Posts tagged ‘Great Plumpkin’

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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!”

IMG_3153

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Advertisements

2011 Rankings!

Here it is folks! With over 35 product reviews this season, we’re breaking down our collective top ten beer rankings, our top five personal picks, and our personal brew to avoid (all of which are conveniently linked back to the original review).  So if you’ve been keeping track of who you most match up with taste wise, hopefully this guide will come in handy for next years hunt! Thanks again for following our little crusade here, and we hope you all have a great holiday season (and a fridge stocked with some epic winter brews).

Now without further ado…

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Overall Top Ten Pumpkin Beer Rankings                                                                     Score

10        Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Cigar City Brewing                   6.33

 _________________________________________________________________________________

9 (tie)

            Pumple Drumkin – Cisco Brewing                                                                         6.58

            Lakefront Pumpkin Lager – Lakefront Brewing, Inc                               6.58

 _________________________________________________________________________________

8 (tie)

            Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider – California Cider Company                           6.75

            Pugsley’s Signature Smashed Pumpkin Ale – Shipyard Brewery     6.75

            Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale – Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co.      6.75

 _________________________________________________________________________________

7 (tie)

            Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                  6.92

            Small Patch Pumpkin Ale – Tommyknocker Brewery                           6.92

 _________________________________________________________________________________

6          Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company                            7.00

 _________________________________________________________________________________

5          Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing Company                 7.17

 _________________________________________________________________________________

4          The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog Brewery                         7.33

 _________________________________________________________________________________

3          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                      7.58

 _________________________________________________________________________________

2          Schlafly Pumpkin Ale  – The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc.                        7.67    

 _________________________________________________________________________________

1 (tie)

 

            The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)            8.25

            Pumpking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                           8.25

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Mike’s Picks

1          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                             8.92

2          Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale – Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co.          8.75

3          Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                8.50

4          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                  8.42

5          Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing Company                        8.42

 

Avoid: Saranac Pumpkin Ale – Matt Brewing Company                                         3.25

 _________________________________________________________________________________

Tim’s Picks

1          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                         8.25

2          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                   7.92

3          Schlafly Pumpkin Ale  – The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc.                                7.75

4          Terrapin Pumpkinfest (Vintage 2011) – Terrapin Beer Co.                         7.25

5          Jacques Au Lantern – Evolution Craft Brewing                                              7.17

 

Avoid: Pumpkinhead Ale – Shipyard Brewery                                                            3.08

 _________________________________________________________________________________

Brittney’s Picks

1          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                                8.17    

2          Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                   7.83

3          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                     7.67

4          Pumple Drumkin – Cisco Brewing                                                                        7.58

5          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                           7.42


Avoid: Rumpkin 2011 Annual Barrel Series – Avery Brewing Company             3.50

 _________________________________________________________________________________

Rick’s Picks

1          The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)                     8.67

2          The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog Brewery                                 8.58

3          Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company                                   8.50

4          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                                8.42

5          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                           8.33

Avoid: Private Reserve Pumpkin – Woodchuck Cidery                                             3.50

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Great Plumpkin Ale – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)

I must admit, for a brief second Monday afternoon, my ego got the best of me. Perusing the Facebook page and the bevy of brewers we’ve friended since inception, we had finally achieved beer nerd-vana. “The Great Pumpkin Ale” it read. Sure, that could be any Charles Schulz fan paying tribute, but that couldn’t be. It was based in our hometown. It had to be us. Right?

Sadly, upon further inspection, our eyes (and perhaps our egos as well) had mercilessly omitted a crucial letter. It read upon deeper review “PLumpkin”. Now, had we been better acquainted with Shipyard Emporium’s in house brewer Ron Raike, it’s entirely possible he could have been taking a heartfelt shot at us. Reviewing beer isn’t exactly a low calorie affair. But we’re going to just try to forget our folly, and, well, drink this tap dry. We recommend you make it down to do so as well, and make it snappy, because as a part of their house brew series, Shipyard Emporium is certain to run out of this one before the week is out.

 ___________________________________________________________________________________

Name:  The Great Plumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Florida, USA / Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 7.2%

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.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Packaging:

This is where we usually get to talk about the bottle, the design of the label and anything else that is included that the brewer might think is important.  With Plumpkin our “packaging” was our local Shipyard emporium.  Our “label” was a chalk drawn tap handle with small gourd atop.  Our “anything else that the brewer might think is important” was well, the brewer. – Brittney

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Color:  8

Dark and ominously cloudly ale with ripe orange accents and visible carbonated core forming a misty head. – Mike

Such a great dark amber color that is full of life.  There’s no head or lacing to this draft pour, but the bronze color is so bold it reflects the massive amounts of pumpkin that were used to make this brew. – Rick

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

 ____________________________________________________________________________________

Aroma:  8

Cinnamon, Nutmeg and allspice blend well with the defined pumpkin fragrance. But, the standout here is the inclusion of Mace (which is the outer membrane of the nutmeg seed–not the self-defense spray!) adding something very distinct and aromatic to the brew that other manufactures are definitely missing. – Tim

It all hits you right away, the roasted pumpkin, the slightly more complex spices, sweet caramel, a touch of alcohol and back to the roasted pumpkin again.  The impressive part is that is all goes one step further. Yeah we expect pumpkin but you can actually smell the sweetness and slight smokiness from roasting. – Brittney

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Mouth feel:  7.5

This ale is super smooth for having such a full bodied appearance.  There’s almost no tingle from the carbonation, so you’re able to taste everything this beer has to offer.  – Rick

Despite appearing pretty fizzy, it’s less bite and more slightly foamy cream with a lot of body mass. – Mike

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Tasting notes:  9

Poured on draft at the Shipyard Brewpub this in-house concoction leaves visions of wicked jack o’ lanterns dancing across my tongue making The Great Pumpkin Ale a nearly perfect blend of the spice that is prevalent in Pumpkinhead and the depth found in Smashed Pumpkin. Shipyard would do well to get this recipe into mass production for 2012.  The brewpub even goes one extra step, offering a fantastic crusty bread garnish with sweet caramel and savory chili dusted pepitas that when consumed in conjunction with the brew and a lush nutty depth to the overall experience. – Tim

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. – Mike

If you could take all the great things from a few of the other pumpkin beers that have been more popular year after year and put them all together in one, you would have Plumpkin.  You get the real pumpkin flavor that so many others strive for; you get a complex grouping of spices that doesn’t overtake the taste.  It’s sweet and clean and delicious.  – Brittney

There is so much pumpkin in this beer it almost sounds like overkill, but they’ve managed to really grasp a great pumpkin flavor without being overly sour.  The spices are delicate here as well, making it boldly sweet in a great way, without resulting in a spicy profile.  Vanilla and caramel come to mind as well, making for one tasty brew. – Rick

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Finish:  8.5

Long and refreshing, the spice is abundantly present, but not unpleasantly so; particularly since it settles into smooth pumpkin at the very end. – Mike

A soft lingering finish with a touch of hoppy perfume.  Couple this with the garnish and you can really savor the strength of flavors on display in this beer. – Tim

This is one smooth ale.  It finishes sweet and smoky that compliments a great pumpkin flavor.  Paired with a roasted pumpkin seed and caramel garnish, the flavor profile becomes uniquely bold and smoky and overall, stands out in a crowd of pumpkin ales. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 9.5

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Flavor balance:  8.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

With 18lbs of pumpkin roasted and added to the mash you better believe you can get the pumpkin in this small batch wonder.  But for me it keeps coming back to that special something added by the inclusion of Mace.  A very balanced beer with a meaty, profound body and a magnificent mixture of spices.  – Tim

The pumpkin is overloaded here, but with great flavor.  The spices are just enough to make it nice and sweet on the tongue. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 8 / B- 7.5 / R- 9

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

I went back and forth dry to sweet and sweet to dry with each sip.  Certain characteristics made me feel like it was sweeter and others tended toward dry.  In the end I went with balanced. – Brittney

The caramelization of the roasted pumpkins adds a definitive sweetness to the brew but never an overt syrupiness or stickyness that would demand a crisper or drier finish to balance it.  It just lingers for a moment and then fades away.  Well done. – Tim

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 9.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?

While a good bit heavier than most session beers, this offering is so damn tasty, I’m probably going to drink more than I should. This keg is certain to go fast. – Mike

There are so many ways this is a winner that it would be hard to find someone that couldn’t find something they like about it.  – Brittney

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Overall: 8.25

M- 8.42 / T- 7.92 / B- 7.67 / R- 8.67