Dogfish Head “Punkin” Pumpkin Ale is 7.0% ABV.
I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head glass.
Appearance: A steady pour gave about one finger of egg shell colored head, that settled down to about half its size and left some frothy fairly thick lacing. The color is a substantially bright orange/amber. The beer is very clear, and seems to have the bubbles reflective of heavy carbonation.
Smell: I get some strong vegetal pumpkin, and a good bit of brown sugar sweetness. There is also some prominent toasted malt, and of course some spices. I get some cinnamon and maybe a bit of allspice. This smells warm, and fairly hearty.
Taste: The first flavors I get are the somewhat vegetal pumpkin, and some strong brown sugar sweetness. Really, the pumpkin flavor is less vegetal than the smell suggested. The pumpkin flavor is nice and fairly strong, and is met with some roasted flavors as well. So this doesn’t just give you that raw vegetal pumpkin. I like that. The spices noticeable in the taste are cinnamon, and something slightly peppery- perhaps a little ginger. The sweetness in this is raisin-like, or something you might compare to dark fruits. This is pretty sweet. The finish in this lets some of the spices linger, which end up a little coarse on the palate. The aftertaste provides some bitterness from the spices.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate to heavy carbonation. This has a thickness to it, which is nice. I wouldn’t call it syrupy, but you can tell the body inherits some of this strength from the sugar. The spices add a little bit of coarseness to the end of the feel, which adds a nice change. I like the feel on this. It is warm, and not monotonous.
Drinkability: This one is definitely on the drinkable side. The sweetness allows it to be pretty smooth. The ABV will have an effect on one’s ability to roll through these, at some point. Other than that, this is pretty easy to drink.
Overall: I like the DFH pumpkin ale. I like to try it every year. This year it seemed like, at least with the smell, I got more vegetal pumpkin than I remember. But hey, I don’t have the best memory. I like the warmth in this, and I like the strength of the pumpkin flavor. I like that it has that sweet raisin-like flavor, and that it isn’t so sweet that it is syrupy. These are all good things, and some of these things that make for a good pumpkin ale, so I think. I think of a paradigm pumpkin ale as having strong pumpkin and warmth. The flavors in this aren’t knock you over powerful, nor is this an incredibly complex ale. Even so, this is still a good pumpkin ale. I will continue to look forward to trying it every year.