So its waaaay past Halloween and I’m only finally trying my bottle of Southern Tier Pumking! (Better than in July, right?) I’ve had so many Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales this year, but I think the day following Thanksgiving is still OK to talk about Pumpkin Ales.
If you’ve read any of The Brew Club’s pumpkin ale reviews this year, you’ll notice that most of them are big let-downs for me.
(If you haven’t noticed, I’m sure Don will be by soon to remind you!)
I really like the concept, I do, but there have been very few that I would seek out again for myself or recommend to others. So far, the Dogfish Head Punkin has been my favorite of 2009, but I’ve heard many good things about the Pumking. Folks over at Beer Advocate give Pumking an average A- rating!
So, with great expectations and high hopes, I sample this final Pumpkin Ale for 2009. (Don, are you celebrating? I know I am!)
According to the label, this 9%ABV beer is made with 2-row malt, caramel malt, pure’ed pumpkin, and magnum and sterling hops. Sounds quite wholesome.
When poured, this beer looks great. Autumn, Fall, whatever – its a beautiful copper color that’s perfect for the season. It didn’t create much of a head, but enough for a good picture!
I quickly notices a hodgepodge aroma that was a little hard to pinpoint at first. But, the more I let the beer warm up, the more it smelled of yes, pumpkin, (duh) vanilla, and to a lesser extent those ‘pumpkin pie spices’. Not a bad start, and I liked the sweetness of the aroma.
Getting on to the taste, I would say that Pumking follows the aroma quite closely. Pumpkin, vanilla and caramel, with some support of the spices. I found this beer to be a little thinner than I had expected it to be, and with a 9% ABV the alcohol comes through a bit more than I like as well – definitely a warming sensation with this brew!
Wrapping it up, I think the Southern Tier Imperial Pumking is better than decent. Its got an interesting bread crusty, spicy pumpkin aroma going for it, and the flavor is good, really good compared to a lot of the other pumpkin ales I’ve had.
In addition, maybe its my beer wimpiness coming through again, but the high ABV of this beer makes it difficult to reeeely enjoy. I thought the alcohol flavors were relatively well hidden for a 9% beer, but its still a bit much for my liking. I thought much of the same about the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Great flavors, just a little too much on the alcohol coming through, but overall I think Southern Tier does it a little better than the Weyerbacher did.
Unfortunately for Southern Tier, I’m also SICK of pumpkin ales, which might color my review a tad negative as well.
3 Stars – which aint bad at all. I think Pumking hits on many points, but not my favorite. I think if this were a 6% ABV, I’d like it a whole lot more.
Scott – TheBrewClub