Posts tagged ‘Co.’

Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Dry Dock Brewing

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This unsuspecting brew came to us at the vocal suggestion of one of our blog followers and we’re glad that we listened. Announced just yesterday from The Great American Beer Festival, Dry Dock Brewing took home 5 medals, including two gold for their Wee Heavy and Mild entries. Add in the fact that they took home Brewer of the year in 2009 (and a heap of other accolades you can check out on their website), and you’ve got all the little details that make trying a brew for the first time pretty dang exciting. For our money, this entry held up to their reputation and then some. Our advice? Keep your eyes on these folks. They’re poised to become kings of Colorado’s craft brew scene.


Name: Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Aurora, Colorado / Dry Dock Brewing

Beer style / ABV%: Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 9.00%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin Ale is brewerd with pumpkins in the mash and spiced delicately with saigon and indonesian cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, mace, and cloves.



Very cool illustrative label, with a skeletal pirate holding out a pumpkin in Hamlet-esque fashion while a collection of wicked jack-o-lanterns grin manically in the background. Soppy Halloween vibes are plentiful. – Tim

Definitely one of the cooler labels we’ve seen. A spooky dead pirate with a jack-o-lantern makes a nice center piece and flows well with the brewery’s theme. – Rick


Color: 6.5

The beer pours a glowing copper/orange hue. It’s a little hazy to look at but you can still see the gentle trickle of bubbles as they rise to the slightly soapy looking thin head. – Brittney

Mimicking the outer rind of a pumpkin, this coloration is a ripe orange hue. A slim head quickly fades to nothing and I’m left with a cloudy disconcerting orange color. – Rick

M – 7 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 5


Aroma: 7.5

Pumpkin and malt punch through, adrift in a sea of spices. Ginger seems to poke out ahead of the others, followed by soapy nutmeg, piquant mace, and a hint of cinnamon. – Mike

Pumpkin and pie crust, with cinnamon, clove ginger and allspice, biscuit malt notes and a heady breath of alcohol. – Tim

M – 7.5 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 7.5


Mouth feel: 7.5

Medium bodied and avoiding syrupy trappings. It’s actually rather dry. The carbonation breaks up slightly what would, otherwise, be still waters. – Mike

Pretty weighty and slick bringing a medium bodied beer to the heavier end. This is also one of those occasions where you can almost feel aspects of the spice open up in your mouth. – Brittney

M – 8 / T- 7 / B- 7.5 / R- 8


Tasting notes: 8.5

Wow. This has a huge pumpkin presence. It’s got a fantastic grainy, creamy pumpkin pie body. The spices, though using everything in the cupboard, are totally reigned in and in check. It’s subtle, nuanced, and complete. It’s the opposite of big, in your face, pumpkin beer. It’s pumpkin, then beer, then spice; and it’s supremely balanced and executed. – Mike

Lots of caramel malt sweetness and a fair amount of cinnamon that overpowers the other spices in the brew. But clove, ginger and allspice all manage to peek though in the end. The pumpkin finally comes though on the body but it’s getting beaten into pie territory by the spice blend. That being said, I would rank this high on a level for what an pie spice aggressive Imperial Pumpkin Ale should taste like. – Tim

This plays the traditional pumpkin ale card well, if a little on the intense end. The spices are definitely on the forefront and the buttery malt you can smell in the aroma comes through nicely in the flavor. Being an Imperial, you have to expect to experience a good amount of alcohol but once your palate is acclimated to that it isn’t too offensive or overpowering. – Brittney

Nice pumpkin flavor is backed up by some impressive spicing. Mace and ginger work well together and stand out impressively here to dry and really crisp up the body. – Rick

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


Finish: 7.5

A lot of the cinnamon sticks with you at the end as far as the flavor of the finish goes, but the thing that really stuck with me is the sweet slick syrupy mouth feel. – Brittney

Like the mouthfeel, the finish is super smooth for a 9% ABV brew, with just a little noticeable heat coming off it. It’s also really clean tasting as well. Mace and ginger are awesome here leaving a nice crisp finish. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 7 / B- 5.5 / R- 7


Flavor balance: 7.5

  • Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7.5

I’m saying this for the first time. It’s mostly pumpkin forward. The cavalcade of spices in this bottle must have been micro pipetted in. Astonishing balance of sweet malty pumpkin, whip cream and singed pie crust, with a spicy kiss of dryness. – Mike

Maybe a touch too heavy on the spice, but an overall great job for an imperial. Once again, I have to note my pleasure with the balance of ginger and mace on the finish. They do a great job of cooling off this imperial and keeps the sweetness in check. – Rick

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

  • Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

Sweet, but not cloying, with some heat from the Imperial ABV on the close. Cinnamon is prevalent but not harsh enough to completely dry this one it. – Tim

Usually higher amounts of alcohol can help balance out a super sweet beer but in this case not so much. Any dryness here is from the spicing. – Brittney

M – 10 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 7.5

  • Multiple Drinkability? 7.5

When I’m looking for a ‘kick back and relax’ pumpkin beer, my go-to brews tend to be Southern Tier’s Pumking and Dogfish’s Punkin. This one could settle tight into the groove with that set as a superior everyday Pumpkin Ale. – Tim

While I’m all for extreme brewing, it’s nice to have an entry just hit the nail on the head without any bells and whistles. You’re not going to get sick halfway through the bottle from a sugar bomb, and you’re still going to feel your tongue afterwards without feeling like you drank cinnamon mouthwash. This is perfect for a meal pairing. It glows in it’s own tempered radiance. At 9%, it still drinks like a session ale, and the pumpkin malt body give it a certain seriousness for the beer snob in us all. Simply put, it’s impressive in it’s humility, valuing balance and detail over loud flavors or obnoxious intensity. It’s real, and it’s really good.

M – 10 / T- 6.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 7.5


Overall: 7.50

M – 8.50 / T- 6.92 / B- 6.67 / R- 7.25

Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.

You know what sucks? Ever since we opted to do this countdown, I’ve had the band Europe stuck in my head. I’m sorry if you think that’s kind of awesome. Trust me, it sucks.

Number three here might disagree with you though. A quick perusal of the Big Boss website proves that there’s definitely a lot of geek love flowing through this brewery. From LOTR jokes to an obvious dark humor and a “we’re doing this for us, not for you” attitude, I can’t help but be a little charmed.


Name:  Harvest Time

Place of Origin / Brewer:  North Carolina, USA / Big Boss Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Fall Ale / 5.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Brewed with pumpkin and a subtle proprietary blend of spices. Suggested pairings: zombie rituals, walks in the graveyard after midnight, and vampire hunting.



I’m digging the clean black and white vibe of this label that announces “Harvest Time” in Misfits-style letters and features a skull and scythe  with a little box to check off if you “Reap” or “Sow”.  I assume most beer drinkers “reap’ since planting bottles of brew isn’t the ideal way to store them. – Tim

A wicked looking skull and scythe front this dark grayscale looking bottle, rendered in the spirit of such artists as Guy Davis and Mike Mignola. The clever double entendre of “Harvest Time” is not missed, but in case it eludes you, there’s a checkbox for both “reap” and “sow”. Probably don’t want to get those mixed up. – Mike

Gotta love the skull with eyeballs, and the reaper’s scythe is pretty sick as well.  Also, the black and white color scheme is pretty unique but haunting in it’s own way. – Rick


Color:  7

A bloody knife left to rust in a pint glass, and a perpetually lasting smoke ring head that’s about three millimeters thick all the way down the glass. How morbidly festive.- Mike

A murky unfiltered auburn with noticeable sediment and almost no head to speak of–just a creamy ring of color pressed up against the side of the glass that rather unexpectedly leaves a tiny little trail of lacing. – Tim

Like a haystack during sunset, this ale has a cloudy straw color with glimpses of golden amber.  The lacing is thick around the edge and mesmerizing across the top. Just as in moments when you can’t really tell whether you are welcoming day or night I am confused as to what to expect from this ale from Big Boss.  – Brittney

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


Aroma:  7.5

It’s not big, but there’s an undeniable element of creamy pumpkin cheesecake and a menagerie of spices blended so nicely, that it’s hard to single any one out. Having claimed an aim for subtle, I’d say they’ve nailed it. – Mike

It smells like a pumpkin patch baking in an oven.  It’s yeasty, vegetal, earthy and without question pumpkin.  The spices are faint but they are present, mostly nutmeg and clove with hints of cinnamon. – Brittney

Fresh cut pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg greet the intrepid imbiber with the trappings of our favorite fall libation.  However, the aroma is high on the pumpkin pie charts but low on the complexity scale, which worries me right off the bat that this offering might be all artifice. – Tim

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


Mouth feel:  7

Crisp medium bodied with a snap of flavor bursting on the tongue. Like many other unfiltered beers this one is low on carbonation so it’s super smooth and easy to put past your lips. – Tim

For as active as the carbonation looks, it’s definitely faint in the mouth.  It enters light and thin and follows through slightly creamy yet refreshing. The mouth feel seems to take the back burner allowing for the intricacies of the taste to shine.  – Brittney

The carbonation is teetering on almost flat, giving the ale a smooth swallow, but ultimately declares it’s a light bodied beer. – Rick

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


Tasting notes:  6.5

There’s a lush and buttery cream note to this, and it’s really quite nice, particularly since it seems to have laid in toasted marshmallow and rolled around in hops. The spicing plays an eventful part as well, keeping everything very well in check and in congruity with the nose. No surprises here, but it’s an impressively balanced ale. – Mike

Thirst first sip was a little shocking.  It starts off kind of sweet, then derails with a sour apple, ginger like dryness that I found to be pretty bitter and unexpected.  There is a generous helping of cinnamon in there, but it just doesn’t quell the sourness that is mostly dominant on the finish. – Rick

Caramel sweetness from the malts play against the high spice content and drown out any real pumpkin from the brew. Brown butter crust and a high concentration of ‘pumpkin pie’ flavor delivers a beer that, while not unpleasant, feels decidedly one-note. – Tim

M- 9 / T- 5.5 / B- 8 / R- 4


Finish:  7

This is where you will find that missing pumpkin if you really take the time to savor the finish of this beer.  – Brittney

I’m kind of thrown back and forth between the sourness of the pumpkin and the bitterness from the spices.  I find it strangely reminiscent of whiskey when I exhale, which I don’t exactly find appealing to this brew. – Rick

Pumpkin and clove seem to dominate the end, along with the toasted marshmallow element, and a woodiness mixed with pie crust for probably the most definition this ale has to offer. It’s a nice final stamp to the swallow. – Mike

A really clean understated finish as the sweetness from the malts are given over to the dry close of the hops–leaving you without any lingering unpleasantries (or much of anything else) on the palate.  I really appreciate a beer that forgoes the long finish and doesn’t compete with other things your palate might appreciate (like food). – Tim

M- 8.5  / T- 8 / B- 7.5 / R-  3


Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

For all the gloom and shuffling from this mortal coil labeling, this is down right elegant. Those looking for a wilder brew might find it a touch boring, but I find it a tasteful reigning in of all the elements of the “pumpkin pie” and not forgetting it’s beer, but not trying too hard to prove it’s either, and focusing more on pleasure, than poise. -Mike

It smells sweet, but all I really come away with is the feeling that I’m chewing on cinnamon. – Rick

If you take everything into account, from nose to finish and everything in between Harvest Time is very well balanced. – Brittney

Way more fresh pumpkin in the bouquet than on the actual beer itself.  It’s heavy-handed with it’ spice blend, even though no one spice superficially overpowers another.  This one would wear on you after a while. – Tim

M- 9.5  / T- 5 / B- 8 / R- 3

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

This might be one of the best beers I’ve had in terms of a sweet body masking a crisp dry, finish.  I just wish that level of detail were applied to the rest of the ale’s structure. – Tim

The light carbonation and body takes any lean toward this one being a little more on the sweet side away.  Again, taking every aspect into account the balance on this brew is phenomenal. – Brittney

There’s a good bit of sugar in here, but in a very unusual and subdued light, and still just enough of the hop gold shines through, particularly in the end. I think this is the perfect middle ground for a crew of people who might lean towards opposite ends of the bitter / sweet divide. – Mike

M – 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 7.5 / R- 4

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Light on the stomach, full on the senses, and completely devoid of being overwhelming, while at once consistently interesting? I could seriously drink this all night. – Mike

Not enjoying the sour, bitter, spicy combination on this one at all.  – Rick

Mark a few more pumpkin tallies on the bottle for me.  The body and balance of this ale make it super easy and enjoyable to drink. – Brittney

M-  10 / T- 5.5 / B- 8 / R- 2


Overall:  6.92

M- 8.50 / T- 6.42 / B- 7.83 / R- 4.66