Posts Tagged With: Pumpkin Ale

Long Trail Unfiltered Pumpkin Ale

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Beer: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Long Trail
Locale: Bridgewaters Corner, VT
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.5%

OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Hazy, deep amber body with a frothy white head.

Smell: This is pretty much exactly what I would expect from a Pumpkin  Ale–a mediocre malt aroma with some pumpkin pie spices. Of the pumpkin ales I have sampled this seasons, this seems the most promising based purely on scent.

Flavor: Well, this is MEH: Part 2! The aroma is far better than the taste. Once again, this tastes like a macro lager with all of the hop bitter and none of the hop flavor. I get nearly ZERO pumpkin taste and just a hint of bitter cinnamon. As I keep drinking, it’s beginning to taste like a wet armpit, courtesy of my wild imagination.

Feel: Thin body with high high carbonation. Also, you can really feel the heat of the alcohol, which is odd given its relatively low ABV.

Concluding Remark:  Oh, the Pumpkin Ale. I just have no love for you at this point. Sure, I relied on my bodega to provide me with this style’s test samples, but 3 out of 3 ended up being Le Suck de Complet? NON PLUS POUR MOI, MADAME!

And to end this review on a rhyme-y note:

If you’re looking for decent pumpkin ale, instead eat pumpkin pie.

If you’re desiring decent Long Trail, Double Bag you must try.

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Mendocino Pumpkin Ale

Beer: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Mendocino
Locale: Ukiah, CA
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.o%

OVERALL RATING:

BEERUSEBEERUSE

Sight: Clear, dark mahogany body with no head. This is much darker than your run-of-the-mill pumpkin ale.

Smell: Ahh…Mendocino’s pumpkin smells like Cinnabon, Cinnamon Crunch Toast and Cinnamon Sugar Toast. Well, hey, like cinnamon. There’s a hint of yam/pumpkin in there as well, and it smells like it’s going to be cloyingly sweet…

Flavor: …but it’s not. There’s an unexpected bitterness in here, which is likely from the cocoa nibs that it’s brewed with. The bitterness is so prominent that this reminds me of what a coffee/espresso soda would taste like if I ever tried one. You know, the Manhattan Special? That drink you see in bodegas but never actually buy because why when beer?* Regardless, there is very little pumpkin flavor and instead, it tastes like a lightly sweetened coffee soda.

Feel: Thin body with medium carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Mendocino of California’s pumpkin ale reminds me of why I usually don’t drink pumpkin ales: the flavor is whack and I am not enjoying this beer one bit, despite this moment being the highlight of my long day. It tastes like a Yeungling/mocha flavored non-dairy creamer hybrid. MEH! I’m giving this to my roommate.

 

*If you would like to learn more about the Manhattan Special, please read this adequate NYT article on the subject. It is eons more fascinating that this beer.

Manhattan Special: Made in Brooklyn

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Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale

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Beer: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Captain Lawrence
Locale: Elmsford, NY
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.5%

OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Hazy orange body with all of a centimeter of white head.

Smell: It reminds me of a health food store. Its smells like a cross between apple cider vinegar/kombucha and organic toothpaste.

Flavor: Picking up on the toothpaste note, the general flavor is slightly medicinal with some anise flavors and an odd peppermint cooling sensation. There is a trace of generic pumpkin flavor upon burp, however the second wave of flavor is that of from-old-NYC-pipes water and a hint of sugar.

Feel: It has a thinnish body with high carbonation.

Concluding Remark: I’ll start with the caveat that this is my second pumpkin beer all season. My dearest of friends brought some Post Road to a gathering the other evening, and if it weren’t for our years of friendship, I would’ve rather un-politely declined the aforementioned brew. Thus, Captain Lawrence’s pumpkin is my first true pumpkin beer in nearly two years. (I obnoxiously boycotted pumpkin ales last year, is my memory. No judgment, all, I know many of you are doing the same with PSLs every morning.) And to be frank with you the internet, I should’ve grabbed my go-to bodega beer, Stone’s Go-to-IPA, and resisted the overwhelming urge to review a series of pumpkin ales. CL, what a let down. The label states that it was brewed with pumpkin and spice. That’s nice, and I still want a pony. But I doubt that pony would be any happier cooped up in my small apartment than I am drinking this beer.

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Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Beer: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Saint Louis Brewery/Schlafly Tap Room
Style: Pumpkin Ale (Imperial)
ABV: 8.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Clear, bright copper body with a small white head.

Smell: It smells like stepping into a bakery. Specifically, a Cinnabon. And even more specifically, it smells like the gooey cinnamon filling that has made Cinnabon its millions. The resemblance is so strong, Cinnabon could probably sue for smell infringement. There’s just the tiniest hint of pumpkin purée, as well.

Flavor: Of all the pumpkin pie beers I’ve had this month, this is hands down the most pumpkin pie-est of the bunch. This actually tastes more like food than beer. Vanilla and caramel flavors linger, which is only icing on the…pie.

Feel: Thin with high carbonation, and dry, like Champagne.

Concluding Remark: Although it doesn’t label itself as an Imperial Pumpkin, drinking Schlafly’s humble Pumpkin Ale is essentially like consuming shots of pumpkin pie. It’s impossibly delicious with a high ABV, rendering it the perfect holiday beer. Like some of its peers, it’s just a wee sweet. However, I would honestly choose Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale over actual pumpkin pie. And that’s saying a lot given my decades-long obsession with pumpkin pie. If you find this in stores, make sure to pick it up ASAP. I had to sweet talk a beer clerk at my local liquor store into splitting their hidden stash with me.

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Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Beer: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Style: Pumpkin Ale (Imperial)
ABV: 8.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Slightly cloudy, dark orange body with no head.

Smell: Strong brandy smell, with notes of raisin, caramel, and a hint of clove.

Flavor: There’s an initial sharpness from the high ABV and hops. As it sits, it begins to taste like fresh pumpkin flesh. The sweet spices take a back seat, although there’s a bite from the fresh cinnamon. There’ a bit of sweetness from the malts at the very end.

Feel: Thin body with low carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale is the quintessential imperial. There’s a strong, tangy pumpkin flavor, with an equally strong alcohol note. Unlike other pumpkin beers, the fresh pumpkin flavor is showcased instead of masked by a flurry of pumpkin pie spices. You really can’t go wrong with a 4-pack of this stuff.

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Chatoe Rogue First Growth Pumpkin Patch Ale

Beer: First Growth Pumpkin Patch Ale
Brewery: Rogue Ales
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.6%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Dark cherry wood body with a huge dense head.

Smell: It smells like the perfect Pumpkin Ale: the aromas are roasted squash, caramel, dark malts, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Flavor: As it smells, the predominant flavors are roasted squash, pumpkin seeds, charred malts, and cinnamon. It kind of tastes exactly like roasted pumpkin seeds.

Feel: Thin with moderate carbonation. There’s a bit of an oily residue.

Concluding Remark: Chatoe Rogue, a series of beers that are made with fresh crops from the Rogue Ales Farm, puts out a fine Pumpkin Ale. The Pumpkin Patch Ale features locally grown pumpkins, which are then roasted and tossed into the kettle. With help from a little ginger, vanilla, and the regular slew of pumpkin pie spices, Rogue’s Pumpkin Ale is one of the freshest Pumpkin Ales I’ve tasted this season. It’s perfectly balanced, with a strong squash flavor that is lacking in many pumpkin beers that claim to be brewed with fresh pumpkin. It’s a little pricey for a non-imperial (~$9), but if you ignore the price tag, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

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Lakefront Pumpkin Lager Beer

Beer: Pumpkin Lager Beer
Brewery: Lakefront Brewery
Style: Pumpkin Lager
ABV: 6.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Slightly hazy golden body with a white head that disappears after a second or two.

Smell: I can smell this from a foot away: it’s incredibly sweet–filled with notes of whipped cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and canned pumpkin. This guy might smell the most like pumpkin pie of all the pumpkin beers ever.

Flavor: Quite similar to the aroma, this might be the beer version of that “Whipped Vodka” crap. It’s quite pie-like in flavor, with a signature sugariness I have not found in other Pumpkin Ales (well, this is a Pumpkin Lager, so there’s that). There are notes of sugary sweet pie crust, almost like a sugar cookie, with cinnamon. So perhaps more accurately, it tastes like a snicker doodle. Though, the last note is that of a Starbucks pumpkin pie muffin (distinctive from other muffins due to its ultra high sugar content).

Feel: Thin and almost watery, with some carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Well, many would consider this Pumpkin brew to be just a little too sugary–it falls into the caricature of a Pumpkin Ale category. What is different about Lakefront Brewery’s pumpkin beer is that it’s a lager, while most pumpkin beers are ales. Thus, there are no bitter flavors that balance the sweet pumpkin-ness; instead, the pumpkin pie spices stage a takeover and dominate all other components of the brew. Overall, it is just a little too sweet for me, but if you’re looking to drink some pumpkin pie tonight, you won’t be disappointed with a slice of Lakefront Brewery’s pumpkin.

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River Horse Hipp-o-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin

Beer: Hipp-o-Lantern
Brewery: River Horse
Style: Pumpkin Ale (Imperial Pumpkin)
ABV: 8.1%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Halloween 2012
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Slightly hazy, deep ruby body with a billowy tan head.

Smell: It has a boozy smell with hints of clove, nutmeg, and fresh pumpkin.

Flavor: Initial hop bite that is somewhat balanced by caramel-y roasted malts, some pumpkin pie spices, and earthy pumpkin.

Feel: Medium body with medium carbonation.

Concluding Remark: River Horse’s Hipp-o-Lantern is deceptively alcoholic–despite the boozy aroma, you don’t feel the 8%. It’s a fine Imperial Pumpkin Ale; the spicing and balance are spot on and you can taste the actual pumpkin. I wouldn’t call it exciting by any means, but if you’re in the market for a solid pumpkin, don’t hesitate to give the Hipp-o-Lantern a try.

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Epic Brewing/DC Brau Fermentation Without Representation Imperial Pumpkin Porter

Beer: Fermentation Without Representation
Brewery: Epic Brewing and DC Brau
Style: Pumpkin Ale (Imperial Pumpkin Porter)
ABV: 7.7%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Deep, almost black body with tinge of orange at the edge. Thick, creamy tan head with a sticky lacing that coats the glass.

Smell: This smells like candy. Or more specifically, candy pumpkin ice cream float milkshake goodness. The milky sweetness and roasted malt note of the Porter base comes through, with just a slight nutmeg and pumpkin aroma.

Flavor: This also tastes like candy. It’s rich, creamy, earthy, spicy, and oh I don’t know, CANDY. There are also notes of fresh pumpkin, bitter chocolate, and fresh vanilla extract.

Feel: Thin-ish, creamy body with minimal carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Calling Epic Brewing’s Imperial Pumpkin Porter decadent would be an understatement. Yes. This is not only a Pumpkin Porter (RARE! AMAZING!) but a IMPERIAL Pumpkin Porter (RAREST! AMAZINGEST!) A beer of this caliber beer could not be produced by the hands of one brewery alone–no, Fermentation without Representation is a collaboration between Epic Brewery and DC Brau. I’ve had a soft spot for DC Brau since my days in DC, but now it’s serious. This is without a doubt one of the best Pumpkin Ales I’ve had. While I wouldn’t QUITE call this an Imperial at 7.7%–Imperials should be over 8%–it’s Imperial in that it belongs to the craft beer royal court, if there was ever such a thing.

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St-Ambroise Citrouille

Beer: St-Ambroise Citrouille (The Great Pumpkin Ale)
Brewery: McAuslan Brewing
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Clear, deep mahogany body with tons of carbonation bubbles that make the glass look like it’s frosted. There was a tan head that disappeared nearly instantly.

Smell: This smells exactly how I want every Pumpkin Ale to smell. Yes, it has pumpkin pie spices in the nose, but it’s the freshly roasted pumpkin aroma that defines the smell. A little molasses and brandy note, as well.

Flavor: SUPREME! This tastes like my mother’s pumpkin pie + a really decent amber ale. There are subtle cinnamon and nutmeg flavors sprinkled over a sweet, biscuity/crusty flavor. And then the best part: the REAL pumpkin taste! It tastes like a gen-u-ine pumpkin, and thankfully, that flavor lingers long after your last sip.

Feel: Thin body, perfectly carbonated.

Concluding Remark: Quebec’s McAuslan had set a high bar for itself by naming its brew, “The Great Pumpkin Ale.” Luckily for them (and us!), its moniker is 100% accurate.  This is The Great(est) Pumpkin Ale–or should I say Citrouille Ale–I have had this season. It doesn’t taste like a caricature of a pumpkin pie, or like a generic pumpkin pie, or like a spice cabinet. Instead, the flavors are both subtle and distinct, and actually taste like the ingredients, as opposed to tasting like artificial flavors. Incroyable, McAuslan et votre Ale de Citrouille!

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