Posts tagged ‘Spice’

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

Good Gourd Almighty – Cigar City Brewing

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First of all, we’d sincerely like to grant you our thanks and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and whatever holidays you might celebrate in the coming months. Rounding out our third year of reviews you’ve made us popular enough that we are buried in beers to cover, and since they’re becoming more and more scare on the shelves, we have opted to cover them in advance for next years season in hopes of bringing you more consistent coverage and getting you a lot more info early on as these brews start to hit the shelves.

Today’s entry is not particularly concerning in that regard as, if you don’t have it by now, you’re probably not going to get it until next year. But we did feel it’s coveted status would be a great entry for today, and we thank the almighty that we got our hands on a bottle. So gather round your friends and family, or maybe just a good meal and a good brew, and dig into one last seasonal review. From us to you, we give our thanks.

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Name: Good Gourd Almighty

Place of Origin / Brewer: Tampa, Florida / Cigar City Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 8.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:

Almighty takes Cigar City’s ever popular Good Gourd (an imperial pumpkin ale that includes Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, Zanzibar cloves, and nutmeg) and finishes it out for some time in rum barrels.

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Packaging:

This is a special release barrel aged treatment beer, so the label is a bit derivative of it’s father brew, Good Gourd. It’s got some nice dark wood and autumn hues though, which certainly infer the bolder wood flavors I expect from this glass. – Mike

It’s not a far cry removed from the traditional Good Gourd packaging, but the “almighty’ stands out in a big way to help avoid confusion, settled against a backdrop of fall leaves, that even though CCB is in Tampa and probably never sees any ‘color’ still sets a festive mood. – Tim

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Color: 7

The way this beer sits in the glass demands omniscience. Fully opaque burnt caramel has fringes of an amber glow, with slim to no head. It is awesome and unassuming. – Rick

Cloudy brownish orange, with a perfect circle of thin semi sticky lacing and little to no carbonation. It looks like there is almost a freeze frame of sediment floating in the glass. – Brittney

M – 6.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 8.5

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Aroma:  7.5

A heady nose with massive rum notes, the likes of which I haven’t seen since we cracked the Avery Rumpkin back in 2011. Oak and vanilla finish out the bouquet which displays no remaining signs of pumpkin or spice.  It smells intense and I’m not anticipating a little ‘shiver me timbers’ to go with my rum and pumpkin ale. – Tim

Sweet and creamy caramel notes mingle with some intense buttery fruit flavors. This is getting pretty complex already. It has a hot aroma that singes with rum at the nose, rounding out dry and oaken for the finish. – Rick

M – 7.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 9

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Mouth feel: 8

Slick and thick, medium bodied with just enough carbonation to keep you interested without an overwhelming presence of it. – Brittney

Some time in the barrel actual seems to have lightened up the body here, moving away from the syrupy origin of Good Gourd, and becoming much more smooth bodied with a light carbonation tingle. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

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Tasting notes: 8.5

Spiced Rum, treacle, dark fruits, and milk chocolate. This tastes a good bit like a Dale Degroff tropical pumpkin cocktail with a few extra dashes of Pimento Dram. It’s caramel coated pumpkin bread – beach side. – Mike

Welcome back pumpkin, what is lost on the nose is prevalent in the body, blending together with vanilla and cinnamon to deliver a drunken pumpkin pie extravaganza. With buttery crust notes and big malt flavors, the rum is held in check (but only barely) until the exhale permeates all my senses with full bodied flavor.  Pass the whip cream. – Tim

For as strong and intense as it smells it’s actually rather smooth in flavor.  You can tell that it’s got a Good Gourd foundation, but you can’t help but focus on the rum barrel aged accent and the alcohol. – Brittney

Based on the aroma alone I expected this to be super hot and over the top. It actually brings out complex flavors that really add to the experience going above and beyond the senses. It’s really accessible while boasting tons of flavor like banana, oak, cinnamon, rum, sugar, butter, all spice, and even bits of clove. – Rick

M – 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 9.5

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Finish: 8.5

The finish is all rum, but it is hardly abrasive. It reminds be heavily of Velvet Falernum. There is a lasting sweetness with a spicy nip, and a bite of citrus / lime. Definitely a Floridian pumpkin beer. A couple of these and I’ll be boarding ships. Forcibly. – Mike

The dry oak finish compliments the mouth feel so well, it removes any implication of being too hot due to a high alcohol content. There’s still a touch of heat on the back end and the rum is quite noticeable. – Rick

M – 9 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 8.5

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Flavor balance: 8

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 8

The pumpkin and spices in the base beer were already mixed really well, and the fact that they still stand out after the aging is impressive. I would add that the addition of oak and rum flavors accentuate the pumpkin profile and propel this beer into it’s final form. – Rick

The interplay of the spice / malt / pumpkin / wood / and rum here is powerfully complex and very enjoyable. You can spend long minutes over each sip musing on the different flavors that seem to pop out and retract into the recesses of this glass. The only thing that keeps me from declaring it truly divine is how very forward the rum qualities are at times. It’s not an unpleasant flavor, but as the drink goes on, I begin to lose a bit of the pumpkin as a result. – Mike

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

         Sweet / Dry balance: 8.5

Quite balanced in this respect as the syrupy slickness and pumpkin tend to be sweet but the alcohol/barrel aged aspect brings the dry finish. – Brittney

Pronounced toffee like sweetness lend this ale a significant dessert aspect with only dry components coming on the close from the high ABV and the oak. – Tim

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

 

         Multiple Drinkability?  7.5

While I can appreciate treatments on beers and a bit of barrel aging, I probably wouldn’t drink much more than a glass of this. It’s got a very mellow sweetness that is well tempered by tannic acid qualities and the heat of the rum, but the intensity and alcohol makes it quite potent on the senses. – Brittney

It’s too heady and boozy to be sessionable. I’d rather drive up to some mountains, kick off my shoes and sip this sucker in a brandy snifter beside a roaring fire after a long day of snowboarding.  – Tim

M- 9 / T- 7 / B- 4 / R- 10

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Overall: 7.92

M- 8.00 / T- 7.83 / B- 6.92 / R- 8.83

 

Pennslyvania Dutch “Original” Pumpkin Cream Liqueur – Dairyland Distillers Co.

penn dutch cream liqueur WEB

Name: Pennsylvania Dutch “Original’ Pumpkin Cream Liqueur

Place of Origin / Distiller:  Philadelphia, PA / Dairyland Distillers Co.

ABV: 12.5%

Specialty Prep/ Individuality:

            Unfortunately, there is not much more information floating around on this product, particularly in regard to how it is made but you can pick yourself up a bottle for $8.99 and indulge in the mystery yourself.

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The label certainly recalls the spirit of the first Germanic settlers to come stateside. A gilded and embellished golden font recalls illuminated scripture, over a  country field of corn stalks and pumpkins, nearly ripe, and awaiting loading into a wooden tuck bed. It’s a nice looking glass bottle as well, which we always appreciate the detail of in less expensive products.

Upon popping the lid, we are greeted with a very familiar smell to most country pumpkin bumpkins, that is, the classic Yankee Candle Spiced Pumpkin aroma. It may sound a touch cliché, but side by side, they are spot on. Big Hazelnut notes, along with nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon, over velvety pumpkin puree, with a bit of a charred caramel note and a Brandy sweetness.

In the glass the liqueur is an antiqued bone color, with a creamy orange hue that is just a bit paler than sherbet. It is milky and viscous on the tongue, and proves more than capable of coating your glass and your cheeks. It’s not quite as dense as a full eggnog, but it is pleasingly medium bodied, with little to no alcohol bite.

The scent is not defiant of the aroma, save for one surprise, very fruity pumpkin. This is very pumpkin forward, to our delight, and also recalls notes of candy caramel crème, a bit of the cream sweetness of eggnog, and a gentle finish of spice. Cinnamon and nutmeg sit forward foremost, but impressions of faint clove and warming cognac emerge upon the swallow.

All in all, this is an excellent offering for its style. It succeeds in escaping the mentality of “just another eggnog” and “re-purposed coffee liqueur” and steps into its own category. While it may seem like a no brainer that Pumpkin should be evident in something with “Pumpkin” in the title, we rarely see it so present as it is here. It’s a shame that there is not more information available on the origins of this bottle, as many may over look an otherwise unassuming product. But if you are a fan of this sort, take our word for it and don’t miss out.

Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin Stout – Harpoon Brewery

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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.

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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.

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Packaging:

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Overall:  6.50

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

Pumpkinator – St. Arnold Brewing Company

St Arnold

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

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Name:  Pumpkinator

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

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

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

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Packaging:

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

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Color:  7

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

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

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

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Aroma:  6.5

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

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

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

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Mouth feel:  7

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

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

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

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Tasting notes:  6.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Finish:  6

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

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

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

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Flavor balance:  6.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

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

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

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

         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

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

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

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

         Multiple Drinkability?  6

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

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

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

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Overall:  6.58

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

Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale – Anderson Valley Brewing Company

fall hornin

Thar’ she blows. It’s our first review of 2013 and a little added bonus. Our first Brewer Spotlight interview! At a few points along the season we will be chatting with the fine folks that make the pumpkin ales that we all love to drink, and the first to oblige us is Anderson Valley’s very own brew master, Fal Allen. So read the review, and click on through to the interview when you’re done to learn how to pick up chicks in Boontling!

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Name:  Fall Hornin’

Place of Origin / Brewer: Boonville, CA / Anderson Valley Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 6.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale has inviting aromas of caramelized malt and baking bread with highlights of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and seasonal spices. Malts: Pale Two-Row, Maris Otter, Munich, Crystal 120L, Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Puree Hops: Bravo

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Packaging:

The can art is readily noticeable as an Anderson Valley beer. From the simple text, to the bold colors, and the fabled antlered bear, it is very recognizable. Notable additions to this brew being the orange background with a green top, and a small colony of bats flying around the beer. – Rick

            Anderson Valley continues their tradition of distinct, if tongue in cheek, branding. Their trademark 10 point Beer (see our Brewer Spotlight with Fal Allen) looks a bit friendlier on the bottle than the cans, and the usually verdant green gulch is shadowed under an ominous orange twilight complete with a colony of bats ascending into the night. – Mike

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Color:  8

Not entirely opaque yet definitively dark with a nice tight cream head that lasts. Drink it down and get a beautiful layer of lacing that sticks around. – Brittney

Right away I’m greeted with a highly appealing, very dark amber colored, and seemingly dense concoction. Well, it’s a burnt caramel tinted amber, but appealing none the less. The pillowy foam head also hides beneath it a very clean looking, semi transparent beer that is just dying for me to jump right into. – Rick

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

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Aroma:  8

A dizzying display of rich caramelized pumpkin and sugar on the noise with allspice, cinnamon and bready yeast notes. – Tim

A Strong backbone of caramel and dark malt as well as very earthy pumpkin flesh. Nutmeg and allspice stand forward, with just a hint of smoky pie crust and butter. – Mike

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

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Mouth feel:  6.5

The mouth-feel follows closely to what we see in presentation of color and appearance when poured.  It’s seemingly heavy and thick for a second but essentially medium to light bodied and crisp with just a touch of carbonation. – Brittney

This is interesting because the look and aroma suggest a full bodied intense beer, and what we have is actually delicate on the tongue.  It’s really smooth because of this, and seems to be dominant on the front of the palate despite having a bitter finish. – Rick

M- 7 / T-5 / B- 7 / R- 65

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Tasting notes:  7

Leaning to the bitter side of center, this pumpkin ale really puts it’s weight into the malt. The spicing plays off of this nicely, complimenting with a zesty and pungent zing rather than a cinnamon sweetness.  It reminds me of a crisp fall evening stroll in the mountains taking in the musty leaves and earth, cool air, and smoking chimneys. – Mike

The immediate flavors of roasted pumpkin are twisted a bit by a burnt sugar bitterness that masks a great deal of the nutmeg and cinnamon that is trying desperately to escape the body.  Even with the pronounced bitters, the primary issue with the ale is that the intrinsic flavors one would demand from a traditional pumpkin ale are not bold enough to compensate and thusly they get lost a bit. – Tim

Mostly a case where ‘what you smell is what you get’.  A solid ale with a touch of pumpkin, more cinnamon and spices.  Not as much caramel in the flavor but definitely a good bit of malt. – Brittney

My initial tasting is very good and intense, but I was worried my palate might get too fatigued by the spicing. In the end it balanced out and I looked forward to each new sip. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 5 / B- 8 / R- 7

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Finish:  6.5

This finishes almost like a porter. Bitter but clean, with a powerful spice that dramatically fades on the swallow. The pumpkin shows here to me best, reminiscent more of a squashy side dish than a dessert. This would pair well with poultry and starches. – Mike

The bitterness carries over to the finish, leaving the ale a little stronger on the palate than the ABV would lead you to believe.  Not much pumpkin on the finish, actually its profile tends to lean a little more on the grains and nuts end of the spectrum  – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 5 / B- 7.5 / R- 6.5

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Flavor balance:  6.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5.5

Pumpkin is great on the nose but takes a back seat to some heavy spicing here. Likewise, the cinnamon seems to dry out the finish nicely if not a tad too much. – Rick

The nose would leave you thinking this ale was gonna be a magical combination of balance, but the reality of the body is far less conclusive, with everything getting a little to lost in the mix. – Tim

M- 6.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 6 / R- 5.5

         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

Nicely in check, the combination of the dark malt and bravo hop’s floral bittering hold this beer in that transition between crisp summer ale and heavy winter beer. It’s a great representation of the harvest transition, and really, isn’t that what a seasonal beer is all about? – Mike

Balanced pretty well, it seems to finish smooth with a nice dryness, and some bittering often reserved for pale ale styles. A tiny bit cloying but not enough to be off-putting. – Rick

M- 8 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 6

         Multiple Drinkability?  7

This one may be a ‘what you smell is what you get’ in taste, it is not ‘what you see is what you get’. Normally with something that presents itself pretty heavy I would say one would do but this one surprisingly convinces that a couple could be an option. – Brittney

It’s a non-offensive ale, with far more highlights in the nose than in the actual ale itself.  At 6% ABV is not going to bother you to session this bad boy.  But, for me, I’d pass on picking up another round. – Tim

Being one of my favorite brewers, Anderson Valley seems to nail it every time with outstanding beers, and this is no exception. Fall Hornin’ is the adult version of pumpkin ales and proves once again that you don’t need a big fancy bottle to deliver a great tasting beer. – Rick

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

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Overall:  7.08

M- 7.33 / T- 5.92 / B- 7.42 / R- 7.33

Anderson Valley 1

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.

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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.

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Packaging:

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Overall:  7.42

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