Sunday, December 14, 2014

Southern Tier Rum Barrel Aged Pumking


4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (1239) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 14, 2014
Southern Tier’s “Pumking” has always been my favorite pumpkin beer, as well as one of my favorite beers in general. I didn’t think they could improve upon it, but somehow they managed to do so by aging it in rum barrels. If any spirit would complement this type of brew, rum is definitely it - the natural spices and sweetness work to accentuate the authentic pumpkin pie flavor of this brew.

I poured a 22oz bottle into the official Southern Tier Pumking goblet. It was bottled on 11/6/14 and cost $15.99 ($0.73 per ounce).

Appearance: Clear orange hue, little carbonation visible. Pours to a small, white, soapy head which fizzles away quickly and leaves no lacing. Alcohol legs are easily visible, though.

Smell: Sweet pumpkin pie aroma, especially of cinnamon and nutmeg. Distinct rum alcohol presence as well, but it’s subtle and complementary – not distracting.

Taste: What has always set Pumking apart from other pumpkin beers is that it tastes like graham cracker crust, as well as actual pumpkin puree. That taste component is found here as well, though somehow it seems even stronger. Huge cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove spiciness are all prominent throughout the palette. There’s also a constant sweet pumpkin pie flavor from the pumpkin puree, which is enhanced due to the rum barrel aging. Vanilla is quite strong as is the taste of rum, though it lacks to aggressive booziness of an actual spirit. Little in the way of true bitterness, though the natural spice and alcohol character do offer balance (not that the sweetness is cloying, anyway). Delicious all around for sure.

Drinkability: The 10.7% ABV on the label was a bit intimidating, though I pleasantly surprised by how easily drinkable Southern Tier Rum Barrel Aged Pumking is. The mouthfeel is a little thin, slightly crisp and a tad slick. However, it is absolutely no challenge to get down despite the robustness of the palette and the warmth from the alcohol (which is rather gentle). It finishes almost completely clean, which makes it easy to go from sip to sip. No need to pair this with anything as it’s a dessert in and of itself. 
Grade: 10/10