Posts tagged ‘Porter’

Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin Stout – Harpoon Brewery

Harpoon copy

One of the coolest things about craft beer is the spirit of freedom and experimentation that comes along with it. There are limitless options from the largest players, to the smallest local nano-brewers and home brewers, who will always have something new for you to sip on. Of course, it’s no different on the brewing end. All this variation comes about because craft brewers aren’t brewing for the masses, they are brewing for fun. What better way to get creative than to gather around a brew kettle and follow your muse with a few friends? Today’s brew keeps in that spirit, having started out as an experimental improvised beer, intended to be a porter, but as extreme things tend to get carried away, ended as a pumpkin imperial stout with every fixin’ within arms reach of the brew pot.


Name:  Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin Stout

Place of Origin / Brewer: Boston, MA / Harpoon Brewery

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Stout / 10.50%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin is brewed with dark brown sugar, pumpkin purée, black strap molasses, and dark malt, and spiced with ginger, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg.



Perhaps one of the more simple labels we’ve seen with a harpoon skewering a pumpkin leaf with a big gourd in the background and an autumnal color scheme of greens and browns.  Nothing to differentiate it from the pack – but the label is refreshingly clean from a design standpoint. – Tim

It’s really cool how they incorporated the pumpkin vines leaf into the design, while still able to showcase a pumpkin theme. Also, it frames the label and title really well, and offers a nice prop to spear with a harpoon. – Rick


Color:  6.5

This looks more like a very dark porter than a stout. Ruby notes show in all the edges of the glass, and it lacks that ultra full bodied appearance, seeming a touch thinner than most. – Mike (Editors note – We did not know the beer started as a porter project before tasting).

A creamy tan head with similarly hued lacing tops a dark espresso colored body with an amber glow towards the bottom of the glass.  The liquid is visually thinner in motion than its dark coloring lets on but in the realm of carbonation it is fairly still. – Brittney

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


Aroma:  7

The nose is nice. It has a spiced rum quality of treacle and nutmeg. The roasted malt isn’t shouting at me, but it is there in the form of black coffee leanings. – Mike

The aroma isn’t overpowering, yet it still retains some complexity. A dry cacao nib presence is apparent on the nose mixed with notes of cinnamon and caramelized molasses. Somehow, all these flavors bring banana nut bread to mind almost immediately and now I’m salivating over this beer. – Rick

M- 5.5 / T- 9 / B- 7 / R- 7.5


Mouth feel:  6

Thick and full bodied.  Soft with a velvet hand, and just a hint of carbonation on the tongue. – Tim

The carbonation of this beer is more prevalent and active than it looks, although the body is still pretty light and thin for a stout. The liquid seems to fall away in your mouth. – Brittney

M- 6 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 5.5


Tasting notes:  7

There is a bit of a hefeweizen a banana note in here along with malty bread notes. The clove, admittedly, is probably just from the clove. It tastes like someone at Chiquita made pumpkin bread, and you bought it to accompany your iced latte. – Mike

Dark chocolate malts, burnt sugar and black strap molasses, clove, ginger and allspice all present themselves early with cinnamon on the back end.  The pumpkin is rich and caramelized, vanilla and almond notes and more bananas on the close.  This is a complex stout, with a lot of competing flavors that don’t always manage pure harmony – likely a symptom of brewing separate ales and then combining them. – Tim

Much like the aroma, your first taste has a bit of a fruity quality to it and then the roasted quality really opens up. This is where you can find a bit of a malt and cocoa note.  Eventually the very sweet molasses and brown sugar take over closing with a small smattering of pumpkin and cinnamon. – Brittney

Lots of spices to contend with here, but no single one seems too dominant, keeping the flavor profile a bit complex. They combine well with a flair of pumpkin and give this brew a nice fruity nature. Chocolate notes are subtly noticeable as well and help with a nice finish. – Rick

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


Finish:  6.5

Long and bitter, perhaps even a bit too bitter, super dark chocolate and coffee notes on the finish along with more cloves and bananas. – Tim

The finish is alllll coffee, cinnamon, and chocolate. Like a Mexican ice cream frappe. The alcohol does have a bit of astringency in the mouth once the body eeks away. – Mike

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


Flavor balance:  6

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

For all of the spices that are supposed to be featured I feel like this should be a lot more spice forward. That being said it is still leaning towards a spice dominant score because I can only find very tiny hints of the pumpkin. – Brittney

The depth of flavor is to be commending but the pumpkin—courtesy of a puree—is very much overtaken by the molasses and the spice. – Tim

M- 4 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 8.5

         Sweet / Dry balance: 5

It’s on the sweeter end almost becoming too cloying, but the finish steps up and dries up the palate nicely. – Rick

This beer is very sweet. When molasses and brown sugar are listed on the bottle there is little room for anything but sweetness. – Brittney

M- 3 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 6

         Multiple Drinkability?  6.5

There is a lot going on here, but it’s right up my alley with just the right amount of complexity. The stout aspect is really nice and the pumpkin flourishes just take it to another level. – Rick

The alcohol hit is a little bit of an ass kicker, especially since it doesn’t do a great job of hiding. While I enjoyed this a lot more than Harpoon’s UFO pumpkin offering, they still have some work to do. That said, I definitely give them credit for forward process, and a single serving is enjoyable to me. – Mike

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


Overall:  6.50

M- 5.75 / T- 7.25 / B- 6.08 / R- 7.00


Gourdgeous (Local Fields Series) – Hangar 24 Craft Brewery


Located in an old Norton Air Force Base Building in Redlands, California just across the street from the Municipal Airport, Hangar 24 is certainly appropriately named. Further, they aren’t just messing around with their Local Fields series beers. When they tell you the pumpkins are locally sourced, they’re referring to the fact that they are grown within eyesight of the brewery. (The Local Fields series also features an array of fun and exotic local items such as wine grapes, dates, blood oranges, spruce, and bing cherries). But hey, we’re here to talk about pumpkin beer. So without further ado…


Name: Gourdgeous (Local Fields Series)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Redlands, CA / Hangar 24 Craft Brewery

Beer style / ABV%:  Strong Pumpkin Porter / 8.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Gourdgeous uses 1,000 lbs of pumpkins grown at Larry Jacinto Farms just a half mile from the brewery,  hand collected, cut, and seeded by local volunteers, and then roasted in giant ovens compliments of local catering company Q-Works BBQ. It’s then turned into a rich strong porter where molasses and spices join the mix.



A rustic old country style label promises of farm fresh craft beer brewed from pumpkins grown only a half-mile from the brewery.  I always appreciate a label that takes the time to inform the consumer – this is even more important in the crowded pumpkin beer field.  Take note brewers. – Tim

Nicely done label, simply descriptive and vintage looking.  Staying true to the brewery theme of aviation, you could easily swap the gourd on this label for an airplane flying over the locally grown pumpkin patch. – Brittney


Color:  6

Put the scarlet letter on this hussy. Garnet and cola pervade this brew, barley touching on brown except in the shadows. Very nice clarity. – Mike

It’s nice and dark upon first glance, but when I really got in there to check it out, I found myself peering into a very soda like concoction. I like everything about this beer except when I hold it to the light I’m misled by the slight glow of molasses color that sways the illusion of root beer. The bone dry head, if not denser than a root beer, doesn’t help this misconception either. – Rick

M – 7 / T- 4 / B- 6.5 / R- 6


Aroma: 8 

The nose is loaded with rich caramel and pumpkin spices that with the malt create an overall smooth sense, but brown sugar and molasses are also both very prevalent bringing sweetness to the forefront of your expectations. – Brittney

The base here is a nice porter up front. My nose is picking up decent amounts of sweet vanilla bean with a decadent mixture of dry dark chocolate for a fine finish. My initial reaction is great porter bouquet, but I’m missing the pumpkin element. – Rick

M – 8 / T- 9 / B- 7.5 / R- 7


Mouth feel:  7.5

The body here would be deceiving here based on looks alone. It’s quite full, envelopes the tongue in a decadent wash, and has only the foggiest notion of it’s upward ABV. Quite a bit heavier than a brown, but still evading the boggy trappings of an imperial stout, style wise, I’ve got to call this flawless. Bravo. – Mike

Full end of medium bodied without being syrupy or carbonated enough to notice. The noted ingredients and character of this beer could have given a little more richness and room to shine on a heavier more still platform. – Brittney

M – 10 / T- 8.5 / B- 6 / R- 5.5


Tasting notes: 8.5

An unexpected burst of sweetness joins chocolate roast, creamy pumpkin, and a good bit of spice (but not overwhelmingly so). It’s like finishing a Cool Whip heaped slice of pie with a mug of hot cocoa, and it takes me back to my childhood. This could be a lovely dessert beer, or just straight up dessert, and, admirably, it leaves the mouth with just a smidge of lingering sugar and spice. Perfect piquant Harmony. – Mike

 I have to say that although it’s not traditional, I love it when a pumpkin beer can include dark chocolate notes well, and this one does.  Although it’s an overall sweet option with lots of rich molasses and brown sugar, it does have a decent (I wouldn’t say strong) presence of porter roast as well as a good notion of tasting actual pumpkin. – Brittney

Did someone say decadent? This is a top notch porter, delivering on every single promise the aroma has to offer, it’s thick and chewy which stands in direct contrast to the color of the ale. Masses of burnt caramel and molasses, roasted pumpkin and baking spices are mixed with earthy sage and rosemary notes.  It’s a full-on assault making this craft beer more of a meal than a beverage. – Tim

This is a perfect porter style with bold in your face flavoring. Sweet nutmeg, vanilla, dark chocolate and molasses all commingle well offering a grand base for the roasted caramel and molasses flavors to solidify the pumpkin porter. A very tasty brew indeed. – Rick

M – 9 / T- 9.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 8.5


Finish: 8.5

Long and sweet, boozy and chocolaty, I can tell the ABV in this beer is on the higher end of the scale, but even with that heady afterthought, nothing could keep me from a second glass. – Tim

This one starts off sweet, but the finish really holds it all together with that dry dark chocolate. It ends up being really smooth with just a slight burn from the 8.5% ABV almost masking it’s strength. – Rick

M – 9.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 7 / R- 8.5


Flavor balance: 8.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 9

The spicing here is masterful. Yes, it is quite spiced, but as easily as this could be a sugar bomb, it is firmly wrestled into submission, and resolves exquisitely. It’s rare to find the beer that doesn’t over do something, AND doesn’t shy away from being a spiced beer. This one hits it out of the park. – Mike

I tend to like my pumpkin pie in a bottle to favor the ale side a bit more, but this is a nearly perfect blend of roasted gourd and all the classic spices with a shot of booze to top it all off.  It’s more like bourbon pumpkin pie—if that were a real thing.  In fact, can we make that a real thing? – Tim

M – 9.5 / T- 10 / B- 8 / R- 8

         Sweet / Dry balance: 8

Just a tad on the sweet syrupy side, but it’s well masked by the hops and dark chocolate finish. – Rick

The only dryness here comes a few minutes later on the finish due to the 8.5% ABV, otherwise this is decadence in all is abject glory. – Tim

M – 9 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

         Multiple Drinkability? 8

Between the sweetness, alcohol, and malt I would probably stick one or two; but I would enjoy them whole-heartedly. – Brittney

This is surprisingly approachable for a fuller bodied, boldly flavored beer. I’m left with neither regret, nor bellyache, and it eludes the mentality of some of the heavier “great taste, so damn filling you’ll never finish the bottle” ales floating around. Do you need more than one bottle provides? I’ll let you be the judge, but for me, it’s pretty darn tempting. Sadly, I only have one. – Mike

M – 7.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 7.5


Overall: 7.83

M – 8.67 / T- 8.08 / B- 7.00 / R- 7.25

Gourdgeous footer

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!”



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.”



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.”



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:


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


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


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


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

T.R.E.A.T. Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter – Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

treat1 WEB

Today sounds Round Two of our way, way up there beer double feature, and it’s a doozy. Sure to keep you warm on any winter night, (or spring, summer, and fall if you happen to be in Alaska), this Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter scored in spades with us, and to anyone who knows how much we tend to disagree, that should mean something. So raise a glass to the season, and take a solid draught of this black as the devil’s heart concoction. If you can find some, that is.


Name:  T.R.E.A.T. (The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Alaska, USA / Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter / 7.8%

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.



A wicked pumpkin king sits defiantly in front of the wrought iron gates of his spooky house on the hill while stars and lightning bolts illuminate the blackened sky behind him.  TREAT screams of a whimsical Halloween ale – right down to the tombstone proclamation decreeing this brew an Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter!   Have four simple words ever sounded so good strung together? – Tim

Very playful label, just like their Trickster. Cartoon style art with a colorful character of a pumpkin presenting a tombstone with what appears to be a haunted mansion at the top of the hill in the background. It’s cute. – Rick


Color:  8

Black as midnight (if you don’t live in Alaska), with just the slightest of ruby hues and a head that’s off white enough that you don’t want to know what kind of snow it is. – Mike

This is a great pitch black fully opaque porter. It’s so dark, and I love it. The super light coffee colored head disappears quickly, but make for a delicious looking brew. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 6.5


Aroma:  7.5

Smells of espresso, bitter chocolate, and malt. There is also a faint aroma of a molasses and a black strap rum quality towards then end of the scent. – Brittney

Dark, Dark bitter chocolate and roasted malt. We’re close to stout territory here. No sign of pumpkin or spice, but vanilla is making it’s way through the mix. Mouthwatering, none the less. – Mike

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


Mouth feel:  7.5

A surprisingly assertive carbonation level for a porter, which brings forth an interesting contrast–one that allows the fuller medium bodied nature of the beer to bounce more freely on the tongue.  Intriguing. – Tim

Considering the darkness and depth of the color of this beer the medium body is thinner than I expected also there is a surprising amount of carbonation.  I expected thick still and syrupy and got medium bodied and active. I guess it is a porter after all. – Brittney

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


Tasting notes:  8.5

Sweet cinnamon, pumpkin, and chocolate peanut butter fudge. Like grandma forgot that Reese’s weren’t an ingredient in pumpkin pie, and served it up with Hershey’s syrup on top. Awesome roasty goodness. – Mike

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. – Tim

Quite bitter at first taste, this beer then mellows to slightly smooth and slick and all the flavors of the nose arrive with bitter chocolate, espresso, sweet molasses and a surprising presence of cinnamon. – Brittney

A very well balanced brew indeed. Cocoa nibs, a touch of clove, and ripe pumpkins all build upon the great sweetness that holds this brew together. – Rick

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


Finish:  7.5

Long and boozy, bitter and sweet but never bittersweet.  The carry over spice from cinnamon and clove linger but the most prominent note on the close is chocolate and coffee. – Tim

The pumpkin shines here with almost a smoky quality to the back end. It is dry on the finish, but a tad sweeter than I had expected. – Rick

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


Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7


We are quite in check here. Though the spicing is subtle, it accentuates the beer, rather than defining it. – Mike

Complex and challenging, the pumpkin is overshadowed by the bold nature of the beer, the chocolate malts while imparting some notes in the body and bouquet were not distinct enough for a definitive “chocolate porter”.  But overall this is still a pretty great beer. – Tim

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

Slick and sweet; the bitterness of the chocolate and the finish are not enough to contend with the fact that this is leaning towards the sweet side – Brittney

It leans sweet, but the dryness helps reel it all back in. Its not cloying either, which is something that had me worried early on. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 8

–         Multiple Drinkability?  8.5

I love pumpkin ales, and chocolate porters / stouts. This is an insane beer that could be a dessert for any holiday meal. And the appetizer, aperitif, and courses… – Mike

This beer is fun and unique enough to have as a part of a tasting flight to show some of the differences you can present a pumpkin beer, but I don’t think I would have more than one. – Brittney

This is awesome for an imperial porter, and one of my favorite pumpkin beers so far. I would try to drink as many as I could get my hands on. – Rick

Strong and Robust, I think a session of this beer would not only blow my plate apart, it would likely leave me in a coma that might last as long as the midnight sun itself.  Still, I’d go another round with this treat any day.  – Tim

M- 10 / T- 8 / B- 6 / R- 9


Overall:  7.75

M- 8.83 / T- 7.67 / B- 6.83 / R- 7.50

treat2 WEB

Fermentation Without Representation – Epic Brewing Co. / DC BRAU

Whether it’s Black Friday or Super Tuesday, boy do we have a beer for you. A collaboration between Epic Brewing and DC Brau, this new entry into their Exponential Series might be a limited release, but it’s worthy of the masses. A tribute to those DC residents who have no say in congress, and the Salt Lake residents that feel they can’t get out from under the thumb of a resident political power, (which yields up to a 72% markup due to sin taxes), and we’d say the inspiration is very close to home for these two brewers.


Name:  Fermentation Without Representation

Place of Origin / Brewer: Utah, USA / Epic Brewing Co. & DC BRAU collaboration

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Porter / 8.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  300 pounds of pumpkin per 15-barrel batch (Totaling 600lbs of pumpkin puree across all batches), are added to the mash tun, the brew kettle and the fermenter, along with Melding Crystal, Chocolate, Munich and Black malts. Other ingredients include .2 pounds of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and whole cloves each, topped with about 1,000 vanilla beans that the DC Brau crew had to slice open by hand.



This is a graphics intensive label done in a raw unfinished paper which adds texture and a very craft-beer vibe to the overall affair.  Each bottle is stamped with the release number—our batch was Release #5. – Tim

Despite the lack of a pumpkin on here at all, I love this name, and the label is classical and tightly executed. It sings autumn during an election year, which tends to make some people forget pumpkins exist anyway. – Mike


Color:  8

A murky golden brown with a nice, stubborn khaki head.  The opaqueness attempts to conceal the carbonation bubbles but if you look closely they are there slowly trickling there way to the top. – Brittney

Awesome porter coloration! It’s a roasted dark brown color with a beautiful hint of caramel glowing on the edges that really sets this one apart. A thick tan head floats on top with intense slow lacing following the brew all the way down. – Rick

M- 7.5 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 9.5


Aroma:  8

Toasted dark chocolate and vanilla marshmallow with heaps of bready malt and a hint of cinnamon. Like a pumpernickel loaf if you made it into a spiced bread pudding with caramel glaze. – Mike

Smells of rich and powerful malts, hints of fresh squash and settles into bold notes of vanilla that give the overall feeling of decadent dark chocolate & coffee ice cream. – Tim

M- 9 / T- 8.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 6


Mouth feel:  7

This imperial porter is much lighter than expected. It’s kind of a soft feeling on the tongue. Very appealing. Maybe it’s the vanilla beans, but I detected a sweet metallic taste / feeling that I found strangely acceptable. – Rick

A touch delicate for a porter, but by no means thin. Just closer to a traditional ale than a stout. – Mike

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


Tasting notes:  7.5

More of that awesome crusty dark malt, and emerging notes of cinnamon capped espresso, with rum and fruit pumpkin qualities. Not what I would have expected from the nose at all. There’s a nice floral hoppiness to it that also seems unique to this twist on the style. – Mike

Deep and rich, with waves of Vanilla, burnt sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and heat from not only the alcohol but clove and ginger as well.  This is a very assertive porter at once fighting for your attention while at the same time, allowing the well balanced array of spices to mingle on your tongue—my only concern here is that the pumpkin seems to have gone M.I.A. – Tim

Earthy and squashy throughout, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove peek out towards the finish.  Most of what was noticed in the aroma is dominant, nice bitter dark chocolate, pounds of vanilla, coffee, and malt. – Brittney

Great roasted malts with coffee and chocolate being the dominate flavors. The dark chocolate flavor acts as a great drying agent rather than over sweetening the brew. There’s just a subtle addition of pumpkin and a hint of vanilla bean to round out the sweetness. – Rick

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


Finish:  7.5

A surprisingly clean finish for the density that passes the lips initially.  The spice tends to make itself more prominent towards the end. – Brittney

As long as the Summer Solstice and bitter as the sins of man. The only cure for ending the finish is to have another sip. – Tim

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


Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

Coffee and chocolate flavors play nice together and come to the forefront leaving the pumpkin as a subtle touch of fruity sweetness. Otherwise, the typical pumpkin spices are hard to distinguish. – Rick

There is a pretty fair balance on this one, in that, neither are really dominant but are there just enough to support the more intense flavors. Can’t say the same for the news. – Brittney

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

Surprisingly fruity with a bitter snap. Rose and hibiscus up front, black coffee and earth on the back. The alcohol hit and never ending finish (FAAAAALLLLCCCCOOORRRR!) tend to tip it a little dryer. – Mike

It’s definitely drier than sweet, but I like that in my beers. It has a nice clean taste and a dark chocolate flavoring that helps dry the finish. – Rick

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  6.5

At 8% ABV I’m not inclined to partake of another in one sitting. I don’t think my palate could handle it.  But, I would hit another bottle of this—perhaps one that had a touch of age on it to see if the ravages of time could tame the epic spice levels. – Tim

A great bitter drink but probably not something I would have more than one of. Which works, since it is a limited release and all. – Brittney

M- 4.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 8.5


Overall:  7.42

M- 7.16 / T- 7.58 / B- 6.83 / R- 7.83

Redhook Pumpkin Porter – Redhook Brewery

Name:  Redhook Pumpkin Porter

Place of Origin / Brewer: New Hampshire, USA / Redhook Brewery

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Porter / 5.8%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Pureed pumpkin, light chocolate, munich, and caramel malts, roasted wheat, oats, and local malted barley come together in this dark draught, before it is light hopped with northern brewers hops. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are added during brewing, and maple syrup is added during fermentation.  It’s also worth noting that this is the fifth entry in their Brewery Backyard series.


Packaging: Non-applicable. This sucker is only available on draft at the breweries Cataqua Pub in Portsmouth, NH and a few select north-eastern bars. (Unless you have a sweet blog and get a special bottling. Ba-zing!)


Color:  7.5

Stout black, but if I hold it to the light it glows a ghostly amber. I have to say, the bold appearance of this brew makes me suspect that it has a bold character to it’s body. A vigorous pour will allow for a thick frothy cream colored head, and the lacing is pretty impressive, clinging to the glass the whole time. – Rick

As I poured it was almost like pouring a cola.  As the glass filled the color settled to a touch deeper chestnut with a slight beige head.  It’s a dark porter by color but you can still catch a glimpse of a trail or two of carbonation escaping to the top – Brittney

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


Aroma:  7.5

Earthy and robust with nutmeg and cinnamon in the nose, the spices are fairly pronounced giving me the feeling that looks had best not deceive me, and this better be a pretty rich beer if it’s going to hold up to the fragrance wafting off the head. – Tim

The smell is promising.  In a season that has been shall we say ‘unique’ in our usual definition of pumpkin beer, I really get the pumpkin and spices.  The only thing that sticks out as slightly different is a touch of a maple and caramel.  So far Red Hook is staying with the autumn spirit and I’m a fan. – Brittney

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


Mouth feel:  6

A sizzling fizzy tingle that wraps the tongue in tiny bubbles. Medium bodied and avoiding any syrupy plaguing aspects.  I do wish we could have tried this one on tap, if only to get a bit more of a creamy nitro smoothness. – Mike

Lush and smooth, it coats the tongue.  Not so full bodied that I feel like have to think hard before I can swallow it, but definitely high on the fullness scale. It’s such a smooth beer, with just a hint of carbonation, that I fondly recall youthful efforts to drink certain other stouts/porters by leaving as few rings as possible on the glass. – Tim

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


Tasting notes:  7

An immense burst of pumpkin and cherry cola, the cinnamon becomes much more noticeable here. The maple sweetness is very much subdued, and to it’s credit, keeps this beer firmly in the porter category, allowing it to be a bit of passing sweet, rather than liquid pie spice. – Mike

There are a lot of flavors going on here all at once.  This makes a great tasting beer but it is sort of hard to grasp them all. The pumpkin and nutmeg are the front-runners, the caramel provides a smooth base and the cinnamon is sprinkled throughout.  I was worried that the maple could be an overly dominant flavor when brought into the equation but it just subtle enough to not overshadow. – Brittney

This beverage has a good pumpkin presence with a nice cinnamon spicing. Further inspection reveals a nice smoky body with a hint of clove and cocoa mingling about. About half way through the glass something strange happens to the flavor, kind of developing a cola flavor on the finish. Very strange, but not awful. – Rick

Concentrated notes of dark, caramel malts and a chocolate hit right off the bat. Roasted (almost caramelized) pumpkin accents a breath of cinnamon which is given the most prominent spice position in the body.  Just a hit of hoppy bitterness comes out on the end—making for a very complex overall experience. – Tim

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


Finish:  7

Roasted nuts in a brown sugar glaze gives way to a slightly bitter wash that leaves the tongue feeling a bit dry, and begging for that next sip. – Mike

It’s got a great clean finish (I would have anticipated something much longer) with outstanding notes of coffee and ginger.  – Tim

I like the smoothness of this beer, but it tends to have a watery body that is lighter than expected. The finish is also where this bizarre hint of Dr. Pepper reveals itself, which wasn’t apparent in the beginning of the tasting. It just kind of developed about half way through. – Rick

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


Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7.5

Very well balanced, almost too balanced for my liking.  I’m more of a frolic through the autumn fields grabbing one flavor at a time and appreciating it for all of its nuances before moving on to the next. This one puts you on the Autobahn and wishes you well. – Brittney

This is such a complex porter—with big bold flavors competing— it’s a testament that nothing really overpowers the beer. The spices in the nose are echoed to a lesser degree in the body and change up on the finish—while the overall essence of roasted pumpkins stays in harmony throughout.  It’s really a very nicely balanced beer. – Tim

Well in check, I’d go as far to say the real achievement in this brew is that nothing hides. Each element described is definitive, and unmasked by it’s other components. It’s like surround sound for your tongue. – Mike

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 8

I like the light smoky body of this beer. The cocoa presence along with cinnamon and a little pumpkin really build upon the smokiness and create a nice balance. – Rick

I enjoyed the touch of sweet and finish of bitter in this beer a lot. Very polarized in it’s approach, it offers a unique experience that reminds me a bit of a pumpkin cola up front, and like a pumpkin coffee — black– on the backend. – Mike

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  7.5

I’m not going bananas over this beer, but it is up my alley. It definitely has some unique flavorings happening which makes it a little more interesting. – Rick

There are a lot of beers that I’d pair with food, but not a ton that I think would rock against a big bad Thanksgiving feast.  With the swagger on display here, I’d put this bad boy up against my mama’s gut buster spread any day.  And, you can imagine it’d take at least 2 or 3 of theses to get though all those carbs. – Tim

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


Overall:  7.08

M- 7.25 / T- 7.50 / B- 7.42 / R- 6.33

Slashed Pumpkin – Shipyard Emporium (Ron Raike)

Happy Friday the 13th? Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since our last post does it? Welcome to our first post of 2012! We figured we’d get a head start just in case we didn’t make it to next December…

All kidding aside though, we’ve got a treat here in the form of a special holiday edition Micro Brew from Shipyard Emporium’s head Brewer Ron Raike, and it’s certain to help keep you warm through the winter months.


Name:  Slashed Pumpkin

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

Beer style / ABV%:  Chipotle Pumpkin Porter / 6.8%

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.

Packaging:  N/A (Tap Only)


Color:  8

Our beer arrived with a nice cream colored head and a chocolate bar looking body.  No kidding, this beer was very still and solid looking and the perfect chocolate bar brown. – Brittney

Great coloration for a porter style beer.  The dark brown head caps a black body that mimics the husk of a dried chipotle pepper.  There is little to suggest that this beer is pumpkin flavored, it just looks very appealing. – Rick

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


Aroma:  8.5

Spices present themselves prominently up front with strong essences of warm pumpkin pie in the nose, with allspice and cinnamon playing the most outstanding roles. – Tim

A sweet and spicy aroma with strong notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, over a caramel / chocolate pumpkin base, and just the slightest sting of smoky chipotle. – Mike

If smooth had a smell this would be it.  You can smell the creamy chocolaty goodness alongside a deliciously brewed porter with just a touch of that vegetal yet caramelized pumpkin and a hint of spice.  – Brittney

M- 9 / T- 7.5 / B- 8.5 / R- 8.5


Mouth feel:  7.5

The smoothness makes this medium bodied brew easy to drink, while the spicy back end keeps you sipping at this delicious pumpkiny porter.  It feels frothy as it expands across the palate really allowing the flavors to sink in.   – Rick

A full bodied creamy wash of foam that wraps the tongue and coats the throat. – Mike

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


Tasting notes:  8

Sweet Pumpkin and rich chocolaty porter up front with the spices filtering through the foam pleasantly.The chipotle appears as a smoky quality that is quite pervasive, before dropping the hammer of spice into the finish. The sweet honey and salted butter of the grits in the garnish seem to help bring a bit of the pumpkin into the forefront as you drink on, and the palate because a bit more confused by the spice. – Mike

Smooth and creamy with the perfect amount of dark chocolate notes I want in a porter.  Deep and rich with the addition of Chipotle peppers presenting themselves on the finish. The spices get lost in the depth of the brews abundant flavor profile, but as it comes up in temperature, the roasted pumpkin notes present themselves and give the beer a resounding depth of character. – Tim

I’m a big fan of spice being invited to the party when it shouldn’t be and let’s face it, most of the time chipotle peppers are not on your usual list of ingredients when it come to beer.  It took a second to be noticed but the chipotle builds and really shines as the brew warms. Also, Porters can have a tendency to overwhelm my palate but this one sets a prefect table for savory pumpkin, sweet chocolate and spicy chipotle.  If the master cleanse needed a beer option this would be it. – Brittney

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. – Rick

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


Finish:  8

Pure chocolate smoke with a slap of pepper spice crawls down the throat leaving a trace of heat that builds with each sip, adding a nice southwest flair. – Mike

The finish here is all about the heat from the Chipotle peppers.  Touches of smoke and the slow burn from their inclusion provide this beer with a real show-stopping quality—with the heat building on itself and really waking up the tastebuds and warming you up on cold winter nights.  The beer is garnished with a pumpkin grit fritter that provides a nice addition of both fried goodness to cut the porter and creamy consistency to supplant the chipotle’s heat. – Tim

It’s a complex finish that gets spicier as your taste buds settle into it throughout the beer.  The spice settles on the back of the tongue and throat allowing your taste buds access to the sweeter bits of the roasted pumpkin. – Rick

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


Flavor balance:  7

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

As directly intended, this beer is more about overall sensory balance, it has a lot of elements to like about it, the spice comes on in the nose, the pumpkin presents in the body and the chilies have their way with you in the end.   It might not seem harmonious at first, but it gets the added points for running a gamut of flavor profiles. – Tim

There may be a touch of cinnamon, but it’s an after thought to the chipolte which stands out as the dominant spice for sure.  Regardless, it’s a great balance of roasted pumpkin flavors with a bit of spice that could quickly get out of hand if the pumpkin was sweeter or the pepper spicier. – Rick

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

This brew starts sweet at the tip of your tongue and ends with a spicy kick at the back.  The spice really helps quell the sweet start of this brew lending to more attention to detail. – Rick

Not only balanced on sweet to dry but also on the added challenge of bringing in spice. – Brittney

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?

The spicy profile here is the only thing holding this back from being an extremely session worthy ale. Of course, being a bit of a hot head, it’s not going to keep me from another round. – Mike

As long as I have a glass of water around to combat the heat when it might build too much I would love to have a couple rounds. – Brittney

Here is where the chili really rocks this beer.  The beauty of this 6.8% ABV brew is that, it’s not heavy, the immense flavor profile doesn’t overpower your taste buds, and the heat from the peppers keeps sending you back to cool down your throat.  I could drink a lot of this beer. – Tim

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


Overall:  7.83

M- 8.00 / T- 7.50 / B- 8.17 / R- 7.75