You must try to understand my surprise and delight when I found this sitting on the shelf at Total Wine. I was told about this “small batch” beer a couple weeks ago, and intrigued by the description, immediately went to the Sam Adams website to find out where to get it. Here is that description, right from the bottle:“This rich and luscious brew indulges in flavor with over 28 lbs of pumpkin per barrel, for a full bodied sweetness and deep russet color. Classic pumpkin pie spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice ignite a warmth and spark that’s deepened by an undercurrent of roasty smoked malts. The result is a delectable brew full of enveloping layers of flavor and spice.”
Twenty-eight pounds of pumpkin per barrel?! I knew I needed it, but the Sam Adams website showed that it was not available anywhere in AZ. This has since been updated, but at the time I assumed that as a small batch beer you would need to pretty much go to the brewery in Boston to get some. I considered it a lost cause.
So how does it stack up?
I drank the first of my two bottles last night, amid great anticipation. The good news is, as a beer (a BEER beer), it’s fantastic. The flavors are complex and intriguing. The 8.5% ABV doesn’t overwhelm. And the aftertaste lingers on the tongue in a good way. The less-good news is, for 28 lbs of pumpkin per barrel, there didn’t seem to be much actual pumpkin flavor. It’s herbal, and tastes of Autumn, sure, but as far as classic pumpkin pie spice, it’s fairly lacking.
This makes it a hard beer to review, as a pumpkin beer aficionado. As a non-pumpkin beer it’s probably a solid 5-jack, but as a pumpkin beer, judging on pumpkinosity, maybe 2 or 3? I want to err on the positive since it is a very good beer, so I’m splitting the difference.
Tender lumplings everywhere, life’s no fun without a good scare