Sunday, October 19, 2014

Magic Hat Wilhelm Scream Pumpkin Ale

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1200) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 19, 2014
I 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. 
Grade: 6/10

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