Posts tagged ‘Missouri’

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

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Count Orlok Black Pumpkin Ale (Revolution Series #666 STL) – Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

Orlock II

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but the estate of Bram Stoker would probably disagree. Feel as you may about the overwhelming plethora of blood sucking freaks that have made their way pervasively through popular culture, there is no denying that some rip offs are better than others. On that subject, the seminal 1922 release of “Nosferatu” certainly rises to the head of the glass, so to speak. During the first World War, Germany had essentially banned all foreign films, and the side effect was the rise of the German Expressionist movement. Combining geometric absurdist design with intellectual explorations of dark themes, the films became a massive influence on many filmmakers, and remain cult classics to this day. Of course, while the presentation may have been wholly original, Nosferatu encountered more than a bit of a problem in borrowing content, namely the underlying plot of a slightly more famous vampire, “Count Dracula”.

Despite the iconic performance of Max Shrek as the less than suave, more than terrifying, rodent faced “Count Orlok”, there is no scorn quite like that of a widowed Florence Stoker. Perhaps rightfully, but nonetheless unfortunately, a court order was issued deeming the work a thinly veiled infringement of copy-written work, and all copies were ordered destroyed. It’s hard to keep a vampire dead though, and lurking about the shadows of Europe, a single print was recovered, copied by fans, and finally, distributed to become the silent iconic horror masterpiece adored by so many today.

Since it is now in the public domain, you can jump to the bottom of the blog to watch the full movie and download a copy for yourself. Happy Halloween!

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Name:  Count Orlok Black Pumpkin Ale (Revolution Series #666 STL)

Place of Origin / Brewer: St. Louis, MO / Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Black Pumpkin Wheat Ale / 5.4%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This German inspired bier noir is brewed with Golden Delicious pumpkins and features Pale & Munich malts, along with German wheat and Opal hops, a Bavarian yeast strain, and pie spices.

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Packaging:

I think it should be said for the purposes of full disclosure that I am a huge student of silent films (I even have Lon Chaney Sr. tattooed on my arm).  So, I’m pre-disposed to be a raging fan boy over this “Revolution Series #666” bottling from Urban Chestnut, featuring the singularly creepy Count Orlok.  The Count, a vampire, was a character that F.W. Murnau christened in the 1922 film Nosferatu to avoid a lawsuit with Bram Stoker’s widow over the name Dracula.  And even though Vampires drink blood–I’m sure an exception can be made for this “Black Pumpkin Ale” around Halloween time. – Tim

Really cool “Nosferatu” themed design, fits the season and haunts my fridge. I’m a sucker for horror themes and this one takes the cake. – Rick

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Color:  7

Pours a murky mahogany brown color with very little head and the thinnest of white lacing around the edges. Due to the complete opaqueness of the class the only place you can catch the slight carbonation is at the top. – Brittney

A deep and opaque chestnut brown. Nearly black, but not quite. It sounds a lot less sexy to call it a REALLY DARK BROWN PUMPKIN ALE though, right? There is a nice single finger off white head (my color palate suggests “Fawn”), and the glass appears rather still, but who knows what bubbles are lurking among the shadows? – Mike

M- 8 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 8

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Aroma:  6.5

Lots of nice floral yeast notes mingling with dry black malts. There is a silky sweetness floating over a mixture of oats and barley. It smells just like I imagined a black pumpkin wheat would.- Rick

So far this smells like sour ale. On second and third pass you start to get more of the sweetness of the pumpkin and a flash of cinnamon and clove. – Brittney

M- 7 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 5.5

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Mouth feel:  6.5

I’m really enjoying the mouth feel of this one.  It’s a solid medium bodied beer that is not too crisp and not too syrupy.  The carbonation isn’t offensive but there is enough of it that the sips aren’t boring and flat either. – Brittney

Much thinner than expected, I have to remind myself that this is a Black Ale and not a stout or porter, but even then it’s a touch too watery for my tastes and the carbonation is much lighter than the initial pour would suggest – which compounds the problem as well. -Tim

M- 7 / T- 5.5 / B- 8 / R- 6

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Tasting notes:  6.5

Charmingly subtle Dunkelweizen grains and mild sweetness on the first sip and the, as the fluid unassumingly sloshes around your maw, hearty pumpkin pie creeps out to snatch your taste buds away under their dark veil of liquid bread. – Mike

Vampires, as they are, have notorious reactions to garlic–of which this ale has none.  However, were cloves our rat-fanged anti-hero’s kryptonite, then this would be the ale to avoid like the plague–as clove is the undying profile on display here.  Some roasted pumpkin flesh and dark malts come into play, but for the most part this ale is studded with more clove than a holiday ham. – Tim (editors note: Tim doesn’t like too much clove).

I get a lot of roasted malt and wheat in the front of the flavor. What little pumpkin I smelled in the aroma has weakened and the only spice I can taste anymore is clove. This beer is either super complex or fairly simple but it leaves me at a loss. – Brittney

It’s an interesting twist. I like the choice of mixing dark malts into the wheat ale category, as it adds a bit of enjoyable smokiness to the profile of a beer that I otherwise might not like. Pumpkin spices are almost subtle, acting as an accent to an already delicious beer. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 5.5 / B- 8 / R- 6

 Orlock

Finish:  7

Lingering smoke, mace, and clove gather in the recess of your cheeks to skulk about awhile. Some banana esters emerge here as well, (again, assuming the clove esters may be lost in actual clove). Finally, a deep and granular earthy wheat dryness becomes the tomb to which the spices adjourn to renew their dark power. – Mike

Burnt dark malts embody the finish and really define this brew. It starts like a wheat, but the end is what sells it for me. A touch of smoke and some delicate hot spicing make for a great conclusion to this ale. – Rick

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

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Flavor balance:  6.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

There is actually a really solid pumpkin profile on this ale, and the character from the aroma leads you to believe this will be more pie than veggie, but it’s all so overpowered by the single-note clove spicing that it throws the whole thing totally out of whack. – Tim

Although these two elements of the pumpkin ale take a back seat in this brew, I do believe they are very well balanced. No spice stands above the other and they all help solidify the pumpkin flavor which becomes a great addition to this black wheat ale. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 7

         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

There is a kiss of sweetness that lights up each new sip, but overall, we lean to a smokey, spicy dryness. It draws you back fro more with each sip, not unlike the Vampyr’s hypnotic gaze, and believe me, the bite will be the last thing that you remember. – Mike

Some sugars profile in the body, bending into a sour tinge and finishing dry from the heavy handed spices–it’s not so much balanced as it is confused. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 5 / B- 7 / R- 6

         Multiple Drinkability?  7

I’m not the biggest wheat beer fan, but I’m really enjoying this. I believe that, had the malt selection been different, however, this beer might sink to the depths among other forgettable pumpkin ales. – Rick

While not the boldest pumpkin offering around, Orlok succeeds in being both interesting and exceedingly session-able. The beer’s foundation is hearty enough to please any Germanophile, and manages to include a nice seasonal twist that compliments the essential character of the base style. I could definitely do a few of these. Plus, vampires dude. – Mike

M- 9 / T- 4 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Overall:  6.66

M- 7.58 / T- 5.83 / B- 6.33 / R- 6.66

 

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale (special release) – The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc.

You know you’re dealing with a class act when they’ve got Thoreau quoted on the bottle. And to celebrate Schlafly’s 20th anniversary, they seem to have spent some extra special attention on this year’s offerings. Without exception, of course, is their pumpkin ale, and we all seem to agree, that if you’re looking to “celebrate the bounty of harvest and season of plenty”, than you’ll find quite the opportunity in this bottle.

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Name:  Schlafly Pumpkin Ale (special release)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Missouri, USA / The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 8.0%

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.

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Packaging:

Taste and simplicity are embodied on this packaging, from it’s relaxed autumnal color scheme, it’s clear pumpkin marking, and poignant quote, it both recalls the spirit of the season, and a boastful-yet-understated reflection of the spirit within. – Mike

Very monochromatic color scheme works well with the simple design elements.  A pumpkin centered quote by Thoreau is a nice touch while staying unobtrusive. – Rick

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Color:  7

Pours a stunning deep pumpkin pie color with noticeable sediment and  a fizzy cream head that diffuses pretty rapidly leaving zero lacing but keeps sending sheets of carbonation bubbles dancing to the surface. – Tim

Pours a murky golden brown with pretty active carbonation.  An initially pretty decent tan head had respectable staying power. – Brittney

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

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Aroma:  7.5

This suckers smells like liquid pumpkin pie, putting that sweet roasted pumpkin flavor together with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.   It has a thick, almost dense, bouquet that rumors of a very bold beer. – Tim

Dirty raw pumpkin all up front.  As the beer warmed up a bit the clove, cinnamon and nutmeg became quite apparent and pretty intense. – Brittney

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

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Mouth feel:  7

On the heavier end of medium bodied, the malts seem to lend a creamy smoothness here that is velvety and slick on the tongue, while the subdued carbonation invite you to swish it around a bit to unlock the flavor hidden just beneath the surface. – Mike

Medium bodied with a tendency toward the heavier spectrum, it feels weighty on the tongue with a soft carbonation that belies all the dancing bubbles the beer exhibited on the pour. – Tim

The bite from the 8.0% ABV is small but noticeable.  Otherwise it’s smooth and foamy over the tongue with a medium body.  My lips are left slightly tacky reinforcing the sweet nature of this ale. – Rick

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

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Tasting notes:  8.5

There are really nice sweet malts here that are complimented by the allspice and nutmeg.  It’s a good strong tasting ale without being too heavy. – Rick

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. – Brittney

So many pumpkin beers mask their flavor with overpowering noses while others craft ales so dense that the flavor struggles to escape the body.  Schlafly is the rare beer that tastes exactly like it smells. It’s concentrated with notes of brown sugar, clove, allspice and roasted pumpkin.  It’s sweet and malty but not overbearing or sticky.  It might be the closest thing to liquid pumpkin pie I’ve yet to taste.  – Tim

Smooth and creamy malt enters the palatial plane, and when allowed to warm on the tongue, transforms into an intensely full baked pumpkin, complete with brown sugar and toasty pie crust notes. But what really blows me away on this sucker is how nicely the spices separate, giving you that true pie experience, while still managing not to overwhelm the pumpkin, and in fact vanish cleanly and quickly on the finish. – Mike

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

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Finish:  8

In the realm of short and clean, this is a masterpiece. They’ve managed to take a full bodied swig of pumpkin and spice to the very crescendo of good taste, and pull it back to nothing at the end, so you can experience it again with every sip. – Mike

I’m left with a caramely sweetness and just a bit of a bite.  It’s fairly light though with an almost sour note from the pumpkin. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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Flavor balance:  8

 

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

There is a fair amount of pumpkin in there but the spice dominates.  However I don’t find it any more distracting in there that I do in a rich pumpkin pie.  That is, this is not pumpkin puree or fresh cut pumpkin on display, this is mama’s homemade pie fresh out of the oven. – Tim

There is really a good pumpkin flavor here.  The spices are nice and sweet without becoming too spicy as some pumpkin ales can tend to be. – Rick

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

 

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 

There’s an upfront sweetness that masterfully blends out to just a touch of dry finish, but ends so clean, you won’t even know it was there. Very impressive. – Mike

It’s not very dry at all, but there is a good sweetness that seems to be the backbone of this brew.  It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a noticeable undertone of sourness from the pumpkin elements, but in no way is this a bad thing. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 7 / B- 7.5 / R- 6

 

–         Multiple Drinkability?

I think there is way too much going on here to have many of these.  I would enjoy one maybe two very much but I think after that my palate would be blown. – Brittney

The 8% ABV is masked so well that I almost can’t believe this beer stacks up that high.  I don’t even get that ‘chest warmer’ vibe off this brew.  As tasty as this is, I could session this beer…and then call some friends to come drive me home afterward! – Tim

Looking for that perfect pumpkin session beer, but don’t dig the cloying sweet, or the choking spicy? This sucker is your new go to ale. With an emphatic approach of moderation, but simultaneously not being gun shy, I can hardily applaud Schlafly for creating a smooth and delicious brew, that’s not only easy, but all too tempting to return to again and again. – Mike

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

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Overall:  7.67

M- 8.17 / T- 7.75 / B- 7.33 / R- 6.91