Saturday, October 25, 2008

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (2008)

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 18, 2010
I’m glad I decided to sample as much pumpkin beer as possible this season because I’m finding its one of the few niche styles of beer that is consistently good across the board. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is a good example of why there’s just something so good about a beer that is very spicy but at the same time so sweet and easy to drink.


Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale pours extremely smooth, in fact, maybe a little too smooth because it was difficult to create much of a head in the glass. What does form is a white, soapy, thin layer of head which dissipates quickly and doesn’t leave much lacing on the glass.

The beer is clearly pumpkin-themed from the complexion alone, which is a cloudy body of a straight shade of orange. There seemed to be a normal amount of carbonation but no sediment noticeable. The scent was typical of a pumpkin ale: very spicy with nutmeg, ginger, and possibly brown sugar detectable in the aroma.


There’s something to be said for a beer whose amount of abundant spice is clear from the nose alone. I’ve encountered this before and the result was an overly-spiced, gimmicky-tasting beer. Thankfully, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale isn’t like that since its heavy spice quality works for it rather than against it.

Much like the aroma, the spices of ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar and authentic pumpkin mash are apparent in the taste here and they’re all quite strong. In fact, of all the pumpkin ales I have tried, Smuttynose might be one of the most strongly-flavored, and it doesn’t skimp on the traditional beer qualities since it has a moderate hop bite as well. It all adds up to make for a very sweet and tasty brew.


As strong as the flavor is, lightweights shouldn’t be afraid of this beer because it finishes very smooth. In fact, I’m quite impressed by just how little friction there is since it has such a strong taste.


From what I was able to find out second hand, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is 5% ABV and it certainly seems that way since this beer did not have much of an effect on me at all. I wasn’t able to find out the calorie content but I’d guess it’s somewhere between 160 and 200 since I could definitely feel the beer, but it didn’t weigh me down or fill me up at all. That’s how a good medium-body beer should operate.


Overall, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is a winner because it’s able to incorporate strong spiciness while still creating for a sweet, delicious taste and finish clean without any kind of gimmicky appeal whatsoever. I probably would have like a more refined, richer taste but I certainly enjoyed the net result.

Grade: 9/10

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