Posts tagged ‘Allspice’

Good Gourd Almighty – Cigar City Brewing

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First of all, we’d sincerely like to grant you our thanks and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and whatever holidays you might celebrate in the coming months. Rounding out our third year of reviews you’ve made us popular enough that we are buried in beers to cover, and since they’re becoming more and more scare on the shelves, we have opted to cover them in advance for next years season in hopes of bringing you more consistent coverage and getting you a lot more info early on as these brews start to hit the shelves.

Today’s entry is not particularly concerning in that regard as, if you don’t have it by now, you’re probably not going to get it until next year. But we did feel it’s coveted status would be a great entry for today, and we thank the almighty that we got our hands on a bottle. So gather round your friends and family, or maybe just a good meal and a good brew, and dig into one last seasonal review. From us to you, we give our thanks.

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Name: Good Gourd Almighty

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

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

Specialty Prep / Individuality:

Almighty takes Cigar City’s ever popular Good Gourd (an imperial pumpkin ale that includes Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, Zanzibar cloves, and nutmeg) and finishes it out for some time in rum barrels.

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Packaging:

This is a special release barrel aged treatment beer, so the label is a bit derivative of it’s father brew, Good Gourd. It’s got some nice dark wood and autumn hues though, which certainly infer the bolder wood flavors I expect from this glass. – Mike

It’s not a far cry removed from the traditional Good Gourd packaging, but the “almighty’ stands out in a big way to help avoid confusion, settled against a backdrop of fall leaves, that even though CCB is in Tampa and probably never sees any ‘color’ still sets a festive mood. – Tim

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Color: 7

The way this beer sits in the glass demands omniscience. Fully opaque burnt caramel has fringes of an amber glow, with slim to no head. It is awesome and unassuming. – Rick

Cloudy brownish orange, with a perfect circle of thin semi sticky lacing and little to no carbonation. It looks like there is almost a freeze frame of sediment floating in the glass. – Brittney

M – 6.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 8.5

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Aroma:  7.5

A heady nose with massive rum notes, the likes of which I haven’t seen since we cracked the Avery Rumpkin back in 2011. Oak and vanilla finish out the bouquet which displays no remaining signs of pumpkin or spice.  It smells intense and I’m not anticipating a little ‘shiver me timbers’ to go with my rum and pumpkin ale. – Tim

Sweet and creamy caramel notes mingle with some intense buttery fruit flavors. This is getting pretty complex already. It has a hot aroma that singes with rum at the nose, rounding out dry and oaken for the finish. – Rick

M – 7.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 9

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Mouth feel: 8

Slick and thick, medium bodied with just enough carbonation to keep you interested without an overwhelming presence of it. – Brittney

Some time in the barrel actual seems to have lightened up the body here, moving away from the syrupy origin of Good Gourd, and becoming much more smooth bodied with a light carbonation tingle. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

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Tasting notes: 8.5

Spiced Rum, treacle, dark fruits, and milk chocolate. This tastes a good bit like a Dale Degroff tropical pumpkin cocktail with a few extra dashes of Pimento Dram. It’s caramel coated pumpkin bread – beach side. – Mike

Welcome back pumpkin, what is lost on the nose is prevalent in the body, blending together with vanilla and cinnamon to deliver a drunken pumpkin pie extravaganza. With buttery crust notes and big malt flavors, the rum is held in check (but only barely) until the exhale permeates all my senses with full bodied flavor.  Pass the whip cream. – Tim

For as strong and intense as it smells it’s actually rather smooth in flavor.  You can tell that it’s got a Good Gourd foundation, but you can’t help but focus on the rum barrel aged accent and the alcohol. – Brittney

Based on the aroma alone I expected this to be super hot and over the top. It actually brings out complex flavors that really add to the experience going above and beyond the senses. It’s really accessible while boasting tons of flavor like banana, oak, cinnamon, rum, sugar, butter, all spice, and even bits of clove. – Rick

M – 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 9.5

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Finish: 8.5

The finish is all rum, but it is hardly abrasive. It reminds be heavily of Velvet Falernum. There is a lasting sweetness with a spicy nip, and a bite of citrus / lime. Definitely a Floridian pumpkin beer. A couple of these and I’ll be boarding ships. Forcibly. – Mike

The dry oak finish compliments the mouth feel so well, it removes any implication of being too hot due to a high alcohol content. There’s still a touch of heat on the back end and the rum is quite noticeable. – Rick

M – 9 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 8.5

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Flavor balance: 8

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 8

The pumpkin and spices in the base beer were already mixed really well, and the fact that they still stand out after the aging is impressive. I would add that the addition of oak and rum flavors accentuate the pumpkin profile and propel this beer into it’s final form. – Rick

The interplay of the spice / malt / pumpkin / wood / and rum here is powerfully complex and very enjoyable. You can spend long minutes over each sip musing on the different flavors that seem to pop out and retract into the recesses of this glass. The only thing that keeps me from declaring it truly divine is how very forward the rum qualities are at times. It’s not an unpleasant flavor, but as the drink goes on, I begin to lose a bit of the pumpkin as a result. – Mike

M- 8 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 8

         Sweet / Dry balance: 8.5

Quite balanced in this respect as the syrupy slickness and pumpkin tend to be sweet but the alcohol/barrel aged aspect brings the dry finish. – Brittney

Pronounced toffee like sweetness lend this ale a significant dessert aspect with only dry components coming on the close from the high ABV and the oak. – Tim

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

 

         Multiple Drinkability?  7.5

While I can appreciate treatments on beers and a bit of barrel aging, I probably wouldn’t drink much more than a glass of this. It’s got a very mellow sweetness that is well tempered by tannic acid qualities and the heat of the rum, but the intensity and alcohol makes it quite potent on the senses. – Brittney

It’s too heady and boozy to be sessionable. I’d rather drive up to some mountains, kick off my shoes and sip this sucker in a brandy snifter beside a roaring fire after a long day of snowboarding.  – Tim

M- 9 / T- 7 / B- 4 / R- 10

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Overall: 7.92

M- 8.00 / T- 7.83 / B- 6.92 / R- 8.83

 

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Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider – California Cider Company

We’re almost there folks, just one short review away from the end of the season for us, and we’re pleased to find a diamond in the rough for our final approach. We’ve seen a few pumpkin ciders along our way so far, and not much good has come of it. Sonoma County’s own Ace seems to tip the glass in our favor though, opting for a more traditional spiced offering that just might beat the odds.

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Name:  Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider

Place of Origin / Brewer: California, USA / California Cider Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Cider / 5.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Ace is a fall seasonal cider made from fermented apples, pumpkin and allspice, ideal for harvest time holidays. It’s also Gluten free, which is a nice alternative if you can’t rock the grains.

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Packaging:

There is something to be said for simplicity and starkness–and Ace is saying loud and clear with this black label featuring an ‘Ace of Pumpkins’.  Simple and direct.  The neck also features some pertinent facts about the cider maker’s process–which is a nice addition and something we don’t often see in Hard Ciders. – Tim

Ace sports a clever and to the point pun based logo, with the high card on the front on a black field (in this case, the ace of pumpkins). Reflecting the squash in the neck as well, there’s no mistaking this one as a seasonal brew, and it’s straight to it attitude leaves enough room for a first in my book: nutritional information. It’s gluten free, and it’s reminding you that at 175 calories a pop, you’re gonna get fat after a few. Thanks? – Mike

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Color:  5.5

It pours a pale golden color like a bold lager, while maintaining a translucent body.  There is no head, which was expected, but it did have some lacing. – Rick

Crystal clear and bubbly.  It’s a very light straw to gold color that resembles…you guessed it… sparkling apple juice.  Also, it’s a cider so I didn’t really expect a head or very heavy lacing but when poured aggressively there was a small white head with a solid ring of lacing. – Brittney

Honey crisp gold, and clear as,well, apple juice, this cider is true to its style: clean and appealing. The Slight lean to the orange side of golden gives you a hint of pumpkin, if only in artifice, and the head pops down to a smoggy float across the top, and our favored white ring. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 4

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Aroma:  7

The sweetness of apples greets with hay notes, pumpkin and allspice all follow thereafter. – Tim

Right away, I’m hit in the face with many aromas.  The fruity aspects flourish at first with pumpkin being bolder than the apple base.  There are sugary notes as well, and all together give off a sweet banana-like scent that I can’t wait to taste. – Rick

The aroma of apple from the cider is what hits my nose first.  The curious thing is that it’s not as overly sweet as most ciders smell.  You definitely find how the pumpkin sort of mellows out that characteristic and then get only a touch of the spice buried deep within. – Brittney

M- 7 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

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Mouth feel:  7

At first, it seems tart and becomes sweetly smooth with a bit of carbonation.  It feels syrupy and somewhat honey-like, but thin and watery coating my mouth well. – Rick

Very crisp and very active.  It’s refreshingly clean up front with only a hint of the syrupiness that could very easily take over with this style of brew.  – Brittney

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

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Tasting notes:  7

Allspice and cinnamon kick to the front on this cooler take on the chilly seasonsal favorite. The sweetness of the apple juice and slight tingle of the alcohol separate nicely to offset the sour pumpkin presence that lingers on a bit with the spice, making this the more defined of our cider offerings so far. – Mike

This is a sweet cider, with the spice coming on much stronger on the palate, and noticeable cinnamon in the body.   But the spice feels out of place and presents itself in a more cloying manner giving this drink a bit too much artificiality.  Sadly, we’re stepping into ‘Yankee Candle territory’ on this one. – Tim

As I noticed in the aroma, the pumpkin really mellows out the possibility of any overtly sweet notes.  The allspice is very bright and seems to play a supporting role at the beginning and finish that really shines through as it warms.  – Brittney

It’s exactly what I expected a pumpkin cider to taste like.  The pumpkin flavor fits outstandingly well with it’s apple foundation, while the cinnamon and allspice sweeten it just enough before making it too spicy. – Rick

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

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Finish:  7

The apple is the first to fade and the spicy dryness is a nice and bold aspect to this finish which makes me prize it. Accommodating it’s departure is the sour pumpkin, and you really get a fermentation feel here, reminiscent of the finish of a honey mead, but lacking the punishing sweetness. – Mike

The finish is nice, clean and crisp.  I was expecting that usual filmy mouth, hangover before you’ve even finished cider and got something completely different. – Brittney

A medium finish that lends itself to the sweet side which will work if you prefer your hard ciders sweet, but I tend to fall of the crisp/dry ‘white wine’ side of cider drinkers.  I’m looking for snap in the step that Ace is offering. – Tim

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

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Flavor balance:  7

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

The cinnamon and allspice could overdo it here, but they are restrained to being sweet accents to a great pumpkin flavor.  Also of note, the pumpkin really shines with the help of the apple cider backbone. – Rick

This one is an entire experience, through the first half of the glass I would say that the pumpkin had a little more shine, as I got to the second half and it had warmed a bit the allspice really came out nicely. – Brittney

M- 6.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 8 / R- 8.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

It’s sweet in the front and finishes on a dry and sour spiced note, which keeps it evenly in check. Some might find it pushing a bit to the sweet side, but chances are, those people just don’t like cider in general. – Mike

The crisp dryness holds back the sweet from becoming overwhelming.  I think without this aspect keeping it in check this cider could be so sweet it would detract from the great flavors. – Rick

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?

In a climate like ours here in Florida, this has all the appeal of the cool and crisp autumn and hot ciders that I used to have as a kid during getaways further north, with the added appeal of reducing the chances that I’m sweating out my shirt at the bar. Throw in a moderate abv and a solid tasty appeal, and I could punish six of these, no problem. – Mike

On a hot day, I could drink more than my fair share of these in place of soda and with the 5% ABV I’d probably not be any worse for wear, but if drinkers are looking for a ‘pumpkin cider’ an unbeatable hand, might want to deal again.  It’s good but it’s good in a ‘two pair’ kinda way.  You’ll probably beat most of the other hands, but it’s hardly a cinch. – Tim

This cider is probably the best cider I’ve had. I really enjoyed it for a fall pumpkin brew.  I could see this becoming too sweet after quite a few, but it’s a small price to pay. – Rick

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

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Overall:  6.75

M- 6.58 / T- 6.58 / B- 6.83 / R- 7.08