So you made it to November, through Halloween, and you thought you were in the clear on pumpkin beer, eh? Not so, my friends, not so. You may have noticed a lot of our past brews suggested pairings of poultry, and in keeping with that fashion, we’ll be running down 13 more beers leading up to Thanksgiving. After that, you’re on your own for winter ales (at least until we get a unshakeable urge sometime next season). First up on our ghastly to feastly transitionary list:

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Name:  Frog’s Hallow Double Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Ohio, USA / Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Double Pumpkin Ale / 8.4%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Hoppin’ Frog is brewed with pumpkin, and pleasantly lets us know just what to expect spice wise (specifically cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and clove). The double ale approach is also a nice aspect, but the brewer recommendation suggests cellaring no more than 180 days. Among the ususal pairing suggestions of Pumpkin Pie and Poultry, there’s also Camembert and English Cheddar cheese in the mix.

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Packaging:

It’s kind of a cheesy cut and paste graphic design debacle that’s somehow endearing in it’s fun and silly nature. – Rick

This label sorta looks like graffiti gone wrong, like someone took a snap of a frog stencil on a street corner and then used some amateurish Photoshop techniques to add fonts with a crazy white halo effect on everything.  I fear that this label is so bad, I’d pass on this in the store, just because it looks cheap. – Tim

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Color:  6.5

Autumn leaves and pumpkin are not a hard sell here. Dusky orange and beautiful, like the last traces of light on a horizon. – Mike

It’s a deep orange in color with an appearance like liquid caramel.  There is no head at all despite a vigorous pour, and even less lacing.  The unfiltered cloudiness didn’t bode well with the coloration on this particular ale.  It just seemed to land flat right at the beginning. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 6 / B- 6.5 / R- 4.5

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Aroma: 7.5

A large amount of pumpkin in the aroma of this one, a sweet sugar pumpkin but not a ton of spice.  It smells like a refreshing pumpkin ale, but not pumpkin spice ale. – Brittney

This one is unique in that I smell banana right away, and it’s the most dominant part of this simple bouquet.  There’s also a touch of cinnamon just for measure and probably to hint at pumpkin. – Rick

Color me impressed (or dusky orange). Fruity sweet pumpkin, and molasses, with a strong, but not remotely sharp spiciness to it.  I can definitively pick out ginger, allspice, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and still find the pumpkin dominates. Really nice job here. – Mike

An aggressive, almost perfume quality, to the nose.  Cinnamon is the overriding spice with just a suggestion of fresh cut ginger root.  It was disconcerting at first and it caused me to take several minutes to contemplate it.  Interestingly, as I waited it out and gave it a little swirl in the glass for a pick me up the pumpkin released its scent and the perfume notes began to settle into a more balanced pumpkin pie flavor.  At this point the beer actually began to smell pretty good. – Tim

M- 9.5 / T- 4 / B- 8 / R- 7.5

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Mouth feel:  7

It’s light and refreshing, nicely complementing the overall sweetness of this brew. Normally, I might find fault with that, but given the expansiveness of flavor, I think if this was any more viscous, it would be a taxing drink, and this keeps it pleasant and easy going. – Mike

Now this is more like it.  Intense flavor rushes the tongue with a tingling sensation.  The medium body is slightly accentuated by the light spicing to great effect. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 5 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Tasting notes:  6.5

Sweet–on the verge of cloying.  So heavy on the cinnamon it reminds me of when we used to soak toothpicks in cinnamon oil and chew on them in middle school.  What’s even more bizarre, this beer has distinct notes of bubblegum in the body.  In fact, the more I drink this beer the more it tastes like I’ve just opened up an entire pack of Big Red chewing gum.  Later on, the pumpkin starts to come through and touches of bread crust and even black pepper pop up. But to its detriment, the spice level is just so outrageously high that it overtakes any subtleties that this beer has to offer. – Tim

I think this one has the most pumpkin I’ve tasted yet.  It’s nice; the spice doesn’t really present itself until the end in which case you start to get a little more of that classic pumpkin pie flavor. – Brittney

This is like opening a jar of pumpkin, dashing a bit of spice over the top, and whipping out your fork and some cool whip. If you’re the type that says, “I never get pumpkin from pumpkin beer” the frog has answered your prayers. It’s liquid dessert, and it’s freaking fantastic. I can even pull a hit of crust out. If it wasn’t so clear, I’d think grandma just dropped a pie in the blender. – Mike

This is definitely in the category of dessert beer due to it’s notes of caramel and a strange banana like flavor that was unexpected to say the least.  On the body side, it has a harsh liqueur-like sting that certainly overpowers the flavor dynamic. It’s different in a good way, but a little off putting by the range of sweetness and bite. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 4 / B- 8 / R- 5

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Finish:  6.5

This brew stands out from the crowd with a diabolical sting from the ABV, and a nasty bite on the finish thanks to it’s spices. – Rick

This actually finishes surprisingly dry for such a sweet beer–but mostly I’m just left with the overriding spice assault and a warming sensation in my chest from the 8% ABV. – Tim

Remarkably clean with a nice tingle and whipped cream outro. The pumpkin fades to spice on the tongue, but avoids the more typical astringency of some other spicier finishes.- Mike

The finish is where all of the spice comes to fruition.  It’s a nice surprise ending to another otherwise pretty successful pumpkin beer. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 6 / R- 6

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Flavor balance: 6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

The spices and gourd flavors mix well with the hinted banana and cinnamon.  This is one of the more balanced brews if not unique in it’s own. – Rick

Heavy on the pumpkin, light on the spice. – Brittney

M- 9 / T- 3 / B- 5.5 / R- 8

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

There’s no denying it’s sweet, but it’s not sickening. There’s definitely a hopped dryness in the finish that nicely brings you back to earth, and even more nicely, relaxes the tone to maintain the intensity of the next sip. – Mike

Quizzically, the crazy sweetness of the beer actually finishes reasonably dry.  I guess you could call that balance.  Or….bi-polar. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 6

–         Multiple Drinkability?

It’s fairly strong, and definitely sweet, but something in the lightness of this beer makes me feel like two full bottles would not be insurmountable. – Mike

There is such strength of the pumpkin that I think I might be over it by the first round but a lovely first round it would be. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 3 / B- 7.5 / R- 4

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Overall: 6.75

M- 8.75 / T- 4.50 / B- 7.33 / R- 6.08

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