Friday, November 2, 2012

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (2012)

A lot of pumpkin beers, craft or otherwise, seem a little faux. But in the case of Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale you can tell everything about it is genuine. It’s brewed with real pureed pumpkin and an assortment of spices. It’s not meant to be pumpkin pie in a bottle, but it’s not so rustic that it’s a challenge to drink.

NOTE: Read (and watch) my 2008 review here:
http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2008/10/smuttynose-pumpkin-ale-chadz-beer.html

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (746) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 2, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Somewhat bright orange, the same color as a pumpkin husk. Forms a large, white, frothy head which is slow to dissipate and leaves nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Strong clove notes followed by a mélange of spices and a familiar pumpkin pie-like scent. More rustic than sweet, though.

Taste: You can’t go into Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale expecting liquid pumpkin pie, it’s more like drinkable potpourri. From start to finish the palate here is quite lively with spiciness and bitterness. Much like the nose, clove is the most predominant player in the taste. It imparts an earthiness that’s flavorful and pairs well with the hops. Cascade and Liberty hops create for a hint of citrus, but mostly dry bitterness, but nothing too intense (it’s only 35 IBUs according to the brewery’s website).

Through the middle comes more traditional flavors of nutmeg and pumpkin puree. There’s a brief but strong burst of cinnamon warmth and spice just before the palate finishes almost completely clean (surprisingly). This is what I would call a well-rounded pumpkin ale, especially for a standard, non-imperial type. A good balance of flavor and complexity that makes it quite versatile as a stand-alone drink, something to pair with an autumn dinner, or to enjoy as a dessert.

Drinkability: While the actual texture and mouthfeel is medium and on the softer side, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale will wake up your tongue. Plenty of energy happening here to make it a beer you will pay attention to. That’s not say it’s challenging to drink. It’s not over-carbonated so it goes down quite smooth and is almost completely clean except for a subtle residual bitterness. At 5.84% ABV it’s got the perfect body for itself.
 Grade: 8/10

NOTE: Watch my 2012 video review with Madison Smith of "WinoBeeroFoodo.com" here: