A few things; First off, I will be getting married this Saturday, and leaving for my honeymoon the following monday. Fear not though, we haven’t forgotten about you loyal readers. While I haven’t had the time to make these reviews as graphically intensive as some of the past. (trust me, no ones more disappointed than me, but the show must go on), we have been painstakingly drinking ourselves into oblivion so that the blog will stay regular while I’m away. Tim will be taking over the publishing reigns while we’re gone, but I promise, if I come across any interesting pumpkin brews in the UK, you’ll be the first to know.

Secondly, here in Florida we’re fortunate to have a number of awesome micro and small batch brewers, and at the forefront of that batch is Cigar City, who in their great wisdom, has decided to grace us with a local pumpkin brew all our own. Read on to see what we thought of it, and if you see it on shelves, snatch it up. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

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Name:  Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Florida, USA /  Cigar City Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 8.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Featuring Pumpkin, Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican all-spice, Zanzibar cloves and nutmeg, Good Gourd touts itself as a celebration of Fall and Halloween in particular, warding the evil spirits away from their pumpkins, to provide nothing but the best. It’s also our second brew to featuring pairing suggestions including pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and costume parties.

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Packaging:

Good gourd boldly defies the pumpkin beer emblem tradition, instead opting for a more autumnal look with oranges and red abounding, and falling autumn leaves on a cream field. And of course, the trademark cigar city logo. – Mike

This label looks like going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and for that alone, I love it.   Being from the subtropical state of Florida we rarely get to see leaves change color, that’s why I have a quizzical take on Tampa, Florida’s Cigar City incorporating them into their bottle.  Based on the brewery name, I might have anticipated tobacco leaves chancing color, but I’ll take what I can get. – Tim

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Color:  7.5

This ale has a full bodied darkish orange, leaning towards brown, coloration.  It’s like looking through liquid cinnamon, and appears very opaque.  The huge head quickly resides and leaves really nice lacing.  – Rick

Burnt caramel with an impenetrable opacity, this seems to be in strong keeping with Cigar City’s other brews. You can potently visualize the gravity of this one. A tremendous head and long lasting lace crown the package out. – Mike

M – 8.5 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 8.5 / E – 7

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Aroma:  5

Hops greet the nose, together with a mixture of spices (all spice, cinnamon).  Unique in that other pumpkin brews have been wary of introducing much of anything in the way of hop character. – Erich

I’m really at a loss for aroma, the beer’s there but I don’t really get much to make it pumpkin or spice, it seems more like an Oktoberfest. – Brittney

This is an odd bird, there is almost nothing happening on the bouquet right off the bat.  A few swirls and a little aeration release a few tell-tale beer signs, but little if any indication of the autumn goodness in the bottle. – Tim

M – 4 / T- 4 / B- 5.5 / R- 4.5 / E – 7

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Mouth feel:  6.5

There’s no bite from the carbonation, but a noticeable sting from the alcohol content.  Overall, it feels light and airy over the tongue.  This is where the initial sourness hits you, but it’s not too off-putting. – Rick

Robustly bodied, with an immense creamy front end, and a surprising lack of astringency. It demands to be savored. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 7 / E – 7

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Tasting notes:  6.5

The feel of this beer is almost clouding to to the palate. It’s complexities seem to note brown sugar, that trademark cigar city tobacco note, and cinnamon, with just a dab of pumpkin rounding everything out. It’s excellent, but if you put this down in front of me, I’m not sure I could honestly tell you it was a pumpkin beer without the power of suggestion. The pumpkin does really seem to emerge more at about half a glass, and as the temperature rises closer to room. Contrarily, it could easily stand up in body alone to and actual cigar. This one is a pleasant enigma for me. – Mike

There’s a slight dark malt bitterness (coffee/dark chocolate notes) that are followed by a hint of vanilla and sweetness, with various spices singing backup and rounded out by well-controlled hops.  This is a complex brew and delectably so – well-balanced and with a galaxy of flavors to explore, except for what should be the star, the pumpkin.  Amidst all the other flavors finding the pumpkin is akin to “Where’s Waldo?”.  It’s a shame – as with other great pumpkin beers that have put the “beer” first – a little more pumpkin in this would’ve made it sublime. – Erich

It definitely has a gourdy profile, but isn’t sweet like pumpkin is traditionally thought of.  It starts off sour, then you find some smoky aspects in there, and finally, with an exhale the sweetness is revealed. – Rick

There is a lot going on in this beer.  Fresh pumpkin, nutmeg, vanilla. It’s buttery and floral with bready yeast notes, and what could best be described as ‘pie crust’ in there.  It’s sweet but not cloying and the caramel malts are profound and a little unsettling.  With everything happening here, I feel like I want to love this, struggle to like it, and resign myself to feeling that the beer is just not in harmony and is pulling me in too many directions. – Tim

M – 7 / T- 5 / B- 7.5 / R- 5.5 / E – 8

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Finish:  7

It’s not until the finish that I really catch the cinnamon, but that’s what lingers for me.  It’s a nice conclusion that reminds you that you don’t need to be slapped in the face to enjoy good pumpkin ale. – Brittney

The vanilla notes from the initial flavor endure, leaving a sweet but not-too-sweet finish. – Erich

Clean with a touch of that same caramel – brown sugar sweetness again. I get the pumpkin here more than anywhere else. The higher alcohol content seems to sit nicely with a sharp hops nip on the backside, but all in all, this is impressively smooth. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 6 / B- 7.5 / R- 6 / E – 8

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Flavor balance: 5.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

For a beer that so ‘all over the place’ it’s hard to say anything is in agreement here.  It’s got spice and it’s got pumpkin—that sets it apart from most, but with everything pulling against everything else, the brew isn’t going to win any bi-partisan votes from me. – Tim

It’s a tad spicy, but I keep thinking of fermenting gourds when I drink this brew that it overwhelms the spices here. – Rick

M – 4 / T- 4 / B- 5.5 / R- 4.5 / E – 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance:  

Sensibly sweet, balanced out with the right kinds of bitterness. – Erich

Everything seems to coalesce so smooth in this one, that it seems to become one heady beast of a beer, with a backhand of Newtonian slam. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 5 / B- 5.5 / R- 5 / E – 8

–         Multiple Drinkability?

This is a dangerous beer, because if it captures your imagination, it’s masking its 8.5% ABV very carefully and I promise you that could lead to a serious hangover in the morning.  One and done for me. – Tim

The multitude of flavors may leave one’s tongue a bit fatigued, that’s if the 8.5% ABV doesn’t catch up to you first.  The Good Gourd is clearly meant for slow savoring, not consumption in large quantities. – Erich

M – 9 / T- 5 / B- 6.5 / R- 5.5 / E – 5

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Overall:  6.33

M – 7.08 / T- 5.33 / B- 6.58 / R- 6.08 / E – 7.08

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