Posts tagged ‘spiced’

Spiced Harvest Ale – Fordham Brewing Co.

Sorry again for the publishing delays, hopefully that will be the last of them for this year. We had some technical difficulties for Friday’s review, and then we had no technology at all until today (but we’re finally in the new house).

Today’s selection is best paired with AMC hit series premieres.

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Name:  Spiced Harvest Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Delaware, USA / Fordham Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Spiced Ale / 6.6%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Released for the first time in six packs this year, Fordham Spiced ale is brewed with Pumpkin and Honey, with spices added (allspice, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin).

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Packaging:

Replete with one of those great “Americana” labels featuring a tractor, pumpkins and a fields of grain as far as the eye can see, Spiced Harvest Ale reminds me of holidays spent visiting my Mamaw in Western Kentucky when the sun was setting, when fireflies came out, and that warm amber glow everything had at Magic Hour.  It seems silly to think of a beer bottle as comforting—without immediately wondering if I’m an alcoholic.  But, hey…I find it soothing. – Tim

The wit here is to be admired. Clearly Fordham is counting on 2012 to be legit, or for GMO corn to start the zombie apocalypse. Couple the caption with the rusted out silo and tractor on the label, and you’ll probably need a shotgun when you go hunting for some twinkies and a six pack. – Mike

I could get lost in photograph on this label.  A rusted old tractor, a pile of pumpkins and the overgrown hills of a farm at harvest time or during the apocalypse as the label seems to imply. – Brittney

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Color:  6.5

An amber ale leaning a bit on the Pilsen side, this has a slight unfiltered haziness that prevents it from being the sparkling ale I wanted it to be. Initial pour yields a healthy head that quickly flits off leaving a touch of foam on the top, and zero lacing. – Mike

It’s your basic burnt umber coloring, kind of bland in it’s appearance. The head disappears quickly and leaves no trace behind as far as lacing is concerned. It’s mostly opaque, but mix that quality with it’s unappealing brownish orange color and it could start to make you nervous. – Rick

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

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Aroma:  7

Ale and honey and then pumpkin and spice.  All very present and in that order. – Brittney

Nutmeg and cinnamon are here in a substantial dose, with allspice and ginger coming in as a firm secondary. There is a light caramel malt backing it all up with a solid hay / grain smell that brings images of a farm at harvest time. Spice. Check. Harvest. Check. Ale. Check. Gotta give a few points for transparency. – Mike

Smells exactly like Costco pumpkin pie I have in my refrigerator right now—a harmonious blend of clove, allspice and cinnamon. It’s so delicious, I want to eat it—not drink it. – Tim

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

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Mouth feel:  5.5

A bit watery of a mouth feel on this one. It’s really bubbly over the tongue and you get a strong presence of ginger here. A sting of clove and a touch of cinnamon rounds out the body nicely here. – Rick

High carbonation levels leave the tell-tale “bubble burn” on my tongue.  With a light to medium body this ale isn’t gonna take home any prizes for mouth feel, but it’s passable.  I just prefer my beer a little less ‘bouncy’. – Tim

Light and bubbly, crisp and clean. A slight bite that reminds me sensationally of tart cider. There’s ample fizz to boot, keeping it nice and lively, if not particularly on the smooth side. – Brittney

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

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Tasting notes:  6

A nice sweet pumpkin body really grounds this brew well. The spicing is decent with allspice being dominant and the ginger aspect really helps clean the finish. Focusing on the ginger, I come to find it may be a bit overdone, kind of wrecking the sweetness for me. – Rick

I love that I get so much honey from this.  It’s something that we don’t have much of a presence of very often.  I also love the earthiness of the pumpkin and spice.  The honey provides most of the sweetness so it’s not too overwhelming.  It’s as though each of the flavors have their moment and then settles. – Brittney

There’s definitely a bit more going on here than initial factors would indicate, which is nice, as frankly, I was expecting less. There’s a nice oatiness to the grain bill, and in tandem with the honey, instantly reminds me of a certain circular, cholesterol reducing cereal. The spice profile still leans heavily nutmeg for me, but in such a way that is complimentary to this, and, I have to say, I am glad to find it much more subdued that I was expecting from the first whiff. – Mike

Fully anticipating a pumpkin pie orgy of pallet bursting goodness on this one, I have to say, I’m a little vexed.  The flavor is muted and a very interesting thing has happened to the wonderful pumpkin pie aroma in the bouquet—once I took a swallow of this ale, the aroma has morphed into something resembling a spiced white wine, with disconcerting notes of plastic, paper and gingerbread.  I can pull some spices and some pumpkin but the ‘off flavors’ are overwhelming. – Tim

M- 6.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 8 / R- 5

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Finish:  5.5

The finish is dry and spicy, with that same crisp bite of the mouthfeel lingering almost to the point of astringency.  If it lingered a bit less, I might find it more appealing, but I feel like this could really blow the palate if you intend on drinking anything else afterwards. – Mike

The honey is not only the first thing I taste but also the thing that stays with me at the finish.  The finish is crisp with a hint of that subtle spice. – Brittney

M- 4 / T- 4.5 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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Flavor balance:  5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5

We’re dominantly spice and honey here, which is interesting, but definitely regulating the pumpkin aspect to the mash bill only, and bringing zero flavor to the table. Probably why they opted for leaving it out of the name. –  Mike

Before I take a swing, I’d give this a near perfect score, but the more the ale progressed, the more mystified I became and the more the bizarre elements started to present themselves.  – Tim

M- 4.5 / T- 5 / B- 7 / R- 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 5

A little on the dry side, this brew is heavily influenced by the ginger spicing that completely dominates my palate. A little more sweetness in this brew and I would be a big fan. – Rick

If the finish was a little more subtle, I would say this was balanced fairly well, but like so many elements of this ale, it seems to be disjointed and confused. – Tim

M- 5 / T- 5 / B- 8 / R- 3

–         Multiple Drinkability?  4.5

As much as I enjoy this beer I don’t think I could have another. In the words of Kris Delmhorst “maybe I’m just honey’d out”. – Brittney

Flavor intensity aside, this ale does prove pretty light on the belly, and that’s something to be said for throwing back a few.  So when you do drop that flavor intensity back in the equation, you’ll either want to stick around awhile, or abandon ship. Myself, I could probably stick out a session, but I can live with nutmeg morning breath. – Mike

There is only one chance I’d revisit this beer—and that’s the see if it was ‘just me’.  Otherwise, I’d keep searching for the perfect ale…because this teeters more on the precipice of failed promise. – Tim

M- 4.5 / T- 4 / B- 6 / R- 3

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Overall:  5.92

M- 5.25 / T- 5.58 / B- 7.33 / R- 5.92

HornyCopia Pumpkin Ale – Horny Goat Brewing Co.

Goat tested, Mother Severely Disapproved. Check out our trip to the farm for today’s review, but mind your shoes. And the goats. They’ll totally eat your clothes.

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Name:  HornyCopia Pumpkin Ale

Brewer / Place of Origin: Horny Goat Brewing Co. / Wisconsin, USA

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 5.7%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Pumpkin is abundant in the mash, along with 2 row Vienna and Caramel Malts, and plenty of sass. Spice is added to the boil to create a harmonious brew they like to call “pumpkin pie in a bottle”.

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Packaging:

A brick red label featuring a Looney Tunes looking she-goat from the darker side of the internet that is spread, suggestively bow legged, across a large cornucopia, well endowed with a number of pumpkins inside. It’s funny in a “This is just wrong” kind of way. – Mike

There is something to be said for being obvious and Horny Goat is pretty much skipping all the subtlety here and plopping a buxom goat/woman in a skintight dress atop a cornucopia brimming with pumpkins.  It’s wrong in so many ways, and yet…so right. – Tim

Never in my life did I presume that I would use the words sexy and goat in the same sentence, but this label attempts just that. With a hint of not taking himself or herself too seriously, a scantily clad goat rides a cornucopia brimming over with pumpkins. – Brittney

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Color:  6

Respectable amber hue with a nice even, clean clouding. Foamy head with aggressive pouring dissipates quickly. – Rick

A hazy amber ale, with a fast moving antique white head that dissipates surprisingly fast leaving only the smallest traces of foam in it’s wake. – Brittney

A nice bone white head that lingers for a few moments before fizzling away, leaving a moderately cloudy, and ruddy orange ale that is very suggestive of the pumpkin theme, while still letting a bit of light filter through. – Mike

M- 7.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 6 / R- 5

Aroma:  6

Bready yeast notes bounce right on the nose and intermingle with pie spice in a warm blend that whets the palate. – Tim

Predominantly spicy profile with a heavy helping of nutmeg, clove, and a bit of warm cinnamon. There is a bit of ripe gourd on the retro-hale giving me a solid hope of the pumpkin mash being unique. – Mike

It has a sweet bouquet, but it doesn’t entice me very much.  A little flat. – Rick

The aroma is light but complete, not too sweet smelling with a slight dominance of clove. – Brittney

M- 6 / T- 5.5 / B- 5 / R- 3.5

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Mouth feel:  5

Crisp and light with a soda-like carbonation and a medium amount of syrupy thickness at the finish. – Brittney

Mid-bodied with a crisp brightness and some active carbonation that bodes well for a early-seasonal (read: still crazy hot outside) offering. – Tim

M- 6 / T- 5.5 / B- 7 / R- 5

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Tasting notes:  6

Good bitter tones to it. The hops really clean the sweetness off the finish to balance it out just a tad, if not unevenly. A good offering of pumpkin flavor to the body plays well with the sweet spicing. – Rick

A quiet introduction to the pumpkin season. Not overwhelming in pumpkin or spice until the finish where the sweetness, syrupiness, and spice take over.  We lose any amount of the vegetal pumpkin aspect and end up with more of a light crisp spiced ale.  For a brewer that was blatant in their attempt to create “pumpkin pie in a bottle” I think they did a pretty great job.  – Brittney

For an early fall offering, let’s call it Indian Summer, this is a light and refreshing vegetal ale that moves crisply and cleanly right from the fridge to my belly–warding off the oppressive summer heat and heralding the first hopeful wisps of autumn.  Fresh pumpkin is more pronounced in the body than the spice profile and it intermingles with some decidedly barnyard notes of straw/hay (so maybe the goat in the name, is literal as well).  Of note, as the ales temperature elevates so does the inherent sweetness of the beer. – Tim

Sweet brown sugar balances with a definitive spicy malt and a unique smokiness that I wouldn’t have guessed upon the nose. Comparable to the nose, I’m happy to find that spice doesn’t dominate this brew, and, while firmly in the Pumpkin Pie realm, it does a nice job of avoiding the ultra sweetness so many true believers tend to dislike about pumpkin ales. There’s also a great cream ale vibe that reminds me of a healthy dose of my favorite whipped pie topping that comes in a plastic tub. – Mike

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

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Finish:  5

Surprisingly and pleasantly dry and complex with that same gourd presence from the nose lingering behind with nutmeg and a bit of tannin.  – Mike

This ale is decidedly snappy and more often than I not, I just want to keep noting how crisp and clean it is.  Ice cold, it finishes fresh with some medium-length marked by a slight astringency and some bitter hoppy notes. – Tim

Subtle and solid but does not linger.  HornyCopia is a one-night stand that doesn’t stick around for breakfast in the morning. – Brittney

M- 6.5 / T- 6 / B- 4 / R- 4.5

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Flavor balance:  5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5.5

Sweet malty notes are overshadowing the pumpkin flavor just a tad on this one. – Rick

I really dig the approach to the pumpkin here, and though the spicing is definitely not wimpy, the pumpkin shows it’s staying power in a finish that easily rivals the burst of pungent spice on the front end. – Mike

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 4.5

Definitely brewed to the dry side, the sweetness only emerges as the ale sits and comes up to temperature.  Again, not particularly a problem while the mercury on the outdoor thermometer is dancing in the 90’s, but perhaps a bit too summery for later fall consumption. – Tim

It’s deceptively sweet for such a clean finishing beer. Not a fan of the sticky mouthfeel aftertaste either. – Rick

This leans dry on the back end, which helps to balance what could be an otherwise pretty heavy ale. It’s an unexpected twist given the nasal implications of liquid sugar. – Mike

M- 6 / T- 4.5 / B- 5 / R- 3.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?  5.5

It’s a touch too sweet for my tastes but, overall, decently built as a nice introduction to the pumpkin family. – Rick

This beer is very light, crisp, and very easy to drink. The only thing that would stop me from having more than two of these would be the higher amounts of carbonation. – Brittney

On a hot day, I could easily put back a pretty solid session of these.  I think it’s a good start for the season, coming in early, before all the Imperial Porters take over and the ABVs start to rise. – Tim

Firmly in the after dinner beer category, HornyCopia stays true to it’s dessert inklings. One leaves me nicely contented, but more than that might leave me in the same realm of too many dessert helpings. Bloaty and regretful. Plus, you probably want to put the kids to bed before you warp their fragile minds with anthropomorphic goat babes. – Mike

M- 6 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 3

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Overall:  5.50

M- 6.67 / T- 5.75 / B- 5.76 / R- 4.25

Ichabod Pumpkin Ale – New Holland Brewing Co.

I have to admit, I’m excited to try this one. It’s been staring at me from the back of the fridge for a few weeks now, and anyone that knows my family closely, knows that we’re kind of obsessed with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (isn’t Tim’s picture up there rad by the way?). Suffice to say, from my dad reading it to us every Halloween as a kid, to the amazing animated Disney version, and yes, even the questionable Johnny Depp movie ( My brother particularly likes it for the sheer decapitation factor, and of course, the Walken), suffice to say, it’s a big deal that has imprinted on me, and always pops into my head (and quickens my pace) when crossing old wooden bridges.

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Name: Ichabod Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer:  Michigan, USA / New Holland Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%: Pumpkin Ale / 5.2%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Combining malted barley, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this brew is designed to compliment pairings of roasted poultry, root vegetables, peanut sauce, and caraway.

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Packaging:

Washington Irving’s tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hallow is one of my favorite American short stories–on that point alone I’m predispositioned to dig on this packaging with its representation of the pumpkin-headed specter astride his spooky steed. – Tim

Creepy and classic like most things should be this time of year.  The images on the label stay true to its name with only a slight mention of pumpkin ale.  The tiny statement on the front of “Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices with spices added” makes me think this might be a little heavy on the spice end. – Brittney

If Washington Irving’s classic tale was an animated series designed to creep the hell out of Saturday mornings in the 90’s, this label would surely be the perfect nightmare inducing adversary, complete with haunting glow and a red eyed steed. It also seems to imply we might be drinking a beer made out of his head, which explains why that pumpkin looks pissed. – Mike

A nice spooky illustration of the infamous headless horseman brandishing a menacingly evil looking jack-o-lantern in one hand, as he guides his ghostly steed with the other.  You can tell right away that this pumpkin ale is just a little bit different from the others. – Rick

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Color:  7.5

 Beautiful antiqued lace foam draping down the sides of the glass ever so slowly, to compliment the burnt sienna (yeah, I went there) sea glass coloration. This definitely isn’t headless. – Mike

Dull amber-brown and slightly cloudy, it doesn’t have the usually orange glow of some of the spiced ales that we have visited thus far. – Brittney

M- 8.5 / T- 7 / B- 6.5 / R- 7.5

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Aroma: 6

Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove all come on the nose almost immediately with the cinnamon leading the charge. Further back in the pack, an air of fresh pumpkin is met with a noticeable zing of sharpness portending an impression of the hops-forward drink to come.  – Tim

This pumpkin ale pours a great deep amber, almost brown in a molasses like quality.  Great lacing is left behind by the frothy head that quickly settled after the pour.  Very appealing in collaboration with the aroma. – Rick

This sucker smells like it’s soaking in nutmeg, and has a rather pungent hop aspect to it. I do get a hint of the barley malt as well, but more as a sense of fleeting charred sweetness. – Mike

Getting most of our usual three, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin dominate the very slight nose on this one.  The only unusual quality of the aroma is the pumpkin smells baked, if not slightly burned. – Brittney

M- 4 / T- 6 / B- 6.5 / R- 7

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Mouth feel: 6

There’s a great presence on the pallet from this one right off the bat.  It delicately dances between medium and light bodied while settling across the tongue with a nice tingle. – Rick

Just on the cusp of medium bodied with a hint of wateriness and medium carbonation.  To be honest, I expected more zip from this brew.  I was expecting a bang but all I got was a whimper. – Tim

The experience of the mouth feel on this one is quick and to the point.  The carbonation really expands in your mouth.  It’s very smooth, has excellent crispness and ends slightly dry.  – Brittney

M- 4 / T- 4.5 / B- 7 / R- 6

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Tasting notes: 5.5

As predicted, Ichabod is hoppy and bitter but not flowery like an IPA, this is a surprisingly citric and vegetal ale with notes of grapefruit along with cinnamon and nutmeg and bready malts. The pumpkin is more subdued but the undercurrent of flavor is there.  The spice level is more restrained than I’d imagined it’d be based on the bouquet.  However, it all rubs me the wrong way.  It’s not a traditional fall ale, with none of the expected sweetness and, yet despite the outburst of hops it’s not floral enough for me to appreciate it as an IPA. – Tim

Well this is an interesting approach. Dry and vegetal, but with a definitive spice presence, I really don’t get even a touch of sweet out of this brew, but more a glimmer of vanilla cream sans sugar and white tea. It’s certainly intriguing as a curio, but I have to be honest and say, while it’s certainly innoxious, it’s unfortunately because it comes off rather benign. – Mike

It looks full bodied but tends to taste more like a medium bodied brew with a nice addition of bitter hops.  I don’t expect to get this good of a beer with a fairly low ABV, but I was pleasantly surprised. – Rick

I was hoping for a little more complexity with this.  I especially would have liked to taste a little more of the slightly burned aroma that I picked up on the nose, I feel like it would have given Ichabod a little more character. – Brittney

M- 3.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 6 / R- 8

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Finish:  6

Cinnamon whisps away with an unexpectedly clean and at once foggy feeling, leaving just a slight bitter facet to the end of a swig. – Mike

This one starts with the sweet aroma, and ends with the nice bite from the hops.  I also notice just a slim hint of actual pumpkin at the very end just to cap off this ales experience. – Rick

Long, bitter, bone dry finish with a lingering tartness that I find intriguing but not overly satisfying. – Tim

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

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Flavor balance:5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

Unfortunately the unsweetened approach of the pumpkin here seems to get lost in the fold, leaving only a heavy hand of nutmeg against the beers foundation. – Mike

The hops overpower everything pushing the pumpkin and spice levels down so that they might balance against each other, but you’d never know it. – Tim

M- 3 / T- 4 / B- 7 / R- 6

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

This one is surprisingly on the dry side.  You would think with all of the spices that it might be sweet but it’s like the difference between cinnamon sugar and the cinnamon challenge. – Brittney

I keep wanting to think I’m catching a hint of some kind of brown sugar or something here. But the more I think about it, the more it just seems like the char off the bottom of a pot caramel was cooked in. – Mike

It’s a tad cloying, especially at the end of the bottle, but there’s a nice dryness from the hops that I find really help balance this minor drawback. – Rick

M- 3 / T- 4 / B- 6 / R- 7.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?

I’d like to by bottles of this to have at parties just because it label screams “This is Halloween” to me over and over again, but I’m afraid someone might actually drink it.  It’s not a terrible beer.  Far from it.  But, it’s just too perplexing to try and decipher the intention of the brewer here. – Tim

I’d be curious to try this directly with the food pairings suggested or a sweet dessert, as that might certainly provide some depth to the intention of this brew. I end up for now though, underwhelmed and wishing for something a bit more exciting. – Mike

M- 4.5 / T- 4 / B- 7.5 / R- 8

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Flavor balance: 6.00

M- 4.75 / T- 5.17 / B- 6.67 / R- 7.41