Samuel Adams “Fat Jack” Double Pumpkin Ale is 8.5% ABV.
I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: A hearty pour gave about 2 fingers of off-white head that lasted for a few minutes, dissolving to about 1/8th of an inch and leaving some medium and decently sticky lacing. The color is a very clear dark red/amber. There is medium carbonation visible.
Smell: Off the bat I get very strong malt, with scents of dark fruit and rum. This smells fairly sweet, and quite strong. I’m not getting pumpkin in the scent. I do get some faint cinnamon in the spicing, though the spices take a backseat to the malty and fruity flavors.
Taste: I get strong flavors up front: pumpkin and dark fruit. This has a clear rum-like quality to it. This is pretty sweet, with molasses and the dark rum flavors. The malt is quite strong, and adds earthy flavors like one might get from the seeds and stems of some dark fruits. I am somewhat surprised by these flavors. They are very nice, interesting, and strong, but they aren’t that strong in the pumpkin domain. (This was called a double pumpkin ale, remember.) The pumpkin is clearly there, though it is much stronger up front. As the taste progresses, the dark fruit flavors take hold, the molasses and rum-like sweetness grab you, and some earthy tones come out. The finish gets past the heavy sweetness to provide some earthy seed and stem flavors, leaving an aftertaste of dark fruit with slightly bitter notes. Overall, this has some wonderful flavors that get even more pronounced as the beer warms, but it lacks strong pumpkin flavor.
Feel: This is medium to heavy bodied, with moderate carbonation. This is on the chewy side, being pretty sticky. The beer has a nice warm and velvety texture to it. The finish adds some bitter tones, but this doesn’t hurt the lingering feel. This is quite warm, and intense.
Drinkability: This drinks nicely, but is both potent and high in ABV. I don’t think it is easy drinking, for it is heavy and really vibrant. Even so, the flavors that are there are fairly smooth and inviting. It doesn’t completely fail for drinkability, but isn’t something you could have a whole lot of. Clearly the beer’s “being drinkable” wasn’t high on the agenda when this was brewed.
Overall: I really like the flavors in this one. It reminds me of my tasting of last year’s Avery “Rumpkin”. The “Rumpkin” was a lot more complex, and had notes of banana and clove. Even so, the Avery is similar because it was intense, had dark fruit and rum flavors, and didn’t so much have clear strong pumpkin flavor. I like the “Fat Jack”, though wish the pumpkin was more central. It gets high marks for good, strong, and interesting flavors, but doesn’t quite hit the upper echelons of pumpkin ales because it lacks the strong pumpkin flavors. I was really glad when my girlfriend found the “Fat Jack” in the store. I had it on my agenda last year, but didn’t get the opportunity to taste it. I’m glad to have the opportunity this year.