Posts tagged ‘cocktails’

O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer – O’Fallon Brewery

OFallon

We had a brief lull in events there for a moment, but now that it’s a stones throw to October, we are back and kicking into full steam. Today’s competitor is a cult classic in some parts, and a major competitor for pumpkin party beer across the country. So with out further ado, lets dig into it!

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Name: O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer

Place of Origin / Brewer: O’Fallon, MO / O’Fallon Brewery

Beer style / ABV%: Pumpkin Ale / 5.60%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer is brewed by adding 136 pounds of real pumpkin to a mash of pale malt, caramel 90, and white wheat, which is lightly hopped with Cluster hops. Once finished it is spiced with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.

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Packaging:

There’s a lot to be said for simplicity and O’Fallon, with its Baseball Team-styled brewery logo, delivers. Featuring a skewed Jack O’Lantern and a few fall leaves floating against a black backdrop, the label is clear and concise but sadly lacking any expansion on the style, spice content, or even the ABV. – Tim

I’m gonna be honest here, this label -while unfailingly communicating it’s contents- ain’t sexy. I’m sure it’s tradition, but it might be time for an update. – Mike

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Color: 5.5

Lots of action right away from the carbonation, leaving a nice billowing head. It’s a super clean transparent ale that gives light to a reddish pale and golden malt glow. – Rick

This looks quite a bit more appealing than the label. Gorgeous clarity, nice carbonation levels, and a pillow top ivory head that sticks around for a good bit. An autumn amber the color of turning leaves. Now if only it wasn’t 97 degrees outside… – Mike

M- 7 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 4

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Aroma: 6.5

Musty, earthy pumpkin at first whiff, followed by the sweetness of sugar and touch of cinnamon spice. There’s a slight roasted caramel malt quality as well. – Brittney

A bit of brown sugar and some cinnamon really blend well to concoct a nice sense of homemade apple pie crust. A touch of raisin is fairly detectable as well as some toffee. – Rick

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

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Mouth feel: 5

Light and slightly slick but not as snappy as I would have guessed from the amount of carbonation when poured. Definitely settles into almost a flatness. – Brittney

Tongue burn from the high carbonation gives way to crisp ale with a bright but slightly thin body. – Tim

M- 6.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 5 / R- 5

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Tasting notes: 6

Cinnamon and Nutmeg soar to the forefront with sweet cream and pumpkin following shortly behind. It’s a pretty spot on semblance of canned pumpkin pie that’s been topped with a dollop of whipped creams, and has a biscuity – graham cracker crusty back. – Mike

With an overall pumpkin pie profile of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove the mixture lacks any real substance which unfortunately matches up with the body. Toasted malt and some hop bitters try to work their complex magic but the lack of any real presence gives the ale more of a late-summer lager profile and not enough fall goodness. – Tim

This one is not overwhelming in any category. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove are all there but only the cinnamon really lingers making it fairly dominating. There is a bit of pumpkin serving as a solid foundation for the spices, but it’s a bit sweet for my tastes. – Brittney

I enjoy the subdued mix of flavors here. This beer has some nice qualities but it seems closer to a fruit beer or a cider than a pumpkin ale. The minimal pumpkin allows for some cinnamon, apple, and raisin flavors to take front row. It isn’t too exciting, but I find this beer could make a nice introduction to the style and broaden ones appreciation for pumpkin ales. – Rick

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

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Finish: 6

Lingering pumpkin sweetness as the spice fades and a touch of the more bitter side of molasses roast and clove give it a drying quality. Fairly lengthy, but pleasing enough. – Mike

This is a very smooth and watery beer with a slightly bitter finish that caps each sip well. It’s easy to drink and light on the palate making it very session-able. – Rick

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

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Flavor balance: 7

  • Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7

The pumpkin is MIA but for the illusion presented in the spice profile. Which, while on paper seems like a fine balance of pie spices, sadly it just doesn’t amount to enough overall bang for your buck. – Tim

There is a solid presence of malt, which lends some presence to the pumpkin, but the spice is very prominent here, making it feel a bit out of check. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 4 / B- 8 / R- 7

  • Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

It seems to start with unced sweetnesss, but as the glass warms a pleasant, subtle complexity begins to emerge along with breadier malts and a spicy bite. – Mike

Well done. This beer seems like it could lean towards cloying at any moment and completely ruin it for me, but there’s a nice balance here akin to dry apple juice. The watery body and mouthfeel play a big part in keeping the sweetness at bay. – Rick

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

  • Multiple Drinkability? 6

While you’re still waiting for the mercury to drop below the boiling point, you could easily put away a few of these ales. The inoffensive 5.5% ABV won’t wreck your afternoon, but with so many other great pumpkin beers on the market, this one is hardly worth running out and stockpiling. – Tim

In a world of gigantic cloying imperial pumpkins, this is a pretty respectable session brew. Not too heavy for milder autumns and enough weight for cooler climates, it plays to both the refreshing and pleasantly boozy crowd. Compared to others in it’s class, it’s nicely balanced and has some notable pumpkin which is a change of pace for anything under 10%. This is an excellent gateway beer to the style. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 4 / R- 6

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Overall: 6.00

M- 7.16 / T- 5.42 / B- 5.66 / R- 5.58

Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka – Beam, Inc.

pinnacle vodka

Those of you familiar with Pinnacle’s branding will already know they branch out into some pretty wild flavors. While not a huge fan of vodka myself, I have definitely been lured by my own curiosity to try some of their more unusual flavors (I have a weak spot for Swedish Fish and Cotton Candy, both of which play into their flavor spectrum).

One of their newer releases, Pumpkin pie has only been on the market for about a year so far, so for those of you who like pumpkin in all of their alcohol, we delved into the bottle to see how their transition over to their new ownership, Beam, Inc., is going.

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Name: Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka

Place of Origin / Distiller:  France / Beam, Inc.

ABV: 35%

Specialty Prep/ Individuality:

Pinnacle Vodka has the distinction of being the fastest growing spirits brand for the past three years running. Like all of their spirits, this seasonal release is distilled from French Wheat and features imitation flavoring. A 750 mL bottle retails for approximately $12.99.

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 The first thing that strikes you after opening the bottle is not so much pumpkin, but an overwhelming sense of butter cream frosting. It is accompanied by a bit of nuttiness, and warm cinnamon sugar toast, (the latter of which is probably a quality imparted by its wheated origins).

To get a full spectrum of the vodka, we made four different drinks with it. The first neat, the second, a pumpkin martini, third, a twist on the classic screwdriver, and the fourth, a little concoction we put together and like to call “Pumpkin Butter”.

Despite initial reservations, Pinnacle performed very well as a neat / rocks drink. The butter cream aspect was still prevalent, but settles more into a creamy pumpkin icing, with pronounced powdered sugar / bubble gum notes, some light spice, and a nice bit of bready pie crust. The addition of an ice chunk makes it exceptionally smooth, and relieves even the slightest hint of alcohol burn. It may not hold the highfalutin attitude of other brands, but it certainly yields a particularly easy sipping drink.

The second recommendation was a pumpkin pie martini, and while it didn’t perform quite as well here, the addition of a spritz of dry vermouth definitely brings out the wheat body of the spirit for the drinker who actually likes to taste the vodka. The addition of a pie spiced rim did a lot for bringing more of a traditional pumpkin pie quality to the drink though, as well as some needed balance to the pure sweetness of the flavoring.

In the screwdriver style cocktail the pumpkin qualities, frankly, tend to get pretty well lost. Instead, the primary difference here seems to be the huge whipped cream note, making the cocktail more Dreamsicle than pie. All in all, it vanishes easily and is inoffensive, but doesn’t stand up enough to warrant using the flavor over any other vodkas.

My favorite creation of the night (admittedly, likely because I built it to my own taste) was my “Pumpkin Butter” cocktail. (Made from 2 oz of the vodka, ½ oz of cacao infused brandy, ½ oz of hazelnut liqueur, a bar spoon of maple syrup and a splash of cream). The combination seems to help push the pumpkin pie idea to the forefront, and provides a nice mix of creamy, wheat, and nuttiness landing the drink firmly between a White Russian and a pumpkin cream cheese bagel. The Dude abides.

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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.