Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale Review

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin

October is finally here. Although pumpkin beers have been on the shelves for months, they never seem that appealing to me until the days start getting shorter and a chill grasps the morning air. Living in Seattle ruined pumpkin beers for me. Admittedly, I need to be in the right mood to imbibe pumpkin beers and when I do, I tend to gravitate toward the hallmark for the style, Elysian’s Great Pumpkin. When I drink a pumpkin beer, I want it to be rich– like the pumpkin pie so many are inspired by. That being said, I don’t like overly sweet beers or ones that taste like you’re drinking some sort of spiced tea. I was pleasantly surprised by this example from Weyerbacher. While not as awesome as the Great Pumpkin, it is a worthy replacement, especially in the 12 oz. format The Great Pumpkin sorely lacks.

Beer Data:

Purchased: 9/3/12 at Whole Foods Bowery – $12.99 / 4-pack 12oz bottles
Availability: Fall
Bottled: 7/12/12
Alcohol: 8% ABV

Commercial Description from Website:

Like a pyramid for a pharaoh, we set out to make a bold monument for The King of the Pumpkins! This 8.0% ABV pumpkin ale is the mother of all pumpkin ales. It is heartier, spicier, and more “caramelly” and “pumpkiny” than its faint brethren!

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: My first impression of this beer is a huge dose of nutmeg, bringing up fond memories of eggnog and celebrations of Christmases past. Some cinnamon and clove round out the spice perception, which is a little more in your face than most examples I enjoy. There is a sweet dark caramel malt component. The yeast shows a very faint fruity ester, which pleasantly combines with the spice. The spice aromas are bright and crisp, giving way only to a handful of sweet malt aromas. Alcohol is mildly perceptible on the nose.   10 / 12

Appearance: Rich copper bordering on brown with some nice ruby highlights. Beer is hazy with off-white head featuring tight bubbles that persist. 2 / 3

Flavor: The hints of rich malt that were apparent in the aroma sing with each mouthful. Toasty, melanoiden-rich flavors of bread crust combine with some sweet caramel and molasses flavors providing a very rich flavor. Cinnamon is much more apparent in the flavor. Like most pumpkin beers, the actual pumpkin component is very light and almost imperceptible. The beer has a nice bitterness that prevents it from being too sweet. Spices finish with a hair of astringency.  15 / 20

Mouth Feel: Medium / medium-high mouth feel. Very nice creamy carbonation helps round out some of the intense spices. A bit of hot alcohol on the finish combines with bitterness and spice astringency making the beer finish slightly thin. 3 / 5

Overall Impression: This is a very nutmeg-forward example of a pumpkin beer which helps it stand out on a shelf filled with competing pumpkin beers. Spices are a bit too prominent and out of balance. I’d like to see some of the cream and crust flavors other examples of the style have. Still very delicious and a great example. 7 / 10

Score: 37 / 50 (Very Good)

Note: Evaluation done according to BJCP Scoring System. This beer was reviewed as a Category 21a. Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer.

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