Heavy Seas’ “The Great’er Pumpkin” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale comes in at 9.0% ABV.
I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian Ale glass.
Appearance: A hearty pour left a finger of off-white thin head that pretty quickly dissolved into a very thin ring with no noticeable lacing. The color is a very bright orange/copper that is mostly transparent. There is some very thin haziness noticeable with moderate carbonation bubbles.
Smell: This smells strongly of bourbon right off the bat. I get some clear and bold malt, some oak, and vanilla. There is also strong spicing. There is noticeable cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. There is also something smelling bit peppery, perhaps ginger.
Taste: The flavor is moderately malty, with some oak and vanilla thrown in. The pumpkin flavor is clearly there, though takes a bit of a backseat to the strong spicing and the bourbon flavor. The flavors in this are really bold and interesting, though it tastes a bit boozy. The finish has some bitter spice with oaky bourbon. The aftertaste has some coarse bitter spicing.
Feel: This beer is medium bodied, with light to medium carbonation. The feel of it is somewhat warm, in part because of the bourbon. Though this isn’t perfectly smooth since the alcohol comes through a bit (though one might expect this at 9 percent alcohol).
Drinkability: This beer is higher in ABV, and has some punchy spicing and strong bourbon notes. So I don’t think of it as an easy drinking beer. It is fairly smooth with the oak and vanilla, but isn’t something I would want more than a pint or so of.
Overall: I like how bold the flavors in this beer are. I also like the oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Even so the bourbon is a bit strong. That and the heavy spices distract one from the pumpkin flavor, which gets sort of lost. The alcohol is also a bit punchy. This makes this an interesting pumpkin ale, though not a favorite. The $7.99 per 22 that this goes for makes this a not too terribly great option, especially given other similarly priced (or cheaper) beers around that are smoother.