OK...curiosity got the better of me. While I was re-reading this thread (checking in on new comments, etc.) and I got to thinking, well, I still have 2 Pumpkin Ales from last year....hmmm?
So, if you remember, I said that I made this sometime last year for Turkey Day. And as (lousy) fate would have it, I no longer have the recipe I used since my HDs (2-250s) crashed and I hadn't backed up for about a month. Maybe I can find the source...
Anywho, I said the beer was not ready for T'day last year because it was harsh with the flavors of cloves and allspice. Very bitter. Not anything you (or me anyway) would want to share with anyone you liked.
I re-tried it at Christmastime. It was, I agreed with myself, that it was more palatable, but still not ready. I tried several, but I still would not share it with anyone because the clovy flavor was still evident. I mean who wants to drink something that tastes like watered down Ambisol?
You guys got me tempted...so a FULL YEAR later...(right now I mean) I decided to crack one of my last 2 remaining brews open.
Here's my critique of my brew:
Very nice clear amber color. Pours well, but could have a better head retention.
Medium body and well balanced (not sweet or bitter). I drank about half a glass then I poured in the yeast (swoosh bottle first).
The spicy bitterness of last year is all gone.
(Incidently, we talk about this a lot - "clear beer" that is. I always drink most of my beer when it's clear, except Weizen, before I pour in the yeast. Some people don't like the yest, some do.)
With the yeast added it clouded up to looks more like tea.
There is a very light hint of allspice and nothing else.
Aftertaste? Very, very slight. After one beer your tongue is at a place where you either "know" or "think" you know it contained any spices.
(Yes, I am buzzed one just one bottle.
Overall: If I had 2 more cases of this I would not hesitate to share it with everyone!
I think it would disappear before the head so I would label it as a great success. If I find the recipe I will make this one again.
I know a lot of brewers take notes up to a point, then they don't follow up with tasting notes. I don't know if they are ashamed or just settling for mediocre beer that will get them drunk, but if you truly critique your brews your beers as a judge would, they will improve and so will your experience.
So here goes: CONS: I found only 2 things wrong (your mileage may differ). One: It could use better retention. To counter that I would use another 1/2 to 1 lb more wheat malt in the boil and prime with DME. I'm sure that's what I did since it is my usual practice. That's all. Two: This could go two ways. First of two: Brew as normal, only do it during the winter so it would be ready for Turkey Day, or two of two: brew it in the summer and half all the spices.
That's my critique.
I believe that if I am pleased with my brew you would be also.