Posts tagged ‘Elysian’

Punkuccino – Elysian Brewing Company

Elysian Punkachino

 

The fine folks over at Elysian brewing, if not the de-facto kinds of pumpkin beer, certainly are one of it’s most prolific producers. Between their ever expanding seasonal releases, extremely creative recipe twists, and an ever expanding pumpkin beer festival now entering it’s 10th year running with over 70 unique pumpkin brews, it’s hard to deny that these folks are as serious about pumpkin as we are. Obviously, we were more than hyped to dive into this years new mass bottle release offering (and extremely sad when we saw all the fest only beers we’d be missing on their website)!

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Name: Punkuccino

Place of Origin / Brewer: Seattle, WA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%: Coffee Pumpkin Ale / 5.00%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Punkuccino is lightly bittered with German Northern Brewer hops, and features a mash bill of Pale, Brown, Biscuit, C-77, Crystal, Chocolate, and Kiln coffee malt. It then receives a shot of Stumptown coffee toddy, lactose, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and follows Elysian’s trademark method of adding pumpkin to the mash, kettle, and fermenter.

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Packaging:

Elysian continues its winning streak for delivering fantastically spooky graphics to accompany their barrage of Pumpkin beers. Considering how many they produce it’s amazing they are all are so damn good, while other breweries that only manage one Halloween ale, can’t seem to get a solid label on the bottle at all. – Tim

Very cool and festive. I love the art for this one. It’s playful and bold and really sells the brand as well. – Rick

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Color: 8

Porter -like darkness with nut brown and ruby notes, and just a smidge less opacity, all crowned by a latte art worthy head. – Brittney

Significantly darker than to be expected for a traditional ale, bordering on a crossover between a hearty brown ale and a porter–perhaps a not-so-subtle reminder of the coffee appeal of this ale. – Tim

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

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Aroma: 9

This smells amazing; everything smells fresh! The coffee could have just been ground, the cinnamon and nutmeg recently grated. It’s delicate and balanced and extremely appetizing. – Brittney

Cinnamon Dolce cold brew meets toast. Giant malt breadiness. I really get the biscuit malt here and it plays very nicely with the cinnamon. So much so I want to go make cinnamon toast now. – Mike

M- 9 / T- 9 / B- 10 / R- 8.5

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Mouth feel: 7.5

The mouthfeel on this ale is comparable to a full bodied stout. It’s super smooth, somewhat creamy, and just bursting with flavor. – Rick

The addition of lactose gives the ale a silky smooth body with soft carbonation, we are bordering on Latte levels here. – Tim

Medium to full bodied and very creamy. Almost too creamy in my opinion. – Brittney

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

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Tasting notes: 9

Move over corporate spice latte, this is my new favorite hangover drink. The squashed based breakfast food you never knew you wanted. Pumpkin, cinnamon, and cafe latte blended against a pancake batter and fresh biscuit body. It’s epic. – Mike

The pumpkin presence is subtle in the body with toasty roasted malts and coffee providing a mild bittering agent. The cinnamon in the nose is pronounced in the body along with a nice medley of pie spice. The fullness of the ale verges on stout levels of creaminess making this the closest any ale has ever come to replicating a pumpkin spiced latte. Elysian has consistently crafted superior pumpkin ales, however due to my near obsessive compulsion for pumpkin coffee, this may stand as their single greatest alcoholic achievement. – Tim

Cold brewing in the toddy helps to bring out the essence of the coffee without the bitter notes. The Chocolate notes are more cocoa, the cinnamon and nutmeg really stand out as well as the creamy coffee goodness, but I don’t really get a lot of the pumpkin. – Brittney

The cinnamon and coffee flavors are the highlights here. A nice chocolate and coffee flavor is balanced well with a full dose of cinnamon that isn’t too hot. – Rick

M- 10 / T- 10 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

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Finish: 8

The coffee and spice are the two touches that linger the most to me in flavor. The intense creamy mouth feel would be the second. The first I’m okay with the second I could live without. It feels like I just drank a pumpkin coffee milkshake. – Brittney

This ale finishes like a rich roasted espresso. The bitter coffee is great here with the dryness of the chocolate flavor adding finesse to the back end. – Rick

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

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Flavor balance: 9

  • Pumpkin to Spice balance: 8.5

I’m really not sure how they pulled this one off but Elysian knocks it out of the park here. Balancing coffee with spice and having pumpkin show at all, let alone notably, is quite an achievement. To have them play this well together is a downright miracle. – Mike

I really can’t find any fault whatsoever in this from the perspective of pumpkin pie. The title promises a Pumpkin Pie Cappuccino and (even though it’s probably the only one in existence) this is as good as it gets. – Tim

M- 10 / T- 10 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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  • Sweet / Dry balance: 9.5

Sweet pumpkin and spice up front with a touch of bitter black and hops on the back. This could have easily been a syrupy mess of a palate wrecker, but we’re far in the clear here. It’s damn near flawless, unless of course, you hate coffee. – Mike

The way the coffee and chocolate flavors work together to balance this beer is excellent. I’m really impressed. – Rick

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

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  • Multiple Drinkability? 9.5

When it comes to the morning after a night of hard drinking, sometimes your stomach just needs a light roast coffee and soon after, a lighter brew to get back in the game. Punkuccino offers both in spades, and offers a refreshing touch for intense, heavy coffee imperials, bringing all your favorite flavors to an extremely sessionable brew. This should definitely please seasoned beardo’s and sorority sisters alike. – Mike

This beer is so good you’ll be surprised that it’s only 5% ABV. Full flavored, full bodied, a good pumpkin flavor, and with a low ABV it’s not too easy to avoid drinking them all. – Rick

M- 10 / T- 9.5 / B- 9 / R- 10

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Overall: 8.42

M- 9.33 / T- 9.08 / B- 7.25 / R- 8.42

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2012 Rankings and the start of a new season

GPBR All Bottles 2

It’s that time again. We are sallying forth to acquire and consume more gourd infused carbs than any human rightfully should, with the noble goal of ranking it on a list face-off style. Of course, no comic book battle royale is complete without finding out who came out on top, so without further ado here are our rankings for the combined 2012 and 2011 beers we’ve covered so far. With 60 beers ranked, and a bevy of others pumpkin libations covered, it’s not an easy choice. In fact, we’ve got a couple of ties on the list, so don’t get confused by the funky numbering. Likewise, we’re also breaking down our top five personal picks, and our lowest ranking.
The battle isn’t over yet though. There’s a bevy of beverages coming up this season, and a few surprises in store as well. So stay tuned, and start picking up this year’s offerings. They’re already hitting the shelves.

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Top 10 Beers to Date Score

10. Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery  Score: 7.58

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Named for Delaware’s famous Punkin’ Chunkin’ events (seriously cool if you’re a late comer to discovery channel this time of year) Dogfish took home first prize for this recipe 6 months before they opened for business in 1994. It’s brewed with the pumpkin meat straight up, organic brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Notable Quotes

“A very fine ale this is. It’s a well balanced beer that utilizes all senses to fully enjoy it. I enjoy the balance of malts and hops underneath the various spices that all come together to make this a great brew!”

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7. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale – The St. Louis Brewery *3 Way Tie*  Score: 7.67

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Schlafly is brewed with Pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, and features the use of Marynka hops, 2-row and Crystal malted barley, Munich malt, wheat malt, chocolate malt, and American Ale yeast, for a malty and slightly bitter backbone.

Notable Quotes

“The pumpkin at the front of this lulls you into a false ideal that this is a good representation of a pumpkin beer but nothing special. They then use the spice as their ace in the hole. It’s slightly over-whelming to the palate, but in a good way. This beer has just enough earthy pumpkin up front and an assault of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon at the end.”

Schalafly

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7. Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin – Uinta Brewing *3 Way Tie*  Score: 7.67

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.

Notable Quotes

“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.”

Oak Jacked WEB

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7. Blight Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing *3 Way Tie*  Score: 7.67
(No longer in production)

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Blight is the 9th of Elysian’s 12 Beers of the Apocalypse that were released monthly throughout 2012. Each features a label borrowing graphics from native Seattle artist Charles Burn’s apocalyptic graphic novel “Blackhole”. The brew itself is made with pumpkin, dark brown sugar, and fiery Vietnamese cinnamon.

Notable Quotes

“Sweet, sweet sugary pumpkin with a PTSD inducing amount of brown sugar and Saigon cinnamon. That’s all. Seriously. It tastes amazing, but it almost shouldn’t count as beer. Kudos on the coalescence of flavors though, this could have easily tipped into the cinnamon mouthwash category, but someone nailed it.”

Blight_02

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5. Fat Jack Double Pumpkin – Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Co.) *Tie*  Score: 7.75

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Brewed with Two-Row Pale Malt Blend, Caramel 60, Special B, and Smoked Malt. East Kent, Goldings, and Fuggles hops are then added, along with 28 lbs of real pumpkin the barrel. Spices include cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

Notable Quotes

“Wow. This is that deliciously burnt crust pumpkin pie reheat that you get the day after Thanksgiving. Piled in creamy goodness to keep it moist, and then finished with a slice of apple wood smoked bacon — because you’re the guy that eats pie for breakfast. The pumpkin tastes phenomenal, and there is no doubting of it’s presence. This barrel is bursting with squash, and momma slapped that hand away before it got too heavy with the spice. It’s got all the sweetness and weight of a Belgian triple.”

Fat Jack corrected

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5. T.R.E.A.T. Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter – Midnight Sun *Tie*  Score: 7.75

Specialty Prep / Individuality: This demented ale took home the Gold at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival, and is made with pumpkin, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.

Notable Quotes

“Thick with roasted malts, lush pumpkin, cocoa nibs, blackberries, dark fruit jam and molasses blending with a notable touches of cinnamon, vanilla and clove. The beer envelops, it’s sweet and bitter all at once with enough pronounced notes of alcohol heat to keep you warm on the long sunless Saturday’s during Alaska’s famed 30 days of night.”

treat1 WEB

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4. Slashed Pumpkin – Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub)  Score: 7.83
(No longer in production)

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Twenty-two pounds of fresh pie pumpkins are baked, caramelized, and added in the mash, boil, and fermentations stages along with pie spices intended to balance the chocolatey porter. ( This may sound familiar from their offering “The Great Plumpkin“, and with good reason.) It is then finished with chipotle peppers to give it a mild Smokey burn. Another nicety for some additional flair is the garnish of a deep fried Pumpkin Grit Fritter made with Anson Mills Organic Heirloom Grits, pumpkin, spices, and a drizzle of honey for sweetness.

Notable Quotes

“The pumpkin aspects are accented very well by the porter’s smoky qualities and the malty sweetness is just right without being too cloying. It’s a unique addition to a pumpkin beer, but the chipotle spice gives this porter a great finish.”

Slashed pumpkin

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2. The Great Plumpkin – Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub) *Tie*  Score: 8.25
(No longer in production)

Specialty Prep / Individuality: 18 lbs of pie pumpkins are baked and caramelized in the emporium’s bakery, and are then used in both the mash and boil to add flavor, texture, and sweetness. Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, and a new spice to our equation, Mace, are added to create a uniquely spicy and aromatic finish. Then it’s garnished with a skewered toastette covered in roasted and candied pumpkin seeds.

Notable Quotes

“Deep roasted pumpkin explodes on the palate while the malty spice keeps the ale dry and pleasantly sweet. The shining star here is definitely the smokey roasted notes though, and the garnish offers such a dramatic change in flavor profile, giving a completely different aspect to the ale. Try the first half without it, and then kill it with the toast. It’s a trip.”

great plumpkin

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2. Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing *Tie*  Score: 8.25

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Bewitched and brewed with pagan spirit, Pumking is brewed in tribute to Pủca, the benevolent Celtic goblin of fairy folk lore, who is both respected and feared, but notably a trickster of the highest degree. This beastly beer is brewed with 2-row pale malt, caramel malt, puréed pumpkin, and both magnum and sterling hops.

Notable Quotes

“Huge vanilla cookie notes–that are liable to send neophyte pumpkin beer drinkers running for cover–pop out ahead of pronounced cinnamon, sweet caramel malts and roast pumpkin flavors. It’s toasty and liquory with a background of clove, nutmeg and allspice. Tremendously complex, Southern Tier recommends serving at 40-degrees but as it warms up it displays cognac-like elements that are really unique to this beer.”

Pumking 1

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1. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder)  Score: 8.83

Specialty Prep / Individuality: All Jacked Up is a traditional style pumpkin ale brewed with 150 lbs of Tampa, FL grown Calabaza Pumpkins that are roasted in the kitchen by Cask & Larder’s Sous chef. The Pumpkins are then added to the mash, boil, and secondary fermented, based on the degree of char they received, along with mace, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and wildflower honey.

Notable Quotes

“I’m really trying not to be a fan girl here but Ron knows how to make a damn good beer. Just the right amount of earthy/squashy pumpkin with a honey sweetness, and just when you think it can’t get any better the finish completely blows you away.”

All Jacked Up 2

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Top 5 Beers by Reviewer to Date:

Mike

1. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder)   9.33
2. Pumking – Southern Tier   8.92
3. T.R.E.A.T. Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter – Midnight Sun   8.83
4. Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin – Hoppin’ Frog   8.75
5. Fat Jack Double Pumpkin – Samuel Adams   8.67

60. Sarnac Pumpkin Ale   3.25

Tim

1. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder)   9.08
2. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale   8.25
3. Blight Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing *Tie*   8.17
3. Fat Jack Double Pumpkin – Samuel Adams *Tie*   8.17
5. St.-Ambroise Citrouille / The Great Pumpkin Ale   8.00

60. Pumpkinhead – Shipyard Brewing   3.08

Brittney

1. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder)   8.33
2. Southern Tier Pumking *Tie*   8.17
2. Slashed Pumpkin Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub) *Tie*   8.17
4. Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing   7.83
5. The Great Plumpkin – Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub)   7.67

60. Avery Rumpkin   3.50

Rick

1. The Great Plumpkin – Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub)   8.67
2. The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog   8.58
3. Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing   8.42
4. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale   8.33
5. Dark O’ The Moon – Elysian Brewing *Tie*   8.00
5. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder) *Tie*  8.00

60. Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider 3.50

Blight Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company

Blight_02

THE END IS BEER! Okay, so you’re probably already getting over the whole 2012 thing already, but there’s more than one end in sight. This is our last review of the season, since it’s pretty much impossible for anyone to acquire pumpkin ale at this point. Fear not though, as we already have a fridge full of stuff to start reviewing for next year, and we will be back strong, digging deep into the plethora of craft ales available in the gourd category. For now though, we celebrate the end of the recorded Mayan Calendar with a decidedly Biblical scenario – Elysian’s 9th Beer of the Apocalypse: Blight. Happy Holidays and a fruitful New Year to all of our loyal readership, whatever you may celebrate, and don’t forget to tune in for the 2012 rankings update coming soon!

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Name:  Blight Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 7.4%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Blight is the 9th of Elysian’s 12 Beers of the Apocalypse that were released monthly throughout 2012. Each features a label borrowing graphics from native Seattle artist Charles Burn’s apocalyptic graphic novel “Blackhole”. The brew itself is made with pumpkin, dark brown sugar, and fiery Vietnamese cinnamon.

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Packaging:

This is a phenomenally cool label with cult comic artist’ Charles Burns art work driving the overall vibe of the ale.  It’s stark and creepy – lets call it fan-boy beer! – Tim

This label has some awesome artwork on it. Monotone colors with a woodblock look, it really fits the theme of apocalyptic brews. – Rick

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Color:  7.5

Cinnamon brown with a good bit of particulate. Yeah, there’s so much cinnamon in this thing that you can see it floating. Very mellow carbonation and a flash quick foamy head. – Mike

Copper penny hues with a nice amber glow, this ale presents a nice traditional coloration. Fine bits of sediment are floating around adding to the allure. A fine minimal head is left, with fantastic lacing following all the way down. – Rick

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

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Aroma:  8.5

Sweet, sweet Saigon cinnamon that brings a buttery brown sugar note, in and of itself, with a solid malt moment and a kick of spice at the end. – Brittney

This smells like Cinnamon Toast Crunch right down to the sugary depths, the bowling over of cinnamon, and a ton of cereal grains. Please pass the milk. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 9 / B- 8 / R- 8

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Mouth feel:  8

Mid-bodied with a nice soft carbonation–sweet and even a little spicy on the tongue. – Tim

Not too snappy, but clean with only a little carbonation and medium body. Very delicate considering the other aspects of this beer, which is probably the primary reason why it works. – Brittney

M- 9 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Tasting notes:  8

Sweet, sweet sugary pumpkin with a PTSD inducing amount of brown sugar and Saigon cinnamon. That’s all. Seriously.  It tastes amazing, but it almost shouldn’t count as beer. Kudos on the coalescence of flavors though, this could have easily tipped into the cinnamon mouthwash category, but someone nailed it. – Mike

Bold with a cinnamon bittering, like an atomic fireball bathed in a vat of brown sugar and butter.  It’s bready and fruity like a hot apple blossom, some touches of clove present, but the rest of the traditional pie spices are either lost, or irrelevant.  The cinnamon is so prominent that it really strains credulity to call this anything other than cinnamon beer.  But, it’s damn good cinnamon beer. – Tim

If you focus on the complete flavor you can taste the pumpkin through the intense cinnamon. However, the cinnamon is what most will taste as the dominant flavor in this beer. “This particular cinnamon known as Saigon Cinnamon, from North Vietnam is less tannic than varieties commonly used in commercial preparations. A high percentage of cinnamon oil in the bark imparts a lush, spicy aroma and an intense cinnamon flavor that pairs perfectly with sugar crystals atop crisp, fluffy popcorn, as comforting as cinnamon toast and as satisfying as a sugar-speckled doughnut.”  If you want to check out the popcorn version of this beer head over to 479 popcorn.com for a treat! – Brittney

Our pumpkin is more implied and overshadowed by the spices here. It’s a great sweet dessert of a beer though, hinting at a cinnamon toast like flavor with a brown sugar backing. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 8.5 / B- 8 / R- 6

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Finish:  7.5

There is a wicked tingle you get in the back of the throat as this ale cascades across your tongue and down toward the belly.  Not surprising–it finishes dry, but not parching.  Some astringency and woody notes of bark, which build the longer you consume the ale, but fade rather smoothly after a few minutes away from the pint glass. – Tim

Sometimes you have to taste something that almost goes overboard with a spice to truly appreciate what that spice tastes like and once you do you never forget it. Milky and drying Cinnamon, with a good bit of the malt presence showing on the end. – Brittney

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

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Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5.5

There is pumpkin here, and it’s the only other thing in this beer. Clearly, you were meant to bleed cinnamon into the mouths of your zombie overlords. This is post-apocalyptic marinade. – Mike

Pumpkin is overwhelmed by the sweet and delicious spicing. It’s good, just not balanced very well. – Rick

M- 4.5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

The sweetness present in the nose and body don’t translate to the ales finish where the spice shuts down what could have been cloying and shifts the balance needle back to even keel. – Tim

Brown sugar and cinnamon dominate the palate making this ale abundantly sweet. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 4.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?  7

This beer is more on the sweet side which is normally a deal breaker for me but I really enjoy it. At first the intensity of the cinnamon would have made me shy away from anymore than one glass but it really mellows out with the pumpkin and malt and I would gladly have another. – Brittney

One of these would probably be enough for a lifetime (which is likely all you will get anyway considering that this is a one time brew). I love it, but drinking two would probably make you shrivel up and die, leaving only your kissable fresh corpse for future generation of Dr. Zaius to extrapolate upon our primitive nature. Damn dirty apes. – Mike

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

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Overall:  7.67

M- 7.92 / T- 8.17 / B- 7.58 / R- 6.67

blight end

Dark O’ The Moon – Elysian Brewing Company

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for things of a lupine persuasion, or those of the stouter end of the ale spectrum. So it’s not difficult to discern that, in my household at least, Elysian has a winner here. Hope you all are able to get your hands on some of this before it’s gone. It’s certainly kid tested, wolf approved. Happy Halloween to everyone, and stay safe this evening. We’ll leave it to you whether or not to call out of work in the A.M. – Mike

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Name:  Dark O’ The Moon

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Stout / 6.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Dark O’ the Moon is a slightly smoky stout brewed with Great Western pale, Crisp 77° Crystal, Munich, Cara-Vienne, roasted, chocolate and Special B malts, bittered with Magnum hops ,and finished with Saaz hops and crushed cinnamon. Pumpkin is added in the mash, boil, and fermenter.

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Packaging:

Dude, this label art is insane! A collision course sized harvest moon headed directly for earth and a nasty looking skull faced lycanthrope. This needs to be the reissue album cover for Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon”. – Mike

A howling werewolf silhouette’s the front of a full harvest moon. Elysian tends to always give a little creepiness to their labels.  I like it.  – Brittney

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Color:  8.5

Pours up blacker than my twisted soul with some yeast flecks dancing in the glass–which was similar to Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Ale.  The head is the color of nice Café con leche that I anticipated would hold on longer than it did.  Still it settled into a nice, stout-styled ring and left a bit of lacing for good measure.  – Tim

Almost perfect. I dig the blackness of this stout and love the bits of sediment. The roasted bone brown head is awesome. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 9.5

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Aroma:  7

The nose is dizzy with dark chocolate malts, burnt caramel and charred pumpkin offset against a smoky darkness with notes of tobacco.  – Tim

You can smell the earthy, malty thickness in the aroma right away with notes of cinnamon and vegetal pumpkin following closely behind. – Brittney

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

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Mouth feel:  7.5

The roast malt smokiness lingers on the tongue. It’s smooth and viscous – definitively a full bodied stout. – Rick

Velvety and luscious on the tongue with a gentle carbonation and a surprisingly medium- full body, it coats and goes down super smooth. – Tim

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

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Tasting notes:  7.5

This is a fantastic mouth dominating stout. It’s think and has a huge presence. Pumpkin? Not a ton, but there’s a touch of bubblegum and cinnamon that might be the final screaming breath of one before it succumbed to the smoke and drowned in inky depths. – Mike

Bitter and malty with rich notes of chocolate, caramel, coffee and dry dark fruit (raisins/prunes).  Pumpkin is masked more in the body than it was in the nose, but the spices actually start to come though here with the primary scent being cinnamon.   Rich but not as complex as I would have liked, it has all the earmarks of a more American styled-stout like Bells or Left-Hand.  Very drinkable. – Tim

Lots of bready, yeasty flavor up front with a very roasted malty base.  Hints of pumpkin and chocolate peek through here and there with smatterings of cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also a slight bitterness towards the end. – Brittney

Great roasted malt flavor shines while being sweetened by the pumpkin and cinnamon. Maybe a note of clove, but probably just the nuttiness of seeds and a dark chocolate profile. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 8

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Finish:  7.5

The greatest part about stouts is the finish and this is no exception. Chocolatey and nutty with a pumpkin body, this one’s a real treat. – Rick

This is where the last desperate gasp of pumpkin and spice emerge in a brief sweetness along with lasting dark chocolate java notes. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 8.5

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Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7

For a stout, I give them all the credit in the world for showcasing pumpkin and spice, and by blending them into the dark chocolate and coffee profiles that are almost always overpowering, in a way that was actually discernible. – Tim

Malts dominate here, but there’s a nice interplay between the pumpkin and a nutty cinnamon. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 8 / B- 5 / R- 7.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 8

There’s actually a surprising sweet burst to this end, complimented nicely by the long and bitter dark chocolate / cinnamon exit. – Mike

The mouth feel and flavor tends towards the sweeter side.  The bitterness of the finish and touch of alcohol tends towards the dryer side. – Brittney

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  8

I love a good stout, and this one feels festive. I’m curious to make this into the ultimate Sleepy Hollow, the quintessential Halloween beer cocktail. – Mike

Of the darker pumpkin beers we’ve had, most have failed to really capture the pumpkin essence.  For me, Elysian are really at the top of their game here and this beer shows a deft hand.  I’d gladly drink another–and 6.5% ABV, I wouldn’t even be worried about a second bottle in a session. – Tim

M- 9 / T- 9 / B- 6 / R- 8

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Overall:  7.5

M- 8.33 / T- 7.75 / B- 6.42 / R-  8.00

The Great Pumpkin – Elysian Brewing Company

How badass! Someone named a beer after our blog. What? A beagle and some kids? Ahh…Well, Linus is probably a little under age for this one, and if that face popped out of the pumpkin patch, he’d probably need some new britches. Still, you can get your very own in one of Elysian’s Pumpkin Patch four packs, and celebrate Devil’s Night with us, or, you could sit in the yard and wait for someone to bring you one. Your call.

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Name:  The Great Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 8.1%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  The Great Pumpkin is brewed with both Pumpkin and seeds, Pale, Munich, Cara-Hell, Cara-Vienne, Cara-Munich and Crisp 45° L Crystal malts, Mangum hops for bittering,  then fermented with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice, along with additional pumpkin in the fermenter. It’s considered the worlds first imperial pumpkin ale, and took the silver medal in 2007’s Great American Beer Festival.

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Packaging:

Obviously we’re all a little bit partial to the “Great Pumpkin” moniker. But, I like the wicked scarred Jack O’ Lantern on display here too.  He’s a little tore up, maybe from some naughty trick-or-treaters or maybe because the dude who carved him had a few too many “imperial” ales before he started slicing an dicing (stay safe out there friends!). – Tim

A sack stitched jack o lantern gnaws menacingly on Elysian’s The Great Pumpkin logo. A quick description, a few nods to the beer and the brew house and away we go! – Brittney

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Color:  6.5

This one is a little bit different than the norm. Bright orange butterscotch coloring makes it reminiscent of a shandy style. A cloudy body with some yeasty sediment swirls beneath a bone white creamy head. – Rick

Maybe the most intense orange color we have had this year.  The last of a larger head makes me think I might be about to partake in a glass of orange juice, pulp and all. – Brittney

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

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Aroma:  7

I like that I really get oven fresh roasted pumpkin seed on the nose, along with respectable amounts of fresh pumpkin and a subdued spicing. An intriguing hook to those disenfranchised by gobs of pie. – Mike

It smells fruity and sweet, kind of like a gummy citric candy, yet still retaining a yeasty quality to it. Not bad, but unexpected from a pumpkin ale. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 5.5

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Mouth feel:  7

Deep end of medium bodied with a hefty bit of burn. It’s definitely an imperial ale, and even has a bit of an ice cold pumpkin vodka vibe. – Mike

I didn’t expect a full body from it’s initial appearance, but this one delivers. It’s really smooth and creamy with just a slight bite from the ABV. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 7

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Tasting notes:  8

Full flavored and quite fruity on the pumpkin end. The spice is incredibly mild here, not in a bad way, but very much subdued, playing a more astringent and drying role. – Mike

Earthy and nutty, the pumpkin seeds add wonders to this ale, the spices are full, with cinnamon, clove and ginger, sweet malty bread and a vanilla sugar blend together for bold fall beer, but that ABV isn’t nearly as well masked as I think they’re hoping for and with everything going on this beer could really start to overwhelm you. – Tim

Looks like we might have another one that knows how to present a earthly vegetal ale other than a spiced beer that might happen to remind you of pumpkin pie.  I get a lot of earthy notes and a remainder of a whisper of spice. – Brittney

For an imperial ale, there’s a great fruity sweet character here that’s a bit unique.  It’s a nice full body that has a warm buzz about it. Citrus, with an almost barrel aged sweetness to it, I can almost taste pumpkin Jolly Ranchers. An novel approach for sure. – Rick

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

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Finish:  7

Finish is long with  immense carry-over from the actual pumpkin in the body.  I can’t remember the last pumpkin ale that finished with pumpkin.  Unfortunately, it’s also competing with alcohol trails. – Tim

The  honeyed pumpkin finishes with an almost mead decay here, transforming into a sour and earthy flesh with hints of pumpkin seed, and cinnamon prevailing. – Mike

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

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Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7.5

More pumpkin than spice in the realm that we are used to tasting. – Brittney

The nuttiness from the seeds and the earthy vegetal gourd are very well set in the spice mix here and the spices never overwhelm the squashy goodness on display.  Very well done.  – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 8 / B- 6 / R- 8

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

This one is deceptive. With a cheek-full, it’s cinnamon-fruity –sweet, but on the swallow you’re left just a touch breathless, and a bit parched. – Mike

This imperial ale really shines in this category I think. There’s a nice vegetal sweetness that isn’t too syrupy, and it’s able to end with nice a dry finish. – Rick

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  7

The alcohol isn’t very well-masked.  It’s clear you’re drinking an Imperial ale, and it feels like it could get your lit up faster than Detroit on Devil’s Night.  I’m not sure my palate could handle more than two glasses in one sitting, but if you ever see me out, I assure you I wouldn’t pass up sharing a bottle with you. – Tim

I like to drink my beer not chew it. – Brittney

Overall, it’s a great beer period. The fact that it’s a unique twist on the pumpkin style really helps it stand out. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 7.5 / B- 5 / R- 9

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Overall:  7.17

M- 7.33 / T- 7.33 / B- 6.42 / R- 7.08

La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado – Bruery, Elysian, & Stone Collaboration

It’s that time of year again! Welcome to round two of The GPBR. If you’re just joining us, it’s worth saying that you might want to skip back to post #1 and catch up on how all of this stuff works, as well as a few of the exceptional beers we covered last year. For all of the old friends of the blog, it’s worth noting that we will not be recovering any brews we touched on last year unless they are specifically considered “batch brews”, i.e. limited series that should vary significantly in another incarnation from previous batches. Believe it or not, there are just too many pumpkin beers to cover otherwise. I guess that says something for the excellent state of craft brewing.

Before we march too far into the future, we’re going to call our own bluff though. Try as we may, last year we just couldn’t get our hands on some of the rarer west coast and north east brews (we’re located in Florida). This was one we just couldn’t afford to pass on. Yes, it says not to age it on the label. Oh, well. When you see three excellent brewers get together for a pumpkin ale, how can you say no? (Also, if you scour around a bit, you’ll find that this is still available in the nooks and crannies of the internet, and has aged very well all things considered).

It seems that there are plenty of inside jokes and funny stories that go along with this brew. I’d personally love to hear the one behind the decidedly loose interpretation of French in the name. Apparently, it’s a thing. It was brewed on site at the Stone Brewery (1999 Citracado Parkway), where the pumpkins used in the mash were also raised, giving us a touch of insight on it’s name and origin as “”The Heavenly Pumpkin of Citracado”.

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Name:  La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado

Place of Origin / Brewer: California, USA / Bruery, Elysian, & Stone Collaboration

Beer style / ABV%:  Dark Herbal Vegetable Ale / 5.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Collaborative ale forgoing the traditional pumpkin pie spicing, brewed with pumpkin, yams, toasted fenugreek, lemon verbena, and birch bark brewed on location at Stone Brewery (where the pumpkins were also grown). Warrior and Motueka hops add to the bill, as well as a bevy of malt including Pale, Rye, Crystal, Chocolate Rye, English Brown, Aromatic, and Honey malt.

Packaging:

Simple and to the point, this label is informative and has a touch of elegance. Three brewer’s logos stamped firmly in gold let you know its a joint effort, and the vine laden white logo let you know it’s an out of this world pumpkin beer. If you are semi-literate in French that is. I also enjoy that each bottle seems to have a different message from each brewer involved across the three. – Mike

Very simple and an elegant design for a pumpkin beer bottle, but you would not be able to tell what type of brew this is without further inspection.  I think it’s ambiguity adds to the professional quality of this three way collaboration and reveals just how seriously the brew masters took to crafting such a unique pumpkin ale. – Rick

The label is hard to read once the brew has been poured but I’ve had a love affair since this bottle found its way into our hands.  The label has a simple clean yet antiqued look with modern appeal and well-done text with a witty message. – Brittney

I love this bottle; it reminds me more of what you get from Stone, with the printing directly on the glass.  The back of my bottle (they are all a bit different) includes some thoughts on the collaboration from The Bruery.  Overall, a classy design that makes the beer feel unique. – Tim

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Color:  7.5

A deep dark caramel color with garnet highlights and a thick and creamy two-fingered head and leaves some minor lacing. – Tim

I love the dark oaky color that is presented while retaining a nice amber glow about it as well. The head is nice and thick, more likely to come from a strong ale than a pumpkin beer. – Rick

A dark murky amber body with a tan head that fizzles to an ivory lacing. Intentional or not the coloring once poured in a class matches the bottle nicely. – Brittney

Not what I was expecting but engaging none the less. The dried blood reddish brown elicits revolutionary ideas, a reminder of the all for one and one for all sense of three collaborating brewers with their hands in the mash tun. The Napoleonic powdered wig of a head is a nice touch too. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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Aroma:  7.5

The label tells no lies. Lemon Verbena and Fenugreek are not subtleties here. They’re loud, proud, and reinforce that pumpkins are plants, not pies. There’s also a back end of toasty malt and rye that lends itself nicely to the earthiness. – Mike

Fenugreek is an ingredient used in curry.  Did you know that?  I didn’t until recently. Am I late to the party? Maybe, but this is why when I first smell this beer the aroma reminds me of curry.  Once my hunger subsides I get a really great-mushroomed earthiness and then I am hungry all over again. – Brittney

Reading the ingredients list here, I was expected to be bowled over by the Lemon Verbena and the Fenugreek—but the aroma on this is actually more flora and hoppy with the verbena wrapping its bouquet around a complex mix of scents.  Unfortunately, I’m not getting any Pumpkin or Yams in there and I’m not getting the Fenugreek at all, so I am wondering if, because of the power in there, the Fenugreek is being kept on the down-low. – Tim

There is a complexity at work here that is atypical of this style. The toasted fenugreek is dominant with an eerily woody body. Pumpkin is barely discernible on the nose though, not that this impedes the quality of the nose in any way. – Rick

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

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Mouth feel:  7

Light and creamy right off the bat offers a smooth tasting brew. It does however stand to be slightly too watery in the body and feels deceptively light. – Rick

Far less heavy than the color would imply, the nose is your hint here. Refreshing and delicate but not so light as to be watery. It keeps this complex mix very approachable. – Mike

Medium to low carbonation and medium bodied. This would be the one aspect of this beer that I would not describe as complex.  The mouth feel does not attempt to do anything but provide a solid platform for the multitude of other senses about to be pleasantly attacked. – Brittney

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

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Tasting notes:  7

Creamy and mellow up front, with the eastern spices dabbling and them making a more pronounced entrance, leaving the throat on notes of char-grilled sugar squash and sweet potatoes. This unconventional approach to spicing makes it’s way up your nasal passages, and does a bit of a dance, which creates a uniquely and unabashed harmonizing of savory and citrus cleanliness. – Mike

This is a very different pumpkin beer. It is not a pumpkin pie beer nor is it a pumpkin vegetal beer. To me, the fenugreek is very noticeable followed by spicy woodiness. The citrus touch of the lemon verbena dreamily entangles itself throughout. – Brittney

I had some serious concerns based on the Verbena that this was going to taste like a bar of soap or a bottle of shower gel.  Much of that fear was allayed but I still felt like the Birch and the Verbena were battling it out for supremacy, and keeping everything else at bay.  The Pumpkin and Yams are still MIA leaving room for a touch of the Fenugreek (still less powerful that anticipated) and notes of coffee. Tim

A very unique twist on the pumpkin ale, this brew doesn’t shy away from an exploratory use of spicing that makes it a bold standout. It is the epitome of roasted pumpkins. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 6.5 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Finish:  7.5

A touch of sour bitterness (not in a bad way) accompanies the epically long finish that had me contemplating this beer for an extended period between sips. – Tim

I’m really enjoying the dryness on the back end here. I think the bold aroma of toast and fenugreek really emboldens the body and catalyzes each sip to a smooth crisp finale. It’s the great balance of spices that make this brew smooth to drink and imparts a peppery finish. – Rick

It lingers on your tongue and by lingers I mean my tongue is literally tingling with spice. – Brittney

The birch really pops up here reminding me of that strangely smooth bitterness of cold birch beer, and as the mouth warms the spice fades leaving a roasted vegetal note worth of any holiday side dish. – Mike

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

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Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

We lean towards the spicing here quite a bit, but it’s also the strength of this beer. The pumpkin and yam notes create a familiar ground to return to, and I like that just fine. It’s a very welcome mix up to the category of autumn offerings, which certainly appeals to the gourmet and multi-culturalist in all of us. – Mike

The spices used may not be traditional pumpkin pie spices but they dictate the pumpkin and yam.  Something makes me think that if we had heeded the warning on the bottle to “drink fresh, do not age” we may have had a little less of a dominance of spice. – Brittney

To be fair, it’s hard to judge the criteria for this beer against the usual suspects for pumpkin beer.  It’s not your traditional pumpkin beer, and I don’t think it necessarily works as a pumpkin beer, so to judge it on its own I found the Birch/Verbena battle to be a little too aggressive to call this a well balanced beer.  I still liked the beer, but it is a bit unharmonious. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 4 / B- 4 / R- 8

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

Definitely falling toward the sweet end of the spectrum—no doubt from the Yam sugars.  The beer has subtle Raisin notes as well.  It doesn’t need to be any drier since the Hops and the Verbena lend some IPA profiles already. – Tim

There is a great symbiosis at play here, and it all rests on the shoulders of the bold spicing. It’s sweet, clean, and dry. – Rick

Definitively drier, with the herbal qualities of a heady gin and tea mixture, all elements of sweet vanish as you go, with even a slight astringency appearing about 2/3 of the way through. Maybe I just need to drink more water. – Mike

M- 7.5 / T- 5 / B- 8 / R- 8.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?  6

If I had not had the amazing Indian butter burrito last night I might be able to have one more but at the moment I’m fenugreeked out. – Brittney

It might seem like I’ve been a little hard on this collaboration, but that’s only because I expect great things from these 3 breweries.  The truth is this is a very nice, relaxing beer, which I would include for a special evening.  It’s a palate changer—not a palate cleanser.  I would break this out, one at a time, on a special evening with friends for something a little different and a little special.  Session it?  No.  Buy a 6-pack?  Absolutely.

The crisp cleanliness of this palate combined with the enamoring intricacies it entails makes this ale something I could return to in multiplicity. Compare that with an astonishingly reigned in ABV, especially for this trio of brewers, and you’ve got yourself the ultimate warm autumn beer. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 6 / B- 3 / R- 7

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Overall:  7.17

M- 8.08 / T- 6.58 / B- 6.67 / R- 7.33

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company

With Thanksgiving on the approach, you better snatch up all the pumpkin brews you can find. Winter ales are out, and the stock is dwindling fast. We’ll tread on though, because despite industry pushing forward with Christmas lights before turkey day, we’ve seen far too many of these beers who’s pairings sound suspiciously like everyone’s favorite holiday bird and the accompanying accoutrements.  So stock up and hunker down.

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Name:  Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 5.9%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Night Owl brings a solid amount of pumpkin to the table, weighing in at 7.5 lbs per batch, and the usual core five spices are added during barrel conditioning. Roasted and raw pumpkin seeds are also added to the mash to give this something a little different.

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Packaging:  

I’m a big fan of owls, so it doesn’t come as a shock that I’m enamored with the regal image of the Great Horned Owl that graces the orange Elysian label.  It’s classy and very clean with a bright harvest moon in the background.  The only thing missing (aside from the color) is the pumpkin. – Tim

The seriousness of this ale is staring you in the face right from the beginning.  It’s a great rendering of the night owl that seems to be daring you to try this ale.  The only downfall would be that there is no telling that this is a pumpkin ale from afar.  It’s not until your up close that you realize what type of beer this is. – Rick

A daunting looking owl and a harvest moon are the only images we see on the label.  Our given description mentions pumpkin and spices per usual but this one also mentions pumpkin seeds with I’m hoping will yield a slightly more unusual flavor. – Brittney

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Color:  8

Dark brown hue with hints of copper and cloudy.  And by cloudy I mean opaque and by opaque I mean I can’t see my hand behind the glass. – Brittney

This brew isn’t letting any light through. Murky and rust colored, it has a texture edging on boggy, complete with ominous bubbling, rather than a head. – Mike

Night owl pours a deep, dense, burnt umber like rich pumpkin pie captured in the glass with a single-finger head and average lacing. – Tim

M- 8.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 7 / R- 9.5

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Aroma:  6.5

Pie crust holds weight in this category, in that it smells like sweet buttery crust.  The sweet malts stand out as well as a hint of nutmeg. – Rick

A surprisingly iconoclastic nose, featuring almost zero spice, opting instead for a sour, “we’ve lit this jack o’lantern three nights in a row” pumpkin base. – Mike

Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and Nutmeg all present themselves with some undefined fruity notes and nice balance of roasted pumpkin – Tim

The aroma is a little off putting at first to the point of an overwhelming bitterness to the nose.  It’s very slight and mostly vegetal and earthy.  I’m getting very little spice and just a touch more pumpkin out of this one.  – Brittney

M – 4.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 8

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Mouth feel:  7.5

There’s a good bit of prickle on an otherwise massive brew, despite the in check abv. – Mike

I’m not surprised that this one feels thick and creamy but the surprise is the medium body and high carbonation.  It has a lot going on just with how it feels in your mouth before you get to taste. – Brittney

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

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Tasting notes:  6

Yeasty with caramelized, bittersweet sugar notes, vegetal pumpkin flavors and overall broad ‘pumpkin pie’ characteristics.  Clove and Ginger surprisingly come through in the body even though they were seemingly not present in the bouquet.  On the whole this is an exceptionally complex beer offering a slightly different attribute with each subsequent sip. – Tim

Slightly sweet and malty at first, an earthy oak note develops before taking a turn for sour hops and clove laced pumpkin. Letting it warm a bit helps some nutmeg to emerge, and as crazy as it sounds, I feel like this offering must be intensely well insulated, because it seems to stay colder, longer, making it difficult to pick apart. – Mike

The subtle spices really lend to a great balance letting the pumpkin hold up well with the sweet malts and notes of brown sugar. – Rick

This is brown ale with a little something more.  It’s spiced with hints of pumpkin and maybe a pinch of caramel and it’s bitter, like – this makes the corners of your mouth turn down just a bit – bitter – Brittney

M- 6.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 7 / R- 9.5

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Finish:  7.5

As big as this sucker feels in the mouth, the finish is insanely smooth and clean, with only a paltry lingering of the milk sourness that is present throughout. – Mike

There is a bit of tartness on the end that bites a bit.  But, overall, it has a nice dry hop that accents it’s very smooth medium to full body. – Rick

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

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Flavor balance: 6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

The scales are pretty even on this one; you’ve just got to wait for both to show themselves. – Brittney

It hangs together quite nicely in this respect, but I feel ultimately the foundation of the beer is a little overbearing to either element. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 8

 

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

Neither one seems to put up much of a fight, with the sour element pervading, but if you had to pick, the burnt caramel hop vibe inches this one out by a nose. – Mike

The balanced bitter sweetness in the ale is complimented by the slightly dry finish and since the sweetness come from the brown sugar notes and not necessary from the malts it makes for an interesting comparison to a malty vs. hoppy comparison. – Tim

This ale stands to be slightly cloying and might benefit from being a little hoppier. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 6

 

–         Multiple Drinkability?

The thick bitterness would probably keep me at one glass but this would be a very enjoyable beer when in the mood for that sort of drink. – Brittney

This is a pretty powerful little brew, even with its moderate 6% ABV.  I could probably drink more than one but, I feel like it would wear on me after a while. – Tim

It has great balance in all areas of the brew, and holds a nice kick while maintaining a nice smoothness. – Rick

M- 3.5 / T- 6 / B- 6.5 / R- 9

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Overall:  7.00

M- 6.50 / T- 7.00 / B- 6.83 / R- 8.50