Posts tagged ‘hops’

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

Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner – Elysian Brewing Co.

Hansel and Gretel

It’s no secret that the folks over at Elysian Brewing are just as crazy about pumpkin beer as we are. From their annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival (no relation, but we kind of wish there was), to their vast array of offerings that fit solidly in the pumpkin category, there is probably gourd in their fermenters more often than not. This little buddy is one of their newest offerings in the retail bottled selection, and it’s targeted right at those folks who might like a little less “imperial” in their pumpkin. Bonus points for the matching of German fairy tales to German beer style.

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Name:  Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner

Place of Origin / Brewer: Seattle, Washington / Elysian Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Pilsner / 4.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This beer is brewed with organic pale, Weyermann Munich, and Cara-Hell malts, with pumpkin added in the mash, kettle and fermenter. It is spiced with peeled and pureed fresh ginger in the boil and bright tank, and hopped with lots of Czech Saaz hops.

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Packaging:

Elysian never slouches on their labels. A folksy looking, fairy tale book illustration at style featuring the latest in pumpkin home construction. Gingerbread is soooo 1812. Today’s modern cannibal witch is gazing from the balcony, having underestimated the appeal of a house made of pumpkin to the craft beer aficionado, dread in her eyes.  – Mike

In keeping with the whimsical tradition of past Elysian beers, this ale features a kind of twisted fairytale landscape of ancient trees and pumpkin house – replete with scary old witch beckoning inquisitive children and adventurous drinkers into her happy, horrible home…for dinner. – Tim

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Color:  5.5

Bubbles dance quickly to the top of this yellow-orange brew. After a quick dissipation there is little to no head with an antiqued looking white lacing. – Brittney

A nice classic golden pilsner color, but infused with an additional cloudiness and obvious amber coloration from pumpkins. A simple and light frothy head settles nicely on top. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 5.5

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Aroma:  6

There is almost a saison quality to the bouquet. It just has that extra dusting of pumpkin which is noticeable under a heavy dose of ginger that allows the hops to barely peek through. – Rick

The bouquet is like someone threw a fresh peeled knob of ginger into crisp hoppy ale–blending that candied quality (think ginger biscotti) with fresh forest pine notes. – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 5

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Mouth feel:  6

When you combine a mouth feel of very active carbonation with the crispness of the fresh ginger this beer really, really snaps in your mouth. – Brittney

A touch fuller than the average pils, most likely from the pumpkin addition. It smooths out what could otherwise be a very prickly glassful. – Mike

M- 6 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 6

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Tasting notes:  7

The ginger mingles with the hop profile exceedingly well. It’s interesting that the ginger doesn’t have that usual zest you would associate with your sushi boat, but more of a bittering floral quality. It makes for one very dry lager. – Mike

Lets be realistic here, the only spice in this beer is ginger, and with that in mind, the profile is about 90% exactly what you would expect it to be.  It’s almost a digestif in that manner. As the fragrant root permeates all of my senses there is a little biscuit malt and pumpkin peeking through and a bloom of piney Czech hops that close it out. – Tim

Ginger often has a soapy taste to me and right off the bat you get a ton of it. Along with the hops this could make a great palate cleanser or wrecker. I can’t really decide and I just got an insatiable urge for sushi.  Once you get past the ginger there is a bit of a piney note to a pretty solid pilsner. – Brittney

This is why I love Elysian. They take experimental risks that produce some amazing unexpected results. Very earthy, and funky hops nail the bittering and floral aspects of this pilsner and have a strong presence without becoming too parching like American IPAs tend to lean towards. Ginger is a great touch, and at first seems overwhelming, but as the backbone of this beer it is balanced very well to enhance the pumpkin. – Rick

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

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Finish:  7

The ginger is strong and lingers, as do the hops. But for a final note, I have to say that the hops prevail and leave a strong floral essence. – Brittney.

Something of a one note beer, that just happens to display two notes – hoppy pine and spicy ginger root, with the bitter floral hops carrying the pilsner for a very long finish. – Tim

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

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Flavor balance:  5.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 4.5

Not so much balance here. The ginger totally dominates while the pumpkin rides shotgun, but it isn’t a bad thing and I actually think it is the highlight of this brew. – Rick

The pumpkin here doesn’t seem to be much of a flavoring component, so much as a contribution to color and body. It may take the biscuit notes and sweeten them a bit, but Saaz and ginger dominate this glass. – Mike

M- 3.5 / T- 3.5 / B- 4 / R- 6.5

         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

Surprisingly, this beer seems pretty balanced here. The clean ginger aspect could seem to create an intense dryness, but everything else seems to combat that and help pull it back to center. – Brittney

A malty front end is elegantly capped by a dry clean back end. One of the more well balanced beers in this department and I believe it all rests on the combination and interplay of hops and ginger. – Rick

M- 4 / T- 5.5 / B- 7 / R- 9

         Multiple Drinkability?  5.5

This is a tasty session worthy lager. It’s nice and light, but still a few shades from the gingerbread realm (likely because it’s solely ginger, sans baking spices). The only thing holding me back here is the suspicion that, as through the glass, the ginger would keep building with each serving through a sitting and, I for one, don’t enjoy sitting up at night bloated with burning ginger burps. – Mike

I’ve been wracking my brain for the best possible solution to when I would want to drink this beer again, or what I might pair it with to tame the residual heat and the best I can come up with is – if you routinely eat Chinese food on Thanksgiving or Christmas (A Christmas Story – Fa-rah-rah-rah-rah) then this might pair nicely.  Otherwise, a single glass from the 650ml bottle should be just enough as an after dinner drink. – Tim

M- 3.5 / T- 5 / B- 5.5 / R- 8

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Overall:  6.17

M- 5.83 / T- 6.17 / B- 5.58 / R- 6.92

Nøgne-Ø Pumpkin Ale – Nøgne-Ø

NOGNEO WEB

Today’s entry is pretty much the trifecta of metal-head excitement. A pumpkin ale from Norway offers all the dramatic promise of epic Norse battles, Halloween, and, naturally, BEER! It’s also a bit of a cultural milestone to be proud of for those of us stateside. Long (and for the most part, rightfully) have we suffered the slurs of our European counterparts of weak beer. But the tides are turning as craft brewer’s are on the rise, and we have the distinction of now having a few European brewers taking notes on what we are brewing as well.

That’s not to take the wind out of the sails of a brewery like Nøgne-Ø however. Head Brewer Kjetil Jikiun would look familiar to anyone preaching the craft beer gospel: the bearded hearty figure that’s half Viking raider, half mad scientist. And we’re certain that his mission is more than sympathetic with our own. Sporting the subtitle of “The Uncompromising Brewery”, Nøgne-Ø is in a battle against a Norwegian market more than 98% dominated by light, filtered, pasteurized lagers. They are major leaders of the Real Ale revolution taking place, and are the largest supplier of bottled conditioned ale in Norway. Fortunately for us, a few bottle find themselves across the Atlantic, and if you’ve ever had their Imperial Stout, you’ll know why we are grateful. So keep an eye on your shelves for anything from this brewery, and in the meantime, let’s get to sizing up this seasonal offering.

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Name:  Nøgne-Ø Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Grimstad, Norway / Nøgne-Ø

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 6.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This live ale is brewed with dried pumpkin, wheat, oats, rye, and barley malt. It also features English ale yeast as well as Columbus and Summit hops. In our correspondence with Kjetil, he told us that this ale was unspiced, and that his vision was to was to generate the illusion of a spicy beer through his choice of hops, grains, and his brewing process.

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Packaging:

Nøgne-Ø beers all have that very stark minimalist design that Scandinavians have such a fondness for.  The trademark “Zero” allows for some pumpkins to peek through the darkness and hint at the contents within.  But, hands down the best part of the label is the Head Brewer using the side of the bottle to tell you what a pain in the ass it was to make this beer!  So…you better like it. – Tim

Slick and modern branding at its best here. Nøgne-Ø has created an iconic identity for their bottles featuring stark labels and their trademark “slashed O”. This variant features bright orange pumpkins peeking through the logo against a pitch black field, leaving an intrinsic feel of “Halloween at Ikea”. (Yes, I am aware they are Swedish and not Norwegian). Though it may be overtly subtle to some, I appreciate the simplicity and cleanliness of the look. And if you pass it over on the shelf, all the better for me. – Mike

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Color:  8

A limpid pool of burnt sienna – just astonishing clarity. Sparkling smatters of aurulent and sanguine hues bounce around the glass every which way the light pierces, and sumptuous filigree spider webs spin down the glass with every sip. This is truly the prettiest beer I have ever seen and a shining example of style. – Mike

Fairly dark with a medium to full bodied appearance, it sustains a deep magenta and crimson glow throughout. Little to almost no head there’s just a few bubbles floating atop a toasted burnt caramel body. – Rick

M- 10 / T- 7 / B- 8.5 / R- 6.5

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Aroma:  6.5

The floral hops are what hit my nose first, followed closely by an earthy vegetal pumpkin and finished with somewhat caramel malt smoothness with a punctuation of spicy rye and hay. – Brittney

Even though this beer is from Norway, it’s aroma is deceptively classic American ale. A nice bouquet of hops and a sweet malty backbone flesh out this brew. – Rick

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

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Mouth feel:  7.5

Medium bodied and smooth, with a touch of carbonation on the center of the tongue, the ale has a lush and velvety character. – Tim

There is a nice bite here from the rye. The pumpkin smoothes out the body to medium-full, and the carbonation provides a noticeable bit more activity than first glance would suggest. – Brittney

M- 7.5 / T- 7 / B- 8 / R- 6.5

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Tasting notes:  7.5

Malty caramel notes join roasted squash and buttery brown sugar body, spicy bitter hops, and lots of bread crust. While this is clearly unspiced, it’s a very unique take on a seasonal ale. It’s crisp, very clean, and sessionable beyond belief. It you’re one of those guys who pooh-poohs pumpkin beer or hates spiced ales, give this one a go. If you don’t like it, then you just don’t like beer. – Mike

The more pumpkin ale I consume, the more I am struck by how few examples serve first and foremost as a well constructed ale.  Lesser pumpkin ales are often the definition of style over substance, manufactured because it’s what the masses expect, or rather accept.  This is the exception.  Bold and malty with dark roast notes and bitters. There are no spices added to the blend and thus nothing for the pumpkin to compete against.  It’s a true Pumpkin ale–sans the flash. – Tim

There is a great deal of bitterness and floral hops, light pumpkin and no spice. Earthy and vegetal with a touch of smooth caramel at the finish. This is a good beer, if slightly on the bitter end of the spectrum. I wish we could get just a touch more of the earthy pumpkin flavor forward. – Brittney

There is a nice natural pumpkin flavor present, but what really elevates this brew for me is the unique mélange of hops in play. Great floral qualities are brought to the forefront by the balance of multiple hops all without overly bittering the brew. – Rick

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

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Finish:  7

There is a huuuuggggeeee bready finish on this otherwise earthy and crisply biting ale. A bit of grassy, spicy hop pungency sticks around in the mouth for, well, pretty much ever. – Mike

Tons of floral hoppiness on the long finish, bitter, but bright with a touch of lemon and more vegetal aspects of the gourd. – Tim

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

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Flavor balance:  7

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5.5

Although there is no spicing, I think the pumpkin is still underplayed. There is a lot going on with the hop and malt combinations, which makes this a great homage to American ales, but somewhat buries the pumpkin aspects. – Rick

There is no traditional pumpkin spice, but the pumpkin is slightly overshadowed by the host of other things going on with this beer. – Brittney

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

         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

There is a touch of sweetness in the body, but ultimately this is an ale with a dry and hoppy profile that finishes long and floral. It works for the style but may be off-putting for fans of more dessert-esque pumpkin products. – Tim

This is a nice dry amber ale pushing into that hoppy red territory. Hops and rye bit abound, keeping this primarily dry with touches of caramel sweetness along for the ride. – Brittney

M- 7.5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 8

         Multiple Drinkability?  8

It’s a nice take on the pumpkin ale, and I’m very impressed with the handling and balance of hops and malt. It’s very impressive and just the right brew for those looking for light pumpkin flavor on the build of great American styled ale. – Rick

You can session this all day. It’s crispy, fairly light, and still screams fall. I imagine this is what pumpkin ale started out as with our forefathers, before it became the spiced libation we are so familiar with today. It’s exceptionally crafted, never cloying, and just generally gorgeous. Will it baffle a lot of folks seeking spiced ales? Yep. But I hope they stick around to appreciate just how well this little slice of America is made, even if you have to go to Norway to discover it. – Mike

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

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Overall:  7.25

M- 7.67 / T- 7.00 / B- 7.50 / R- 6.42

Pumpkinator – St. Arnold Brewing Company

St Arnold

While I don’t think any of us here at the GPBR are particularly religious, it’s hard to contest that we might be a little more inclined if our local bishop was a miracle worker with a mash rake. Arnold of Soissons (or Arnulf of Oudenberg depending on certain literary-historical versions and embellishments) was supposedly one such holy man. The patron saint of Hop-pickers, brewers, and bartenders, Arnold took many opportunities to shun titles, only to be let back into them before settling down to retire and found his own brewery / abbey. We can’t personally attest to all of the miracles and stories time has attributed to the man behind the saint, but historians generally agree that this brewer did a lot of good for the city of Oudenberg by encouraging the peasants to drink beer, thus providing a boil sterilized, pathogen free source of nourishment and hydration for all. To this day he is honored with festivals, and the famous parade in Brussels “Day of Beer”, so, all in all, today’s brewery has chosen wisely in adopting his moniker for their Texas based craft beer branding.

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Name:  Pumpkinator

Place of Origin / Brewer: Houston, TX / St. Arnold Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Stout / 10%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Originally released in 2009 as Divine Reserve No. 9, St. Arnold is an imperial pumpkin stout brewed with pale 2 row, caramel, and black malts. Joining the mix is pumpkin, molasses, brow sugar, and spices, along with a cascade and liberty hops. It took silver in the 2012 World Beer Cup for style and has the distinction of being St. Arnold’s most expensive beer to brew.

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Packaging:

Saint Arnold handles a sudsy mug of beer as he gestures to a star in a haunted night sky that is oddly enough in the shape of the great state of Texas. – Brittney

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Color:  7

This beer is black as night with a toasted tan head and floating yeast sediment. Once the head dwindles on we are left with picturesque thin lacing that sticks around. – Brittney

Not quite impenetrable darkness (I can see a touch of light on top when I raise the glass) and a halo of ivory. Is this a sinner or saint? – Mike

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

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Aroma:  6.5

Smoky roasted dark malt with sweet cinnamon and cumin on the nose – it rather reminds me of a chilly Thanksgiving spent with my Aunt and Uncle in Mobile, chopping wood for the fire and gorging myself on yams and pumpkin pie. – Tim

If smooth had an aroma I would say that it is this.  A good bit of cream and then cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Very spice forward. – Brittney

M- 7.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 4.5

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Mouth feel:  7

It’s not motor oil, but it is nicely viscous. A touch of the ABV shoes through, but it has enough spine to stand up to the devil himself. – Mike

This is a big body beer with a lush, soft, creamy mouth-feel and mild carbonation.  It’s an imperial stout all the way. – Tim

M- 8 / T- 7.5 / B- 7 / R- 6

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Tasting notes:  6.5

Saigon cinnamon, nice allspice, and sugared pumpkin forward, slowly melting away into bitter spice and smoke with a big hit of cocoa. Kinda like the terminator, minus the chocolate. – Mike

Bare with me here for a moment, this Stout seriously tastes just like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal—and I mean that in the best possible “stay up all night, watching old movies, eating it right out of the box” kinda way.   The addition of light cocoa notes and heat from the high ABV make this a beer for sipping, it’s intense, and maybe even a touch cloying from the sweetness, but the profile really opens up when the temperature raises a little. – Tim

Initially this tastes just like a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch. No kidding. It’s malty, bready, milky and then all cinnamon and brown sugar. As it warms you get just the smallest bit of pumpkin sweetness and then more spices at the end. – Brittney

It’s a nice light stout with some chocolaty notes. The addition of sweet pumpkin flavor just makes it that much better. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 7.5 / B- 7 / R- 6

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Finish:  6

The bitterness comes out to play big time here with dark malt, chocolate roast like 97% cacao, and a nice imperial funk that would make a Czar proud. – Mike

There’s a cinnamon and alcohol mixture that is dominating here giving this brew a really hot finish. It’s overwhelming, and I’m reminded of red hot candies mixed with coffee. Except this coffee flavor is like hour old coffee. – Rick

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

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Flavor balance:  6.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

If you close your eyes and focus on the taste of pumpkin you can find it.  For the most part this is a very spice heavy beer. – Brittney

The spicing is in your face, and slightly heavy handed. The pumpkin flavor is decent, but it seems to be overshadowed here by cinnamon, nutmeg, and perhaps molasses. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 6.

         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

It’s sweet in body, with decided breakfast cereal overtones but dry on the finish from the cinnamon and the ABV.  The issue is, it’s just a touch too sweet and just a touch too dry at times during the drinking process. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. – Tim

I am impressed with the s balance in this stout. The brew starts out sweet, and as it makes its way over the tongue, it finishes with a nice dryness. – Rick

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

         Multiple Drinkability?  6

If you’ve got a hankering for a dark, malty, actually taste the pumpkin brew the size of Texas, I reckon you can put a few rounds of this heavenly hell-beast away. – Mike

Definitely more of a dessert beer can’t say with certainty that this one is a prime candidate for a revisit, the High ABV and what becomes a somewhat monotonous flavor profile makes the original bottle more than enough for one sitting.  It’s solid, but I prefer my Imperial Stouts to have a broader range. – Tim

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

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Overall:  6.58

M- 7.41 / T- 6.67 / B- 6.50 / R- 5.67

Autumnation (limited release 2011) – Sixpoint Brewery

Have you all returned from your turkey and pie comas for another round? Admit it, in the back of your head you were trying to pick out the spices in your pie and rating them like a beer weren’t you? Or was that just us…?

With 2011 touting their first autumnal release Sixpoint Brewery is already making waves. Having just started canning their product for the first time this may, it may take a little searching to track down, but this brewery seems to be on the right track, with a focus on unique brews, new spins on classical elements, and some excellent marketing strategies, we’re definitely looking forward to what’s to come. I mean, how many beers have a you tube trailer? (You can catch a link at the bottom of this review).

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Name:  Autumnation (Limited Release 2011)

Place of Origin / Brewer: New York, USA / Sixpoint Brewery

Beer style / ABV%:  Wet Hopped Pumpkin Ale / 6.7%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Autumnation is brewed with pumpkin, ginger and white pepper, then wet-hopped with freshly harvested Citra hops, often less that a few hours old, from the oldest continually farmed hop farm in the country. Canned pumpkin is  added directly to the boil. In addition, 800 pounds of fresh harvested Amarillo wet hops are added to secondary fermentation.

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Packaging:

This is our first offering in a can and I’m swept away by the crafty appeal they’ve built in. From the metallic rust orange, with reddish accent line work,  the bold western feeling six point star mark, and a chunky text style and pumpkin wrought in chocolate brown, it’s one of the prettiest beer cans I’ve ever seen. Being a little taller than the rest doesn’t make it any less handsome either. Top it all off with a quote from Robert Browning Hamilton, and you just well may have one of New York’s finest. – Mike

It’s sort of fascinating that beer in a can has become such a novelty in the craft beer world, but Six Point is representing the crusher with this single pint ‘tall boy’ in a copper-hued can with stars and decals and an aesthetic that looks like  it’s channeling Shepard Fairey. – Tim

Unusual in this realm being that it comes from a can, this pints design doesn’t put a ton of importance on the pumpkin aspect other than a small outline of a gourd to the side.  The short description puts a lot of emphasis on the change of the season and the cycle of it all that gives us pumpkin ale in the first place. – Brittney

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Color:  7.5

Pours an antique copper–that almost mirrors the can– with slight opacity and a striking two-finger head with grand staying power and an degree of impressive lacing.  – Tim

Very opaque with a good strong head and decent lacing.  It’s coloring is the typical cinnamon pumpkin orange variation that is so common with this style. – Rick

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

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Aroma:  5.5

Very hoppy with a background of ginger and pumpkin.  I also smell a tart citrus, like grapefruit.  There is also an aroma that smells a bit like wet earth (I’m not going to say mold but you get the picture), which I’m assuming are the wet hops mentioned on the can.  – Brittney

Hop forward and spicy, with ginger at the forefront. I don’t get much in the way of pumpkin, unless I inhale deeply and let the taste settle in the back of my throat to procure just a touch of vegetable meat. – Mike

Grapefruit and flowers and tell-tale hoppy overtones are all over the forefront of this brew with fresh vegetal pumpkin touches of ginger. – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 4

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Mouth feel:  6.5

It has a good presence on the tongue with a light to medium body.  It’s really smooth until the bitter finish, but it strays from drying up and leaving a cottonmouth-like feeling that some hoppy beers can.  – Rick

Begins crisp and actively carbonated with a light to medium body and then mellows out to finish just thick enough to stay on the tongue. – Brittney

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

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Tasting notes:  6

Ginger and hops storm the gates, bashing their way past your teeth with a bittering-ram, and squarely punch you in the uvula. Then as it begins to slowly decay, the wet hopping subsides to a smooth but bitter pumpkin, that seems like it should be drying, but doesn’t seem to have that effect on the tongue. It’s interesting to say the least. – Mike

Stepping into IPA territory Autumnation is a delightful harvest ale with fresh pumpkin and tons of hoppy goodness all over the brew.  Touches  of malty caramel converge in the body and the sourness and acidity of the ale help push the brew into the Indian Summer realm of beers that work best with it’s still ahead of the mid-range on the heat index–which works well for Florida drinkers who don’t see true cold weather till well past Turkey day.  – Tim

Hops, Hops and more hops followed by spices like ginger and some earthy pumpkin.  This is dry and slightly bitter but not overly so.  It would take a lot to pick out that this was considered pumpkin ale if you didn’t know it was supposed to be. – Brittney

This beer stands out for it’s unique use of wet hops, but I think it flounders in trying to evoke a pumpkin ale.  The ginger is just barely noticeable and I’m left without any pumpkin flavor.  Really, the only characteristic that has any pumpkin like quality is the coloration. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 7.5 / B- 7 / R-  2.5

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Finish:  6

I taste like I’m sucking on fresh hops after rinsing with ginger mouthwash. It’s actually strangely appealing, but it’s certain to turn off quite a few. If you like them bitter though, this is a unique long finish that will hold it’s position on your tongue until you surrender. – Mike

This is the sort of finish that just kind of hangs out in the back of your throat.  Your mouth is left with the usual dry malt beverage battle scene and just when you think that is all there is there is a touch of hoppy syrupiness telling you to take another sip.  – Brittney

M- 7 / T- 7 / B- 5.5 / R- 5

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Flavor balance:  5.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

There is hardly any pumpkin flavor to this ale.  The can says there is “spice” included, but there’s nothing to sweeten this one. The ginger is a nice touch that works well with the citrus notes without being overwhelming though. – Rick

The hops dominate here making the breadth of pumpkin spices just barely register, or at the very least disclose in a more ‘herbaceous’ manner–however the fresh pumpkin on the nose along with the tartness of the gourd work well in keeping with the fresh nature of the ale. – Tim

M- 3 / T- 6.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 2

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

There’s very little sweetness here, but there’s a touch of burnt malt that offsets the dry body and finish of this beer in the backend to keep it from being overpowering. – Mike

This ale has a good balance here.  It starts off bitter and finishes with some sweet malts that peek through at the end.  About half way through this beer, it seemed to become less bitter and a little sweeter. – Rick

M- 5 / T- 6.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 6.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?

A pretty solid beer for sessioning, that masks the 6.8% ABV very well–which will be wonderful for IPA drinkers and those of your looking for a pumpkin beer that’s a bit more reserved than the ‘pumpkin pie in a can/bottle’ offerings that some more traditional brewers are pushing this fall. – Tim

Given the full pint can and intensity of this brew, nursing one is enough for me to enjoy the character and nuances here, without getting my tongue too burnt out for another offering. – Mike

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

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Overall:  6.17

M- 6.50 / T- 7.16 / B- 6.42 / R- 4.67

Be sure to check out the link below to check out this brew on youtube! It’s worth a watch!

Autumnation