Cisco “Pumple Drumkin” Spiced Ale (2011)

Cisco “Pumple Drumkin” Spiced Ale comes to us at 6.0% ABV.

I poured most of a 12 oz bottle into a stemless wine glass.

Appearance: A fairly hearty pour yielded one finger of off-white, light bodied head the quickly dissolved leaving a ring around the glass with some lacing. This left more lacing than I would have expected. The color is something like a tangerine-amber, with mild to medium cloudiness. Bubbles rising may be seen upon closer inspection, signalling moderate carbonation.

Smell: This was really spicy with standard cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. The spices really took grip of the smell, even tingling the nostrils. I also got a bit of caramel and malt. There was detectable pumpkin, and some definite hoppiness. This was intriguing.

Taste: The taste was somewhat parallel to the smell. First I tasted malty sweet pumpkin, and then a bit of the spices and hops. The hops were more present here than in the smell. There is also something sort of woody, maybe pumpkin seeds. The flavors quickly moved from sweet malty pumpkin with spices to something that may be described as earthy and a bit bitter. The finish was effervescent bringing hops with spices, while the aftertaste was more of the same (with some malt lingering). The aftertaste had malt in the flavor, with some hops adding more tactile qualities. I’d say that this is pretty well balanced.

Feel: This one was medium bodied. It was smooth at first, and then gave way to a more textural hoppy midway that felt crisp. The finish was effervescent and seltzery. Overall it had medium carbonation, and a feel that hung on for a little bit (like the small lacing I didn’t expect).

Drinkability: I could certainly enjoy one of these beers. I am not sure I would sit down and aim to have a few. The beer does hang on the pallate, both in flavor and feel. Because of the heavy spicing and more pronounced hops (at least than in your standard pumpkin-pie-ish ales), the lingering may weigh one down over time.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer. I thought it was interesting and woody. So far it is the hoppiest pumpkin ale I’ve tasted this year.(It also wasn’t incredibly hoppy.) It was pretty well balanced, with quite a bit of spices. One complaint may be that the pumpkin flavor pretty quickly gets overtaken by spice and some bitter notes. (It is clear that good pumpkin is in the beer, and in the flavor. The spices and woody notes just do a bit of hogging the spotlight.) I liked these notes, but they may (as I said above) weigh one down over time. I like this beer for balance and a dynamic and interesting flavor profile. It is one of my favorites in the category of not being too high in ABV, but still being flavorful.

Overall Rating: **3/4


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