Shipyard “Pumpkinhead” Pumpkin Ale is 4.7% ABV.
I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Appearance: A steady pour gave just a bit of almost white and very thin foam that was gone before it started. This left a thin ring of fizzy foam around the sides of the glass. Tilting the glass reveals what could be called “very thin lacing”, which barely hangs on. The color is a slightly hazy yellow with an orange tint.
Smell: I get a lot of spice, some sweetness, and some malt to start with. The spices are fairly heavy, and seem to be cinnamon and clove. There is also some light toasted malt that adds some character, and some honey-like sweetness. I am straining to try to find pumpkin in the smell. No significant pumpkin aroma.
Taste: I get strong honey sweetness and lightly toasted malt up front. The spices are a lot less clear in the taste than I would have expected, given the smell. They are there, though, and come out more towards the end. I am getting some cinnamon and clove, and some definite artificial elements. This tastes like a sweet toasted malt beer that has an empty slot where something was supposed to go. There is no real clear pumpkin. The finish, as I said, lets the spices come through a little bit, but also adds some sharper slightly acidic notes. The aftertaste leaves some lightly toasty malt and light spice. Nothing to write home about for flavors.
Feel: This is light bodied, with heavy carbonation. The feel is pretty one-dimensional, being a sweetish light beer with nothing else that significantly changes throughout a sip. It is quite light, and doesn’t have the warmth of a good pumpkin ale.
Drinkability: This beer does best here, though even here I don’t think this one is a great winner. The sweetness isn’t so nice after a while, especially since it doesn’t contrast with much else in the beer. It is just honey-like sweet, and I think that would make it hard to drink a lot of these. It is light, and quite low in ABV. If one can stomach the artificial flavors and the stand alone honey sweetness, this might be a good one on this score.
Overall: I remember not liking this one last year, despite the fact that I really liked Shiyard’s Smashed Pumpkin. I picked up a 12 oz single in a mix six-pack since I thought I might as well try it again and do a review. I wouldn’t have bought it, had I needed to commit to a full six-pack. Honestly, I also probably won’t even grab a cheap single next year. This beer has some artificial flavors, doesn’t really have pumpkin flavor, and is one-dimensional. I can’t really even give it, as noted above, good marks for drinkability. I would not recommend this pumpkin offering by Shipyard, though I would recommend their Smashed Pumpkin.