Cisco “Pumple Drumkin” Spiced Ale (2012)

Cisco “Pumple Drumkin” Spiced Ale is 6.0% ABV.

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

Appearance: A steady pour gave about a finger of egg-shell colored head that dissipated in a minute to a thin ring of foam and very light lacing. The color is a bright and rich red/orange that is mostly clear with just very slight haziness. This appears to have medium carbonation.

Smell: Up front I get… hoppy pumpkin. Really, the hop flavors are fairly strong, and the pumpkin is discernible but not strong. I do get some spicing, though it takes sort of a backseat to the hops. The spicing seems to be something like a little cinnamon and some nutmeg. This also has some light brown sugar sweetness in the scent. This certainly smells hoppier than most pumpkin ales I’ve reviewed.

Taste: Up front I get hops, vegetal pumpkin, and some sour notes. The sour notes in this are stronger than I remember this beer having last year. The hop flavors sort of dominate, with some of the sour notes drifting in and out. This doesn’t have the sweetness the smell suggested. As for spices, it seems like there might be some ginger, since towards the end of the taste some grainy and slightly bitter spicing comes in. It tastes a bit like ginger. The finish provides just a bit more of the sour notes, and gives way to an aftertaste that is slightly bitter and slightly sour. This is not in the pumpkin pie style of pumpkin ales, nor is there significant pumpkin flavor coming through.

Feel: This is light to medium bodied, with medium carbonation. The hop flavors and the sour notes give this somewhat of a sharp feel. It sort of has the feel of an IPA, but lacks the smoothness from sweetness. It also doesn’t seem to have much variation in feel that spices could impart. Not much to say for feel.

Drinkability: I don’t think this is all that drinkable. It drinks like a sour IPA. It isn’t smooth, and the sour notes are distracting, I think. Not great marks here.

Overall: I think about 2 years ago this beer had ‘spiced ale’ on the bottle, which is probably why I still call it a spiced ale. I don’t think of what I just tasted as a spiced ale, since the spices aren’t strong or that discernible. I also sort of miss the pumpkin. I remember this having more sweetness and an earthier feel last year. As this one stands, it had a nice and interesting hops presence, for a pumpkin ale. It also had some vegetal pumpkin up front. But I can’t say a whole lot more that is positive. The sour notes are sort of overwhelming, and it lacks the warmth, clear pumpkin, and complexity of a good pumpkin ale. I sort of wonder whether I got a bad bottle.

Overall Rating*3/4

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