Monday, December 28, 2009

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (2009 original review)

This is another anomaly of a review. Not only is it ANOTHER pumpkin beer way after the season is over, it was also another beer trade beer. I finally got my friend Henry, who is probably a lot more knowledgeable about beer than me, to sit down and do a review. I think he did a good job for his first time. Let me know what you think.

NOTE: I didn't write a text review of it in 2009, but here's my 2014 text review:

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1161) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 26, 2014
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $9.99 ($0.45 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful, glowing orange hue over a clear body. Plenty of visible carbonation. Pours to a large, eggshell, foamy head which retains and laces somewhat well.

Smell: Typical pumpkin beer aroma, though on the spicier side. Notes of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg dominate.

Taste: Shipyard is well known for their regular pumpkin brew “Pumpkinhead,” a beer which I’ve always said tastes more like pumpkin soda. While it’s not bad, it’s not great; but the same can be said for “Smashed Pumpkin,” which is essentially just a scaled-up version of that beer (in my opinion, at least).

The palette is pretty typical of a pumpkin brew: strong notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and especially ginger. There’s no distinct malt character and certainly nothing in the way of hops. A consistent sweetness from start to finish, with a soda-like taste on the back end. I could definitely do with less ginger and more of a pumpkin pie taste (this straddles the border between pumpkin potpourri and pumpkin pie). When you pay $10 for a bottle of 9% ABV beer, you have expectations of robustness and complexity. And while perfectly satisfying as far as taste goes, it doesn’t quite deliver on a bang-for-the-buck level.

Drinkability: For such a heady brew, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin is remarkably light on its toes. The mouthfeel is thin, but well-carbonated with a consistent crispness to the last drop. It’s comfortable in the mouth and going down without any discernable alcohol taste or warmth considering its 9% ABV potency. A slightly dry and spicy aftertaste lingers momentarily, which is fine. I had no trouble drinking the entire bottle myself. This definitely could be paired with autumn meals without issue. 
Grade: 7/10

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