Pike “Harlot’s Harvest” Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Pike “Harlot’s Harvest” Pumpkin Ale is 8.5% ABV.

I poured all of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: A steady pour gave about a finger of fairly thin off-white foam. This settled to barely a layer of foam atop the beer, and left medium lacing along the sides of the glass. The color is a mostly opaque and murky dark chestnut with a red hue. It appears to have light carbonation.

Smell: The smell is sour with dark malt and some light spice. I don’t particularly get any pumpkin from this one in the scent. The spices are not so clear, but add something earthy. There is also a clean woodiness, like one might get from some seeds or stems. I’m interested to taste this, given that the smell doesn’t make me think very much of a pumpkin beer.

Taste: Dark and malty with a tinge of (pleasant) sour up front. This tastes earthy, sweet, and has some pumpkin. The pumpkin isn’t so forthright, but does hang around in the background. The stronger flavors are the earthy and woody tones that pair well with the dark malt and add some warmth. This seems to have some spice to it, but it is hard to pinpoint. Maybe some nutmeg? I’m unclear on this. The sweetness is dark and molasses-like, and pairs well with the sour tones. The finish is woody and has dark malt, which leads into an earthy spice aftertaste. This has nice balance, but lacks strong and clear pumpkin.  In fact, a lot of the flavors are not so clear but are sort of subdued. I do like the woodiness in this, though.

Feel: This is a creamy and smooth medium-bodied beer with light carbonation. The earthiness and warmth of it also make the feel nice. It feels sort of like a light creamy porter. This isn’t so dynamic, but it has a nice feel.

Drinkability: This is pretty drinkable. The 8.5 percent does not announce itself. I even half-wonder whether the ABV noted on the bottle is a mistake. In any case, this doesn’t come across in the taste. This is a pretty easy drink, though the slight sourness and strong wood notes do hang a little bit. That is nothing major, though.

Overall: This is definitely an interesting and enjoyable beer. I don’t think it is so successful as a pumpkin beer, though. The things I like include the creamy and smooth feel, the dark malt as it is balanced with the slight sour notes, and the earthy and woody notes. The flavors are overall sort of subdued, but have nice elements. The pumpkin flavor is seriously lacking. I like the flavors, and especially like the woodiness to this. I wish the pumpkin was clearer and bolder.

Overall Rating: **1/4

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