Posts tagged ‘Pumking’

Warlock Imperial Pumpkin Stout (Blackwater Series) – Souther Tier Brewing Company

Warlock

Three years into following us, you guys probably know how we feel about Southern Tier when it comes to pumpkin ale. Their legendary Pumking has proven to have an ephemeral time on store shelves, and inspires cultish hunts and gatherings around tap handles all across the east coast. So, with all of that as a given, you can clearly imagine our excitement at the news that there would be a special late season release of a new pumpkin brew, and part of their Blackwater series, home of their immaculate Crème Brulee Stout, no less. Tingles were had. High fives exchanged. Perhaps a single tear was shed. It was emotional. Don’t judge us…Also, today’s post is dedicated to Hudson, who is probably going to be born in the next few minutes. So raise a glass to Rick’s first kid tonight!

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Name:  Warlock (Blackwater Series)

Place of Origin / Brewer: Lakewood, New York / Southern Tier Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Imperial Stout / 8.6%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Brewed as a counterpoint to Southern Tier’s other extremely popular offering Pumking, Warlock is brewed with 2-Row, Caramel, Black, and Munich malts, along with pumpkin in the mash, hopped with Magnum and Sterling varieties, fermented with ale yeast, and has pumpkin pie spices added.

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Packaging:

Southern Tier always has some of the cooler labels. This new Blackwater Series release is no exception, really getting into the spirit with an all black palette and one magically maniacal gourd. I also love all the information they share, like specific ingredients. – Rick

With a near monochromatic color palate (white and black – with just a hint of purple) this stout maintains the graphic styling of the cadre of other offerings from Southern Tier.  The label itself features jack-o-lantern that hints of the majestic Pumking but this time sporting a sorcerer’s star and moon hat. – Tim

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Color:  7

This has an airy caramel colored head with almost non-existent lacing; the body has a dark brown to amber glow and is opaque enough to tell that you are unable to see through to the other side of this cloudy pour. This should be setting itself up for something intriguing. – Brittney

The Imperial Warlock pours as black as a moonless sky. Well, maybe just a crescent of a moon since it’s not totally opaque here. I can just make out a very faint glow on the edges. To top it all off, a light tan head seems a bit lacking after a gentle pour. – Rick

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

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Aroma:  8

Roasted malts and caramel / toasted sugar sweetness fight a creamy nutmeg that makes it smell just like… Count Chocula. – Mike

An air of pumpkin pie with chocolate graham cracker crust and iced coffee, followed by the sensation of roasted malts and vanilla, dance from my glass like a the vapors from a magicians’ potion. – Tim

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

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Mouth feel:  7.5

The color and aroma really had me hyped for a big thick full bodied brew but this presents a more medium bodied feel with a higher amount of active carbonation than the once prescient stillness of the glass infers. – Brittney

There is a unique texture here. It’s milky and medium-full, but not the gobs of stout 10W40 viscosity in so many other extreme beers. It is lighter feeling than it’s counterpart, Pumking, and avoids a slurry of bogging syrup. – Mike

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

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Tasting notes:  8

Dark caramel crème candies and a ton of malty honey-wheat breadiness. There is a lot going on in this glass, but it all comes back to cocoa and pumpkin pie. I also get a bet of a pecan and marshmallow note. Sweet and nutty to the last drop. – Mike

Roast malts meet roasted pumpkins in a vat of espresso.  Chocolate and bitter spices blend with cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg, crust and liquor, brandy and vanilla.  The stout is heady and a little boozy.  It has a steep curve to climb to match Pumking and despite its outward attempts to differentiate itself from that ale, it fees to me a little lacking in comparison. – Tim

In the world of beer a turned down mouth doesn’t always signify dislike. In this case there is a bit of initial bitterness for the palate to get used to masking any pumpkin flavor up front. It come through later with the uniqueness of the pumpkin and spice combination in Pumking.  Southern Tier knew they had a good thing with Pumking so they made it a stout. I just wish they had made this one a bit heavier and a little more unique.  What you do get of the coffee and chocolate notes are great, however, I wish they were a little more pronounced. – Brittney

This is awesomely sweet with a nicely balanced roasted malt profile. It’s nutty with burnt pumpkins, sweet vanilla beans, and coconut really making this a treat for the season. Speaking of seasons, I think this imperial stout will make a great transition into the colder months as we get closer to the end of the holidays. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 10

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Finish:  7

I really like the creamy smoothness of this brew. Right at the end it’s complimented with a touch of heat from the alcohol to kind of reset after the deluge of sweetness. – Rick

Finish is long and bitter with vanilla notes that are a little too pronounced contributing to a somewhat ‘candle-esque’ profile that unfortunately feels chemically delivered and not organically achieved. – Tim

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

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Flavor balance:  7.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7

As far as the pumpkin to spice balance goes this one is pretty well balanced but tends to be slightly heavier on the spice end.  You have to reach for the pumpkin against the malt profile, while the spices stand right out. – Brittney

The spicing is really intense and a bit unique, which is always welcome. Nutty and sweet like coffee house fare, the vanilla and cinnamon help enchant the pumpkin out of this brew. – Rick

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

         Sweet / Dry balance: 8

To be honest, this tastes a lot like Pumking, but with some select dark malt additions and a bit of lactose. The effect is a more easy drinking brew that is tempered by bitterness.  It’s a nice tweak, but not a revelation. And on what unholy scale do we rate this? By Pumking standards, it is substantially dryer. By all others, this is a firmly sweet stout. – Mike

Although it has been said that Warlock is supposed to finish sweeter than its counterpoint, I tend to disagree.  I considered Pumpkin to be pretty sweet and have to say that Warlock is pretty balanced to me. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 8 / R- 7

         Multiple Drinkability?  8

The harmony of the malt / pumpkin / spice here is fairly divine. I don’t know what dark arts tome they conjured the blend from, but it works well. You can almost taste the toasty souls of the damned. Though it may not be as heavy as I might like in either alcohol or body in the imperial stout realm, the bitterness is a welcome addition to the glass, and makes me feel, unlike the sweet bomb of awesome that is Pumking, that I might be able to complete a bottle myself. – Mike

I have no other choice than to put this beer up against Southern Tier’s Pumking and tragically I find that it does a disservice to the stout.  On its own it comes out a little ahead of the pack and it’s totally sessionable, so if you really dig it, by all means give it a go.  But, I think there are more interesting options in the market. – Tim

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

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Overall:  7.50

M- 8.17 / T- 6.83 / B- 7.08 / R- 8.25

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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.

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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!”

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7. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale – The St. Louis Brewery *3 Way Tie*  Score: 7.67

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Schlafly is brewed with Pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, and features the use of Marynka hops, 2-row and Crystal malted barley, Munich malt, wheat malt, chocolate malt, and American Ale yeast, for a malty and slightly bitter backbone.

Notable Quotes

“The pumpkin at the front of this lulls you into a false ideal that this is a good representation of a pumpkin beer but nothing special. They then use the spice as their ace in the hole. It’s slightly over-whelming to the palate, but in a good way. This beer has just enough earthy pumpkin up front and an assault of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon at the end.”

Schalafly

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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

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7. Blight Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing *3 Way Tie*  Score: 7.67
(No longer in production)

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Blight is the 9th of Elysian’s 12 Beers of the Apocalypse that were released monthly throughout 2012. Each features a label borrowing graphics from native Seattle artist Charles Burn’s apocalyptic graphic novel “Blackhole”. The brew itself is made with pumpkin, dark brown sugar, and fiery Vietnamese cinnamon.

Notable Quotes

“Sweet, sweet sugary pumpkin with a PTSD inducing amount of brown sugar and Saigon cinnamon. That’s all. Seriously. It tastes amazing, but it almost shouldn’t count as beer. Kudos on the coalescence of flavors though, this could have easily tipped into the cinnamon mouthwash category, but someone nailed it.”

Blight_02

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Top 5 Beers by Reviewer to Date:

Mike

1. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder)   9.33
2. Pumking – Southern Tier   8.92
3. T.R.E.A.T. Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter – Midnight Sun   8.83
4. Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin – Hoppin’ Frog   8.75
5. Fat Jack Double Pumpkin – Samuel Adams   8.67

60. Sarnac Pumpkin Ale   3.25

Tim

1. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder)   9.08
2. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale   8.25
3. Blight Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing *Tie*   8.17
3. Fat Jack Double Pumpkin – Samuel Adams *Tie*   8.17
5. St.-Ambroise Citrouille / The Great Pumpkin Ale   8.00

60. Pumpkinhead – Shipyard Brewing   3.08

Brittney

1. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder)   8.33
2. Southern Tier Pumking *Tie*   8.17
2. Slashed Pumpkin Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub) *Tie*   8.17
4. Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing   7.83
5. The Great Plumpkin – Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub)   7.67

60. Avery Rumpkin   3.50

Rick

1. The Great Plumpkin – Ron Raike (Shipyard Brewpub)   8.67
2. The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog   8.58
3. Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing   8.42
4. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale   8.33
5. Dark O’ The Moon – Elysian Brewing *Tie*   8.00
5. All Jacked Up – Ron Raike (Cask & Larder) *Tie*  8.00

60. Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider 3.50

2011 Rankings!

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

Now without further ado…

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Overall Top Ten Pumpkin Beer Rankings                                                                     Score

10        Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Cigar City Brewing                   6.33

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9 (tie)

            Pumple Drumkin – Cisco Brewing                                                                         6.58

            Lakefront Pumpkin Lager – Lakefront Brewing, Inc                               6.58

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8 (tie)

            Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider – California Cider Company                           6.75

            Pugsley’s Signature Smashed Pumpkin Ale – Shipyard Brewery     6.75

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

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7 (tie)

            Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                  6.92

            Small Patch Pumpkin Ale – Tommyknocker Brewery                           6.92

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6          Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company                            7.00

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5          Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing Company                 7.17

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4          The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog Brewery                         7.33

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3          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                      7.58

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

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1 (tie)

 

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

            Pumpking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                           8.25

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Mike’s Picks

1          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                             8.92

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

3          Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                8.50

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

5          Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Weyerbacher Brewing Company                        8.42

 

Avoid: Saranac Pumpkin Ale – Matt Brewing Company                                         3.25

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Tim’s Picks

1          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                         8.25

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

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

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

5          Jacques Au Lantern – Evolution Craft Brewing                                              7.17

 

Avoid: Pumpkinhead Ale – Shipyard Brewery                                                            3.08

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Brittney’s Picks

1          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                                8.17    

2          Harvest Time – Big Boss Brewing Co.                                                                   7.83

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

4          Pumple Drumkin – Cisco Brewing                                                                        7.58

5          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                           7.42


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

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Rick’s Picks

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

2          The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Flying Dog Brewery                                 8.58

3          Night Owl Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company                                   8.50

4          Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.                                                                8.42

5          Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                           8.33

Avoid: Private Reserve Pumpkin – Woodchuck Cidery                                             3.50

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Pumking – Southern Tier Brewing Co.

Hope you all had a great Halloween! Don’t forget to send in your pumpkin pics to greatpumpkinbeerreview@gmail.com for your shot at a free shirt!

Now then, many of you know November first as the beginning of the festival Dios de Los Muertos, but there is another tradition that is less familiar to those of us in the states. In the Gaelic tradition, this time signals a period where everything left in the fields after the harvest is “puka”, or fairy blasted, and thereby considered inedible. Not coincidentally, this is also the one time of year where the faery goblin spirit Pủca actually acts a civil beast, primarily because it comes in to finish off the what is left of the crops in tribute. This may sound vaguely familiar to what occurred on your door step last night…

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Name:  Pumking

Place of Origin / Brewer: New York, USA / Southern Tier

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 8.6%

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.

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Packaging:

I’ve always been a really big fan of the multiple textures in the design of Southern Tier’s labels and this one is no exception. Clean and gratifying, with a mischievous looking crowned Jack O’Lantern ( maybe in tribute to the one legendary rider of the Pủca, high King of Ireland Brian Boru?) and flitting bat motif. The addition of the story behind this beer is an exceptionally nice touch. – Mike

With it’s wicked crowned jack o lantern, Pumking heralds the season in true style, while the bottle delivers a plethora of information about the brew within.  Another solid bottle from the folks at Southern Tier. – Tim

A menacingly grinning jack o’ lantern greets you with bats gliding through the sky.  Along the side you are given a lesson in Celtic folklore readying you for this imperial ale “bewitched & brewed with pagan spirit”. – Brittney

The graphic is great on this one, truly standing up to it’s place as the king.  The brewing notes are a nice touch that I haven’t noticed on any other labels before.  – Rick

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Color:  7.5

Orange.  I could say ‘oh, it’s a brilliant golden straw appearance’ but my entire thought process is ‘that’s really orange, maybe pumpkin orange, or the orange in candy corn but it’s definitely orange.’  Also, it’s somewhat cloudy, with very minimal head and little to no lacing. – Brittney

Numismatists rejoice! This looks like an uncirculated wheat penny, slightly dulled copper from age, but still sparkling clear. Wait, what? – Mike

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

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Aroma:  9

Now we’re talking.  It’s like buttery crumbly crust before the pie is added.  Super sweet brown sugar and nutmeg dominate the nose, and the caramel malts are a nice touch too.  Although, not the most pumpkiny, it’s one of the best smelling pumpkin beers, period. – Rick

In some pumpkin beer reviews you will get the occasional “It smells like pumpkin pie.”  Usually, that’s because of the spices and slight pumpkin aroma.  This one smells like pumpkin pie as well, but this time it’s because of the pumpkin and the crust.  A crust that is beautifully buttery and embraces baked pumpkin perfection with just a touch of whipped cream and caramel drizzle.  – Brittney

This sucker hops right out of the bottle with so much sweet pumpkin, you’d think you’d just been jammed inside one by your half wit husband Peter (anyone? Anyone?). Allspice and cinnamon also make their presence well known, with ginger and nutmeg simmering lightly on the back burner. – Mike

M- 10 / T- 7.5 / B- 9 / R- 9

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Mouth feel:  8

Smooth and creamy, medium-bodied but almost straddling the fence into heavy (but not chewy) territory–with a bouncy carbonation. – Tim

The first sip is like the one you keep trying to chase.  A melange of flavors bombard the tongue in a phosphoric dance that leaves your tongue tingling for more.  It feels watery but the bite from the 8.6% ABV reminds you that this is a serious brew. – Rick

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

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Tasting notes:  9

If they ever fall on hard times (which I seriously doubt will ever happen), Southern Tier could make perfumes, or air fresheners, or kick ass when we get back around to smell-o-vision.  If you’ve ever had any of their other creations you know they pack a serious punch…to your nose… and then to your taste buds.  They have perfected making something full of unique flavor.  Pumking is no different.  Crammed with notes of pumpkin, caramel, malts, butter, cream, and more pumpkin. Never having to use the spice as a crutch to get their point across but using just enough to let you know they haven’t forgotten the recipe.  – Brittney

Sweet, creamy, and absolutely delicious, this is almost an alcoholic pumpkin pie ice cream, that maintains a gratify hop fueled  nutmeg spice snap on the back end, perfectly complimenting the milky pervasion throughout. It’s what I’d expect the perfect pumpkin pie liqueur to taste like, and it’s dangerously smooth. – Mike

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. – Tim

This seems like the most complex of pumpkin ales, yet simple at the same time.  The heavy handed nutmeg adds a nutty smoky sweetness, while not going overboard.  It’s very light and smooth for an imperial ale. – Rick

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

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Finish:  8

Long and complex, you first get the sweet pumpkin burst, then a bit of the 8.6%, and finally it settles in to a pleasantly spiced bitterness that serves to reset the palate for the next round of sweetness. – Mike

There are so many flavors going on that the finish is almost a relief, but only in so much that the actual relief is that you haven’t actually finished.  The ‘finish’ is bitter, dry and spicy, the perfect counter to the sweet and creamy start. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 8 / R- 9

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Flavor balance: 8

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

I have to applaud Southern Tier for putting the pumpkin up front here. It’s nuanced, and bold, and it shows that someone put a lot of effort into getting it right, rather than leaning on bitter hops and spice to jump the autumn beer train with pumpkin as an afterthought. That said, there’s definitely a solid chunk of spice here, that’s subtle only in it’s palatial choosing, and boisterous in presence. – Mike

It’s got a hold on the uniqueness of it’s spice profile.  While the spices stand out, there is still a tang from the pumpkin, which is more than a lot of pumpkin ales can say. – Rick

A positively unusual lean toward pumpkin here, it’s not balanced but bravo for not relying on spice flavor. – Brittney

Huge spice to pumpkin skew here will leave patrons of gourd friendly ales searching for more equilibrium than Pumking is serving. – Tim

M- 9 / T- 6 / B- 8.5 / R- 9.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

The hops are just noticeable under all the nutmeggy goodness and sweet caramel malts which lends to a great balance. – Rick

The caramel malts and bready vanilla cookie thrust move Pumking decidedly into the dessert category (I bet this would rock with some ice cream floating in it). Happily, the high alcohol content beats back an inherent nature in the ale that if not handled correctly could wind up as sickly sweet as a Lifetime movie. – Tim

At first it seems obvious that Pumking favors the sweet tooth, but that’s to shallow an evaluation. It’s really more of a pumpkin spice latte, with creamy elements, and that black coffee bitter on the end, and while it could have been easy to let sweet treats predominate, they’ve shown an exceptional sense of discrimination that keeps you coming back for more.

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?

In the past I’ve personally killed a couple of pints of this but with food to break it up it was clearly more manageable.  For just a night of drinking, I fear Pumking would fill me up fast.  A treat to be sure, but like all those plastic pumpkin heads piled to the brim with candy confections, the key to surviving the season is moderation. – Tim

This pumpkin ale is like a breath of fresh air.  It seems to be evenly balanced in all the right places, while still presenting a great unique experience with each sip.  This is definitely the King of pumpkins. – Rick

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

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Overall: 8.25

M- 8.92 / T- 7.08 / B- 8.17 / R- 8.42