Final Pumpkin Beer Review of the Weekend. Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you enjoyed reading this year’s pumpkin beer reviews, and even the one review without any pumpkin.  Thanks for reading.

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.

Overall:  A

Happy Halloween!!!

Published in: on October 31, 2010 at 9:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Halloween Review #2 – Arcadia Jaw-Jacker

Arcadia Ales – Battle Creek, MI
Jaw-Jacker Ale – 6.0% ABV – 12 oz . bottle

“Ale with spices added – cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg”

So… interesting story…

A little bit of research on Arcadia’s website says there’s NO pumpkin in this beer!  Based on the label, which has an awesome scary pumpkin on the front, I think that’s a bit of a rip off.  It’s also quite misleading.  Especially when I’m trying to review 3 pumpkin beers.  And it was such a cool label, oh, well.

Anyway… This “Non-Pumpkin Spiced Fall Beer” pours an amber shade of brown with an off-white head.  The head leaves a thin layer of foam after fading.

It smells strongly of the included spices with some malt aromas.

The flavor has large amounts of spices, with a bit of sugary malt flavors.  It has a strong, malty backbone.  I can’t taste much hops, but I think that’s a good thing in a beer like this.

Interestingly enough, the flavor improves as it warms up a little.  Pour and wait a few minutes to make the flavors a bit bolder.  Warmer temperatures definitely bring out the toffee like flavors, while mellowing out the spices.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of negative aspects.  First, is that there is a bit of a burnt taste that I don’t like in there somewhere.  Second, there is a mild astringent that wouldn’t be out of place in an IPA, but I don’t find it very pleasing in a fall spiced beer.

The mouth feel is light to medium-bodied, and the carbonation is average.

Jaw-Jacker isn’t too bad, and also falls around the middle of the pack of seasonal fall beers.  There’s just not much balance or subtlety.  But, there’s NO pumpkin!

Overall: B-

Published in: on October 30, 2010 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Weyerbacher Brewing Co. – Easton, PA

Imperial Pumpkin Ale – 8.0% ABV

“brewed with pumpkin and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves)”

 Nice pour into tulip glass.  1/2 inch head faded within a few minutes and left a thin foamy coating on top.  Medium brown hue, leaning far toward red.  Almost looks red with a slight tinge of brown.  I normally view the aroma after sitting down, but it was so strong, I could smell the spices even when pouring it into the glass.  I didn’t even need to lift it toward my nose.

 All the flavors listed are present in the aroma.  Pumpkin isn’t in the forefront of the aroma.  Mostly cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.

 Flavor does come in with pumpkin first with nice balance of mild spices, far milder than how it smelled.  Finishes with pumpkin again.  Also has a pleasant warming flavor, definitely from the 8%.  There is a slight hoppy tang, but I wouldn’t call it bitter.  This is more of a malty fall-style beer.  This has a prominent malt backbone.  Sweet beer, and the sweetness isn’t cut by the spices present.  It’s just a sweet beer.

 Medium to full body has a nice texture, not too watery, like there’s some substance there.  The only possible negatives are the spices end up being a bit overwhelming.  I haven’t decided if that’s a good or bad thing, yet.  There’s also a slight metallic flavor toward the end. 

 It’s a nice pumpkin beer.  I’d put it around the upper middle of the pack for seasonal pumpkin beers.

Overall:  B+

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 9:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Beer Weekend…

Welcome to Halloween weekend!

This weekend I’ll be reviewing one pumpkin beer each day:

Today, Saturday and wrapping up on Halloween.

Starting off will be Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin…

Check it out shortly.

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Interesting Beer Tasting Saturday Oct. 23rd

For those who may be interested:

Saturday at 3pm for a special tasting of Bruton Beers from Italy.

 Bruton, Bianca
A pale, opalescent beer made from a large percentage of spelt from the Garfagnaga region of Italy, and unmalted wheat.  Characterized by racy acidity with pronounced coriander and orange peel accents.  A real thirst quencher.

 Bruton, Stone-R
Is a strong ale with a deep-gold color.  It is produced with a blend of malt barley, wheat and rye, and candied sugar which is added during the cooking.  The beer is slightly opalescent in color, with a white, persistent and creamy froth.  It is strong and full-bodied, but also fresh and fruity, with a dry and persistent final taste, slightly hopped, but with a well-balanced alcohol level. 

 Bruton, Lilith
An amber beer inspired by English bitter, with a strong presence of American cascade hops.  Lilith is clear in color with a light beige, dense and persistent froth.  The fresh citrusy scent gives it a taste of grapefruit and resin, balanced with appealing candied malts and a bitter finish to leave your mouth dry and clean, ready for further sipping.  An “arrogant” beer, but also delicate and refreshing.

Phillips’ Fine Wines
17 Bridge Street
Stockton, NJ
Hours:  9AM – 9PM Mon-Thurs
        9AM – 10PM Fri-Sat  12-6 Sun

Published in: on October 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow

Three Floyds Brewing – Munster, IN

Apocalypse Cow – 1pt, 6oz – $11.99  (verified, but currently unavailable?)

“This complex double IPA has an intense citrus and floral hop aroma balanced by a velvety malt body which has been augmented with lactose milk sugar.”

Apocalypse Cow pours very hazy with a golden color resembling a Belgian Blonde.  The creamy head was thin and faded fast, leaving thin foam on top.

The aroma is nice and mellow.  There are citrus hops in there, along with an interesting tang that may be from the lactose sugar.  The aroma reminds me of fresh pineapple – Yum!  There is also a hint of mandarin oranges and possibly some apricots.  All very interesting fruits for the aroma profile, and not what I normally find in IPAs.

The flavor is very intense.  The bottle doesn’t have the ABV, but I’m guessing it’s a bit high because there’s a boozy flavor which is very noticeable at the very beginning of each sip.  (confirmed at 11% – Holy Crap!)  I expect that boozy flavor to be less of an issue as I consume more of this bottle.

The flavor is so very pineapple!  One really needs to like pineapple to enjoy this.  I’ve had other IPAs that had some pineapple notes, but this is the first where it was the feature hop flavor as prominent as this.  After the pineapple hops flavors pass, there is a sweet malty backbone that enhances and complements the citrus.  Chefs say sweet and sour go very well together, and here I have to agree.

The mouth feel is creamy and full-bodied, also enhancing the flavors.  As I drink this, the lacing rests thickly on the sides of the glass.

Three Floyds produces another beer that is big and bold and not for the faint-of-heart.  A really delicious variation on double IPAs.  The only disappointment with this beer is that it’s not available in Pennsylvania…  Curse you Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board… Curse You!

Cue Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries…  I love the smell of IPAs in the morning!

Apocalypse Cow gets an A-

Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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