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.
Purchased: 9/3/12 at Whole Foods Bowery – $12.99 / 4-pack 12oz bottles
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!
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)