Shock Top “Pumpkin Wheat” Belgian-style Wheat Ale (2012)

Shock Top “Pumpkin Wheat” Belgian-style Wheat Ale is 5.2% ABV.

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

Appearance: A steady pour gave about a finger of off-white head that settled to about a fourth its size and left thin but creamy lacing along the sides of the glass. The color of this is a very hazy bright orange that also has some significant sediment. It appears to have pretty heavy carbonation.

Smell: At the forefront I get some strong wheaty and dough-like yeast notes. There is some bright vegetal pumpkin that is matched with strong spicing and a fruity sweetness. The spicing appears to have some cinnamon and nutmeg (and perhaps some others). The sweetness is bright and fruity with clear orange and other citrus notes. This smells good, and otherwise like a refreshing pumpkin ale.

Taste: To start I get bright vegetal pumpkin and spicing of cinnamon and nutmeg. These flavors are fairly bright up front, and are joined by some strong citrus and orange. The yeast gets its part of the spotlight a little further on in this one, and gives off some subtle white pepper and some earthy and just slightly bitter notes. The sweetness in this is, as one might expect, like some sweet citrus, just as if someone had already put a big chunk of sweet orange in the bottle for me. This finishes with some more subdued earthiness and slight yeast giving a sort of dull (and slightly sour) aftertaste. The flavors in this are pleasant. However the more I drink this, the more I wonder where the pumpkin has gone.

Feel: This is light bodied, with medium carbonation. The feel has some nice character to it: some punchy fruitiness, slightly mildly earthy spicing, and some crisp and refreshing sweetness. These make for a pretty nice and smooth feel, though there is some unpleasantness on the back end. That is, this finishes to have an abrupt and seriously cotton-like feel for the aftertaste.

Drinkability: This is fairly low in ABV, has some pleasant flavors, and a decent sweetness to give a mostly smooth drinking experience. The only thing I’d say here is that the finish and (even more) the aftertaste are giving me a sort of dry cotton-like sensation which isn’t so great.

Overall: Shock Top’s “Pumpkin Wheat” is not so bad for a refreshing beer to drink a few of. It has some unpleasantness in the feel; but that is no end-game for it. There is some complexity in the flavors, and some nice punchy citrus. It is a light one that might be good for those looking more for drinkability than a flavor bomb. As a pumpkin beer however, I can’t rate this too highly. The pumpkin isn’t made so clear or presented so well. It gets sort of lost in the citrus. This works much more like a middle of the road and not too complex wheat beer than a pumpkin ale. I wouldn’t grab this one when the autumn wind blows.

Overall Rating: *3/4

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