Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is 5.84% ABV.

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

Appearance: A steady pour gave about a finger of thin off-white head that dissipated into almost nothing, leaving some thin lacing along the sides of the glass. The color is a fairly cloudy light orange. This seems to have medium carbonation.

Smell: To start I get forthright hops, some vegetal pumpkin, and some spicing. There are some lemony notes that hang around the hops and the pumpkin. There is a light honey sweetness hanging in the background. The spices, which seem to consist of cinnamon and maybe some allspice, are there but aren’t as forthright as the hops. The hops are the most prominent in the smell. This smells good.

Taste: At the front I get strong vegetal pumpkin, lemony hops, and bitter spicing. The spicing is certainly on the bitter side, and seems to have some cinnamon, clove, and perhaps something else earthy going on. The sweetness is enjoyable and bright with light honey. As I sip this, the fragrance of the hops and the strong vegetal pumpkin balance nicely with each other. This finishes on the sweet side, with some bright citrus notes coming through. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and holds on to some fairly clear pumpkin flavor.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with medium carbonation. The feel is nice and has some decent complexity to it. The bright citrus, vegetal pumpkin, hops, and spices each do some work to contribute to the feel. This starts out smooth and bright, then allows more of the bitterness to come through towards the end. Enjoyable feel.

Drinkability: This fairs fairly well for drinkability. The flavors are decently well-balanced, and the light-honey sweetness and bright flavors allow smooth easy sipping. The bitterness from the spices hang on some after the taste, but this isn’t a major problem. I could definitely sit down with a few of these.

Overall: This is an enjoyable pumpkin ale. The flavors are well-balanced and bright in parts. I like the hops presence, and that the spicing adds some complexity but doesn’t totally overwhelm. The honey-like sweetness also makes it pretty smooth and drinkable. What I don’t like as much is, as with many others, the lingering bitter notes. This beer, of course, doesn’t have the most original or unique pumpkin flavors. It is pretty solid, though. I’m glad I tried it this year. This would go well with some savory poultry, and for vegetarians, a nice saucy tempeh or seitan dish.

Overall Rating: **1/2

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