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.