Reader’s Choice #2b: Southern Tier’s Pumking

25 Oct

In my last Reader’s Choice post, I announced there was a three-way tie for the pumpkin ale y’all wanted me to review. So here I am, after a long day at work, drinking pumpkin beer, mentally preparing myself for one more work day. Tonight’s review is for the Pumking, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale, from Southern Tier.

Pumking ABV 8.6% IBUs Low: It poured a beautiful orange copper color. There is some spice on the nose but it is definitely more subdued than the Elysian Night Owl. It actually hides behind the primary fruit aromas. There is a lot of pumpkin, a little vanilla, and just a hint of citrus from the hops. I also detect a little buttery-ness. I’m hoping I like the beer as I typically have an aversion to butter notes in my beer – a flavor that comes from diacyil, which is created from the yeast’s metabolism.

One of the first things I noticed was the alcohol. I knew this was quite the boozer to open on a Thursday night, but there are some 8% beers that taste like 8% beers and then there are others where the alcohol is barely noticeable. This beer is in the first category. Honestly, it actually tastes like the ABV is higher than 8.6%. Maybe that is in part because it doesn’t have that big of a body, its more medium to light. I noticed a hint of the diacyl – or buttery-ness – but not much. Mostly I noticed the spices, vanilla, and a slight malty sweetness.  The dominant spices were cinnamon and allspice but the bottle says there is also clove and nutmeg in there. I felt a sharpness and an almost woody/bark like character at the end from the spices (maybe they used whole cinnamon sticks?). This was partnered with quite a powerful hit of alcohol at the end.

Their website says it is particularly tasty when paired with pumpkin pie and desserts. This may be true as the sugar would help subdue the alcohol and the spices. But I have to admit, I won’t likely be buying another bottle to try the pairing. I just didn’t find this beer to be well-balanced. It was all spice and alcohol, and that really isn’t what I want from a beer. With more body, more malt, and just a touch more sweetness, I think I’d be happier drinking this on a cold autumn night.

Well, that’s two fails in my opinion. I would give Elysian the edge as it was more drinkable. But I wouldn’t be going out to buy it again. Let’s hope Rogue’s fresh pumpkin brings it home for these pumpkin reviews. Otherwise, I may have to continue the hunt until I find one that satisfies. A little birdie had the Rogue recently and said it was pretty good, so I have hope. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, don’t forget to vote for the subject of my next post!
Even if you don’t know what the different beers are, just go by name or by style.

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2 Responses to “Reader’s Choice #2b: Southern Tier’s Pumking”

  1. grotusque October 31, 2012 at 1:31 PM #

    My recollection is: I liked the Pumpking, however I also shy away from pumpkin ales so my basis for comparison is all but nil.

    • Miranda November 4, 2012 at 11:09 PM #

      I similarly don’t have a lot of pumpkin ale experience. These three and a few tastes here and there, including at GABF, where I didn’t really enjoy any of them. Maybe that’s why I really like that Rogue’s isn’t overpowering. It does make me wonder if I just haven’t had good ones or if I don’t particularly like (or am accustomed to) the style. I might try a few more while I am at it…

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