Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Ultimate Pumpkin Beer Tasting (Part 2)

Last year I conducted a blind tasting to determine my favorite pumpkin beer on the market.  Wolaver's Will Stevens' Pumpkin Ale finished in first, followed by Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, Saranac Pumpkin Ale, and Brooklyn Brewery Post Road.  The tasting was such a hit that this year we decided to do it again, but increased the number of pumpkin beers from four to seven and divided them into two categories.

The first flight in this year's tasting consisted of Southampton's Pumpkin Ale, Michelob's Jack's Pumpkin's Spice, Blue Moon's Harvest Moon, and Smuttynose's Pumpkin Ale.

The second flight was dedicated to "Imperial" Pumpkin Ales with Dogfish Head's Punkin, Southern Tier's Pumpking, and Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

Flight 1

Michelob Jack's Pumpkin Spice (4th)
Jack's Pumpskin Spice poured a clear, very light amber color with a finger width, off white head.  The nose is light, with faint aromas of malt and not much pumpkin.  The body is thin and watery, with more vanilla notes tham pumpkin notes. The finish is prolonged and sweet.  Overall, this is a below average seasonal beer. There is hardly any pumpkin and is just a mindless drinking beer. 

  Blue Moon Harvest Moon (3rd)

Harvest Moon poured a clear, amber color with a finger width, off white head.  The aroma is strong, with lots of malt but faint pumpkin notes if any.  The body is nice, decent depth with malt notes, big spices, and perfumy pumpkin.  The finish has a light dryness.  Overall, this is a decent beer from Blue Moon.  While, The pumpkin flavoring was a little too artificial for me, this is something that I would have no problem drinking.

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (2nd)

Smuttynose' Pumpkin Ale poured a clear, very light, amber color with a finger width off white head.  The nose is light, with some malty notes and a fragrant perfumy pumpkin aroma.  The body is lighter, with a more organic pumpkin flavor than found on the nose.  The finish has a nice dryness to it.  Overall, this is a nice pumpkin beer.  While the pumpkin notes on the nose were a little off, the flavor in the body made up for it.    

Southampton Pumpkin Ale (1st)

Southampton's Pumpkin Ale poured a clear, amber color, with a finger width, off white head.  The nose is strong, with spices and fresh pumpkins.  The body is malty, with more spices and pumpkin flavors.  The finish offers up a nice light dryness that compliments the body well.  Overall, a very nice beer and our clear cut winner.  The beer has some depth to it and clearly married the pumpkin flavors and spices the best. 

Flight 2

Southern Tier pumking (3rd)

pumking poured a clear, amber color with a thumb width, off white head.  The nose is huge, with a wildly different vanilla aroma dominating.  The body starts off ok, but then thins out and more vanilla appears and runs wild.  The beer finishes with an off putting taste.  Overall, this is a bad beer that is very different from what I expected.  There is no pumpkin at all, and it was not enjoyable.  It was by far, the worst of the three "imperial" pumpkin beers.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2nd)

Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin Ale poured a clear, copper color with a finger width, off white head.  The aroma is malty, earthy, and has lots of spices.  The body is big up front, with malt base, and big spices on the backend.  The finish lacks, and is a little watery.  Overall, it is nice up front and tails off. 

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (1st)

Punkin poured a clear, light amber color with a finger width white head.  The aroma has lots of malt and spices.  The body is r malt base, and lots of pumpkin.  The finish has lots of spices and and a light dryness.  Overall, this is the best.  Solid throughout, the earthiness is nice, and the pumpkin shows through the most.  Lots of flavor, and refined, we love this.


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