's a shame they don't manage to come together as well as they should, because this could be really phenomenal.
Feel is smooth and slick, but with a slight thinness when the middle of the palate has a bit of emptiness.
Overall though, this is a good beer and a good idea. It's actually a good sign that they got the spice and pumpkin characters to come through as well as they did, but they didn't necessarily meld with the base beer in the way they should. It's still tasty, even so.
82 / 100
Imperial Pumpkin Ale purchased from PCC Natural Markets in Fremont, Seattle.
Pours a pleasant deep orange hue, very clear and very bright, with really very good body, that leaves pleasing rains of very fine bubbling when it's tilted. Head is a very fine crest, bright white, settling to a very fine ring around the edge of the glass. Looks good.
Nose is exactly what you want from a Pumpkin beer: it's not about pumpkin, it's about those sweet blend of spices. It's bright but it's broad, sweet and juicy, with plenty of caramel sweetness, vanilla and depth, then leavened with lovely spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, laed with a faint hint of sassafras. It's the character you especially want, and the sweetness provides exactly its base. I love it.
The taste works beautifully as well. There's plenty of body to it. There's a rich, buttery pastry basis to it, that allows the spices to layer themselves lasciviously—to just roll around and groan in the thick, gooey sweetness. Mmm, yes. It has spice not only from the cinnamon, the nutmeg, but from the booze, which piques the back palate with a slight biting sharpness. But it's a side effect of the extra body, which is this beer's great strength.
It's a great pumpkin beer. This type of beer needs that body, it needs the sweetness that this delivers. Above that, it's all about the spice, but that's par from the course. This otherwise provides the beautiful basis and structure you need for a beer that should really be nothing more than a gimmick. This particular brew shows that this is more than that.
84 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant deep brown, with a slightly filmy, but relatively persistent head of pale beige. Lacine is great, forming intricate streaks and swirls. Body is a little light, but otherwise it looks pretty good.
Nose is very pleasant. Spicy and sweet, like a dark gingerbread cake, laced with heady spices that give it a more rustic or amorous quality. Slight acidity comes through as well—it's not actually tart, but it gives it a wild quality like a shuttered barnyard filled with warm flatulence. Barrel character is also noticeable, giving it a deeper, boozier and more seductive note. There's a stack going on here, and I really like it, flatulence notwithstanding.
Ooh, the taste is really good here. It shrugs off any semblance of thinness or true acidity, and becomes a rich and comforting dark spiced mess. Rich gingerbread or fruit loaf notes give it a sweet-spicy basis, while the barrel softens it and helps integrates the flavours. Vanilla and ginger linger long into the back, with enough sweetness and basis to perpetuate it.
Feel is smooth but leavened, preventing it from getting oppressive. It's very nice.
Wow, this is genuinely really cracking stuff. I'm not sure I've had such a balanced spectrum of spices, coupled with such a rich beer, eminently deserving of it. This is genuinely cracking stuff. Smooth, interesting and ultimately very drinkable. All the characters are so well balanced that the whole seems so purposefully constructed. I'm very impressed.
81 / 100
Pint can purchased from Spec's in Houston, TX. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.
Pours a pleasant burnished orange colour, quite clear but turning coppery in the deeper sections of the beer. Head is fine—maybe a little thin, but it stays persistently and provides some nice speckled lace. Colour in particular is good—overall, it's a nice looking beer.
Nose is great—just what you want from a pumpkin beer. Sweet, spicy and fragrant, with a deep brown sugar note to give it warms and breadth. Nutmeg and cinnamon come through, but combined with a great mash of sweetly caramelised pumpkin. It's a good smelling pumpkin ale—almost archetypical.
Taste is also very good—in fact, this is maybe tending towards one of the best Pumpkin Beers I've ever tried. There's a deep toastiness at its heart, almost like an overcooked pie base or some fire-roasted nuts. This provides a deep demi-sweet counterpoint to all of the overt autumn spices which ride over the top. These are still there, with cinnamon and nutmeg and clove each having their turn in the spotlight. Pumpkin is also noticeable and fragrant, but providing more heft to the body. It's really nice.
Feel is also good—at 7.7% ABV, it has a bit of weight behind it to support it.
Overall, this is a cracking pumpkin beer. I'm not sure it's a style I'd call myself a true fan of, mostly because there are so many poor, artificial garbage versions of it out there. But this exemplifies why it's a worthy style on its own. If you're going to drink a Pumpkin Beer, you're better off grabbing a good one like Upslope's.
Pours a rich, red colour with small bubbly light-beige head. Lacing is lovely and sticky. Clear body. Looks pretty nice; nice colour in particular.
Smells banana and rich. Sweetness, mildly boozey and spicy. Cloves, sweet, with some aniseed myrtle maybe. But mostly fruit and possibly a touch of smoke. Curious; not entirely confident in what it be.
Taste is sweet, malty, with big English toffee notes and a fair whack of banana. Cloves late-mid, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. Maybe a touch of pumpkin, but just sweet fruit/veg notes otherwise. Very malty, pretty pleasant, but I really wouldn't mind being socked in the face with that sweet spice.
Fluid; somewhat foamy with a bit of a granular texture towards the back. Nice.
Solid malty offering, with some complementary spice that could, and should, really be the star, as far as I'm concerned.
Pours a dark red vinous colour. White, foamy head; fair sparsity. Lace is OK. Looks OK, not sure about the style.
Smells richly malty like thick rye bread, pumpernickel and dark fruit. Touch of spice too; nutmeg and possibly some salt. Quite appealing really.
Taste is a little on the sweet vegetative side. I guess it's pumpkin, slightly over-fermented with caramel and then buttery notes on the back. Touch of metal and savoury herb notes - rosemary and oregano mostly. Little undercooked, could use amping up in the malt department. Otherwise pleasant, but a little thin and very mildly sour.
Surprisingly big presence in the mouth, malt definitely makes itself known here. Decent.
Not a bad pumpkin beer, but I like them with big spice and slightly bigger malt flavour.
12oz brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a clear deep golden colour, maybe with a tinge of orange in the deeper regions of the glass. Head is fine, minimal and white, leaving good tight specks of lace. Body is lightweight, but the carbonation is fine. Looks pretty decent all up.
Nose is surprisingly good. There's a very nice firm sweetness permeating this, which allows the well-balanced spices to express themselves without seeming too intense. The mixture is pleasant as well, balanced between hot, spicy clove and more delicate earthy tones of cinnamon and nutmeg. There is a slight lagery tone that comes through as it warms, but if you keep it relatively cold, it's actually rather good.
Taste is also pretty solid. Here, the flavour is clove-heavy, but again there's enough mild cushioning from the malt to stop it getting too sharp or spicy. The back is pretty thin, which is often the Achilles Heel of a pumpkin beer, but the malt does linger enough to keep the flavours persisting at least.
Feel is light—it is the weakest part of the beer, but also probably helps if (god help you) you want to drink many in one sitting.
Overall, this is actually a reasonably solid pumpkin beer. It's a style that's often done in a very perfunctory manner, but here at least there seems to have been some thought into its structure and balance. That's a pretty positive thing.
82 / 100
Small glass pour from a 355ml brown bottle at Hashigo Zake in Wellington, New Zealand, where they were having a special event on the beer.
Pours a very clear, but quite deep amber colour, with a fine but noticeable thin ring of off-white. Bubbles are very fine for the most part. Some spotty lace is left on the glass even when swirled. Body is slick and fluid, but quite light, which is certainly surprising.
Nose is awesome. Big, earthy dusky spicy characters, with sweet aromatics from the pumpkin and plenty of body on the back. Cinnamon and nutmeg come through really quite nicely, blending nicely with the sweetness. There is a slightly bright boozy note which gives some additional heft and complexity to it as well. It's lovely.
Taste is slightly cleaner, due to a faint acidity that is characteristic of most if not all of Almanac's beers. There's a nice peppery spice to it as well that creates a pretty clear bright note. It's still very smooth though, because of the extra body, and the sweetness that the malt and body bring. There's a faint booze note, but it's nowhere near offensive or astringent. Finish has a mild warmth and a slight overtone of roast pumpkin. Feel is very smooth and silky. I love it. Really beautifully done.
Overall, this is a cracking beer—so smooth, rich and complex. Almanac have done a wonderful job not only in the spicy beers, the barrel aging, the pumpkin, the body: it's the blend and balance of all of them. The beer ends up being complex, flavoursome, warming but not harsh. It's a beautiful drop.
69 / 100
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney during Craft Beer Week.
Pours very clear and very bright, a lovely orange-golden hue with a firm head of white that forms a ring after a while of settling down. Minimal lace. Low carbonation when static, but when the glass is tilted there's plenty of running streams. Liquid golden body. Looks good.
Big sweetness on the nose: pleasant brown sugar notes, rich pumpkin pie characters. There's a hint of pepper and nutmeg, but the spice is subdued in favour of sweetness, which works for me. Like a pleasant pumpkin pie.
Taste is similar, but lighter. Clean and crisp mid-palate with a nice finish. Brown sugar on the front but little body or sweetness. Instead, there's booziness and a slight acidity towards the back. Rounded, slightly Belgian tones come in: there's not a lot of true spice, but the yeast notes give a suggestion of it.
Feel is light, which might be something of a drawback, but it's pleasant enough and helps the drinkability.
Overall, it is indeed a very good pumpkin ale, and one that knows the need for some sweetness in the style. A bit more body as well and it might be truly thick and gorgeously luxurious. It also might ruin it. I'm happy enough where this is.
A spiced Pumpkin ale, brewed around Halloween as is becoming increasingly common in Australia. This was aged in old bourbon barrels that had since had a second life aging rum in Queensland. Tried on-tap at the Duck Inn in Chippendale during Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours a solid amber with a fair amount of haze. Body has some substance to it, but only holds a little weak, fine carbonation. Head is off-white and forms a firm filmy cap. Excellent, intricate lace. Overall, it looks good.
Yup, pumpkin spice on the nose alright. Nutmeg, ginger come through strongly, with an undercurrent of brown sugar crumble. It's perhaps not as big and powerful as some, feeling a bit light-on, but it's pretty tasty.
Light entry on the palate, thin with a hiss of carbonic acidity. The body increases in the middle, with a touch of sweetness and pumpkin pie spice. Clean and bright on the back with lingering hints of nutmeg and ginger. Quite airy in the aftertaste, as though the rest of the flavours have effervesced away.
Feel is very light: it's not bad, but it could certainly do with more sweetness, and more body.
Overall, it's drinkable enough: all the characters are there though to make this bigger. It could really be a better beer with more weight thrown at it.
74 / 100
750ml bright orange cling-wrapped bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney.
Pours a deep reddish hue with good clarity, and a reasonably frothy, and slightly pillowy head of off-white that leaves a little bit of fine lace. Carbonation is decent enough, especially when the glass is tilted. Looks good.
Nose is full of pumpkin spice, sweet, clinging and quite full-bodied. Nutmeg, ginger, perhaps a touch of clove. There's a big suggestion of sweetness as well, which helps accentuate the pumpkin note, although there's not a lot of true pumpkin character noticeable: just the pie spice. It's still pleasant enough, though.
Taste is also pretty pleasant smooth. Decent sweetness to the body, minimal sharpness from booze or hops, and most of the characters accentuated by a pleasant residual spice note that gives clove and nutmeg mingled with brown sugar and crumble. There's a lightness on the back, but by then the spices have come and done their duty, so it's no bad thing—indeed, it's a slightly more refreshing beer than a Pumpkin Ale usually is.
Overall, yep: this is a pretty decent Pumpkin Ale. It's a style that can be a bit underdone or lackadaisical, but this has enough body and oomph to push it through to something worthwhile. I liked it.
79 / 100
Pours a pale saffron colour with steady bead. Thin, but resilient head. Creamy, pleasant. Not the colour I expected, though.
Bizarre on the nose. Vegetative, honey; smells at times like banana, roast pumpkin, minted peas is a big one; gravy notes, even. How, even. Just... wow.
Yeah, that pea flavour is strong on the palate, but here there's also pumpkin, starchy vegetables, parsnip, parsley and rosemary. Just bizarre, and yet so lovely. Like a liquid roast and it really is one of the most extraordinary flavour experiences I've had. As @lacqueredmouse said it puts one in mind of the prototype 'three-course meal' gum in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there's just something magical about this beer. I've filled in my beer 'flavour wheel' and it virtually has no spikes on it, because this doesn't fall into any typical beer flavour categories. Amazing, but bizarre.
Thin mouthfeel which is a genuine disappointment. Bit of light fizz, and weak.
Even though it might be less of a mindf**k, I think this idea would work better as a brown ale. It would just add some substance and some complementary flavours that might repair that mouthfeel and would create more similitude between appearance and flavour. But still, an amazing one-off brew.
77 / 100
A long overdue review entry for me, this was one of 4 Pines "Beer Mimics Food" series done for Sydney Craft Beer Week in 2012. Extremely difficult to classify, it's a golden ale infused with the ingredients of a traditional sunday roast dinner. And it's marvelously successful.
Pours a very pale yellow colour, almost as pale as a wit, but with only very mild hazing, Body is light and fine. Head is a minimal, filmy white, that leaves some patchy lace. Some fine carbonation is noticeable, but it seems on the low side.
The aroma is where this beer absolutely nails its brief: those weird black caramelised pumpkin bits, lamb juice, some aniseed, fennel and rosemary and the biggest surprise: minted peas. Dayam. This is like Willy Wonka's magical chewing gum: it really smells like roast dinner.
The palate is less excitingly authentic, but there are still oddities of flavour here that build nicely on the roast theme. Some light weak grain enters, before that minty, slightly organic pea character comes through. Odd hints of charred roast on the back, along with a chewy sweetness, and a hint perhaps of meaty gravy on the back. This is weeeird stuff.
Feel is disappointingly light: I feel as though too much more might have overpowered the roast characters perhaps, but it's a shame you couldn't have the richness to go with it.
This is apt. For all of the "Beer Mimics Food" themes at SCBW, nothing nailed it like this beer. This was really, really wacky—it blew my mind—and it's quite amazing what they did with it.
75 / 100
Pours a vivid red colour, really quite shiny. Head is cream-coloured, settled out to a thin film with very decent lace left behind. More retention would be a gas, but it still looks pretty damn good.
Smell is quite pleasant indeed. Distinct sourness, in a bacteria way, not a lot of horse blanket to it, but a pleasant sweet spice as well. Largely cinnamon, with a touch of anise as well. Smells like a good Christmas ale, but with a light sourness to freshen up. Like it a lot.
Taste is also very Christmassy - cherry notes soaked in booze, with cinnamon, clove and anise, all with a big vanilla-tinged malt underneath. Toffee, caramel, touch of red wine and some rye whiskey. Macadamias, walnuts and figs as well. Yes, not a lot of pumpkin if truth be told (was served to me blind). It's a big Wintery wonderland. I want more of that sourness I detected on the nose to cleanse it a little, but there is a hint of it just dusting off the sweetness at the end. A very merry celebration of the festive season, but more of that sourness would make this a damn 'Christmas' cracker.
Full and pretty boozey. Gets a large, quite hot note late-mid which overpowers a bit. Could otherwise have been good.
Nice, sweet Winter ale - warm and pleasant and comforting.
Pours a dark-brown portery colour overall with a slight red tinge. Head is foamy, cream-coloured and decent. Bit pale for a porter maybe, but decent.
Sweet nose, hints of pie spice - cinnamon, nutmeg and some dry malt notes. Not bad at all, maybe a touch sweeter than a pumpkin ale.
Malty and spicy palate, but a little thinner and maybe tasting a bit watered-down. Sweet spice seems to be swimming about a bit in a palate that needs more substance. Still nice anise, cinnamon notes. Pretty decent but quite obviously thin.
Not a bad texture, albeit a bit thin and watery.
Decent brew overall; certainly a noble effort at an unusual concept. Sweet potato as a substitute in some pumpkin brews could be way too sweet for me, but the porter balances it out quite nicely.
Had on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a deep red-brown colour with surprising clarity. Head is a firm, full beige colour that leads solid lace above the solid body. Overall, it looks pretty decent.
Spicy and sweet on the nose, with cinnamon giving the spice, and bourbon vanilla providing a smooth sweetness. Slight hint of vegetation, but nothing approaching sweet potato proper. Not bad though, nice aromas.
Slight light fruity pumpkin or sweet potato on the front palate, with a spicy middle section that leads to a nice roasted character on the back. It's all very mild, and feels a little thin (the feel is far too light for what it is, and needs much more weight), but it's pleasant enough all up.
Decent brew. It's an interesting concept done pretty well.
Bottle purchased from Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a deep, dark brown colour, immaculately clear, with a big, frothy head of orange-white, pocked foam. Lacing is sticky and excellent. Decent body. Overall, it's a damn good-looking beer.
Nose is spicy and strong, with a peppery bite coming through and mingling with a hoppy note that could well be the Motueka. Underneath, there's certainly a pumpkin pie sweetness, giving a roasted, starchy pumpkin note along with smoother vanilla and cinnamon. It's a really lovely-smelling Pumpkin ale. I hope it tastes as good.
It's close, but as I feared, only brewing this to 5% ABV means it lacks much sweetness and body. But still, there are nice things about it. The pumpkin still gets a dominant part to play, leaving a pleasant vegetative note on the mid to back palate, and the spices are nicely integrated, leaving some vanilla sugar and a bite slightly like aniseed swinging around the place.
Feel is weak, in fact, depressingly so given the other characters of the beer.
Not a bad drop all up, and in fact, there are some lovely points to it. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver on its promise, and while it's certainly an above average Pumpkin Beer, it doesn't really cut it put up against some of the great other beers from these collaborators.
72 / 100
Purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, brought back to Sydney and cracked open with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe, just as the weather here turns autumnal.
Pours a deep and very pleasant ruby red colour, brilliantly clear and gem-like. Head is exceptionally thick and fine, leaving gorgeous streaky, but complex lacing on the inside of the glass. Body is fluid, but thick, and supports gorgeous powdery fine lacing. Overall, it's an exceptional looking beer. Great stuff.
Nose is spicy and sweet, with pumpkin pie aromas in force. Nutmeg, cinnamon and a touch of anise meld well with the sweet, slightly fruity pumpkin aromas, and the big organic richness of caramel and brown sugar. There could have been a little more oak, but that might even be asking too much. It's a damn decent Pumpkin Ale nose.
Taste is a lot flatter, and while it incorporates the spice, and indeed perhaps a little of the oak here, it really lacks body and sweetness. On the back, there are flashes of pumpkin flesh, but this is complicated by quite a prominent and pronounced booze character, which stands out all the more for the lack of sweetness. The oak at least is noticeable on the palate where it was absent on the nose, giving a lilting organic smoothness that seeks to, but doesn't succeed in, masking the flat finish.
Overall, I have to say I like it. There are bits that don't work, but it was a worthy experiment, and certainly something I'd be tempted to pick up again. This has about six months of age on it, but it feels like it could probably support even more, which is a good sign of itself. Not the best pumpkin ale I've ever had, but an interesting one nonetheless.
Pours a rich russeted amber colour, clear and shiny body with off-white head - nice and dense with thin trails of lace left behind. Could retain a bit better, but looks good.
Smells incredibly sweet, with massive fermenting vegetation hit; loads of fructose leading to an almost bubblegum undercurrent. Spices are welcome towards the back, with nutmeg, cinnamon and clove giving a sweet dessert pie kind of aroma overall. Bit sweet for my liking, but it's got the hallmarks of a pumpkin beer.
Tastes a little better. Plenty of sweetness still, with light vanilla malt upfront developing more vegetative character midway, with roast pumpkin and lots of brown sugar giving an overall character of sweeter tubers; taro and kumara come to mind. Light pie spice on the back is straight from a Masterfoods jar: cinnamon, nutmeg, hint of clove and some ginger as well. It's a good thing, but I would like more of a hit to cut through the sweetness. That said, it doesn't do a bad job, and it's an interesting palate overall.
Mouthfeel is quite thin, while tingle carbonation is at its most noticeable where the spice flavour is, and it makes it a bit harsh late on the palate.
Compare this review with my review of Murray's pumpkin ale and you'll know which side (spiced/sweet) my bread is buttered. This is by no means a bad beer and certainly a very nice pumpkin ale effort, but the sweetness of it just doesn't woo me in the flavour dept.
Pours a very dark amber colourâto be fair, it's almost what you'd call very dark pumpkin orange. Head is very fine, but a little filmy, only forming about two millimetres on the top of the glass. Some patchy lace, but the beer itself looks pretty thin.
Nose is very sweet, with lots of pumpkin spice and ripe pumpkin flavour. The spice is not very sharp, but cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar are the dominant characters. Quite heavy and flavoursome. A good pumpkin beer nose.
Taste is disappointing. Very fine and light body, with an empty front palate. Slight spice on the finish, but very little sweetness to back it up. A little pepper, some cinnamon, but the rounder, sweeter characters are missing. Feel is very light. Certainly missing something here.
Not a bad pumpkin beer, but falling into the general ennui I have for the style. I've still only had one or two pumpkin beers that taste like I feel they should. This, unfortunately, is not one of them, but it's probably above average.
59 / 100
Pours a ruby-red colour, clear with fairly large carbonation bubbles. Head is modest, with a thin crown retaining. Nice sticky ring of lace on top. Decent.
Nose is very sweet; actually too sweet. A nice baked pumpkin smell is at the heart, but there's an overly malty molasses flavour overriding it. Nice touch of nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, but I would really like the spice amped up and the sweetness toned down.
Taste is definitely better; there isn't that dominating molasses sweetness. The sweet flavours are still dominant, though, with baked pumpkin, taro and vanilla characters. Develops a slight grainy sourness that almost becomes toasty towards the end, and it's the hero for the sweetness as it drives it downwards into a milder and more potable flavour. Spice is gentle, but there: nutmeg is the standout with some clove and cardamom for good measure. It's a pleasant enough palate, really, although I've had palates that do more with pumpkin ale flavours without sacrificing balance and drinkability.
Mouthfeel is mostly smooth and a bit thick, although carbonation arises unnecessarily late-mid.
Drinkable enough, but I'm not sure they really extracted the full pumpkin potential out of this.
80 / 100
Pours a pale marigold colour, lotza translucent haze in the body. Head is modest, but retaining a thin crown. Lace is really, very beautiful. A thick, silky sight to behold. This is a joy to look upon, really.
Smell is funky with a lot of wet blanket smell but complemented by that tart bacteria-acidic smell. The two smells just go together so well. Tart franny smith apples with strawberries, currants, apricot and peach providing sweetness. Some hints of cinnamon and paprika underlying. Wonderful, refreshing, complex smell. This is a joy to smell, as well.
Taste is overall very sour but never really has a peak of acidity. In fact, there's a bitter edge that nods more toward overripe fruit than underripe. There's an aged peach quality very distinct on the mid, but anyway, first up some citric notes with lemon zest. A touch of cinnamon on there, then the overripe peach character takes over, acidic but with an odd, earthy alkaline edge. Quite metallic and more funk on the back with barnyard and some vinous notes.
Champagney dryness on the back with lots of texture and character, though can't say I love it.
I can't detect much pumpkin in it. Of course I wouldn't question anything my main peeps from Jolly Pumpkin do because whatever else this is, it's a refreshing and unique take on the style and what's more, it's a damn fine drinking beer.
76 / 100
Purchased at Healthy Spirits in San Francisco over Halloween, and brought back to Australia to crack open with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a very slightly haze burnished gold colour - not quite deep enough to be called pumpkin coloured, but with a fine bubbled if small head of white suds. Has a sheen to it which is pleasant, and the head leaves some excellent and intricate lacing. Love the look of it.
Nose is redolent with oak and funk, and certainly veer more into the regular Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Garde territory than it does into mainstream pumpkin beers. The acidity seems to keep it honest, although there's a sweetness to it which may only be explained by the addition of the pumpkin. It's a nice nose all up, although it may lack a little of the complexity of the regular range of JP beers.
Taste is very interesting indeed. Throughout the straight Jolly Pumpkin funk is the lingering hint of sweet pumpkin, which comes out in fore on the back after the acidity has died away. It leaves a roasted sweetness, an oddly salty twang and a slight character of apple. What's more, it then accentuates the odd characters on the nose, making them perhaps more noticeable as pumpkin. Feel is very light and thin indeed, but I've come to expect that from the brewery, who really do have a stamp of style here.
It's a good beer from a great brewery, who have certainly carved (hoho) an interesting niche for themselves. A very unique take on the pumpkin ale style, and one that really shows what you can do with it. Lovely.
70 / 100
Pours a deep burnished gold colour. Head is beige, beautifully dense, with sinking on the top - forms a crown after a while but a swill revives it. Lace is nice, trails around the glass. Nice colour indeed, overall great.
Nose is very malty and spicey. Lots of sugary malt with marshmallow and caramel on there but huge hit of cinnamon and some clove, maybe star anise as well. Yeah in fact, lots of aniseed. Quite a delicious sweet and spicy mix. Just a hint of pumpkin and maybe some slight banana. Pretty damn nice.
Taste is similar, and grateful for that, good to see it carried over. Lots of sweet malt on the front, caramel and banana with hints of pumpkin and a distinct baked, caramelised goodness. Then lots of spice on the mid-to-late palate. Slight tartness, but yeah plenty of cinnamon, star anise and cardamom pods. Finish is a bit rank, like overused spice without the intensity, kind of a spent flavour. Just a blot on an otherwise pleasant palate profile though that may step into oversweet territory.
Good sticky body with a touch of tingle from the carbs. Well-matched with the spice; not bad at all.
Yeah, pleasant, could be better with a clearer palate. A bit sweet and a bit sour. Needs more bitter maybe.
81 / 100
Pours a burnished deep golden bronze colour. Head is finely bubbled, staying as a snow of filmy white above the main event, and leaving a cascade of thick, meringuey lacing. Actually, it looks quite phenomenal. The colour is orange enough to evoke the pumpkin, and the head is frothy enough to evoke the delicious lightly fluffed filling of the pie. Looks great.
Nose is really nicely balanced between sweet pumpkin and burnt brown sugar, and the spicy cinnamon and nutmeg characters which signify the dessert properties of the beer's genesis. Crusty pastry notes come through as well, leaving this a round "hell yes" for pumpkin pie deliciousness. Spot on.
Taste is also pretty damn good, although there's a surprisingly sharp booze character on the back, which slices through the other characters. Otherwise, it genuinely has that very pleasant pumpkin/sugar sweetness mixed with the lilting pie spice bite; particularly nutmeg on the palate. Quite biting, and I like that: the spice makes itself felt; and the basis is such a lovely sweet pumpkin deepness that it works well - it needs the spice to cut through a little. Apart from the overzealous booze note, it's an extremely good palate. Feel is smooth and rich. Very much suits the style.
This is a really great pumpkin ale. It really conveys to me all the characters I feel should be there - the pie spice, the burnt sugar sweetness, even the slightly dry pastry character. I feel like this is the pumpkin ale which sums up the style for me. It's very good indeed. I'm not sure I've had a better example. Well recommended.
73 / 100
Made it back to the Taphouse in time to sample it before it disappears for another year.
Pours a deep burnished golden amber colour, not quite the lurid orange of pumpkin, but close. Head is a full, fine crown of dense white bubbles. Lacing solid, and toffesugar sticky. Looks great.
Nose is sweet with light malts and hot with prickly spices of nutmeg and allspice. Slight aniseed note to it. Pumpkin character minimal, but the pie spices are right. It's a bit light overall apart from the spices, but tasty.
Taste is good, with a caramrlised roasted pumpkin sweetness on the back. Front is dominated by the spices, which indeed lend an anise character to meld with the malty characters. Heat from the spice on the back, I'm tending to think this more a spiced beer than a true pumpkin beer, but it's tasty, and the crispy pumpkin bits do appear on the back. Mouthfeel is light but sparkling. I'd love something thicker to more represent pumpkin pie.
Very nice brew nonetheless, and to be fair, the best pumpkin ale I've yet had the pleasure of sampling. Still, I think there are ways it could be improved to match up with my conception of the style, but it's tasty enough in its current incarnation.
76 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a golden-tinged orange colour with off-white head; decent when poured but sinks fairly quickly, retaining a thin crown. Slow and light bead visible through the beer's clear, kind of metallic body. Don't know what a pumpkin ale is meant to look like, but the colour is right and all else pretty good as far as beer goes.
Smell is quite spicey and a touch sour. Quite vegetative, with noticeable pumpkin aroma and distinct clove and ginger. Some star anise as well and maybe a slight peppery twang overall. I like the very light malty sweetness underlying and good healthy spice hit. This is good; it reminds me of a warm hearty pumpkin pie.
Taste has spice all over it. Lots of aniseed and clove on the front, descends ibto similar spice complexity with notes of butternut pumpkin and other vegetative character. Distinct spice on the back actually has a very slight heat to it with peppery character; maybe some cumin as well. Overall a nice palate construction with good malty tones underneath a spicy and slightly earthy bitterness. Yeah, I am quite impressed. Better than Dogfish Head's Punkin' Ale.
Fairly slick on the feel, but with a decent body. Maybe could use more stickiness to protect against that spice heat, because it's unnecessary.
A very decent spice bonanza. In fact, I've always thought I would like pumpkin ales but the others I've had have really disappointed. This, to me, is pretty much what it should be like, and trust Mr. Sherlock and his mad skillz to show America up in one of their pet styles.
49 / 100
Pours a light golden orange colour, with a pretty dense and cloudy body. Head is merely a film of fine-bubbled white. Lots of tiny carbonation. A little sudsy lacing. Not a lot though. Looks decent enough.
Nose is pretty light on flavour, but the spice is noticeable. Flavours of nutmeg and clove, with a light banana ester coming through to give a slightly overripe sweetness. It's not all that bad. Light, but not unpleasant.
Taste is also light, but also inoffensive. Decent pumpkin pie spice characters that appear on the front and disappear, with a slight lingering sweetness. Something nutty on the back. Mouthfeel is woefully thin, unfortunately, but otherwise it's really not that bad overall on the palate.
This was nowhere near as bad as I expected it would be. I'm still searching for a genuinely good pumpkin beer, but this is, I feel, along the right tracks. Too thin, and too light, but it has genuine pumpkin pie characters at least, which is a good start.
Pours a light amber-gold colour, with a thickish and rocky head of white foam. It disippates slightly, but leaves some good sticky lacing. Looks not unlike an English Pale Ale. Not bad, overall.
Some resin and spice on the nose, even a slight funk - it could be the pumpkin pie spices. Definitely something organic and slightly sulphurous on the nose, it's not terribly exciting or powerful, and the notes are just off enough to make you wonder if there's something wrong.
Taste is lightly sweet, with an initial spice hint that wells up until a rather phenolic bitterness on the back, fairly redolent with alcohol fumes. The spiciness is the only thing that keeps it from being thoroughly unpleasant, and while it does a reasonable job, I can't avoid that alcohol presence, which is very much pronounced for something weighing in at only 7%. Mouthfeel has a pleasant sheen to it, but the flavour is either thin or phenolically unpleasant, so it doesn't have much to work with.
Not one of my favourite American brews, and yet again I have to say I'm disappointed with a style of beer I wish I could get to like. Have I just had bad examples?? Something tells me that there's a beautiful, wonderful pumpkin ale out there somewhere... Unfortunately, this isn't it.
59 / 100
Pours a slightly burnished gold colour with modest beige head that sinks very quickly, but leaves some speckled lacing behind to remind me it was there. Leaves a thinnish crown. Pretty good, not spectacular.
Pretty standard barley aroma with some quite English, resiny hops coming through. Smells musty and quite tart. Quite a lot of vinegar, maybe a hint of barnyard and some metallic elements. Interesting enough, but I'm not that keen on it.
Taste is far more rich, with a nutty caramel kind of malt coming through nicely. An element of a mocha character underlying, quite sweet and lacking the funky sourness of the nose, although there is a slightly tart hit at the end and possibly in the mid, kind of bourbony, and the hops on the back are quite woody.
Am not getting much pumpkin, although there is a hint of spice on the mid - nutmeg I think, while there is a noticeable hint of alcohol on the back, but I think it's noticeable mainly because I wasn't expecting a heavy beer from the appearance and smell. Mouthfeel is quite nicely smooth but that booze hit makes me recoil just a bit. Fairly drinkable I guess, but again that zing marks it down a shade.
10 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Pours an orangey amber colour, head is dense and respectable. Sticks around quite well. Hardly any lacing. Very slow bead. Meh.
Holy shizzle, sickly sweet nose with a sort of dried fruit kind of character. Yeah, a bit of spice like cloves or something, but mostly just sickly sweet and horrible. I'd give it a 5 if I were judging it on the ability to smell sweet, disgusting and like cloves, but as a beer, meh.
Tastes like cloves. It's never been a huge ambition of mine to drink liquid cloves. Mouthfeel is sharp and tacky. If you're looking for a beer that tastes like cloves, this is it. If you're looking for a beer that's even slightly good, look elsewhere.
Clear amber-yellowbrew, perfectly clear. Thin white head of foamy bubbles. Minimal carbonation. No lacing. it's a bit insipid looking.
Allspice, nutmeg and clove character on the nose, but it's sickly and overdone. Overpowered by the added cloves. Way, way too much, ends up like a big bag of cloves.
Ridiculously thin body with almost no flavour. Like Budweiser with the flavour turned down, with only a lingering final hint of cloves. Very little character, almost nothing to it. Mouthfeel is as thin as anorexic water.
What the hell is this? Pumpkin is a rich, sweet creamy flavour. Pumpkin with pie spices even more so. This is watery insipid and bland. I said some even more flagrant things in my original review - suffice it to say I was incredibly disappointed with my first example of Pumpkin Ale.