You know you’re dealing with a class act when they’ve got Thoreau quoted on the bottle. And to celebrate Schlafly’s 20th anniversary, they seem to have spent some extra special attention on this year’s offerings. Without exception, of course, is their pumpkin ale, and we all seem to agree, that if you’re looking to “celebrate the bounty of harvest and season of plenty”, than you’ll find quite the opportunity in this bottle.

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Name:  Schlafly Pumpkin Ale (special release)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Missouri, USA / The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 8.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Schlafly is brewed with Pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, and features the use of Marynka hops, 2-row and Crystal malted barley, Munich malt, wheat malt, chocolate malt, and American Ale yeast, for a malty and slightly bitter backbone.

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Packaging:

Taste and simplicity are embodied on this packaging, from it’s relaxed autumnal color scheme, it’s clear pumpkin marking, and poignant quote, it both recalls the spirit of the season, and a boastful-yet-understated reflection of the spirit within. – Mike

Very monochromatic color scheme works well with the simple design elements.  A pumpkin centered quote by Thoreau is a nice touch while staying unobtrusive. – Rick

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Color:  7

Pours a stunning deep pumpkin pie color with noticeable sediment and  a fizzy cream head that diffuses pretty rapidly leaving zero lacing but keeps sending sheets of carbonation bubbles dancing to the surface. – Tim

Pours a murky golden brown with pretty active carbonation.  An initially pretty decent tan head had respectable staying power. – Brittney

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

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Aroma:  7.5

This suckers smells like liquid pumpkin pie, putting that sweet roasted pumpkin flavor together with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.   It has a thick, almost dense, bouquet that rumors of a very bold beer. – Tim

Dirty raw pumpkin all up front.  As the beer warmed up a bit the clove, cinnamon and nutmeg became quite apparent and pretty intense. – Brittney

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

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Mouth feel:  7

On the heavier end of medium bodied, the malts seem to lend a creamy smoothness here that is velvety and slick on the tongue, while the subdued carbonation invite you to swish it around a bit to unlock the flavor hidden just beneath the surface. – Mike

Medium bodied with a tendency toward the heavier spectrum, it feels weighty on the tongue with a soft carbonation that belies all the dancing bubbles the beer exhibited on the pour. – Tim

The bite from the 8.0% ABV is small but noticeable.  Otherwise it’s smooth and foamy over the tongue with a medium body.  My lips are left slightly tacky reinforcing the sweet nature of this ale. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 7 / B- 7.5 / R- 6

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Tasting notes:  8.5

There are really nice sweet malts here that are complimented by the allspice and nutmeg.  It’s a good strong tasting ale without being too heavy. – Rick

The pumpkin at the front of this lulls you into a false ideal that this is a good representation of a pumpkin beer but nothing special. They then use the spice as their ace in the hole.  It’s slightly over-whelming to the palate, but in a good way.  This beer has just enough earthy pumpkin up front and an assault of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon at the end. – Brittney

So many pumpkin beers mask their flavor with overpowering noses while others craft ales so dense that the flavor struggles to escape the body.  Schlafly is the rare beer that tastes exactly like it smells. It’s concentrated with notes of brown sugar, clove, allspice and roasted pumpkin.  It’s sweet and malty but not overbearing or sticky.  It might be the closest thing to liquid pumpkin pie I’ve yet to taste.  – Tim

Smooth and creamy malt enters the palatial plane, and when allowed to warm on the tongue, transforms into an intensely full baked pumpkin, complete with brown sugar and toasty pie crust notes. But what really blows me away on this sucker is how nicely the spices separate, giving you that true pie experience, while still managing not to overwhelm the pumpkin, and in fact vanish cleanly and quickly on the finish. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 9 / B- 8 / R- 8

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Finish:  8

In the realm of short and clean, this is a masterpiece. They’ve managed to take a full bodied swig of pumpkin and spice to the very crescendo of good taste, and pull it back to nothing at the end, so you can experience it again with every sip. – Mike

I’m left with a caramely sweetness and just a bit of a bite.  It’s fairly light though with an almost sour note from the pumpkin. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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Flavor balance:  8

 

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

There is a fair amount of pumpkin in there but the spice dominates.  However I don’t find it any more distracting in there that I do in a rich pumpkin pie.  That is, this is not pumpkin puree or fresh cut pumpkin on display, this is mama’s homemade pie fresh out of the oven. – Tim

There is really a good pumpkin flavor here.  The spices are nice and sweet without becoming too spicy as some pumpkin ales can tend to be. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 7.5

 

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 

There’s an upfront sweetness that masterfully blends out to just a touch of dry finish, but ends so clean, you won’t even know it was there. Very impressive. – Mike

It’s not very dry at all, but there is a good sweetness that seems to be the backbone of this brew.  It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a noticeable undertone of sourness from the pumpkin elements, but in no way is this a bad thing. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 7 / B- 7.5 / R- 6

 

–         Multiple Drinkability?

I think there is way too much going on here to have many of these.  I would enjoy one maybe two very much but I think after that my palate would be blown. – Brittney

The 8% ABV is masked so well that I almost can’t believe this beer stacks up that high.  I don’t even get that ‘chest warmer’ vibe off this brew.  As tasty as this is, I could session this beer…and then call some friends to come drive me home afterward! – Tim

Looking for that perfect pumpkin session beer, but don’t dig the cloying sweet, or the choking spicy? This sucker is your new go to ale. With an emphatic approach of moderation, but simultaneously not being gun shy, I can hardily applaud Schlafly for creating a smooth and delicious brew, that’s not only easy, but all too tempting to return to again and again. – Mike

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

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Overall:  7.67

M- 8.17 / T- 7.75 / B- 7.33 / R- 6.91

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