Saturday October, 30 2010. It kind of brings a tear to my eye as we bring this year’s Pumpkin beer week to a close. But fret not. As long as there are new pumpkin beers for us to review next year we will bring it back. We might even review a few more if we find them this fall. Thanksgiving is a pumpkin holiday too, right? The Saranac Pumpkin Ale marks the third beer that we’ve reviewed by the Matt Brewing Company. If memory serves me correctly we enjoyed the Saranac Pale Ale but found the Saranac Oktoberfest not as good. Let’s see how Saranac Pumpkin pans out.
The color was quite different from the standard orangey/copperish hue. I actually thought it looked more reddish (or perhaps a dark copper) with a white head. The aroma was of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg (pretty standard if you haven’t noticed a trend yet). The taste was mostly of cloves with a vanilla finish. I kind of thought that it was too cloves heavy. The vanilla was a nice change though. The vanilla made me think of the ginger used in the Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale from Hoppin’ Frog and how that was really unique. Unfortunately it still tastes pretty much like cloves. I didn’t notice an over abundance of cloves, but I think I really like cloves. I thought it was maltier than most pumpkin beers we’ve tried, almost bready and less spicy (maybe that means less cinnamony since Austin thinks they upped the clove factor) than some of the others.
The Saranac Pumpkin Ale was an alright pumpkin beer. I liked the color and the use of vanilla but found the cloves overwhelmed everything else. I liked it a lot. If you are really into cloved wheat beers this might be good for you. Word. So I believe that brings the tally for Saranac beers to 1-1-1 (that’s soccer for win-draw-loss). In other words we liked one, thought one was ok, and we didn’t find it very appealing. For me the jury remains out for this particular brewery. I’m not sure I agree. I think this one is fab, I thought Ocktoberfest could use some umphf, and I didn’t get to try the Pale Ale.
If you are wondering why we aren’t doing a pumpkin beer on Halloween it’s because I have a different beer in mind for tomorrow.
Wahoo! We made it! That’s right welcome to Week 6 of Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. I know it’s been a long trip but we’ve reached the end. And what better way to begin winding down Pumpkin week than with the last of the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. I must say too that I did not see this one coming. Letting Schlafly Pumpkin Ale sit in your fridge for 6 weeks will make it taste better.
The aroma is the same as usual with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. But the taste is a shocker. I was not expecting the lack of spice in the main body of the beer. Oh sure, it’s still there, but so subtle now it’s enjoyable. I’ve mentioned this all week, but I love pumpkin beers that have a spice smell and not overwhelming spice flavor. The first thing we both noticed was the lack of sweetness. That seemed to have mellowed out a lot. There is also a lovely cinnamon finish that’s subtle now and I found sitting at the back of the roof of my mouth. One big thing I noticed that was different about this week was the warming sensation at the finish. Wow. I’m glad that it’s actually getting cool out. Otherwise I might be sweating.
Overall I would say letting Schlafly Pumpkin Ale sit in the fridge for 6 weeks to have gotten probably about 97% better. Next year we plan to do this again but this time we won’t put the beer in the fridge. See you next year at the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale did it come out too early month.
Austin’s mom tends to keep a supply of hard cider in the beer fridge and we snagged this one to review. It’s not technically a pumpkin beer, but it is a pumpkin fermented beverage (well at least they threw some pumpkin in at the end of fermentation). Close enough.
It’s a light pale amber with a ton of bright white head that foams up and then dissipates almost immediately (fun fact: it’s the protein in the beer that keeps the head there. Since cider is made with apples instead of grain there is a lot less protein to make it last).
The aroma was of apples and alcohol (I thought it smelled a little weird like chemically or something, but my nose has been off lately so you should probably take Austin’s word for it). The taste was sugary sweet yet crisp with a slight pumpkin finish (Oh my Jesus! No really. It’s that sweet, but not syrupy). I think the sourness and the carbonation help a lot with that. Without them it might seem like you were drinking a glass of apple syrup, at least to someone who normally drinks beer. It tastes like Granny Smith apples and sugar. I didn’t notice the pumpkin at all, but my palate was in shock. Fair warning: if you drink it (even just one with dinner) you will have a headache in the morning, at least according to our very scientific two person sample (Take her word on that as I only drank enough for the review and let her finish the glass).
One problem with living in the Manhattan area is that sometimes you walk into liquor stores and there is a beer on the shelf you’ve never heard of. In the case of Hoppin’ Frog I also hadn’t heard of the brewery. I still don’t know much about them except that they make some great beer. I haven’t had too many of their fine beers but the Silk Porter is mighty delicious. My father really enjoys their beers. He has had their Outta Kilter Wee Heavy Scotch Red, Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. Oatmeal-Imperial Stout, Silk Porter, IPA (I believe), and now their Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale. He says they are all really good. I’ll have to get some in a few weeks and do some reviews on them. At least this time around though I was able to steal a little bit of the Double Pumpkin for a picture and review since it’s Pumpkin beer week.
The color is an orange amber (which I’m sure is supposed to be copper) and the head is off white. The aroma is sweet and slightly alcoholic (probably due to it being at 8.4% ABV). There was also another smell that we both thought was nutmeg. Guessed might be a more accurate term. I’m really good with spices, but it beer it’s different and harder. Turns out it was ginger (and yes we had to read the label because we were that stumped). I didn’t recognize the ginger until I read it. Then it was obvious. The taste was also sweet, but not too sweet, with a nice pumpkin flavored body mixed with ginger. I thought it would be sweeter than it is from the aroma. The finish was of cinnamon which left a nice warming feeling. I did notice that the sides of my tongue tasted like cinnamon (I know that seems odd but other than the finish I didn’t get much cinnamon sensation).
The addition of ginger is really interesting. I’m not a fan of ginger beers alone, but somehow with pumpkin it’s good. This beer is beyond unique and I can see why it won a gold at the Great American Beer Fest. I highly recommend giving this one a try.
The first day of Pumpkin week was Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager. Day 2 was O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Beer. And now Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale. Each one has been really good and seems to get better as we go. I don’t know about that. They’ve all been really good. Buffalo Bill’s Brewery makes a really good pumpkin beer. It tastes kind of similar to the O’Fallon just without the creaminess.
Like most of the pumpkin beers we’ve reviewed, this one is an orange amber with an off white head. It smells sweeter and less spicy than most of the others, but that could be that I didn’t get to smell it until a little while after it was poured. I was pleasantly surprised by the malty sweetness and subtle spiciness. It has the spices in the aroma with a malty pumpkin middle and a cinnamony finish. Good times.
The best way to drink this beer is to breathe through your nose while you pull in some beer to your mouth. Then close your mouth and swallow. It provides a lovely spice addition to the beer without tasting like you swallowed a bottle of pumpkin spice like some other pumpkin beers.