Shipyard Pugsley’s Signature Series “Smashed Pumpkin” Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2011)

Shipyard Pugsley’s Signature Series “Smashed Pumpkin” Imperial Pumpkin Ale joins us at an impressive 9.0% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A conservative pour yielded 2 fingers of off-white head that dissipated pretty quickly to a very thin foam with minimal lacing. The color is a hazy orange/copper with medium carbonation.

Smell: The aroma is restrained and wheat grassy, with a lot of fruity pumpkin notes. There is not a ton of spice for the nose. Overall it smells pretty clean and citrusy.

Taste: There is powerful wheaty pumpkin with restrained spicing. There is also a bit of underlying sweetness along with some toasted notes. Even so, this is more of an earthy and textured pumpkin ale (rather than a real sweet one). The taste is just a little bit boozy. The wheaty and earthy notes meld into a hoppier finish. The finish is long, somewhat bitter, and prickly. This also gives a slighy bitter aftertaste.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with some really nice coating. The feel is textured, and dynamic. There is medium carbonation, which adds another nice dimension to this layered beer.

Drinkability: This drinks pretty well. Though with this high of an ABV and the slight booziness, I think there is somewhat of an impediment to really working through much of this beer. I can tackle a 22 (which is probably all that would be desired, anyway).

Overall: I like this beer. For a non-sweet pumpkin beer, it is certainly up there. The pumpkin is strong, and it has a nice bite with wheaty and citrusy notes. There is mild spicing, but it is restrained and not hogging the spotlight. The flavors are really nice, and not too busy or dramatic. The downside to this beer is that it has some booziness and somewhat of an astringent finish. Beyond this, this is certainly a good beer in the not too sweet style. For 10 bucks a 22, this is a bit high. I would try it if I liked earthy beers, or wanted a good beer that was outside of the pumpkin pie style of pumpkin beers.

Overall Rating: ***3/4

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