Shock Top “Pumpkin Wheat” Belgian-style Wheat Ale (2011)

Shock Top “Pumpkin Wheat” Belgian-style Wheat Ale comes in at 5.2% ABV.

I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a Pilsner glass.

Appearance: A hearty pour left a half-finger of cream colored head that quickly dissipated to leave no noticeable lacing. The color is a very hazy orange/amber. There is also moderate to heavy carbonation visible.

Smell: I smell heavy roasted malt, and some punchy fall spices up front. The spices I get are cinnamon and allspice doing a lot of work, as well as some nutmeg and clove that are not as prominent. This gives the more traditional pumpkin pie spice aroma, but in a more punchy way- like fresh ginger does. (“It stings the nostrils”.) There is also some pumpkin in the aroma, but it takes a backseat to the malt and spices.

Taste:  Up front I get vegetal pumpkin (certainly more than the nose suggested), along with the spices. The spices have a sort of white-pepper character, similar to the smell. The malt comes across as strong, but less roasty than the smell hinted at. There is also a tame hops presence, which adds a little bit of character to this beer.

Feel: This beer is light to medium bodied, and has medium carbonation. It, like other wheat ales, was sort of crisp, and had a dry finish.

Drinkability: The wheat ale elements in this pumpkin ale add a little bit (though not a lot) to an otherwise uninteresting beer. Drinking it allows a light and refreshing experience. It is also low in ABV, which enables one to have a few and not get too weighed down.

Overall: I found this beer to be alright, but nothing much to talk about. The wheat-ale style adds something that sets this beer apart from others in the same camp (i.e., the low-abv, traditionally spiced, not super rich pumpkin ales camp). This is effervescent and sort of fun, but not a stand up pumpkin ale.

Overall Rating: *1/2

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