Originally created as one of Terrapin’s Side Project series, Pumpkinfest has become so popular that it’s now graduated to a regular seasonal brew. If nothing more, that’s certainly a testament to the craft brewing world’s spirit of creativity and daring being rewarded by followers all too rabid for the next new palatial experience. It’s also an ingenious method of solving the annual Oktoberfest or Pumpkin beer debate raging in most peoples heads while standing in front of their favorite Package store shelves…

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Name:  Terrapin Pumpkinfest (Vintage 2011)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Georgia, USA / Terrapin Beer Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin – Oktoberfest Blend / 6.1%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Pumpkinfest is brewed with the malts of your favorite German fest beers (specifically Munich, Vienna, Munich II, Catamunich II, Melanoiden), Vanguard and Hallertau Hershrucker Hops, and over a pound of pumpkin per barrel, along with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and clove. It’s worth noting that since this is modeled in the Oktoberfest style, this beer is a lager, and not an ale.

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Packaging:

I really dig the folksy Americana vibe we get from this bottle, with a Turtle (everyone knows a Terrapin is a species of turtle right?) tapping a big pumpkin for a frothy barrel of beer, set against a wheat field, fall leaves flowing and a stack of pumpkins piled high in the back.  – Tim

What looks like a personified hop-farmer sits in a pumpkin patch.  A short bit of text on the side tells us that this isn’t just a pumpkin beer but an Oktoberfest as well.  Claiming that Terrapin is “Carving out a fall tradition” and becoming a “PumpkinFest” beer. – Brittney

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Color:  6.5

A cherry red core surrounded by rich Dunkel brown lager. Glass length lacing compliments a modest one finger head. – Mike

Terrapin boasts a strong coloration of brown amber.  I am pretty impressed with the amount of red that accents the body though.  There’s a decent foamy head on top with good lacing, and a bubbly appearance. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 7 / B- 6.5 / R- 5

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Aroma:  6.5

It’s a subtle creamy pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg.  I’m also noticing a sugary vanilla and wheat backing that is holding it together and creating that more bread-like than pie-like quality. – Brittney

Surprising amounts of Pumpkin, Allspice, and nutmeg with a distinctly malty base. – Mike

The feel is very watery on this ale.  It seems heavily carbonated and heavily spiced. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 6 / B- 7.5 / R- 3

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Mouth feel:  6

Light with springy carbonation on the palate, and a smooth suppleness that I wasn’t expecting considering this is a breed of lager – and I think we all know my opinion on most American Lagers by now. – Tim

More carbonation than our first looks let on.  It’s light to medium bodied and easy to drink, not nearly as syrupy as I would have imagined by looking at it and actually a bit dry. – Brittney

M- 7 / T- 6.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 3

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Tasting notes: 7

There is a slight pumpkin flavor that adds a distinct sourness to the overall body if you can look beyond the spiciness.  It also has a good nutty flavor mixed into the very light body that plays well with the dryness. – Rick

I wasn’t expecting a full-fledged pumpkin beer here (because it’s not) and that was probably for the better.  It is an honest pumpkin beer, it’s got a great pumpkin and spice flavor with just the right touch of malt but it also shares the stage with some of those expected Oktoberfest traits.  It’s ballsy to put two very beloved styles in one bottle and try to make two sets of fans happy in one shot but I think Terrapin deserves a job well done. – Brittney

Delicious Sweet pumpkin up front with a healthy dose of cinnamon and nutmeg, gives way to a bitter German lager so distinctly different, it comes off two faced. – Mike

A cross between a pumpkin beer and an Oktoberfest brew, Terrapin has created a ‘pumpkin lager’ that while maintaining some of the milder characteristics of a lager still manages–thanks to the inclusion of some prominent spices–a hearty fall feeling that would work nicely to cut through the more rich Thanksgiving type foods.  There is a pleasant sweetness here that doesn’t overpower or turn the beer desserty and a touch of heat from the ginger.  I’m surprised at how fast I drank this beer–it just seemed to vanish from the glass. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 3.5

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Finish: 6.5

The finish is exceptionally dry and crisp in the style of your darker leaning Bavarian favorites, and a lingering of pumpkin and malt hangs around a bit to see if you’re going to finish your spaetzle. – Mike

It’s super dry and bitter with just a dash of sweetness.  The carbonation bites pretty hard too. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 7 / R- 4

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Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

Perhaps it’s the Fest vibe, but the bitterness of this ale seems to favor the spicier end of the pumpkin world. – Mike

The pumpkin in this variety is fresh and in a lighter bodied beer that works both for and against the balance.  It works in favor because it’s in harmony with the crispness of the beer but it also gets trampled on a bit by the spices. Overall though Terrapin did a good job of not beating down the beer since the spices–while prominent–are balanced amongst themselves rather well. – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 4.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

It has a decent balance, but the dryness is from being overly spiced which leaves no room for the sweetness to flourish. – Rick

This beer achieves a near perfect blend of sweet to dry–this is especially impressive as lagers tend to finish dry as a bone. – Tim

M- 6 / T- 9 / B- 6.5 / R- 4

–         Multiple Drinkability?

I’m really enjoying the complexities of the PumpkinFest.  From beginning to end the multiple flavor profiles are satiating what it takes a combination of other beers to fulfill – Brittney

The multiple nuances of this duplicitous brew is more than interesting enough, and certainly pleasing, to bring me back fro a few.

M- 8 / T- 9 / B- 7.5 / R- 3.5

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Overall:  6.50

M- 7.00 / T- 7.25 / B- 7.25 / R- 3.91

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