Shipyard Pugsley’s Signature Series “Smashed Pumpkin” Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Shipyard Pugsley’s Signature Series “Smashed Pumpkin” Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 9.0% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

AppearanceA steady pour gave about 2 fingers of off-white head that dwindled after about two minutes to just a very thin film. There is some thin lacing noticeable. The color on this is a bright and just slightly hazy deep orange. There is fairly heavy carbonation visible.

Smell: I get strong flavors of pumpkin, malt, and spice. The pumpkin is roasty and is matched with considerable fruity sweetness. There is also a heavy dose of very bready malt in this. The spices I am getting are cinnamon and nutmeg. This smells warm, and is ushering me to finish up this section and move on to taste.

Taste: I get strong, very warm, and wonderfully roasty pumpkin up front. This is matched by a strong malt backbone. The malt is bready, as in the nose. The malt also brings with it serious sweetness. This beer is quite sweet. I get rum-like and fruity flavors. This drinks like it has notes of dark cherries, and some bright hints of lemon or tangerine. Really interesting sweet flavors. I am getting cinnamon and strong nutmeg in the spicing, which adds a nice addition to the complex and rich flavors. The spicing is done nicely in this one, and isn’t just a punch in the face. The finish on this gives some dark fruit and sweet malt, which leaves a spicier and slightly bitter aftertaste giving the palate some more movement. Overall, good, rich, and intense flavors.

FeelThis is medium to heavy bodied, with carbonation on the heavy side. It is fairly thick, but isn’t too sticky or chewy. The sweetness does weigh this one down a bit, but the bold flavors allow this to be more than just heavy. The sweetness also allows the beer to be fairly smooth. This isn’t the smoothest pumpkin ale. It is rich and strong, but some of the spicing and bold flavors get a bit coarse and bitter, which detracts from the smoothness. The alcohol is also noticeable, and doesn’t blend in so smoothly. It really stands up with a rich and bold feel, but is somewhat stiff as a beverage.

Drinkability: This is very rich and flavorful, has a high ABV, and doesn’t have  an uninterrupted or perfectly smooth feel. With these qualities, it is hard to just work your way through a whole lot of this beer. It doesn’t seem that drinkability was high on the agenda when making this flavorful, rich, and strong pumpkin ale.

Overall: This was a birthday present from my friend, Ryan (which was given to me along with some Schlafly Imperial Pumpkin Ale). It was a great present. I seriously enjoy this pumpkin ale. It makes no apologies about giving you strong and bold pumpkin flavor. This one doesn’t pull off a really smooth feel so much, though the flavors and the warmth are quite successful. The flavors are also decently complex without being busy or losing the roasted pumpkin. There is something rum-like and something like dark fruit, and these are successful as notes in the beer and not the main flavor. Comparing this to last year’s Avery Rumpkin, it has some strength that is matched with other sweet and fruity flavors. However this Smashed Pumpkin is different from what I remember of the Avery in that it doesn’t lose the pumpkin flavor in the mix. Great marks for flavor here. This 22 goes for about 10 bucks, which is a bit steep. Even so, this one will keep you warm as the colder Fall nights come. We are no where near that kind of weather here. Still I am happy to have tasted this one again this year, and certainly would get it again next year. I know they make a bourbon barrel aged version of this which I’ve yet to see around. Perhaps that will be high on the agenda now.

Overall Rating***3/4

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