Monthly Archives: October 2015

Somerville Brewing – Slumbrew – Slumkin Pumpkin Ale (2015)

With releases of consistently delicious beers one right after the other, I had always wished on star after star that Slumbrew, from my adopted hometown of Somerville, would show everyone how to brew a delicious pumpkin beer. I must’ve finally picked the right one, because this year, Slumbrew has brewed not one, but two pumpkin brews. Slumkin pours a warm shade of amber and bears an aroma that smells richly of actual pumpkin without hiding behind a perfumed mask of an entire spice rack. The smooth onset releases it’s sweet malts in a cordial-like manner, allowing the natural pumpkin’s vegetal state to be wrapped with vanilla and caramel all swirled up into a buttery blanket. If you’re looking for an exploded bottle of cloves or cinnamon, you’ll have to move past this one. The spicing is classily muted. Unlike other pumpkin beers, Slumbrew is unapologetic in their approach to the gourd. They have treated the orange guest of honor by allowing it’s crispness and crunch to do all the speaking, and finding a hop balance that peeks through in the finish that gives Slumkin street cred in the non-pumpkin categories of beer, as well.

The black trench coat of pumpkin beers: sleek, clean, warming, and what hides beneath the surface is exciting as hell. 93/100


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Posted by on October 16, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Samuel Adams – Pumpkin Batch (2015)

Up first, guest reviewers Luke and Hannah’s take on Samuel Adams Pumpkin Batch!

A crisp fall color with a head that dissipates quickly. This beer is clearer than you’d expect with a steady stream of bubbles rising to the top. Upon first whiff, our noses are hit with a sour citrusy aroma. Luke is intrigued by the smell, Hannah is not so sure. The first sip comes along with an explosive burst of flavor, which disappears as fast as it appeared. A strong hit of carbonation fizzes through your mouth kick-starting the flavor. The pumpkin is definitely there up front, but a disappointing showing in the long haul. While the initial taste has a pleasant pumpkin flavor, it dies very quickly. We’re not going to sugar coat it: the aftertaste is not good…reminiscent of the grogginess of when you first wake up in the morning. Please don’t go make out after drinking this beer. Perhaps it was made with the leftover pumpkins from a different pumpkin beer? With each new sip, we hope that the pumpkin flavor will last, but alas, it continues to vanish. We are going to have to find creative ways to use up the remaining 4 bottles in the six-pack we purchased, as this is not a beer to serve at a party… unless you want all of your guests to leave. 40/100

And now, for Alex’s take:

Deciding to switch up a seasonal brew is always an exciting new kid at school addition for any brewery, and the anticipation I’ve felt at the thought of Samuel Adam’s Pumpkin Batch, a pumpkin saison, has been palpable. Readers from past seasons may recall my dislike for both Harvest Pumpkin Ale and Fat Jack – surely Pumpkin Batch could turn the pumpkin tides for my adopted hometown’s beloved (so big it’s almost not) micro-brewery. This saison pours a clear golden orange with only trace amounts of lacing. For a pumpkin ale, the aroma doesn’t contain any of the usual suspects for spices, just a healthy dose of flowery Belgian yeast. Though real pumpkin, ginger, and all-spice all claim to be in this beer, the only people at this ummmm party? are meekly roasted malts, some nutmeg, and even less cinnamon, along with the yeast from the aroma which creates a chalky aftertaste.

This tastes like an off-off brand of regular Sam Adams that accidentally got packaged in pumpkin beer bottles. Sorry, pumpkin beer strike three, you are OUT. 43/100


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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Cambridge Brewing Company – BRAAAAAAAINS Pumpkin IPA (2015)

Pumpkin IPAs provide the white whale to the pumpkin beer genre: will we ever catch a taste of that damn elusive pumpkin through a sea of hops? Sharing a kinship with Captain Ahab and Ron Swanson alike, I’m willing to try again and again and again. CBC has provided us with a translucent sunflower-colored IPA that smells richly of being dry-hopped with Galaxy and other hops. Will the pumpkin make an appearance, especially with a name that summons a zombie level intensity of hunger and thirst? Not to this drinker, but the pie pumpkins do provide a hearty-bodied IPA with a juicy pear quality and a hop-blend edge that would shatter the brain of any walking dead.

A pumpkin IPA this fun-loving summons a more Shaun than Dawn of the Dead variety Zombie – time to dance to Queen and fight off the Living Dead with pool cues and BFFs. This IPA may also sway the non-pumpkin beer believer with a brew that doesn’t fit the norm of the mediocre masses. 85/100


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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Southern Tier Brewing Company – Warlock (2015)

Up now, Amber’s guest review of Warlock:

Pours clear but dark with no persistent head, nice lacing of bubbles across the surface. Nose of burnt caramel sugar, like you imagine candy tasted when you were little. Upon tasting, tiny champagne bubbles tickle the tongue. This beer is heavily boozy, the alcohol note is overwhelming and could put out those who don’t like a high octane beer. Squash notes at the end but very little spice if any.

Note: Spice presents more when warm but as this is poured cold I reviewed at temp.

This comes in a 22oz bottle of candy corn scented stout goodness. This bottle either says “share me with a friend!” Or “Carry me around the costume party drinking straight from the bottle!”, I’ll let you guess my method of choice. Due to the high booze nature (10%) it’s definitely a sipping beer, but packs a whallop no matter what, so call the car service of your choice and enjoy that bottle, you deserve it! Score: 85/100, I want more spice, gosh darn it.


And now, my take on Warlock:

Some forms of black magic have longer staying power when coupled with particularly powerful conjurers, and the imperial stout that Southern Tier introduced a couple years back hit the pumpkin beer drinking world with a powerful holding spell. Would the magic still be there in my third year of drinking it? Pouring the same deep black with tints of red in the light, something seemed different. The body seemed lighter, and the once opaque imperial now had a much clearer appearance when light penetrated it’s vast darkness. The aroma released a roasted caramel and vanilla sugary waft with just a touch of chocolate to it. This 10%er hits with a lot of forward roasted malt and dark chocolate combined with big pumpkin that manages to cut thru the dense smoke. Once this stout begins to warm, more butterscotch notes peek through with a vanilla swirl and faint cardamom, all sealed off with an alcohol burn in the finish that wasn’t there in past years.

This Warlock is a little battle weary with a lighter mouthfeel, surlier booziness, and not as much spicing to balance it all out. Still potent, but less youthful in the joys of chocolate pumpkin dessert. 84/100


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Posted by on October 13, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Harpoon Brewery – Pumpkin UFO (2015)

This highly carbonated, unfiltered pumpkin ale pours a hazy, tawny orange and has a large amount of cinnamon and pumpkin in the nose with just a sprinkle of nutmeg. Just as it promised, this ale wastes not a chunk of pumpkin, packing them all in there on top of a malt body combining brown sugar sweetness and too little earthy barley. Adding their weight to try to tame these sweet pumpkins is a large dose of cinnamon – not quite Big Red, but definitely the comparable store brand Mediumish Red, in terms of cinnamon heat.

A little bit too much of a sweet smack in the finish – pumpkin needs a little more room to breathe and be earthier underneath a whorish amount of rouge…I mean cinnamon. 81/100


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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Jolly Pumpkin Brewery – La Parcela (2015)

After having one contender in the pumpkin sour beer category this season, I had to find an admirable adversary for our first beer to hit the ring. Who better than La Parcela, a sour to have appeared on @ratemypumpkins drinking calendar only in our debut season. Pouring a cloudy marigold, this sour is not messing around with it’s pungent sour aroma dabbed with cinnamon and pumpkin. The pumpkin is quickly swallowed and dried out by the powerful Brett and oak barrel aging, but not drowned completely in this smooth ale that allows subtle cinnamon through before warming and releasing rich cacao, a touch of hops, and then giving into a succinct, dry finish.

If Boulevard gave us Sour Pumpkin Beer 101, then Jolly Pumpkin is handing out the PhD. This sour may claim a few years off your life with it’s tartness, but don’t worry, they’re the bad ones anyway. 86/100


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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Uinta Brewing – Oak Jacked (2015)

Rarely does a barrel-aged pumpkin not choose a flavor to devote themselves to entirely. Some lean to favor the liquor of their particular barrel, whilst some prefer to amp up all their ingredients in order to combat the coming onslaught of whiskey or rum. This dark ruby hued ale gives off a tricky aroma of heavy cloves and heavier nutmeg, leaving this drink wary of a possible spice bomb attack. Mercifully, this ale has taken on calming characteristics of sweet oak from it’s barrel, balancing out what could’ve been a mouthful of bitter powder. Complete with adequate pumpkin, this ale is sweeter than the perfume it gives off, but earthy enough that it lends itself to be a tasty dessert Oktoberfest brew. Smooth spicing, pumpkin meat, and oak all twist together into a dry finish.

If campfire could produce nectar with crunchy, fallen leaves, it wouldn’t be too far off from this beauty. 89/100


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Posted by on October 10, 2015 in 2015 Reviews