remember when Magic Hat used to be an innovative brewery that took
chances and made a lot of experimental, eccentric brews. They’ve been
bought and sold a few times in the last few years and it seems the new
ownership prefers mass market appeal rather than appeasing true craft
beer enthusiasts. Their new pumpkin ale – Wilhelm Scream – is proof of
this. While not a bad beer, it’s just plain average.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It appeared to have an expiration date of 12/10/14 and cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).
Appearance: Pretty amber hue, fairly dark but still transparent with
visible carbonation. Pours to a two-finger, beige, foamy head which
laces and retains fairly well.
Smell: Generic candle-like aroma with strong nutmeg scent. No pumpkin notes.
Taste: This beer might be more accurately classified as an amber ale
with spices added rather than a true pumpkin beer. The malts actually
seem to dominate the palette here – caramel and Victory specialty malts
make for a light sweetness with two-row laying a familiar base. The
cinnamon is subtle, but the nutmeg is prominent. It creates for an
almost minty flavor. There doesn’t seem to be any actual pumpkin flavor,
though (pie, puree, or otherwise). Light dry bitterness accentuates the
spices nicely, though this isn’t a beer you drink for the hops. As a
consumer product, it accomplishes what it set out to do, but as a beer
it’s only okay.
Drinkability: While this beer may not be all that exciting, it is in no
way a struggle to drink. The mouthfeel is thin, with a light, consistent
crispness. The spices linger momentarily, but fade away after each swig
so as not to be cloying. At only 5.4% ABV, Magic Hat Wilhelm Scream is a
fine beer to have one on a Sunday afternoon while watching football,
but still too heavy (and boring) to session.