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CBoTB: Pumpkin Ales Tasting Session-Part II

Last week I shared my tasting experiences on two Pumpkin Ales that are not part of my annual Pumpkin Ale stockpiling.  You can hear or read my thoughts on both of those beers by going to and click on “Craft Beer”.

This week, I tried four new Pumpkin Ales on four different days in preparation for today’s Craft Beer on The Bay feature.  Each beer was poured into a 16 ounce snifter glass.

On Monday, it was Monkster Mash Pumpkin Ale from Spencer Brewery in Spencer, Massachusetts.  This 5.2% ABV beer poured a clear, light orange with a fairly thin head that dissipated quickly.  The beer had only a hint of pumpkin in the aroma.  When tasting it, I enjoyed the malty mouthfeel but picked up virtually no pumpkin or spices.  The finish was slightly metallic and thin.  It’s hard to classify this as a pumpkin ale and I don’t recommend it if you’re seeking a pumpkin experience.  My score: 55.

On Tuesday, I opened Oxorcist II Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, Virginia.  This is a big beer!  This 10.0% ABV Pumpkin Ale is brewed with 100 pounds of pumpkin, ten gallons of Vermont maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and vanilla bean.

After pouring the beer, a nice thick tan head settled in on top of this extremely dark brown Pumpkin Ale.  Despite the high ABV, there is no distinct alcohol in its aroma or flavor.  My first sip revealed a beer that was very much like an Imperial Stout, undoubtedly partially due to the maple syrup in the brew.  The cinnamon and vanilla have a nice presence in the beer and blend beautifully with the pumpkin.  The finish is smooth and soft with no bitterness.  I give this an 88.

Wednesday, it was Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte from Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, Colorado.  After opening the 13.6 ounce can, the nitrogen widget popped perfectly and the beer cascaded up the sides of my snifter.  The beer had a thick, creamy head and an almost black body.  Pumpkin is nicely present in the nose and the palate.  At 5.5% ABV and a great balance of coffee, pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg in the flavor, it’s easy to give this beer a solid 85.

Then last night is was Dunkin’ Pumpkin from Harpoon Brewery in Boston, Massachusetts.  The beer has a thick, tan head, is hazy and burnt orange in appearance and is, essentially, opaque.  Brewed with Dunkin’ coffee, pumpkin and cinnamon, the beer has an excellent pure pumpkin flavor profile.  It’s a nice, easy to drink, full-bodied Pumpkin Ale.  My score: 85.

It’s the first weekend of October!  Pick up a Pumpkin Ale and celebrate the Autumn season!



The Craft Beer Guy


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