Tommyknocker “Small Patch” Pumpkin Harvest Ale (2012)

Tommyknocker “Small Patch” Pumpkin Harvest Ale is 5.0% ABV.

I poured all of this 12 oz bottle into a “craft beer” glass.

Appearance: A steady pour gave a small finger’s worth of frothy light tan head, which settled to a very thin film on top of the beer. The color is a very dark red/amber. If held to a bright light, the red is a lot more prominent. This is slightly hazy, and has small streams of very tiny carbonation bubbles rising against the sides of the glass.

Smell: Up front I get a lot of roasty notes and dark malt. It is incredibly roasty, and seems like it might have some chocolate malt, or some other dark and toasted malt. The roasted notes make you feel like you just put your nose into a bag of freshly roasted coffee. I can sense a little bit of vegetal pumpkin, though this is pretty faint compared to the rich and dark roasted scents. This doesn’t smell too sweet, though I expect it has some dark sugar sweetness in it. There are some spice notes that accompany the intense dark roasted smells. I think I am mostly getting cinnamon and nutmeg. This smells pretty great, more like a porter, really.

Taste: To start I get intense roasted flavors, and then some dark molasses sweetness. The roasted flavors are earthy, chocolatey, and have elements similar to coffee. They are nice and complex flavors. There is some starchy pumpkin flavor in this, though it takes a bit of a backseat to all the roasted and coffee-like flavors. The more I drink this though, the more the pumpkin flavor comes out. For spicing, I maybe get some cinnamon and nutmeg, but I wonder whether I am just searching for spices here. The finish lets some pumpkin flavor impart some pleasant sour notes, but is backed by the dark sugar sweetness and a little bit of acidity. The aftertaste holds onto the strong roasted flavors. The roasted and toasted flavors are quite strong, and are at the center of the stage for flavors. This is certainly a rich, flavorful, and enjoyable beer.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with medium to heavy carbonation. It has a dark sugar/molasses feel to it, which coats the mouth but isn’t sticky or chewy. The carbonation also is a nice addition, adding some dynamism to the feel. I really think of this beer as akin to a porter for feel.

Drinkability: This beer is quite drinkable. The dark roasted notes really invite sip after sip. The ABV is not too high, and the spices don’t overwhelm. The roasted notes do hang on a bit, and would be the only thing I think would hold one back from having a few of these. Decent marks here.

Overall: I enjoy this beer, and really enjoy the roasted flavors. The pumpkin is nice, but isn’t quite as strong as might be preferable. Really, that is the main complaint. For pluses, what pumpkin flavor it does have is matched with some somewhat complex and intense roasted flavors. This is a great one for roasted flavors, even if the pumpkin is a bit lacking. It is somewhat surprising how rich the flavors are, especially given that it isn’t really heavy bodied or super sweet. This had nice balance. It’s worth buying a six pack.

Overall Rating: **1/2

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