Posts tagged ‘cardamom’

Trickster – Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

You may have to quest long and hard to acquire this particular ale. Hailing from the way, way up there, Midnight Sun has been brewing Alaska’s finest beers for a number of years now. There are some clever minds at work where you get thirty days of night, and this beer is no exception. So have faith. It may have taken us two years to acquire it, but we’ve never had anything quite like it.


Name:  Trickster

Place of Origin / Brewer: Alaska, USA / Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Belgian Ale / 7.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This unusual brew is made with pale malted barley, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander, pumpkin, and Belgian yeast in a steel cauldron. Plus, we hear-tell you can see Russia from the brewery.



It’s a jester-hat-clad pumpkin jumping off the label over a whimsical font.  It’s just screams of all the wicked, wicked things that kids do to one another on All Hallows Eve.  I’m scared…not in a razor-blades-in-your-apple kind of way, but in a thrill of the unknown aspect.  I can’t wait to see what’s under that cap. – Tim

A goofy looking cartoon of a jester pumpkin (hence trickster) graces this label.  A quick mention of basic ingredients and an invitation to fool around; who could resist? – Brittney


Color:  6

Amber waves of grain all the way here. Straw yellow, sparkling clarity, and a few tiny bubbles accompany a terse white head. Looks like a Belgian ale to me! – Mike

A pretty crystal clear golden orange, a thin ivory head, sticky lacing, and very slight carbonation. – Brittney

M- 7.5 / T- 6 / B- 6 / R- 5.5


Aroma:  6.5

Complex Belgian yeast and malts make up the backbone of this aroma and stand out quite nicely. There’s a fruity character that is almost candy like in its sweetness. Also, just detectable, is a sweet smattering of spices. – Rick

Belgian farmhouse yeast abounds with a musty hop character, citrus notes, and plenty of coriander. Little to no pumpkin though. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 7.5


Mouth feel:  7

Medium bodied and crisp with moderate carbonation—this is pretty textbook stuff; nothing strange or bizarre going on, just a very solid ale. – Tim

This falls somewhat flat with me, resembling a Tripel, but with a slightly watery, yet crisp finish. There is a nice touch in avoiding  the overabundant carbonation found with that style, though. – Rick

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


Tasting notes:  6.5

Blood oranges, coriander, and yeasty funk along with notes of nutmeg and clove. The pumpkin here is sweet, but plays so directly into the tart yeast, it’s tricky to recognize at first. –Mike

Farmhouse gamey, with raw vegetal pumpkin, notes of raw meat, oats, and hay. Nutmeg and clove mesh with pronounced flavors from the Belgian yeast strains.  If you like Farmhouse and Saison-styled ales this is gonna be right up your alley.  Pumpkin Pie aficionados better run for the hills. – Tim

From the aroma you would bet the farmer’s daughter that this was going to make your face pucker, but the taste is surprisingly mellow and even a bit sweet.  There are subtle layers of pumpkin and clove, and a solid flavor of malt. – Brittney

Kudos for being unique and complex for sure. The Tripel character imparted from the Belgian yeast adds fruity qualities and is nice departure from the norm. There is, however, a candied sweetness lingering that has an artificial taste almost like an extract of sorts. – Rick

M- 7.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 5.5


Finish:  7

A drying nutmeg finish with metallic hints of copper and fruit. – Mike

It’s clean and dry like a cider without too much carbonation. There’s a real vegetal quality to the finish imparting slightly sweet and sour notes. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 6.5


Flavor balance:  6

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5.5

The spices exist to give the body depth of flavor without working themselves into such a frenzy that they overtake your palate or the raw pumpkin nature of the ale. – Tim

Perplexing pint; pumpkin prevails provost per poignant poise. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 8 / B- 5 / R- 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

There is a nice ginger dryness to this ale but overall, I feel it’s not enough to tip the scales either way. – Rick

The sweetness in the body is nicely offset by the dry and relatively clean finish. – Tim

M- 7 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 5

–         Multiple Drinkability?  6

I would drink more of this. Touches of the ABV present themselves with a hint of alcohol heat here and there. At 22 IBUs it’s also got a nice hoppy character present in the close.  I was pleasantly tricked on this one….not what I was expecting at all. – Tim

This ain’t your mama’s pumpkin ale. Midnight Sun is reaching a little here, but in good nature, and towards the serious European palate. This sucker is a tank. – Mike

M- 6.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 5 / R- 4


Overall:  6.50

M- 7.33 / T- 7.00 / B- 5.92 / R- 5.92


Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing Company

Name:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Pennsylvania, USA / Weyerbacher Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Imperial Ale / 8.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  In a family goal to create a monument to the pumpkin king, the Weyerbachers, in line with their growing reputation for unique and interesting beers, present an ale intentionally heavy on pumpkin and caramel, and in a more unique note, have thrown cardamom into the mix as well. It also weighs in at 8.0% ABV, to pack a little extra punch.



If a touch on the cartoony side, this boastful label raises a firm middle finger to other would be takers on, featuring a crowned and caped Pumpkin, raising his scepter high to declare his own bad-assery, while a bevy of intimidated looking challengers look on from behind him. – Mike

Man, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale really lives up to it’s name with the graphic jack o’lantern caricature leading his minions.  This label is this first one that really stood out as a craft beer.  All the pertinent information is there; brewery, ABV, spices, and (nice) website. – Rick

Okay, okay I get it, Imperial Pumpkin Ale…supreme ruler…pumpkin king image.  I know it’s the Weyerbacher way, but it’s just really busy with way too much going on from a design standpoint.  As much as I can enjoy a good rallying of the pumpkin troops this bottle does not get me excited about what’s inside. – Brittney


Color: 7

Pours a commanding deep red amber with a creamy one-finger off-white head that settles into a nice ring and leaves some serious lacing.  This is a really inviting looking beer sitting in the glass.  It makes me happy. – Tim

Dark wood with luscious garnet overtones and a limited opacity, blossoming an elegant ivory head. Extravagant. – Mike

Brown, with a bit of cloudiness and orange / copper tones emerging when held to the light. Had no head except for a very thin crown – not sure if this particular specimen was flat, or if this is normal for this beer. – Erich

M – 9 / T- 8 / B- 5.5/ R- 9 / E – 4


Aroma:  7.5

Cardamom is a newcomer in the selection of spices that we have usually been offered thus far so it stands out immediately to me.  After that it’s the almost raw pumpkin smell that presents itself.  The aroma is more pumpkin bread than pumpkin pie to me. – Brittney

I know that we’ve mentioned pumpkin pie in a bottle before but the bouquet on this beer is so powerful and sweet that it actually smells like the freshly baked pumpkin bread my mom used to make around Christmastime.  I was bowled over by the nutmeg and cinnamon on this.  This has to be one of the best smelling pumpkin beers I’ve ever opened. – Tim

Bold and spicy tones thick with clove and a slap of cardamom really jumping out. Most overt though is a tremendous baked pumpkin aroma so potent and oven fresh, I would expect to burn my mouth if this was a confection. – Mike

M – 9.5 / T- 9 / B- 6 / R- 7.5 / E – 6


Mouth feel:  7.5

Quite interesting – smooth but lightly oily, slick.  There’s no astringency from the spices or the higher alcohol content.  Extremely pleasant in this regard. – Erich

Full bodied, not at all watery, with a slight tingle on the tongue.  The 8% ABV is almost indiscernible giving the spices room on your tongue to coalesce. – Rick

Medium to full bodied and thick on the molasses, it’s sweet and substantial on the tongue, creamy with low carbonation.  It almost tastes like a pumpkin smoothie as beer–and I mean that in a good way. – Tim

M – 9 / T- 7 / B- 5 / R- 8 / E – 9


Tasting notes:  7.5

The nose comes through here in spades. No surprises, just exactly what you expect. There’s a huge and rich malted barely presence with molasses and pumpkin whipped together so nicely, it might give you diabetes. The nutmeg and clove hang heavy as well, leaving the cinnamon to linger on exit. – Mike

This is the kind of great craft pumpkin ale I’ve been hoping to try.  An easy to drink sweetness that is reminiscent of pumpkin pie with a great taste and a decent alcohol content as well.  It’s a breath of fresh air. – Rick

There is a lot going on here. Most of which is pleasant.  With unique spices and higher levels of pumpkin than most, it’s not your average pumpkin beer. – Brittney

This is almost a desert beer that is sure to turn off drinkers looking for more ale than pie in their pumpkin brews.  But to that I say: “Why?”.   Part of what I’m searching for in a the perfect pumpkin beer is the essence of desert in a bottle.  The fact that this is an imperial ale and it’s batting 8% ABV gives it just the right amount of punch to beat down the syrupy sweetness that the beer presents upfront. – Tim

M – 9 / T- 7 / B- 6.5 / R- 7.5 / E – 8


Finish:  7

A real nice finish here.  There’s almost no bite except from the carbonation, which is minimal.  I’m left with a sweet dryness, which is a nice balance leaving only a slight tackiness.  – Rick

The clove notes are almost instantaneous as you down a sip, but I was expecting a longer finish than I got.  For all the deep flavor this beer imparts from the nose and the body, it actually finishes very clean.  – Tim

Cinnamon and a lazy drain of caramelized sugar and pumpkin, with just a touch of hoppiness on the outflow. Allspice and clove continue to linger as well. There is a slight burn of alcohol in the back of the throat, though, as well as a hint of dryness. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 6 / B- 5.5 / R- 8 / E – 7


Flavor balance: 6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

As I’ve found with most pumpkin beers the warmer you let this beer get, the more you can pick out the gourd in the mix. The same is true here, but there is so much going on in nose this that the balance is definitely heavily favored to the spice. – Tim

I think in order to be considered a balanced pumpkin beer, the pumpkin should probably have to stand out just a bit beyond the spice which tends to constantly dominate in this style of beer.  It’s not hard to notice the actual pumpkin taste here. – Britt

M – 8.5 / T- 5 / B- 6.5 / R- 7.5 / E – 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

Oh, it’s sweet, and that might turn off some, but this time, I think it works perfectly with the high alcohol content.  However, I might stand alone here because I feel like a few of you are gonna think you just drank a bottle of Grandma’s Molasses. – Tim

Sweetness is subtle but not cloying, and the 8.0% ABV doesn’t even register.  Well-balanced. – Erich

M – 6 / T- 5 / B- 5 / R- 8 / E – 8

–         Multiple Drinkability?

It’s enjoyable and different.  A well put together beer but I would probably not drink more than one. – Brittney

Dangerous in this regard.  As mentioned, the 8.0% ABV is masked well, and it’s sweet but not sweet enough to give a stomach ache. The unique mouth feel and flavor make it quite desirable to come back to. – Erich

You could do it, but I don’t think that’s what this brew was meant for. Something this close to perfect is meant to be savored, and abuse of that grace could lead to an epic hangover and sour stomach. Invite three friends over, and split a pack. – Mike

M – 4 / T- 5 / B- 4.5 / R- 6 / E – 9


Overall: 7.17

M – 8.42 / T- 7.00 / B- 5.67 / R- 7.5 / E – 6.83