Posts tagged ‘Bourbon’

Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale – Alltech Lexington Brewing Co.

Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel

First review of the season, everyone take a deep breathe! Sometimes things get a little divisive over here at the GPBR, but usually we have to be a few brews in first. This time it only took one! Fortunately, we have what we think is a pretty cool four – reviewer format to more closely represent the tastes of all our readership, so if you find yourself agreeing with a certain person more than others, you may want to keep your eyes more specifically on how they scored our many various offerings. After all, that’s one of the best parts about craft beer: We can always agree to disagree as long as there’s something else in the fridge!

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Name: Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Lexington, KY / Alltech Lexington Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%: Bourbon Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale / 10.00%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale is a barrel-aged ale brewed with Kentucky-sourced pumpkin, and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

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Packaging:

A play on Kentucky Bourbon Barrel’s standard packaging this bottling delivers a copper backdrop to accent the barrel face and the traditional thoroughbred visage. Of note, the ABV is missing from the label (which at 10%) is slightly dangerous if you don’t know what you’re getting into. – Tim

This bottle/label is pretty much what you would expect from the name. An image of a barrel on its side with a horse head and Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale displayed proudly. I’ll let the fact that Pumpkin Barrel makes absolutely no sense slide. – Brittney

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Color: 5

Pale golden orange in color with a thin line of pure white lacing around the rim. There is a small amount of carbonation slowly floating to the surface. – Brittney

Thin and very light looking, with a queasy yellow pallor that lacks any defining red-orange hues we so typically see in this beer style. Closer to a slightly scorched pilsner / old hay of a young whiskey. If this were pumpkin beer personified, I’d say they looked a little sick. – Mike

M- 3.5 / T- 7 / B- 5 / R- 4.5

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Aroma: 6.5

This smells amazing, working my tongue into a frenzy for the first sip. Predominant notes of squash notes on the nose with hints of cinnamon and clove in the heady bouquet and a touch of bourbon sweetness. – Tim

This is where the beer gets you. Super sweet candy like bourbon just wafts off this bad boy. The bourbon draws you in, but the pumpkin and vanilla (maybe even some banana notes) seal the deal and entice that first sip. – Rick

M- 5.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 5 / R- 7.5

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Mouth feel: 4.5

To my surprise the mouth feel on this one is very thin and mellow. For a barrel aged beer it’s unusually light. – Brittney

It’s somewhat interesting, or even perplexing that such a bold flavored ale can have such a watery mouthfeel. It seems a lot lighter than it should, but it’s all masked fairly well by a bitterness and a bit of pepper on the tongue. The heat from the alcohol doesn’t help matters either. – Rick
M- 3.5 / T- 7 / B- 3.5 / R- 5

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Tasting notes: 6

An assertive amount of cinnamon sugar with fruity bubblegum and fruity pumpkin following. Surprisingly, I get very few actual barrel notes – no real woodiness, tannins, or toast. Without the huge slap of ethanol I would be hard pressed to pick this out as a barrel offering at all. I’d like to say it’s all there somehow, but really, it’s kind of a mess. – Mike

Rich roasted pumpkin notes and spice at the forefront, with candied fruit and vanilla set against oak, spicy pepper and toffee. At 10% ABV it’s got a boozy back end that reminds you of after dinner cocktails chasing homemade pie. – Tim

Other than the hint of heaviness at the end of the aroma this is the only area that this beer tends to feel like it is barrel aged at all. You could say that this beer is a little confused. It looks like a light beer, it smells for the most part like a plain pumpkin ale, it feels unassuming but when you taste this, it goes straight to your head. You still taste the pumpkin and spices but the bourbon and alcohol quickly take center stage. – Brittney

Barrel aging treats this one well, although the weak mouthfeel throws the dynamic here, confusing the senses. The bourbon is the forerunner here, taking center stage while the rest of the flavors mingle in the background just enough to call it pumpkin. – Rick

M- 4 / T- 8.5 / B- 4 / R- 7

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Finish: 4.5

A bit of nutmeg and bread crust attempt to dry things out here, but it just proves too big of a job. – Mike

A little heat from the bourbon and some cinnamon as well. Goes down smooth though, which is befitting of the lighter mouthfeel. A tad too cloying by the first third though, so I’m a bit worried I wont make it through. A little woody but maintains it’s sweetness throughout. – Rick

M- 3 / T- 7 / B- 3 / R- 5

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Flavor balance: 4.5

 

Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5.5

Artificial pumpkin and cinnamon whiskey shots fight for dominance. You could technically say that they were fairly well balanced with each other, but they never really feel harmonious. – Brittney

M- 3.5 / T- 9 / B- 4 / R- 6.5

 

Sweet / Dry balance: 4

Sweetness in the nose and body is precisely off-set by the prompt finish and breathy alcohol. It’s not dry but since it never lingers, it avoids becoming cloying and rather winds up very clean. – Tim

I think this gave me diabetes. Someone check my insulin, I’d like to keep my foot. – Mike

M- 2 / T- 8 / B- 3 / R- 4

 

Multiple Drinkability? 4

Town Branch Bourbon and pumpkin pie sounds like my ideal kind of finishing course for an autumn meal. The liquid form here however, proves less appealing than the real thing. As far as session-able brews goes, that clearly isn’t the intention here, so the body and alcohol prevalence are generally baffling. In the end it equates to a valiant try, but I don’t really care for flavored whiskey, so I definitely don’t enjoy it watered down. – Mike

It’s a decent pumpkin ale but it is a serious assault on the senses. For me it’s too sweet and with a maxed out ABV at 10% it just seems overdone and too cliché. – Rick

M- 2 / T- 8 / B- 3 / R- 3

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Overall: 5.16

M- 3.00 / T- 7.75 / B- 3.50 / R- 5.5.

Kentucky

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin (Crooked Line Series) – Uinta Brewing Company

Halloween is only a scant 15 days away, and if you’re like us, you’ve probably got a few ragers to hit in the next weekend or two.  To help accommodate your proclivities to rotten gourd punch, we’re going to be amping up our reviews to get as many halloween themed brews to ya before the holiday hits. Stay tuned, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to our updates by email, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Name:  Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin (Crooked Line Series)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Utah, USA / Uinta Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 10/31%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Oak Jacked is an Imperial Pumpkin Ale brewed with Pumpkin and traditional spices (no specifics appear on the label). It’s then rested on Oak barrels to add bourbon and vanilla notes. A particularly cool aspect though, is that, along with all of Uinta’s other brews, it is brewed with 100% renewable power fed from solar and wind. There’s some great other green practices going on with this company as well, and for that, we applaud them.

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Packaging:

My favorite label to date! Finally, let’s get a local artist involved in our beer without it looking like an afterthought. Very clean in its execution, it has all the elements to help sell the beer as an oak aged pumpkin ale. Top notch. – Rick

This sucker is cranked to get you crunk. I mean, he’s pointing to the word “Jacked”. Someone call Jason Statham. – Mike

There is an old fashioned almost Steam Boat Willie-like pumpkin gracing the label on this bottle.  I love the use of the barrel image telling us so much more than just the name of the ale.  It’s cartoony and artistic without being childish. – Brittney

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Color:  8

Color me surprised, this ale pours up a crystal clear with a ruby red glow.  A thick, frothy, long-lasting, cream head provides for excellent retention and stunning lacing. – Tim

I’m loving the color on this one. It has a great color with dark copper notes that help accentuate a deep brown body. The body is pretty much completely opaque, and a vigorous pour will release a beautiful creamy head that settles to ring the glass. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 7.5

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Aroma:  8

Tons of oak and wood firstly followed by a smoother caramel sweetness.  Not a lot of spice but just enough to let you know it’s there.  The aroma runs the gamut of earthy, savor, sweet and (a touch) of spice. – Brittney

Roast sugar pumpkins, burnt caramel, and a nice oak tannin. It smells like a reheated pumpkin pie with blackened crust. – Mike

M- 8 / T- 8.5 / B- 7 / R- 8

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Mouth feel:  7.5

A medium bodied but rich brew that warms the mouth with a lower carbonation. – Brittney

I’m definitely reminded of the Imperial status of this ale upon the first sip. As suspected from the aroma I find a strong presence of alcohol on the tongue, but without any harsh burning. It’s a bit bubbly allowing me to explore its sweet medium body. – Rick

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

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Tasting notes:  8

Boozy and opulent with notes of vanilla and oak. Rich and chewy like carrot cake with big, bold spices.  Lots of nutmeg and clove—with dashes of cumin.  The pumpkin is broad and full with a pronounced sweetness that envelops the notable alcohol content, back-end bitterness and a slight metallic touch.  – Tim

There’s a significant alcohol presence here that, combined with oak gives it strong notes of bourbon whiskey. Did I mention I love bourbon? The spice is very subtle, and finishes on floral notes, while a malt pumpkin base provides a nice burnt pie crust character. This tastes like my midnight snack the day after thanksgiving. – Mike

First sip is dominated by alcohol and malt with some spice. This beer goes straight to your head. If it wasn’t for the malt aspect I would question if this was a beer at all.  A few more tastes and the flavors really come alive with natural vanilla, spice and oak roasted pumpkin. – Brittney

The oak barrel introduction is a nice touch, only accenting the flavor of sweet ripe pumpkins without being too woody. There are some nutty notes as well that help round out this well nuanced full bodied ale. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 8.5 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Finish:  7.5

The. Longest. Finish. Ever.  Bitter and oaky and surprisingly semi-dry.  I certainly anticipated a sweeter conclusion to this ale, but the oak really shines here and helps balance it out.  But…seriously…I can still taste this beer. – Tim

It stings going down, that’s for sure. I like how the dryness on the back end helps it go down smooth. Here’s where it gets spicy and woody, but I can’t wait to take another sip. – Rick

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

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Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7.5

This malty pumpkin approach combined with the ABV lends itself to dunkel / dubbel territory, while the barrel aging tones the spice down to a pleasant detail. – Mike

Since this beer has such impressive complexity, it goes without saying (but I will) that the pumpkin to spice balance is pretty amazing.  What you miss from the pumpkin in the nose, you get in the body, but the ale is so imbued overall with the barrage of other components that had the brew master not been on top of his game, it might have ended up a muddled mess.  – Tim

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 8

This ale has a great malty sweetness and a great dry finish so the cloying aftertaste isn’t too noticeable. – Rick

This is a very well leveled bottle, and the giant ABV hides superbly in its character. There’s touches of bourbon sweetness, and the dry wood finish on the back end, that’s a bit like sucking the beer right from the oak stave. – Mike

M- 9 / T- 6.5 / B- 8 / R- 7.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?  7

The richness of the oak and malt are very tasty for one round but, at 10 + %, I’m probably not going for another. – Brittney

This beer is strong and tasty, but could I have more than one of these per sitting? Probably not. I would definitely revisit it though, because it’s a great pumpkin ale. – Rick

At a 10.31% ABV I don’t think I could drink another one of these in a sitting.  However, the ale is fascinating and intricate that I would be really interested to see what buying a few bottles and cellaring them would do. – Tim

M- 10 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 6.5

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Overall:  7.67

M- 8.42 / T- 7.92 / B- 7.25 / R- 7.08

Great Lakes Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit – Great Lakes Distillery, LLC

What can I say? Besides being awesomely dramatic, apparently some of our product photos are also prophetic. Okay, okay. Maybe that’s giving us a little too much credit, but you have to agree that our feature on Lakefront Pumpkin Lager was more than a little foreshadowing. If you don’t believe me, check back to last year’s review. Go on, I’ll wait: https://greatpumpkinbeerreview.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/lakefront-pumpkin-lager-lakefront-brewery-inc/

See what I mean?

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Name: Great Lakes Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit

Place of Origin / Distiller: Wisconsin, USA / Great Lakes Distillery

ABV: 45%

Specialty Prep/ Individuality:

This Limited edition whiskey is distilled from the essence of the Lakefront Pumpkin Lager (grain and pumpkin with spices based on Thomas Jefferson’s Recipe) and aged in new and used oak bourbon barrels. We reviewed Bottle 5/3407, Batch 5, which was beautifully hand numbered and dipped in orange wax. Even the label design is a throwback to the beer it is distilled from.

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Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit first meets the glass with beautiful, brassy, golden-orange hues, very closely resembling an old cask scotch. Contrarily, the nose is extremely reminiscent of a younger corn whiskey, combining elements of white dog, and sweet pumpkin, but, besides some faint wisps of ginger, little to no spice.

Our initial delving was taken neat, and, once past the lips, clove and nutmeg emerged in gobs, with a splash of cinnamon to boot. A very pleasant surprise given the relative quietude of the nose. Both smooth and sensuous on the tongue, it has an admirable heat, though far from overwhelming. Equal parts sweet bourbon and malt whisky, this sucker comes of nicely balanced between opposing palatial preferences.

Once the taste buds have adapted to the slightly elevated proof, it’s remarkable how the mash bill so perfectly reflects the sweet pumpkin lager that provides its origins. It’s creamy, and light on the palate, and given an ice cube or splash of water, is almost as refreshing as a cold beer itself.

Though we didn’t get into them ourselves (mostly because my bar accoutrements are packed in boxes until we get into the new house next week), there is a substantial list of cocktail suggestions provided through Great Lakes Distilling’s website. It’s not hard to see how this would make an excellent mixer, and comparably to pumpkin liqueurs and mixers, provide a subtle and solid backbone to a classic cocktail, rather than dominating the other elements.

Suffice to say, if you’re a real whiskey fan looking for something with a little “seasonal spirit”, it’s an absolute no brainer to pick this up. And if you happen to be in the Milwaukee area on October 9th, stop by the distillery for the 3rd Annual Release Party, and dip your own bottle in that shiny orange wax.

Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur – Heaven Hill Distilleries

Name: Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Liqueur

Distiller:  Heaven Hill

We know this isn’t beer, but we figured if you were as into the pumpkin part of pumpkin beer as we are, then pumpkin liqueur wasn’t something you’d want to overlook. That’s where Heaven Hill comes in. Elected 2009’s distiller of the year by Whisky Magazine, Heaven Hill is best known for a rich tradition of Kentucky Bourbon, and touts themselves as America’s most innovative, family owned family of brands.  Fulton’s Harvest certainly delivers on that promise, and is a unique liqueur that is full of flavor, packing quite a punch at 12.5% ABV , two gold medals in 2011, and the distinguished title of first ever cream pumpkin pie liqueur.

Taken chilled and straight it’s super sweet and creamy, reminiscent of Irish cream, transformed into liquid pumpkin pie. There’s a hint of nuttiness as well, if you can hold it on your tongue long enough before the alcohol bites. If anything, this is a great liqueur for the fall season equating to eggnog for October. The perfect taste of sweet for a post thanksgiving meal cordial, or just to warm the face on a cool autumn night, Heaven Hill has given us a creation that serves as an excellent spike to coffee and ice cream dishes, with a smooth and milky texture, and enough sugar that most will require no more no matter how bold you brew. If nothing else, it’s certainly a conversation starter, and something to be shared with friends, and we can certainly get behind that. Grab some while you can, and start a new holiday tradition,  because this limited edition product is only available until November!