RJ Rockers “Gruntled” Pumpkin Ale (2012)

RJ Rockers “Gruntled” Pumpkin Ale is 7.0% ABV.

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

Appearance: A steady pour gave about 1 finger of off-white head that dissipated to leave little head and some medium lacing along the sides of the glass. The color is a fairly hazy light orange that appears to have light carbonation.

Smell: Strong malt and light vegetal pumpkin up front. This also has some strong orange and citrus notes, and some light spicing of (I think) cinnamon. There is light sweetness of honey (and orange). This smells like it will have strong flavors.

Taste: I get nice clear vegetal pumpkin and some warm spicing up front. There are also some notes of orange, and some lightly toasted malt. The orange notes are decently strong, and are paired with some light sweetness of honey. The spices, which seem to be cinnamon and perhaps a little ginger, add in complexity. These spices also come in stronger towards the finish, which drops the pumpkin and sweetness a little bit to leave some slight bitter notes which still hold on a little to the orange. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with some earthy tones. This is nice, and doesn’t really remind me of other pumpkin beers I’ve had. Good flavors.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with light to medium carbonation. The orange notes and the slightly bitter spicing add some complexity to the feel. The feel is enjoyable. Good marks here.

Drinkability: This is quite drinkable. The light honey sweetness and orange notes nicely complement the pumpkin and spices. It drinks quite well, and doesn’t advertise its 7%. One thing that could detract here is that the aftertaste holds on to the earthy and bitter notes such that they drag a bit.

Overall: I like the clean pumpkin in this, which sort of reminds me of the clean pumpkin in Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin Ale. The RJ Rockers, however, has the orange and honey notes which involve quite a different take than Wolaver’s. I think they are nice flavor complements. The bitterness towards the end is also a nice addition to both the flavor and feel; and the spicing, which plays a role in this bitterness, has a warmth to it. So I like these parts quite a bit. One thing that does detract from this beer is that the bitter spicing does hang on the palate some. In addition, I could go for a stronger dose of pumpkin. The orange and honey and lightly toasted malt are nice additions, but I think they don’t allow the clean pumpkin flavors to take the stage in the way I’d like for them to. In any case, this one was quite good. I’d gladly drink this again. Tasty, and worth the money.

Overall Rating: ***

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