Dogfish Head “Punkin” Ale comes in at 7.0% ABV.
I poured almost all of a 12 oz bottle into a stemless wine glass.
Appearance: A hearty pour gives two fingers of egg-white-whipped head that very quickly dissipates to a little bit of thin foam, and barely-there lacing. The color is copper-orange and pretty bright. The beer is very clear, with good visible carbonation bubbles rising at competing speeds.
Smell: It is spicy, more than anything else. Some very forthright allspice greets the nose, with some nutmeg. There are also some strong yeast or dough-like characteristics. One can find a faint pumpkin aroma amidst the other smells.
Taste: Sweetness and spice up front, with cinnamon and nutmeg providing a pumpkin pie spice profile. There is something raisin-like and sweet, probably the brown sugar. The pumpkin comes through a little towards the middle and is more clear with the finish and aftertaste, though the spices don’t hurry off anywhere too fast. There is a decent hop presence which balances with the sweetness and relatively heavy spices. The hops are also present in the aftertaste, teasing the mouth a bit and pushing one to cycle back to the sweetness of the sips. This beer has elements similar to a light brown ale, in contrast to Dogfish Head’s description of it as a “full-bodied brown ale”.
Feel: This is medium bodied, and a bit creamy. It coats the mouth nicely, but not in the way more syrupy beers do. The moderate and prickly carbonation dances a little and fits in nicely, without drawing too much attention or pushing one to ask where it is.
Drinkability: This is certainly a drinkable pumpkin ale. It is higher on the ABV, but not too high to work on a four-pack. The spices and flavors are strong, but they are interesting. This could be an impediment to running through a couple beers, a price you pay for flavor.
Overall: This is quite good, a real good one to also put on the map and compare to others. It is more of a heavy-hitter (than, at least, Buffalo Bill’s and similar beers). It is also balanced nicely, and flavorful! A few sips into this beer gives way to more warm, pleasant, and interesting sips. This is a must try. One thing that isn’t great is that it is definitely on the sweet side. This makes it heavy, not exactly too sweet. Also, after a little while, the spices linger. This could overtake the pumpkin or the other flavors in the course of one’s finishing the beer.