Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale is 5.3% ABV.

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

Appearance: A steady, but vigorous at the end pour gave about a finger of light tan head, which dissipated after a minute to leave a very thin ring of foam around the edge of the glass and very thin and otherwise unmentionable lacing. Ths color is a slightly hazy orange/copper, which appears to have some very fine sediment suspended in the beer. Moderate carbonation bubbles rise from all parts of the bottom of the glass.

Smell: I smell some roasty pumpkin, sweetness, and pumpkin-pie like spices up front. The spices seem to be cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, with nutmeg appearing fairly strong. Really, the whole spice profile is quite strong in the scent. The spice profile also has a sort of fine-grained balance to it, and doesn’t smell coarse or clumsy. There is some caramel malt sweetness. The smell on this is pretty nice, and warm.

Taste: There is nice pumpkin and spice up front. The pumpkin is more vegetal than I got from the smell. It is decently strong, and the  spices seem to balance well with the pumpkin. The spices seem to be cinnamon, strong nutmeg, some clove, and perhaps a little ginger. I’m not sure about the ginger, but notice very slight peppery notes along with the spices. The way the clove and nutmeg are combined give the spice profile an earthy quality. This beer has some malty sweetness, sort of like brown sugar that has been caramelized on a pumpkin muffin from the oven. The finish on this gives the spices more of the stage, and comes with some slight and enjoyable lemon notes. The aftertaste has some warm and fine-grained pumpkin-pie spicing that hangs on the palate.This is definitely in the pumpkin pie style of pumpkin ales. Nothing incredibly unique, but still quite enjoyable. The spices are well done.

Feel: This beer is medium bodied with medium carbonation. It is warm and smooth, especially with the spices being strong. The feel has some changes, from sweet and spicy, to more spicy with some lemon. It isn’t so complex for feel, but has a nice feel.

Drinkability: This is quite drinkable. It is pretty smooth, and has a sweetness that ushers in more sips. It also has some nicely balanced spices, which warm up the experience. Decent marks here.

Overall: I like this one more than I thought I would this year. I remember being interested in the spices last year. That is still true this year, though I am struck by the nice balance. As I said about the taste, it isn’t so unique, though is nicely done. My favorite thing about it is the smooth incorporation of the pie style spices. I like the earthiness from the clove and nutmeg, and the feel of the spices. It is smooth and enjoyable. The flavors are solid in this, and it is well balanced. This is a good one to have a few of especially if one doesn’t want to get weighed down by ABV.

Overall Rating: **1/2


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