Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale (2011)

This is one of those beers I reviewed way back in 2008 when I was only doing text reviews. I've had Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale many times between then and now, including on tap. I was probably going to re-review it this October but user requested it as part of "All Viewer Request Month" so I'm reviewing it sooner rather than later. And yes, I will be reviewing a lot of pumpkin beers over the next few weeks.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, USA - OCT 2, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug.

Appearance: Bright, almost neon-glow gold/light yellow hue. Transparent with slight cloudiness. Carbonation noticeable. Forms an average-sized, bright white foamy/frothy head which retains well but leaves no lacing.

Smell: Light, perfumey, sweet pumpkin-scented aroma. Reminds me of a pumpkin aerosol rather than beer.

Taste: If you were to drink Shipyard Pumpkinhead blind you might mistake it for a soda. This beer is quite unlike most other pumpkin brews out there. It’s so overtly sweet and light that it tastes like a pumpkin soda. It’s mildly bitter up front with a slight bready maltiness, then it immediately transitions to a sweet, sugary palate of faux pumpkin potpurri. Numeg-flavor, cinnamon-flavoring and pumpkin-flavoring all dominate the second half of the palate. There’s also a quick burst of graham cracker pie crust right as it finishes, but disappears quickly leaving no aftertaste at all.

It almost seems as if it has sucralose or aspartame added to it. The body is light, sweet and yet quite mild. Is it off-putting? No, but it’s certainly drinkable and enjoyable for those that have a sweet tooth and/or want a beer that doesn’t taste like beer.

Mouthfeel: Thin, watery, initially crisp but becomes tepid fast. Clean aftertaste.

Drinkability: Shipyard Pumpkinhead is a good introductory pumpkin ale to those not accustomed to the style. The palate is mild and sweet enough that it drinks like soda with only a mild "beer" taste and quality to it. The 5.1% ABV seems much higher than it drinks like, as this is a borderline light lager with pumpkin flavoring added. Sessionable I suppose, but I think most drinkers would get tired with it after 2 servings.

Overall, this isn’t really a bad beer because I don’t find it to have any off-putting qualities. The sweetness and easy drinkability I actually kind of like, but there are definitely way better pumpkin beers out there than Shipyard Pumpkinhead.

Grade: 6/10

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