Posts tagged ‘Washington’

Punkuccino – Elysian Brewing Company

Elysian Punkachino

 

The fine folks over at Elysian brewing, if not the de-facto kinds of pumpkin beer, certainly are one of it’s most prolific producers. Between their ever expanding seasonal releases, extremely creative recipe twists, and an ever expanding pumpkin beer festival now entering it’s 10th year running with over 70 unique pumpkin brews, it’s hard to deny that these folks are as serious about pumpkin as we are. Obviously, we were more than hyped to dive into this years new mass bottle release offering (and extremely sad when we saw all the fest only beers we’d be missing on their website)!

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Name: Punkuccino

Place of Origin / Brewer: Seattle, WA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%: Coffee Pumpkin Ale / 5.00%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Punkuccino is lightly bittered with German Northern Brewer hops, and features a mash bill of Pale, Brown, Biscuit, C-77, Crystal, Chocolate, and Kiln coffee malt. It then receives a shot of Stumptown coffee toddy, lactose, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and follows Elysian’s trademark method of adding pumpkin to the mash, kettle, and fermenter.

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Packaging:

Elysian continues its winning streak for delivering fantastically spooky graphics to accompany their barrage of Pumpkin beers. Considering how many they produce it’s amazing they are all are so damn good, while other breweries that only manage one Halloween ale, can’t seem to get a solid label on the bottle at all. – Tim

Very cool and festive. I love the art for this one. It’s playful and bold and really sells the brand as well. – Rick

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Color: 8

Porter -like darkness with nut brown and ruby notes, and just a smidge less opacity, all crowned by a latte art worthy head. – Brittney

Significantly darker than to be expected for a traditional ale, bordering on a crossover between a hearty brown ale and a porter–perhaps a not-so-subtle reminder of the coffee appeal of this ale. – Tim

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

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Aroma: 9

This smells amazing; everything smells fresh! The coffee could have just been ground, the cinnamon and nutmeg recently grated. It’s delicate and balanced and extremely appetizing. – Brittney

Cinnamon Dolce cold brew meets toast. Giant malt breadiness. I really get the biscuit malt here and it plays very nicely with the cinnamon. So much so I want to go make cinnamon toast now. – Mike

M- 9 / T- 9 / B- 10 / R- 8.5

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Mouth feel: 7.5

The mouthfeel on this ale is comparable to a full bodied stout. It’s super smooth, somewhat creamy, and just bursting with flavor. – Rick

The addition of lactose gives the ale a silky smooth body with soft carbonation, we are bordering on Latte levels here. – Tim

Medium to full bodied and very creamy. Almost too creamy in my opinion. – Brittney

M- 9 / T- 9 / B- 4 / R- 8

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Tasting notes: 9

Move over corporate spice latte, this is my new favorite hangover drink. The squashed based breakfast food you never knew you wanted. Pumpkin, cinnamon, and cafe latte blended against a pancake batter and fresh biscuit body. It’s epic. – Mike

The pumpkin presence is subtle in the body with toasty roasted malts and coffee providing a mild bittering agent. The cinnamon in the nose is pronounced in the body along with a nice medley of pie spice. The fullness of the ale verges on stout levels of creaminess making this the closest any ale has ever come to replicating a pumpkin spiced latte. Elysian has consistently crafted superior pumpkin ales, however due to my near obsessive compulsion for pumpkin coffee, this may stand as their single greatest alcoholic achievement. – Tim

Cold brewing in the toddy helps to bring out the essence of the coffee without the bitter notes. The Chocolate notes are more cocoa, the cinnamon and nutmeg really stand out as well as the creamy coffee goodness, but I don’t really get a lot of the pumpkin. – Brittney

The cinnamon and coffee flavors are the highlights here. A nice chocolate and coffee flavor is balanced well with a full dose of cinnamon that isn’t too hot. – Rick

M- 10 / T- 10 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

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Finish: 8

The coffee and spice are the two touches that linger the most to me in flavor. The intense creamy mouth feel would be the second. The first I’m okay with the second I could live without. It feels like I just drank a pumpkin coffee milkshake. – Brittney

This ale finishes like a rich roasted espresso. The bitter coffee is great here with the dryness of the chocolate flavor adding finesse to the back end. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 9 / B- 6 / R- 7.5

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Flavor balance: 9

  • Pumpkin to Spice balance: 8.5

I’m really not sure how they pulled this one off but Elysian knocks it out of the park here. Balancing coffee with spice and having pumpkin show at all, let alone notably, is quite an achievement. To have them play this well together is a downright miracle. – Mike

I really can’t find any fault whatsoever in this from the perspective of pumpkin pie. The title promises a Pumpkin Pie Cappuccino and (even though it’s probably the only one in existence) this is as good as it gets. – Tim

M- 10 / T- 10 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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  • Sweet / Dry balance: 9.5

Sweet pumpkin and spice up front with a touch of bitter black and hops on the back. This could have easily been a syrupy mess of a palate wrecker, but we’re far in the clear here. It’s damn near flawless, unless of course, you hate coffee. – Mike

The way the coffee and chocolate flavors work together to balance this beer is excellent. I’m really impressed. – Rick

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

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  • Multiple Drinkability? 9.5

When it comes to the morning after a night of hard drinking, sometimes your stomach just needs a light roast coffee and soon after, a lighter brew to get back in the game. Punkuccino offers both in spades, and offers a refreshing touch for intense, heavy coffee imperials, bringing all your favorite flavors to an extremely sessionable brew. This should definitely please seasoned beardo’s and sorority sisters alike. – Mike

This beer is so good you’ll be surprised that it’s only 5% ABV. Full flavored, full bodied, a good pumpkin flavor, and with a low ABV it’s not too easy to avoid drinking them all. – Rick

M- 10 / T- 9.5 / B- 9 / R- 10

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Overall: 8.42

M- 9.33 / T- 9.08 / B- 7.25 / R- 8.42

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Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner – Elysian Brewing Co.

Hansel and Gretel

It’s no secret that the folks over at Elysian Brewing are just as crazy about pumpkin beer as we are. From their annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival (no relation, but we kind of wish there was), to their vast array of offerings that fit solidly in the pumpkin category, there is probably gourd in their fermenters more often than not. This little buddy is one of their newest offerings in the retail bottled selection, and it’s targeted right at those folks who might like a little less “imperial” in their pumpkin. Bonus points for the matching of German fairy tales to German beer style.

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Name:  Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner

Place of Origin / Brewer: Seattle, Washington / Elysian Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Pilsner / 4.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  This beer is brewed with organic pale, Weyermann Munich, and Cara-Hell malts, with pumpkin added in the mash, kettle and fermenter. It is spiced with peeled and pureed fresh ginger in the boil and bright tank, and hopped with lots of Czech Saaz hops.

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Packaging:

Elysian never slouches on their labels. A folksy looking, fairy tale book illustration at style featuring the latest in pumpkin home construction. Gingerbread is soooo 1812. Today’s modern cannibal witch is gazing from the balcony, having underestimated the appeal of a house made of pumpkin to the craft beer aficionado, dread in her eyes.  – Mike

In keeping with the whimsical tradition of past Elysian beers, this ale features a kind of twisted fairytale landscape of ancient trees and pumpkin house – replete with scary old witch beckoning inquisitive children and adventurous drinkers into her happy, horrible home…for dinner. – Tim

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Color:  5.5

Bubbles dance quickly to the top of this yellow-orange brew. After a quick dissipation there is little to no head with an antiqued looking white lacing. – Brittney

A nice classic golden pilsner color, but infused with an additional cloudiness and obvious amber coloration from pumpkins. A simple and light frothy head settles nicely on top. – Rick

M- 6.5 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 5.5

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Aroma:  6

There is almost a saison quality to the bouquet. It just has that extra dusting of pumpkin which is noticeable under a heavy dose of ginger that allows the hops to barely peek through. – Rick

The bouquet is like someone threw a fresh peeled knob of ginger into crisp hoppy ale–blending that candied quality (think ginger biscotti) with fresh forest pine notes. – Tim

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

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Mouth feel:  6

When you combine a mouth feel of very active carbonation with the crispness of the fresh ginger this beer really, really snaps in your mouth. – Brittney

A touch fuller than the average pils, most likely from the pumpkin addition. It smooths out what could otherwise be a very prickly glassful. – Mike

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

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Tasting notes:  7

The ginger mingles with the hop profile exceedingly well. It’s interesting that the ginger doesn’t have that usual zest you would associate with your sushi boat, but more of a bittering floral quality. It makes for one very dry lager. – Mike

Lets be realistic here, the only spice in this beer is ginger, and with that in mind, the profile is about 90% exactly what you would expect it to be.  It’s almost a digestif in that manner. As the fragrant root permeates all of my senses there is a little biscuit malt and pumpkin peeking through and a bloom of piney Czech hops that close it out. – Tim

Ginger often has a soapy taste to me and right off the bat you get a ton of it. Along with the hops this could make a great palate cleanser or wrecker. I can’t really decide and I just got an insatiable urge for sushi.  Once you get past the ginger there is a bit of a piney note to a pretty solid pilsner. – Brittney

This is why I love Elysian. They take experimental risks that produce some amazing unexpected results. Very earthy, and funky hops nail the bittering and floral aspects of this pilsner and have a strong presence without becoming too parching like American IPAs tend to lean towards. Ginger is a great touch, and at first seems overwhelming, but as the backbone of this beer it is balanced very well to enhance the pumpkin. – Rick

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

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Finish:  7

The ginger is strong and lingers, as do the hops. But for a final note, I have to say that the hops prevail and leave a strong floral essence. – Brittney.

Something of a one note beer, that just happens to display two notes – hoppy pine and spicy ginger root, with the bitter floral hops carrying the pilsner for a very long finish. – Tim

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

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Flavor balance:  5.5

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 4.5

Not so much balance here. The ginger totally dominates while the pumpkin rides shotgun, but it isn’t a bad thing and I actually think it is the highlight of this brew. – Rick

The pumpkin here doesn’t seem to be much of a flavoring component, so much as a contribution to color and body. It may take the biscuit notes and sweeten them a bit, but Saaz and ginger dominate this glass. – Mike

M- 3.5 / T- 3.5 / B- 4 / R- 6.5

         Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

Surprisingly, this beer seems pretty balanced here. The clean ginger aspect could seem to create an intense dryness, but everything else seems to combat that and help pull it back to center. – Brittney

A malty front end is elegantly capped by a dry clean back end. One of the more well balanced beers in this department and I believe it all rests on the combination and interplay of hops and ginger. – Rick

M- 4 / T- 5.5 / B- 7 / R- 9

         Multiple Drinkability?  5.5

This is a tasty session worthy lager. It’s nice and light, but still a few shades from the gingerbread realm (likely because it’s solely ginger, sans baking spices). The only thing holding me back here is the suspicion that, as through the glass, the ginger would keep building with each serving through a sitting and, I for one, don’t enjoy sitting up at night bloated with burning ginger burps. – Mike

I’ve been wracking my brain for the best possible solution to when I would want to drink this beer again, or what I might pair it with to tame the residual heat and the best I can come up with is – if you routinely eat Chinese food on Thanksgiving or Christmas (A Christmas Story – Fa-rah-rah-rah-rah) then this might pair nicely.  Otherwise, a single glass from the 650ml bottle should be just enough as an after dinner drink. – Tim

M- 3.5 / T- 5 / B- 5.5 / R- 8

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Overall:  6.17

M- 5.83 / T- 6.17 / B- 5.58 / R- 6.92

Smoked Pumpkin Cider – Tieton Cider Works

smoked pumpkin cider copy

Today’s offering is nothing if not unique. It’s also a bit divisive across palates as well. Still,  for those with adventurous taste (and more than a little bit of a soft spot for bacon, and all things smoked), it’s hard to pass on this creative offering from Washington’s own Tieton Cider Works. And when you consider the third generation Yakima Valley / Washington State University Horticulturist credentials that come along with brewer’s Craig and Sharon Campbell share, it’s hard to suggest that they haven’t thought their creations thoroughly through.

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Name:  Smoked Pumpkin Cider

Place of Origin / Brewer: Tieton, Washington / Tieton Cider Works

Beer style / ABV%:  Smoked Cider / 6.9%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Made with organically grown dessert apples and American, English, and French cider varieties from Harmony Orchards, as well as  pumpkins from just up the road. The cider is then smoked over apple wood to add a unique quality of smoke and savory flavors. It is also naturally gluten-free.

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Packaging:

If Panera Bread or Whole Foods branded a cider, this is what it would look like.  As much as I’m not really of fan of that particular aesthetic, it’s a look that works.  I will say that I do enjoy the conversational description and food pairing suggestions.  – Brittney

Very classic in design. It isn’t the most exciting label, but it does the trick and right away I know this is a smoked pumpkin cider. – Rick

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Color:  6

Cloudy orange with darker rust hues as you look down the glass. It reminds me very much of a mimosa. So I think it’s pretty safe to say this is legit unfiltered pumpkin juice and apple cider, not from concentrate. – Mike

As it should, this looks like a glass full of fresh pressed cider in all of its unfiltered glory.  It is golden yellow-orange in color and pretty opaque and thick looking. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 3.5

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Aroma:  5

A sour blast of apple cider vinegar is my first thought. Carrots, blended pumpkin, and squash fill out the bouquet which is quite pleasant. There is just a slight hint of a smoky earth note on the nose. – Rick

I’m greeted with the surprisingly pungent aroma of smoke and tart fresh apples, however there is a significant note of pure alcohol that unfortunately reminds me of a bottle of isopropyl. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 2

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Mouth feel:  6

Creamy and nicely medium bodied. There is a good weight of fruit juice, but no syrupy bog to close your throat thanks to the acidic snap. – Mike

This is thick for cider as a beer style but not necessarily for apple cider, it may be the inclusion of pumpkin or just the way Tieton brews. I would love to be able to taste one of Tieton’s more classic options in order to compare how the inclusion of pumpkin has changed the body, if at all. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 4

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Tasting notes:  7

Porcine and spicy sweet. It kind of reminds me of eating all of my breakfast at once… Or Barbeque Pumpkin Pie. This one is in a category all of it’s own and it makes me crave country fixin’s in the Smoky Mountains. This is a nice treat for a nippy, post mealtime, dusk walk with a nice pipe of the legal variety. – Mike

This is a fantastically interesting beverage, it’s far removed from what I consider to be a hard cider, and more like a true fermented rustic apple cider.  The smoke from the apple wood, the tangy note from the tannins, and vegetal elements from the pumpkin blend in a way that I would expect if I picked this up in some Western Kentucky mountain town.  We talk a lot about “artisanal” products, but rarely do we discover one that truly feels hand made. – Tim

The combination of the pumpkin and apples isn’t really working for me.  The flavors are competing too intensely for either to become the dominant flavor. I will say the smoke isn’t entirely overwhelming but firmly present, which is difficult to accomplish, and admirable. Most options that tout themselves as smoked have very little room for any other flavors. – Brittney

It’s very juice like with a nice medium body and was sweeter than expected based on the vegetal qualities of the aroma. Beets, carrots, and apples round out the flavor with a body of pumpkin. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 5.5 / R- 5.5

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Finish:  6

It finishes pretty clean, with a few more alcohol trails than I would like.  A little pucker and a little smoke carries it for a few wispy seconds, then cleans your palate off like a fine wine.  It’s a very good finish for a cider, if they could keep the ABV in check a little bit more, I think that alcohol taste would disappear right into the background. – Tim

Surprisingly subtle. The success here is the simplicity. Smoke up front, pumpkin in the middle, and a crisp apple bite on the end. It’s a great contrast to an otherwise silky drink. – Mike

M- 8 / T- 7.5 / B- 5 / R- 5

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Flavor balance:  7

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7

The smoke is fairly traceable just on the finish and the nose, but I feel it could benefit from a little more. The pumpkin flavor is actually quite delicious once you get used to the vegetal nature of the flavor profile though. – Rick

From a cider standpoint, this bad boy is mostly apple.  But the pumpkin is in there and the smoke is deftly applied, allowing for the flavor components to dance with each other like witches around a solstice bonfire. – Tim

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 6 / R- 5.5

         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

A nice sweet body is complimented well by a dry finish. Not too clingy and nor does it parch my mouth. – Rick

The sweetness on the body is wonderfully curtailed on the finish, where the dryness cleans the palate in the same manner as a great wine.  I really couldn’t ask for a more skilled blend. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 9 / B- 5 / R- 6

         Multiple Drinkability?  7

I love the idea. It’s thinking outside of the box that is keeping craft beer alive and interesting. It’s a glass of apple cider next to the bonfire after Thanksgiving dinner, but all at once is a little overwhelming for me. – Brittney

This is a remarkable and idiosyncratic concoction that just begs the mentality “You’ve got to try this”. It appeals to so many niches and breaks so many rules. It’s smoked, but not dominantly so; definitively pumpkin – sans spice; and very much a cider, but with international sensibilities. It’s damn good, and the craft stands up nicely to it’s own novelty. I’d happily have a few of these, if I didn’t feel I was denying others of the experience. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 5 / R- 6

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Overall:  6.16

M- 8.00 / T- 7.08 / B- 5.50 / R- 4.33

 

Blight Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing Company

Blight_02

THE END IS BEER! Okay, so you’re probably already getting over the whole 2012 thing already, but there’s more than one end in sight. This is our last review of the season, since it’s pretty much impossible for anyone to acquire pumpkin ale at this point. Fear not though, as we already have a fridge full of stuff to start reviewing for next year, and we will be back strong, digging deep into the plethora of craft ales available in the gourd category. For now though, we celebrate the end of the recorded Mayan Calendar with a decidedly Biblical scenario – Elysian’s 9th Beer of the Apocalypse: Blight. Happy Holidays and a fruitful New Year to all of our loyal readership, whatever you may celebrate, and don’t forget to tune in for the 2012 rankings update coming soon!

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Name:  Blight Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 7.4%

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.

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Packaging:

This is a phenomenally cool label with cult comic artist’ Charles Burns art work driving the overall vibe of the ale.  It’s stark and creepy – lets call it fan-boy beer! – Tim

This label has some awesome artwork on it. Monotone colors with a woodblock look, it really fits the theme of apocalyptic brews. – Rick

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Color:  7.5

Cinnamon brown with a good bit of particulate. Yeah, there’s so much cinnamon in this thing that you can see it floating. Very mellow carbonation and a flash quick foamy head. – Mike

Copper penny hues with a nice amber glow, this ale presents a nice traditional coloration. Fine bits of sediment are floating around adding to the allure. A fine minimal head is left, with fantastic lacing following all the way down. – Rick

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

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Aroma:  8.5

Sweet, sweet Saigon cinnamon that brings a buttery brown sugar note, in and of itself, with a solid malt moment and a kick of spice at the end. – Brittney

This smells like Cinnamon Toast Crunch right down to the sugary depths, the bowling over of cinnamon, and a ton of cereal grains. Please pass the milk. – Mike

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

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Mouth feel:  8

Mid-bodied with a nice soft carbonation–sweet and even a little spicy on the tongue. – Tim

Not too snappy, but clean with only a little carbonation and medium body. Very delicate considering the other aspects of this beer, which is probably the primary reason why it works. – Brittney

M- 9 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Tasting notes:  8

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. – Mike

Bold with a cinnamon bittering, like an atomic fireball bathed in a vat of brown sugar and butter.  It’s bready and fruity like a hot apple blossom, some touches of clove present, but the rest of the traditional pie spices are either lost, or irrelevant.  The cinnamon is so prominent that it really strains credulity to call this anything other than cinnamon beer.  But, it’s damn good cinnamon beer. – Tim

If you focus on the complete flavor you can taste the pumpkin through the intense cinnamon. However, the cinnamon is what most will taste as the dominant flavor in this beer. “This particular cinnamon known as Saigon Cinnamon, from North Vietnam is less tannic than varieties commonly used in commercial preparations. A high percentage of cinnamon oil in the bark imparts a lush, spicy aroma and an intense cinnamon flavor that pairs perfectly with sugar crystals atop crisp, fluffy popcorn, as comforting as cinnamon toast and as satisfying as a sugar-speckled doughnut.”  If you want to check out the popcorn version of this beer head over to 479 popcorn.com for a treat! – Brittney

Our pumpkin is more implied and overshadowed by the spices here. It’s a great sweet dessert of a beer though, hinting at a cinnamon toast like flavor with a brown sugar backing. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 8.5 / B- 8 / R- 6

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Finish:  7.5

There is a wicked tingle you get in the back of the throat as this ale cascades across your tongue and down toward the belly.  Not surprising–it finishes dry, but not parching.  Some astringency and woody notes of bark, which build the longer you consume the ale, but fade rather smoothly after a few minutes away from the pint glass. – Tim

Sometimes you have to taste something that almost goes overboard with a spice to truly appreciate what that spice tastes like and once you do you never forget it. Milky and drying Cinnamon, with a good bit of the malt presence showing on the end. – Brittney

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

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Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5.5

There is pumpkin here, and it’s the only other thing in this beer. Clearly, you were meant to bleed cinnamon into the mouths of your zombie overlords. This is post-apocalyptic marinade. – Mike

Pumpkin is overwhelmed by the sweet and delicious spicing. It’s good, just not balanced very well. – Rick

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

The sweetness present in the nose and body don’t translate to the ales finish where the spice shuts down what could have been cloying and shifts the balance needle back to even keel. – Tim

Brown sugar and cinnamon dominate the palate making this ale abundantly sweet. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 4.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?  7

This beer is more on the sweet side which is normally a deal breaker for me but I really enjoy it. At first the intensity of the cinnamon would have made me shy away from anymore than one glass but it really mellows out with the pumpkin and malt and I would gladly have another. – Brittney

One of these would probably be enough for a lifetime (which is likely all you will get anyway considering that this is a one time brew). I love it, but drinking two would probably make you shrivel up and die, leaving only your kissable fresh corpse for future generation of Dr. Zaius to extrapolate upon our primitive nature. Damn dirty apes. – Mike

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

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Overall:  7.67

M- 7.92 / T- 8.17 / B- 7.58 / R- 6.67

blight end

Dark O’ The Moon – Elysian Brewing Company

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for things of a lupine persuasion, or those of the stouter end of the ale spectrum. So it’s not difficult to discern that, in my household at least, Elysian has a winner here. Hope you all are able to get your hands on some of this before it’s gone. It’s certainly kid tested, wolf approved. Happy Halloween to everyone, and stay safe this evening. We’ll leave it to you whether or not to call out of work in the A.M. – Mike

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Name:  Dark O’ The Moon

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Stout / 6.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Dark O’ the Moon is a slightly smoky stout brewed with Great Western pale, Crisp 77° Crystal, Munich, Cara-Vienne, roasted, chocolate and Special B malts, bittered with Magnum hops ,and finished with Saaz hops and crushed cinnamon. Pumpkin is added in the mash, boil, and fermenter.

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Packaging:

Dude, this label art is insane! A collision course sized harvest moon headed directly for earth and a nasty looking skull faced lycanthrope. This needs to be the reissue album cover for Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon”. – Mike

A howling werewolf silhouette’s the front of a full harvest moon. Elysian tends to always give a little creepiness to their labels.  I like it.  – Brittney

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Color:  8.5

Pours up blacker than my twisted soul with some yeast flecks dancing in the glass–which was similar to Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Ale.  The head is the color of nice Café con leche that I anticipated would hold on longer than it did.  Still it settled into a nice, stout-styled ring and left a bit of lacing for good measure.  – Tim

Almost perfect. I dig the blackness of this stout and love the bits of sediment. The roasted bone brown head is awesome. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 9.5

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Aroma:  7

The nose is dizzy with dark chocolate malts, burnt caramel and charred pumpkin offset against a smoky darkness with notes of tobacco.  – Tim

You can smell the earthy, malty thickness in the aroma right away with notes of cinnamon and vegetal pumpkin following closely behind. – Brittney

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

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Mouth feel:  7.5

The roast malt smokiness lingers on the tongue. It’s smooth and viscous – definitively a full bodied stout. – Rick

Velvety and luscious on the tongue with a gentle carbonation and a surprisingly medium- full body, it coats and goes down super smooth. – Tim

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

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Tasting notes:  7.5

This is a fantastic mouth dominating stout. It’s think and has a huge presence. Pumpkin? Not a ton, but there’s a touch of bubblegum and cinnamon that might be the final screaming breath of one before it succumbed to the smoke and drowned in inky depths. – Mike

Bitter and malty with rich notes of chocolate, caramel, coffee and dry dark fruit (raisins/prunes).  Pumpkin is masked more in the body than it was in the nose, but the spices actually start to come though here with the primary scent being cinnamon.   Rich but not as complex as I would have liked, it has all the earmarks of a more American styled-stout like Bells or Left-Hand.  Very drinkable. – Tim

Lots of bready, yeasty flavor up front with a very roasted malty base.  Hints of pumpkin and chocolate peek through here and there with smatterings of cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also a slight bitterness towards the end. – Brittney

Great roasted malt flavor shines while being sweetened by the pumpkin and cinnamon. Maybe a note of clove, but probably just the nuttiness of seeds and a dark chocolate profile. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 8

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Finish:  7.5

The greatest part about stouts is the finish and this is no exception. Chocolatey and nutty with a pumpkin body, this one’s a real treat. – Rick

This is where the last desperate gasp of pumpkin and spice emerge in a brief sweetness along with lasting dark chocolate java notes. – Mike

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

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Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7

For a stout, I give them all the credit in the world for showcasing pumpkin and spice, and by blending them into the dark chocolate and coffee profiles that are almost always overpowering, in a way that was actually discernible. – Tim

Malts dominate here, but there’s a nice interplay between the pumpkin and a nutty cinnamon. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 8 / B- 5 / R- 7.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 8

There’s actually a surprising sweet burst to this end, complimented nicely by the long and bitter dark chocolate / cinnamon exit. – Mike

The mouth feel and flavor tends towards the sweeter side.  The bitterness of the finish and touch of alcohol tends towards the dryer side. – Brittney

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  8

I love a good stout, and this one feels festive. I’m curious to make this into the ultimate Sleepy Hollow, the quintessential Halloween beer cocktail. – Mike

Of the darker pumpkin beers we’ve had, most have failed to really capture the pumpkin essence.  For me, Elysian are really at the top of their game here and this beer shows a deft hand.  I’d gladly drink another–and 6.5% ABV, I wouldn’t even be worried about a second bottle in a session. – Tim

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

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Overall:  7.5

M- 8.33 / T- 7.75 / B- 6.42 / R-  8.00

The Great Pumpkin – Elysian Brewing Company

How badass! Someone named a beer after our blog. What? A beagle and some kids? Ahh…Well, Linus is probably a little under age for this one, and if that face popped out of the pumpkin patch, he’d probably need some new britches. Still, you can get your very own in one of Elysian’s Pumpkin Patch four packs, and celebrate Devil’s Night with us, or, you could sit in the yard and wait for someone to bring you one. Your call.

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Name:  The Great Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Elysian Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 8.1%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  The Great Pumpkin is brewed with both Pumpkin and seeds, Pale, Munich, Cara-Hell, Cara-Vienne, Cara-Munich and Crisp 45° L Crystal malts, Mangum hops for bittering,  then fermented with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice, along with additional pumpkin in the fermenter. It’s considered the worlds first imperial pumpkin ale, and took the silver medal in 2007’s Great American Beer Festival.

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Packaging:

Obviously we’re all a little bit partial to the “Great Pumpkin” moniker. But, I like the wicked scarred Jack O’ Lantern on display here too.  He’s a little tore up, maybe from some naughty trick-or-treaters or maybe because the dude who carved him had a few too many “imperial” ales before he started slicing an dicing (stay safe out there friends!). – Tim

A sack stitched jack o lantern gnaws menacingly on Elysian’s The Great Pumpkin logo. A quick description, a few nods to the beer and the brew house and away we go! – Brittney

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Color:  6.5

This one is a little bit different than the norm. Bright orange butterscotch coloring makes it reminiscent of a shandy style. A cloudy body with some yeasty sediment swirls beneath a bone white creamy head. – Rick

Maybe the most intense orange color we have had this year.  The last of a larger head makes me think I might be about to partake in a glass of orange juice, pulp and all. – Brittney

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

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Aroma:  7

I like that I really get oven fresh roasted pumpkin seed on the nose, along with respectable amounts of fresh pumpkin and a subdued spicing. An intriguing hook to those disenfranchised by gobs of pie. – Mike

It smells fruity and sweet, kind of like a gummy citric candy, yet still retaining a yeasty quality to it. Not bad, but unexpected from a pumpkin ale. – Rick

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

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Mouth feel:  7

Deep end of medium bodied with a hefty bit of burn. It’s definitely an imperial ale, and even has a bit of an ice cold pumpkin vodka vibe. – Mike

I didn’t expect a full body from it’s initial appearance, but this one delivers. It’s really smooth and creamy with just a slight bite from the ABV. – Rick

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

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Tasting notes:  8

Full flavored and quite fruity on the pumpkin end. The spice is incredibly mild here, not in a bad way, but very much subdued, playing a more astringent and drying role. – Mike

Earthy and nutty, the pumpkin seeds add wonders to this ale, the spices are full, with cinnamon, clove and ginger, sweet malty bread and a vanilla sugar blend together for bold fall beer, but that ABV isn’t nearly as well masked as I think they’re hoping for and with everything going on this beer could really start to overwhelm you. – Tim

Looks like we might have another one that knows how to present a earthly vegetal ale other than a spiced beer that might happen to remind you of pumpkin pie.  I get a lot of earthy notes and a remainder of a whisper of spice. – Brittney

For an imperial ale, there’s a great fruity sweet character here that’s a bit unique.  It’s a nice full body that has a warm buzz about it. Citrus, with an almost barrel aged sweetness to it, I can almost taste pumpkin Jolly Ranchers. An novel approach for sure. – Rick

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

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Finish:  7

Finish is long with  immense carry-over from the actual pumpkin in the body.  I can’t remember the last pumpkin ale that finished with pumpkin.  Unfortunately, it’s also competing with alcohol trails. – Tim

The  honeyed pumpkin finishes with an almost mead decay here, transforming into a sour and earthy flesh with hints of pumpkin seed, and cinnamon prevailing. – Mike

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

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Flavor balance:  7.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7.5

More pumpkin than spice in the realm that we are used to tasting. – Brittney

The nuttiness from the seeds and the earthy vegetal gourd are very well set in the spice mix here and the spices never overwhelm the squashy goodness on display.  Very well done.  – Tim

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

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

This one is deceptive. With a cheek-full, it’s cinnamon-fruity –sweet, but on the swallow you’re left just a touch breathless, and a bit parched. – Mike

This imperial ale really shines in this category I think. There’s a nice vegetal sweetness that isn’t too syrupy, and it’s able to end with nice a dry finish. – Rick

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  7

The alcohol isn’t very well-masked.  It’s clear you’re drinking an Imperial ale, and it feels like it could get your lit up faster than Detroit on Devil’s Night.  I’m not sure my palate could handle more than two glasses in one sitting, but if you ever see me out, I assure you I wouldn’t pass up sharing a bottle with you. – Tim

I like to drink my beer not chew it. – Brittney

Overall, it’s a great beer period. The fact that it’s a unique twist on the pumpkin style really helps it stand out. – Rick

M- 7 / T- 7.5 / B- 5 / R- 9

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Overall:  7.17

M- 7.33 / T- 7.33 / B- 6.42 / R- 7.08

Jack O’Lahar Pumpkin Ale – Puyallup River Brewing Company

This brew has a clever name that most of us wouldn’t identify with immediately. For those devoid of search engines, a Lahar is a mud / debris flow, usually associated with volcanic activity. (It’s also a Sumerian god, but we don’t think that’s what they were going for here. – Mike). Put two and two together, and you’ll find that the Puyallup River valley lives peacefully, most of the time, in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. That’d be pretty high on the Most Dangerous Volcanoes in the World list. So when you’re worrying about razorblades in your candy, and knife wielding masked men on All Hallow’s Eve, just remember, the citizens of Washington might soon be living through a bad Tommy Lee Jones movie.

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Name:  Jack O’Lahar Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Washington, USA / Puyallup River Brewing Company

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Ale / 5.8%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Jack O’Lahar features an expansive grain bill including American 2 Row, Vienna, Dextrine, Dark Crystal Malt, Choolate Malt, and Roasted Barley. Roasted pumpkin is also added to the mash and boil, and an array of spices are added.

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Packaging:

I enjoy the plethora of information for the beer, like what malts are used, but the desktop like graphics employed for the “art” that takes up all the room on the label is an afterthought for sure. I guess the positive is you know it’s a pumpkin beer. – Rick

A to the point label with a jack o lantern front and center and bats flying through a Puyallup River sky over a would-be volcano.  There is something to be said for brand identity.  – Brittney

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Color:  6.5

I like the dense, almost opaque appearance. It’s a dark brown sugar body that almost conceals the effervescing sediment within it’s amber glow. Actually, an appealing aspect for a light ABV. – Rick

A rusty caramel/copper ale with a smallish cream head and dissipates quickly into a soft off-white ring. – Tim

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

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Aroma: 7

Allspice, honey crisp apple, cinnamon, and clove. This smells pretty fantastic. – Mike

Buttery with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar plus a touch of maple, which brings a slight creaminess to the nose and a lot of spice. – Brittney

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

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Mouth feel:  6

Mid-bodied in body and carbonation with smooth spices on the tongue. – Tim

It has a weird watery feel which is unexpected from the dense coloration of the body. There’s a nice burn to it, but I suspect it’s from the overabundance of cinnamon though. – Rick

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

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Tasting notes:  5.5

Brown sugar and cinnamon prevail with hints of apple jack whiskey and cream of wheat. The mash bill really shows in a nice way here, with a lot of grain present in the ale. It’s very tasty, but it’s not very pumpkin. – Mike

I’d place this squarely in the ‘pie’ category with predominant spices overpowering any natural pumpkin elements.  Vanilla and dark caramel balancing nicely with the cinnamon and nutmeg on display in the nose—actually the spice balance on this beer is really rather spot on, I just wish for more pumpkin. – Tim

A lot of spice to taste, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and enough clove to make Anne Gwish roll her eyes with disdain (that’s a good thing). There is a very small amount of smooth caramel but I’m missing the pumpkin. – Brittney

It has a good dry taste that’s pumpkin-y  with lots of sweet cinnamon, but overall does not hold up to the awesomeness of the aroma and coloration. It’s actually kind of a let down. – Rick

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

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Finish:  6.5

Clove and cinnamon with a creamy swallow that’s extremely long and lingers for quite some time. If you’re going to hook up this Halloween, skip the mints. This is your make out beer of choice. – Mike

The finish is final and clean for the most part but the spices tend to hang on for dear life.  Something about the finish, maybe just the combination of spices and malt give it a lean towards an eastern five-spice flavor. – Brittney

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

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Flavor balance:  5.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 5

It’s off kilter.  The spices—while harmonious (for the most part)—are balanced but the pumpkin is too subtle to notice.  This is unfortunately, the usual case with ale brewed where the pumpkin is added to the boil and mash (noted on the label) as most of the inherent flavor is cooked out. – Tim

Dominated by cinnamon and brown sugar the pumpkin is barely noticeable. – Rick

M- 4.5 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 6

The totalitarian spice approach here makes this brew feel downright arid upon swallow. It’s a shame because in the mouth, it’s otherwise nice and sweet. – Mike

Surprisingly, it’s pretty balanced in this realm. I would expect with the heaviness of the spice that it would lean toward the dry side but the touch of caramel it really brings it together.  – Brittney

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?  6

I don’t know if this is the kind of beer I’d run out to tell everyone about.  But at less than 6% ABV it’s nice enough to session and it does offer some cool depth of flavor from the caramel. I’d just like the spices dialed back a bit so the pumpkin could shine more. – Tim

This sucker is so spice heavy, it’s likely to murder your palate and spit on it’s grave. – Mike

M- 4 / T- 6 / B- 6.5 / R- 5.5

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Overall:  6.17

M- 6.00 / T- 6.33 / B- 6.50 / R- 6.33