Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Ultimate Pumpkin Beer Tasting

With the popularity of Pumpkin Ales soaring, I decided to conduct a little beer experiment to figure out which gourd flavored beer on today's market is my favorite.  Our experiment was conducted by blind tasting four beers; Saranac's Pumpkin Ale, Brooklyn Brewery's Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, and Wolaver's Will Stevens' Pumpkin Ale.  

Pumpkin Ales tend to split up into two categories, either the beer tastes more like actual pumpkins, with the second tasting more like pumpkin pie. Both styles are malt forward, with mild hop flavor if any and are fairly mild.

Brooklyn Brewery Post Road (4th)
Post Road had a dark copper color. The nose was dominated by malt, with a decent amount of cinnamon and other spices. Alcohol was faintly noticeable. The body had a thicker mouthfeel, almost syrupy with a lot of malt. Post Road had the least amount of pumpkin flavor in the body but had a decent amount of pumpkin spice on the finish. Brooklyn's version had a decent finish, with a nice bitterness to balance out the sweetness. While Post Road may have been the most similiar to a traditional ale, it was our least favorite of our pumpkin lineup.

Saranac Pumpkin Ale (3rd)
Saranac's Pumpkin Ale had a dark copper color. The nose had a malt backbone with a ton of pumpkin spices. The body was crisp with a malty body and a heavily spiced finish. Saranac's beer was the third best beer in our pumpkin lineup. The crisp mouthfeel and malt texture make for a perfect fall seasonal but the spices on the finish are a little over done. Saranac's version finished third in our four beer tasting.

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale (2nd)
Pumpkinhead had a clear, light orange/dark yellow color. The nose had some light malt but was dominated by the aroma of pumpkin pie. The body was on the lighter side and smooth with pumpkin flavor coming on strong towards the middle. Shipyard's take on the pumpkin ale style was the second best in our lineup. The lighter body was suprisingly nice and the pumpkin flavor was steady and not overbearing.

Wolaver's Will Stevens' Pumpkin Ale (1st)

Stevens' Pumpkin Ale poured a dark orange color. The aroma has a huge pumpkin aroma. The body is smooth, the malt is there and works well with the pumpkin flavor. This was by far the most balanced of the four beers and was our favorite of the four pumpkin beers.

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