The final review of Halloween weekend is…
Southern Tier Brewing Co. – Lakewood, NY
Pumking – 9.0% ABV – 22 oz. bottle
Imperial Ale brewed with pumpkins. (Yes, this pumpkin beer actually has pumpkins in it!)
Pumking pours a deep copper color that formed an off-white head quickly. It also vanished just as fast, leaving a thin trace of foam on top. This beer leaves so much lacing on the inside of the glass, that even the fading head left lace.
The aroma reminds me of pumpkin candy mixed with honey from candy corn. There are also some spicy notes; possibly allspice, nutmeg and ginger. Cinnamon aroma is noticeably absent, making this smell much more balanced and full-bodied than other pumpkin ales I’ve had.
As I taste this, all I can say is, “now THAT’s a pumpkin beer!” This is the first pumpkin beer that tastes like actual pumpkin pie. The maltiness of the beer resembles the crust of the pie with a buttery flavor. After the sweet, buttery beginning comes the full-on pumpkin mixed with the spices. The pumpkin is definitely in the fore front with the spices in the background just to enhance the flavors. They don’t overpower this beer at all, but are fully complimentary of the luscious flavors.
There is a slight vegetal aftertaste that I could do without, but the overall balance in this is excellent.
The mouth feel is light to medium-bodied with a pleasant amount of carbonation. Maybe just a little less than average… it works well here.
Pumking is deceptively drinkable, especially with the 9% alcohol. It makes for a nice Halloween night. Originally, the 22 oz. bottle was to be shared among a few family members, but that didn’t work out… too bad for them.
Pumking is, by far, the best pumpkin beer I’ve ever had and I can’t wait for next year’s batch.