Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ballast Point Pumpkin Down

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1477) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 17, 2015
I used to love pumpkin beers, but now I’m over them. I don’t even really buy pumpkin beers unless it appears to be unique or a friend really recommends one. In the case of Ballast Point Pumpkin Down it’s a Scottish Ale that has some roasted pumpkin and spices added to it. In the world of pumpkin brews, that’s definitely an unusual recipe (and probably why I really appreciate this brew). 

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 7/24/15 and cost $3.05 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful ruby red/maroon/mahogany hue. Dark but still clear. Pours to a two-finger, off-white, foamy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Pumpkin squash and rustic spices create for a nice – albeit mild – potpourri aroma. Not much in the way of authentic malt or hop aromas.

Taste: From what I can tell, this beer is actually Ballast Point Piper Down – the brewery’s Scottish Ale – with roasted pumpkin and spices added. Not having had the base brew I can’t say how this compares. However, as a beer marketing itself as a Scottish/Pumpkin hybrid it certainly is interesting. The pumpkin is evident immediately; at first it’s a bit of a sweet cereal-like taste (but not pie). Flavors of casserole come through on the first half. The second half is a bit spicier with tingly notes of cinnamon and maybe nutmeg and/or ginger. I do taste a familiar Scottish Ale palette at the base of the brew, but it’s not especially distinctive; but it’s not distracting or conflicting, either. I would say these flavors all work in harmony, and I find it to be enjoyable but not quite amazing.

Drinkability: At 5.8% ABV, Ballast Point Pumpkin Down is by no means a light beer, nor a heavy beer. There’s plenty of flavor to the body, yet the mouthfeel is a bit thinner and less carbonated than I’d expect or want. Still, it’s remarkably smooth and the spices do linger just enough so as to leave a pleasant aftertaste. There is no alcohol presence whatsoever. This is exactly the kind of beer to pair with any kind of autumn dinner.

RATING: 8/10

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