Posts tagged ‘wheat’

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

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale – Blue Moon Brewing Co.

Whether or not you’re a fan of some of the larger produced seasonal ales, I have to take a minute to give them a little bit of credit where credit is due. While I understand that the smaller brewer has to rush and struggle to get the product out there in time for a season, and then quickly move on to the next, it’s certainly nice to be able to walk into a store around the end of the fall season and find the seasonal beers that were meant to celebrate the associated holidays. We’re more than aware that there’s been a lot of hub-bub on this topic, and it’s a tough call for us, particularly since we have limited resources to cover so much ground when the beers are released. Still, it’s nice to know you have a fall back to go with that pumpkin pie when you walk in the weekend before Thanksgiving, and for that, we have to say kudos.

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Name:  Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Colorado, USA / Blue Moon Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Wheat Ale / 5.7%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Crafted with autumns bounty of vine ripened pumpkin and flavors of cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Then brewed with a touch of wheat for a smooth, lightly spiced finish.

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Packaging:

Maintaining the traditional Blue Moon label with its wood-cut styling, this seasonal bottle adds a burnt orange color to the mix and replaces the standard pine trees from the ubiquitous ‘Belgian White’ brew with a field of harvested pumpkins under a soft baby-blue sky.  Once again as a mass produced ale, branding doesn’t stray far from what the good folks at Coors have been pushing for the better part of a decade and a half. – Tim

It seems that once a brewery reaches a certain amount of popularity, the labels all tend to read the same and look very similar, throughout styles and even between different brewers.  This is no exception.  It’s just a quick color scheme change with a pumpkin thrown in for good measure. – Rick

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Color:  6.5

A decadent orange – brown that brings the word MALTY to mind for me immediately, with a gently bubbling base that keeps an eternal hairline head on it. However, it does seem to be quite on the clear side, contrary to it’s non seasonal heritage. – Mike

My pint poured crystal clear, glowing amber in color and mildly bubbly. An initially airy head started heavy, and quickly dissolved away to no more than a thin layer of lacing. – Brittney

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

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Aroma:  4.5

Rich gourd on a spicy bouquet carry over to a malty sweetness and add a definite fall air to this brew.  – Tim

Light on aroma, an earthy pumpkin is almost noticeable beyond a strongly present waxy malted wheat beer. – Brittney

Nutmeg defines the olfactory profile of the spices here, along with a touch of floral wheat and barely perceivable perfumed clove. – Mike

M- 4 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 3.5

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Mouth feel:  5

At first it’s light, crisp, and refreshing.  There’s a foamy tingle over the tongue.  But, after a few more sips it becomes dull and uninspired. – Rick

Smooth with middling carbonation, a slight medium body that could be a little thin for some–compared to more robust fall ales–but I found it unexpectedly fuller than I was anticipating considering I’ve drank a couple hundred Blue Moon’s in my day. – Tim

It’s medium bodied as can be, with a citric acid astringency that doesn’t seem to be as downplayed as I would expect of the branding’s other offerings. – Mike

M- 5 / T- 5.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 4.5

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Tasting notes:  5

Actually, not nearly as sweet as I had expected, this ale seems to focus primarily on the dominance of the earthy gourd quality of the pumpkin, which is nicely complimented by the wheat, though doesn’t appear to be as floral as the nose would imply until much later on the tongue. This seems to create a bit of a beer chameleon effect for me though, as it’s hard to peg the shifting palate. Some might call it complex, but to me it’s a bit more clash. – Mike

I’m struck by how different this beer is from a archetypal Blue Moon beer. With bready malts, a blast of caramel and a lot (and by that I mean, too much) allspice in the mix it’s really not what you’d expect when you see an established label pop into the marketplace and take on a micro brew challenge.  And while I appreciate deviating from the norm, I still feel like it’s also missing the floral/citrus notes and natural wheatiness that I want when the label says “Blue Moon”.  However, it is a brew that is generally trying to get your attention and wake your taste buds up and so they get bonus points for that. – Tim

To preface, I really, really wanted to like this one.  Blue Moon is my “grocery store” beer of choice.  Much to my dismay, I feel like they were trying to go for the “earthy pumpkin” end of things and not the “sweet spiced pumpkin pie”.  On one hand a smart move for a beer that is known for a clean crisp flavor and finish, on the other hand, it doesn’t end up well.  The spices are lost and the earthiness of the “vine-ripened” pumpkin is easily mistaken for the malt of the wheat beer. – Brittney

It has a good wheat profile, but that is the most dominant aspect here, leaving no room for any spices to really stand out, except maybe the clove.  It may be a good fall “harvest” beer, but it fails to capture the essence of pumpkin. – Rick

M- 5 / T- 6.5 / B- 6 / R- 3

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Finish:  5

I’m left with a small bite and overall lackluster pumpkin flavor.  It does go down smooth, but becomes a little too cloying about halfway through the beer. – Rick

The allspice and clove seem to play in a way that comes across unpleasantly sour to me , more like something has spoiled, than something intentionally brusque on the senses. It does eventually resolve to a more classical dry wheat finish though, which helps a little. – Mike

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

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Flavor balance:  4.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

There is no hiding that pumpkin takes precedence over spice here.  It’s even implied in the description on the bottle. – Brittney

Blue Moon gives some good gourd, and I welcome that the pumpkin is distinct enough in the mash to be notable.  But, the allspice dominance pretty much nuked my palate leaving very little room to identify any other players in the game. – Tim

M- 5.5 / T- 5.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 2.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

It’s dry and tartly like an English prostitute. – Mike

It leans on the dry side and shies away from being sweet at all, which is not appealing here. – Rick

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

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Sadly, this just makes me appreciate the better qualities of a regular Blue Moon a lot more, and comes off as a heavier offering with less appeal than it’s sister brew. – Mike

This is a good inoffensive beer, I’d kill a few off with some food or at a really smoky bar where I don’t care too much about really savoring a brew. – Tim

Only by the fact that there really isn’t anything to hate about it nor anything to like, and you’re probably sitting there with the rest of the six pack. – Brittney

M- 3 / T- 6 / B- 5.5 / R- 1.5

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Overall:  5.08

M- 4.83 / T- 5.83 / B- 5.83 / R- 3.83

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat Ale – Shock Top Brewing Co.

Some of you may be cursing right at the title. Yeah, we know this one isn’t exactly the small brewer beer, but we have a mission here, and in that mission, we’re reviewing all pumpkin beer. So hold on to your hats for a back to back double feature of two of the mainstreams most acceptable brews, and their take on pumpkin ales. We’ve put our biases aside, and boldly gone where, well, likely millions have gone before…. FOR SCIENCE!

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Name:  Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Missouri, USA / Shock Top Brewing Co.

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Wheat Ale / 5.2%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Shock Top is our first foray into the unfiltered Belgian style wheat ale category, making this its primary distinction among the other ales we’ve visited thus far. In addition to their usual brew, they’ve also added ripe pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Additional instructions as to how to properly pour to ensure a proper blend are a nice touch as well.

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Packaging:

This is a very cool label.  It takes the classic Shock Top brand with it’s blend of refined, symmetrical design featuring the labels Mohawked iconic orange slice and adds in a smattering of wood cut pumpkins to signify the season. I know it’s not terribly cutting edge, but it really is a really great label for a brand that wants to rebel a little from it’s Anheuser-Busch corporate parentage. – Tim

When you are a company like Anheuser-Busch with a product like Shock-Top you don’t really mess around with brand identity.  This is a bottle of Shock Top decorated for the Thanksgiving holiday. – Brittney

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Color:  6.5

A neon orange clear ale with a wheaty sediment that I can actually watch spiral down the glass to create a near opaque cloud. – Mike

This beers base is Belgian-style wheat ale so its coloring takes an easy turn toward a bold pumpkin rind orange.  It looks highly effervescent and slightly cloudy, as it should being unfiltered and also carries a quickly dissipating head and somewhat solid lacing. – Brittney

M- 5.5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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Aroma:  5.5

A light nose of fresh cut pumpkin and a noticeably subdued spice structure–the beer smells weak and seems to be missing the key floral elements typically found in traditional wheat beers. – Tim

Nutmeg, Clove, and traditional wheat ale compliment sweet anise and citrus notes, with just a smattering of pumpkin guts. – Mike

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

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Mouth feel:  5

There is a sharp carbonation and even though it’s very light in body, it has a nice fluffy texture as it foams across the tongue. – Rick

The carbonation I noticed upon pour had settled slightly and left me with little to battle the initial syrupy feel.  It’s heavier than I expected and/or was hoping it would be but smooth nonetheless. – Brittney

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

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Tasting notes:  5.5

This beer vexes me, I rather expected it to taste like a standard Shock Top but with pumpkin spices in the mix.  Instead I get very little spice aside from a touch of cinnamon.  There’s more vegetal raw pumpkin  for brightness and acidity and a sweet maltiness that adds a touch of depth as a stand out.  But, what’s really strange about this brew is that it also seems to be missing the essential ‘wheatiness’ that should be at the forefront of the brew. – Tim

Pumpkin and cinnamon flash nicely on the front end, but quickly settle into a nuttier ale with crusty pie notes. – Mike

It’s not amazing.  Of course it’s not.  It’s Shock Top.  I like Shock Top.  I breathe a sigh of relief when a server (at a not so specialized restaurant) gets to the end of the unfortunate beer list to mention Shock Top because at least I know there is something I can enjoy with my meal on the menu.  However, this is not that.  Not only does the pumpkin and spice only come when you are about half way through it doesn’t come nearly hard enough.  – Brittney

The pumpkin is balanced really well here and the subtle spicing really propels this brews flavor profile.  This is a good entry level pumpkin ale to the beginner because the spices are a great accent instead of taking center stage. – Rick

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

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Finish:  5

This is actually the most appealing aspect of this brew to me, particularly since after the intial sip or two, the pumpkin seems to vanish more and more under the lingering wheat finish, that is long and pleasing, but not decidedly autumnal. – Mike

Moderate to long hoppy finish that I would expect but again something is missing–they seem to have lost the pumpkin in here. – Tim

The spice goes down real smooth with a nice tingle st the end.  The real flavor comes on the exhale after each swallow. – Rick

M- 5.5 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 4.5

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Flavor balance:  6

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

This spice levels here are so low-key I’m not sure anyone would know if they just forgot to add them to a batch. – Tim

The subtle spicing is great and really lets the pumpkin flavor shine here.  – Rick

The pumpkin does showcase a bit more than the spice, but what we have here is, at best, a mild theme-y brew that depends heavily on a proper pour (and is targeted to an audience unlikely to supply it). – Mike

M- 4 / T- 3 / B- 5.5 / R- 8.5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

Even though it finishes a little on the dry side I will say the majority of this beer can be considered sweet. – Brittney

Pumpkin Wheat maintains a nice unassuming sweetness and ends up in the dry dock with a more conventional finish.  I think that works well here because recent traditions dictate that the imbiber would be adding some Orange to the mix to uptick the sweetness factor–I’d venture to say most sane people won’t be squeezing any pumpkin into the brew this time of year to compensate for the lack of orange.  So, a touch of sweetness really satisfies here. – Tim

M- 5 / T- 6.5 / B- 5.5 / R- 8

–         Multiple Drinkability?

I can drink multiple pumpkin beers and I can drink multiple Shock Tops but I don’t think I can drink multiple Shock Top Pumpkins. – Brittney

It’s smooth, pleasant, and infinitely easy drinking. The problem is, it’s barely a pumpkin ale, and while I get that Shock Top probably isn’t going for shock value, it’s not bold or deviant enough to warrant anything but a faux hawk on the label. – Mike

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

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Overall:  5.58

M- 5.25 / T- 4.92 / B- 5.92 / R- 6.00

Pumpkin Spice Moonshine – Corsair Artisan, LLC

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Name:  Pumpkin Spice Moonshine

Distiller:   Corsair Artisan, LLC / Bowling Green, Kentucky

On the list of craft distilling’s rising stars, it wouldn’t be hard to find Corsair. Focusing on a number of quirky twists for old favorites, and particularly oriented to a cocktail making atmosphere, they’ve cranked out some unusual and exotic recipes in the past few years. This one is definitely up there among them.

Moonshine you say. Really? Well, to be fair, this does have a place here. In fact, some of the first words on the bottle claim this young whiskey is inspired by pumpkin ales. So at least you’ll have something to turn to when your friend’s try to give you that sass about pumpkin beer being for lady types. Pot distilled from malted barley and wheat, the vapor basket is then loaded with ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and pumpkin, then re-distilled once more for a smoother blend.

From first exposure Corsair’s label embodies slick confidence with geometric psychedelia and three suited and shaded hit-man looking guys in full strut, (looking more Rockstar than Turkish Privateer). Further nice touches include the hand labeling and bottling (we got batch 5, bottle 30/36), as well as the signature of the distiller.

What of the spirit itself you ask? Admittedly, we opted for the more traditional moonshine standard (straight up) rather than the cocktail approach (it’s specifically suggested for a Manhattan). Those of us initiated in the whiskey world quickly found this crystal clear white dog spirit to be heavy on the wheat and fairly smooth on the palate (relatively speaking). While we had a bit of a tough time getting behind the “pumpkin pie in a glass” claim, there’s no denying that the pumpkin and spices make an appearance. However, the pumpkin seems to take on a much more vegetal note (subbing in for the palate of corn in the front of the moonshine, and to a more sour turn in the finish), and the spices appear neatly subdued in the end. Adding a bit of mixer to it certainly brought out the sweeter notes though, laying some legitimacy that this is a craft cocktail oriented spirit. (If you haven’t tried the infamous West Virginia Bomb (that’d be mountain dew and your favorite moonshine), you’re missing out on a party standard).

All in all, Corsair may have on their hands more of a novelty than a staple here, but it’s solidly crafted, and at 42.5% abv, gets you done faster than any pumpkin beer will. It would be hard to kill a bottle by yourself before the season was out though, so take it on your Halloween party circuit, warm some bellys,  and expand a few people’s horizons.

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