I know, I know. Another Pumpkin Ale? Well, I thought I had given them up, but since I’ve had the Punkin’ from Dogfish Head and the very tasty Harvest Pumpkin from Sam Adams, I know there are Pumpkin beers that I really like! In a sense, I think it was worth trying all the yucky ones for the few jewels.
Which brings me to Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard Brewing Company. Will it be a dud or a gem?
Pumpkinhead Ale is a 5.1% ABV Pumpkin-flavored wheat beer. According to the Shipyard site (link above) this beer is only available during the months of September and October, which is probably a good thing in general. This harvest-beer thing is wearing out its welcome!
Pumpkinhead Ale starts out good enough. Its clear, and compared to the mass of other pumpkin ales I’ve sampled, its a relatively light golden color. Also, perfectly clear.
The aroma is more spicy oriented than anything I think. To me, it smells more of cinnamon and nutmeg than either pumpkin, or even beer for that matter! To me, its a little over-the-top in how the spices completely dominate the aroma.
The taste is more of the same. Mostly spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg type stuff) but there is a weird sweetness that isn’t sitting well for me. There is some hop bite, but its not enough bitterness to nearly balance out the sweetness.
As I let the beer warm a little, I find myself liking it less and less. Its thin, almost watery and the strong spices are just too much for my taste.
Overall, I’d say that this beer is very close to a liquefied, but poorly-made pumpkin pie. Its different than any other Pumpkin Ale I’ve tried (lighter looks, lighter body et-cetera) but the spices are just so out of whack I can barely finish my bottle. 🙁
So, in the quest to find truly great pumpkin ales, Shipyard Pumpkinhead falls well short. Sorry Shipyard.