Posts tagged ‘Mace’

Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Dry Dock Brewing

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


Name: Dry Dock Imperial Pumpkin Ale

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

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

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



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

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


Color: 6.5

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

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

M – 7 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 5


Aroma: 7.5

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

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

M – 7.5 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 7.5


Mouth feel: 7.5

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

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

M – 8 / T- 7 / B- 7.5 / R- 8


Tasting notes: 8.5

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

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

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

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

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


Finish: 7.5

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

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

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


Flavor balance: 7.5

  • Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7.5

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

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

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

  • Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

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

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

M – 10 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 7.5

  • Multiple Drinkability? 7.5

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

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

M – 10 / T- 6.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 7.5


Overall: 7.50

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

All Jacked Up – Cask & Larder (Ron Raike)

Today we visit another local gem that is sure to soon become firmly seated into a regular haunt.  From the minds of  James and Julie Petrakis, owners of the near infamous gastropub “The Ravenous Pig”, we give you “Cask & Larder”. We’re talking prime cuisine here folks, and with none of the uppity attitude to boot.

Cask is a re-imagining of the historic “Harper’s Tavern”, down to it’s southern inspired grub with a clever flair, family style whole cookery, and it’s extensive single pour whiskey list. To top it all off, Cask has employed one of our favorite local brewers, Ron Raike, to create a bevy of beverages tailor made for their menu pairings, with year round taps getting seasonal twists, and a few rotating pours to boot. We’ve sampled his creative beers before, from the infamous Ham Hock infused “Hammer Time”, to the Rum & Fruit vibe shift beer “Shifty”, and even nailing staples styles with their “Old Southern Wit”, and “5-Points IPA” (that they can barely keep on tap at 10 keg capacity per brew). Combine that with a number of collaborations with regional big shot craft breweries (and an upcoming beer pairing dinner going toe to toe with Cigar City), it’s not hard to find that the man is nothing short of prodigious. Suffice to say, we’re honored to have him pouring his kind of therapy in our town. We urge you to swing in as soon as possible and soak it in before the taps change once more. Oh, and check the bump below for some photos from our tour through the brew house.


Name:  All Jacked Up

Place of Origin / Brewer: Florida, USA / Cask & Larder (Ron Raike)

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 6.9%

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.


Packaging: A lone pumpkin impaled upon the spire of a tap handle. This one if draught only.



Color:  8.5

Sticky tan lacing and a murky head top off a glowing chestnut-amber liquid that is delivered to the table in traditional pilsner glasses. The suspense is killing me. – Brittney

Poured directly from the tap into a pilsner, this seasonal burns a deep burnt orange glow with ruby highlights and a soft opacity.  The single-finger dark crème head just kissed the rim of the glass and dissipated slowly leaving some nice lace in its wake. – Tim

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


Aroma:  9

Allspice, butter-crusty malt, honey, and squashy pumpkin abound. Notes of nutmeg and clove highlight. Rich, harmonious, and clean. Absolutely mouthwatering. – Mike

One of the best parts about this ale is the wonderful aroma. It smells like super sweet pumpkin and cinnamon followed closely by nutmeg. There is also a slight hint at a bit of honey sweetness. This aroma truly makes your mouth water in anticipation of each sip. – Rick

M- 10 / T- 9.5 / B- 8 / R- 9


Mouth feel:  8.5

Each sip reveals it’s frothy medium-full body with a great presence on the tongue. There’s also a nice tang present that imbues a slight sour taste. – Rick

This is the very definition of medium bodied, with a refreshing bite that leads to a creamy and smooth swallow.  Gentle and foamy with only a mild amount of carbonation. – Tim

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


Tasting notes:  9

Brown sugar and sweet honey with ample nutmeg and roasted pumpkin flesh. There’s earthy mace and wood in the back with cedar qualities, and a bit of vegetal murk from a swish around the mouth. – Mike

My mother makes a pretty epic pumpkin bread that sorta ‘steams’ in the oven, then she wraps and chills it and we eat it cold.  It’s lush and velvety and dangerously delicious.  This is the liquid equivalent of that.  The spices explode on the palate and perfume my senses with a barrage of Autumnal extravagance. The lineup is a who’s who of textbook pumpkin spices followed by an earthy veggie back-end from the Calabaza pumpkins and a gentle sweetness from the wildflower honey.   I really can’t imagine a more perfect balance of meaty pumpkin in a sonata of spices.  I really want to find a flaw here, but I can’t.  This tastes like home. – Tim

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. – Brittney

This brew has a great sweet pumpkin backbone to it’s body that all the other elements seem to compliment very well. It’s spicy, leaning towards peppery notes, and the wildflower honey really shines on the finish to offset this. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 10 / B- 8.5 / R- 7.5


Finish:  9

This literally made me stop and say “wow”. After a generously sweetened body, the swallow is enormously clean as it transitions into a bittering wheat textured dryness, and then back into a sweet cinnamon vanish. – Mike

Each sip is refreshing with a nice bitter-clean finish. There’s a peppery bite to it that mingles with the mace spicing, but the wildflower honey really helps balance all of these elements into one cohesive exit that prepares you for the next sip. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 9 / R- 8


Flavor balance:  9

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 8.5

Super balanced between the earthy squash flavor and the sweetness of the honey all presented on a foundation of a great combination of earthy spice. – Brittney

We foray into such a complex spicing here, but each nuance really shines in the fray, and our pumpkin never seems to cease. – Mike

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 8.5

I think the finish here, could conceivably put some pumpkin ale drinkers off—if only because they would want to savor the beer for just a little bit longer. However, I think the sweetness from the wildflower honey in the body is wonderful and it carries a few tell-tale floral notes into the crisp and clean finish.  In my opinion (which let’s face it, all of this is) this is an exceptionally balanced beer. – Tim

This ale takes you from sweet to dry and back again ending on a subtle sweet note. The use of the honey provides just enough mellow sweetness that it doesn’t take over. – Brittney

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  9.5

This must be the pinnacle of pumpkin beers, fresh, crisp, bready, yeasty, spicy, balanced, and harmonious beyond belief.  I could think of no better ale to carry me throughout the season.   Drink it while you can, beg them to make more.  It’s damn near perfect in every sense. – Tim

A nice hit of alcohol. A smooth and delicious ale with exceptional balance. I’m impressed. Come and get it before it’s gone. – Mike

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


Overall:  8.83

M- 9.33 / T- 9.08 / B- 8.33 / R- 8.00

A brisk trip through the tap fridge with Brew master Ron Raike.

The brew house, where it all goes down. It’s worth noting that you can make special reservations to dine in here.

Said casks; we didn’t get to visit the larder, but the sheer amount of sweet, sweet pork fat on the menu should speak for itself.

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.



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