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-   -   Pumpkin Ale Throwdown (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f5/pumpkin-ale-throwdown-272193/)

KingBrianI 10-02-2011 04:55 PM

Pumpkin Ale Throwdown
Just got back from the bottle shop where I picked up a bunch of pumpkin ales. Some I've had before and some I haven't. I'm going to go through them in the next week or so taking notes on each to figure out which I prefer. From past years' experience, I'm expecting the weyerbacher to win out, but we'll have to see who comes out ahead when it's all over.


biggben 10-02-2011 04:56 PM

Let us know who wins at least lol!

KingBrianI 10-02-2011 05:00 PM


Originally Posted by biggben (Post 3350072)
Let us know who wins at least lol!

I'll be posting the tasting notes on this thread. I'm looking forward to an afternoon of relaxing, football, and pumpkin beer!:drunk:

biggben 10-02-2011 05:10 PM

ohh lol i saw your signature and thought you were saying that about your pumpkin beer experiment.

KingBrianI 10-02-2011 05:47 PM

New Holland Ichabod

Poured a rich deep orange, brilliantly clear, with a two-finger, large-bubbled head. Aroma is initially malty, transitioning into that tangy pumpkin smell. Then the spices come through gently along with light, slightly soapy hop aroma. Flavor starts malty-sweet. Soft, minerally bitterness hits the sides of the palate. Finish is dry with a lingering toastiness.

Not a bad beer, but nothing special here either. A solid pumkin ale, but I won't be buying any more this season.


KingBrianI 10-02-2011 06:24 PM

Terrapin Pumpkinfest

Appearance very similar to the Ichabod. Rich orange color, brilliant clarity. Head slightly smaller than the Ichabod but with a tighter foam. Munich malt sweetness dominates the aroma. Has that "lager" smell you get from good german beer. Sweet spices accompany and mix well with the malt aroma. Aroma reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Very "rounded" flavor is the first impression upon tasting. Dryish but malty. Very slightly tart in the finish. Very nice body. Spices are very muted and I'm not getting any pumpkin in the flavor. Bitterness is very smooth and on the low side.

Overall a very well-crafted beer. This is on the "subtle" end of the pumpkin beer spectrum. You could drink this beer all day without getting tired of it. But if you are looking for liquid pumpkin pie you may be disappointed. I can appreciate both ends of the spectrum feeling that everything has a place and time.

Pumpkinfest is a great oktoberfest-styled beer with the subtle addition of pumpkin spice.


KingBrianI 10-02-2011 06:54 PM

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Hey, finally a different color. Punkin ale pours a bronzed gold in color, with brilliant clarity and a tight white head. Raw pumpkin is very noticeable in the aroma. Smells like making a jack-o-lantern. A little bit of malt sweetness in the aroma backs up the pumpkin. Very little if any spice coming through. That fresh, raw pumpkin aroma dominates though. First sip is very smooth, sweet but not cloying. Bitterness is very low. The raw pumpkin smell gives the impression that there is pumpkin in the flavor. The brown sugar comes through clearly if you know what to look for (I made a a beer with way too much brown sugar once and won't forget that flavor, which is different than raw brown sugar strangely) and the spices may make a very shy appearance at the very back of the palate.

Punkin ale is a decent beer. The raw pumpkin character is almost a little off-putting (I prefer my pumpkin cooked!), but it is an otherwise interesting and unique beer. I don't think I could drink more than one of these for the aforementioned reason, though. I'm not sure whether I'm not getting much spice character because I just had two other pumpkin beers before this, or if it really is just that subtle. Probably won't be trying another one of these until next year.


KingBrianI 10-02-2011 07:58 PM

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

The imperial pumpkin ale pours darker than any of the others so far. There's a lot more red in this one, it's a beautiful amber-brown. Again, this beer has brilliant clarity and poured with a one finger tight head. Aroma is the spiciest so far. I'm getting a lot of nutmeg and clove with the cardamom making a brief appearance. There's some malty, caramelly sweetness coming through and the overall effect is similar to one of those potpourri-scented aerosol air fresheners, but in a good way. There also seems to be a touch of hops clashing with the spices slightly. On the palate, sweetness and spices come out first. Malt has a dark-crystal malt character with caramel and dark fruits running the show. Bitterness is moderately low. Not getting a whole lot of pumpkin character. Finish is slightly tingly from the carbonation. It's not nearly as rich or creamy as I remember. I'm not sure if they have changed the recipe or if my memory is playing tricks on me.

Eh, it's a pretty good beer, but not as good as I remember. The alcohol is coming through gently, but enough to take away from the drinkability. The spices are very present, but the beer doesn't give that "pumpkin pie" impression. I'm kind of of the opinion that if the pumpkin beer doesn't taste like dessert-in-a-glass, then it should at least be super quaffable. If it's not quaffable, it should taste like liquid pumpkin pie. This beer kind of falls between the two and as such, I don't see myself really drinking it that often.


onipar 10-03-2011 02:47 AM

Wow, awesome thread so far.

The only one of these I've had is the Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale. You wondered if you weren't tasting the spices because you had a couple other pumpkin beers, and I'm thinking that might be the case, because on my palate, the flavor is very much spice dominated. Not sure I get that raw pumpkin flavor you mention either, but then, I don't have a very refined palette *at all*, and I've only had a couple different pumpkin ales.

If you're interested in swapping any pumpkin ales, I have a thread in the "swap" section, and a homebrewed pumpkin ale.

Anyway, looking forward to more of your reviews. This was a great idea. :mug:

jonmohno 10-03-2011 11:20 PM

The only two ive been able to try out of this nice patch of pumpkins is the Shipyard smashed,and PUmpking.I Bought three more bombers of Smashed after liking it alot.Pumpking had a cloying graham taste/aroma and all i could think of was pumpkin with a graham crust which doesnt seem right for pumpkin.Still a good beer,didnt go for that kind of spice paring though.

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