Monday, October 28, 2013

Southern Tier Warlock

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (996) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 28, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into the official Southern Tier Pumking goblet. It was bottled on 10/16/13 and cost $9.49 ($0.43 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark brown body with ruby red highlights. Pours to a small, tan, foamy head which mostly dissipates and leaves some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of cinnamon graham crackers and pumpkin pie filling.

Taste: If there was no such thing as Southern Tier’s "Pumking," then Warlock would be an amazing beer. Not that it’s bad in any way, just that it’s not particularly original. Warlock is essentially just Pumking with black malt thrown in for color. The mouthfeel is a little smoother and there are faint elements of chocolate and roastiness, but otherwise it’s Pumking. But then again Pumking is a delicious beer, so a slight variation of the palette is still quite delicious.

Right away I get a taste of liquid pumpkin pie. Cinnamon and pureed pumpkin along with all the usual zest create for a sweet and spicy combination that really awakens the palate. At the apex there’s a hint of milk chocolate and perhaps some roasted malt, but it’s quickly obscured by the strong dry bitterness of the Magnum hops. As the beer is going down it reverts back to its initial sweetness, but with less spice and a flavor akin to cola (oddly enough). While the overall taste of this beer is great, it is lacking a distinct stout character, so much so that I wouldn’t even consider this a stout, but rather a "black pumpkin ale" (hey, if they can have black IPAs, why not black pumpkin ales?).

Drinkability: While Warlock may have an eerily similar palette to Pumking, there is a noticeable difference in the mouthfeel. Pumking tends to be quite effervescent and crisp, while Warlock is calmer, smoother and softer. The black malt gives it a slightly velvety texture, though the hops and spices do linger on the tongue and are dry and slightly cloying. It doesn’t feel nearly as heavy as its 8.6% ABV weight should feel, which is nice. I had no trouble killing the entire bottle myself. 
Grade: 8/10

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