Williamsburg Alewerks Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Williamsburg Alewerks Pumpkin Ale is 7.3% ABV.

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

Appearance: A very hearty pour gave maybe 1/16 of an inch of off-white “foam” that was gone before it came. No real lacing. The color is a somewhat hazy dark orange/amber. There are a few carbonation bubbles visible.

Smell: The smell is overwhelming with roasted pumpkin off the bat. It is sweet and inviting. There are also some spices accompanying the pumpkin; I get nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, and maybe a little allspice. The smell is warm, with the pumpkin holding up to the spices. I don’t want to spend much more time just on the smell, now.

Taste: There is clear roasted caramelized pumpkin, with a nice malty-brown-sugary sweet backbone. This is certainly on the sweet side of pumpkin ales, more in the “pumpkin pie style” of pumpkin ales. The pumpkin flavor is nice and strong, exuding a warmth that really holds all of the flavors together. The spices notable in the taste are cinnamon and nutmeg. The finish holds the caramel pumpkin flavor a good bit, but lets the spices fade, save for some very slight bitter spice notes. Perhaps this is the ginger. Really, these bitter notes at the end are quite nice. They cut the bold and sweet pumpkin flavor and usher in another sip. The aftertaste has unashamed roasted pumpkin and a bit of coarse spicing like ginger.

FeelThis is medium bodied, with a buttery feel to it. I wouldn’t say it is quite as buttery as Southern Tier’s “Pumking”, but is is nice and smooth. The spices gain a little more momentum on the back end and cut the smooth feel a bit for some change to the feel. This is not the most dynamic feel of a pumpkin ale, but it certainly isn’t flat with mere sweet pumpkin. The mild carbonatino gets a little fizz towards the finish. I think this ale is well done on this score.

Drinkability: This beer is dangerously drinkable. The powerful, smooth, and sweet roasted pumpkin helps this beer go down very nicely. The 7.3% may hold one back a little, but only when they get up to get another. This isn’t manifest in the experience of drinking it. Great marks here.

Overall This is a pumpkin beer. It is sweeter than I remember it being last year. I could see a good argument for it being  perhaps too sweet; and that might be my only real criticism. Anyway, wow! What a pumpkin beer! The smooth roasted pumpkin flavor is strong, persistent and proud. On top of that, it isn’t monotonous. The spices get a chance to come out a little more towards the finish, adding some change to the flavor and feel. This beer is smooth, easy drinking, and the flavors are quite intense. I haven’t had a pumpkin beer that has captured the roasted pumpkin flavor better than this one. This is certainly a must try, especially if you are  a fan of the pumpkin pie style of pumpkin ales! (My girlfriend just brought me a beautiful pumpkin cupcake with an almond glaze to taste. In all (possibly poorly thought out, perhaps immediately regrettable, and certainly somewhat damning) honesty, I am way more interested in finishing this Williamsburg Alewerks Pumpkin Ale. I’m not sure what compelled me to add that last bit. Edit: the cupcake was really good.)

Overall Rating: ****1/4

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