New Holland “Ichabod” Pumpkin Ale (2011)

New Holland “Ichabod” Pumpkin Ale comes in at 6.1% ABV.

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

Appearance: A hearty pour yielded two fingers of light tan head that dissipated to a thin foam on the top and definite lacing. It was mostly clear with some slight haziness, and rusty-amber in color. Moderate carbonation bubbles are visible.

Smell: The aroma has bread-y malt and strong floral hop elements. There is also a decent dose of pumpkin pie spicing, with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice (and even something sugary). There isn’t a whole lot by way of pumpkin on the nose.

Taste: The taste is overall pretty spicy and pretty hoppy. The floral elements are there, but dominated more by the spices than in the nose. The spices are also more peppery in the taste than in the nose. This continues towards the middle, with some enjoyable sugary sweetness setting in. The pumpkin flavor that is there is certainly dominated by the aggressive spicing. The finish is spicy, which leads way to a fairly bitter aftertaste. This bitterness hangs on a bit.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with delicate carbonation. It doesn’t coat and hang on for very long, though the hops add a coarseness to the aftertaste that lingers.

Drinkability: The ABV doesn’t pose any restrictions to having a few of these beers. What may be a problem is the aggressive spicing and the bitter finish that hangs. The spices get sort of monotonous after awhile, seeming more and more peppery (and less pumpkin-pie-spicy). This could weigh one down over time.

Overall: I like this beer for its spice and hops, not so much for harnessing pumpkin flavor in a  really creative way. I also like the floral hops, which works well with the strong spicy characteristics. I thought it could have more malty characteristics, perhaps adding some balance to subdue the spices a little. Overall, I think this is in the leagues of Cottonwood, Terrapin, and Elysian’s “Night Owl”. Even so, it falls short of them all for me. Cottonwood is more balanced, while Terrapin triumphs for warmth. Finally, Elysian’s “Night Owl” was more interesting flavor-wise. “Night Owl” has nice woody notes.

Overall Rating: **3/4

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