Blue Mountain Pumpkin Oatmeal Porter is 6.5% ABV.
I was served a 16 oz pint glass from the brewery’s tap.
Appearance: About 3/4 of an inch of light golden brown head sat atop this hearty looking beer. This settled quickly to about 1/8 of an inch of thick and creamy foam, leaving some medium-bodied (but not very sticky) lacing. Just a small bit of light comes through this quite dark molasses-brown. A little red color breaks through in a few spots when held up to bright light.
Smell: Early on I get some vegetal pumpkin, and some dark and very roasty malt. There is some light spicing, perhaps just a bit of cinnamon. The malt scent in this is rich and strong with chocolate malt. The more I smell this, the harder the pumpkin is to discern. This is also somewhat sweet smelling, with chocolate and maybe molasses.
Taste: There is vegetal pumpkin up front, which is somewhat strong. I also get chocolate malt, some cocoa flavors, and oatmeal. The oatmeal is a nice flavor addition. I am somewhat surprised by the flavors, having expected something much stronger from the smell. The pumpkin flavor lingers throughout, which is nice. The roasty malt is strong throughout, but doesn’t completely dominate. So these two are decently balanced. I don’t get much spicing in the taste. The finish is slightly sharp with some punchy pumpkin. The aftertaste lets some coarseness and roasty malt linger about. Overall, the flavor profile is good and soft. I could probably go for some more pumpkin.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with light to medium carbonation. It is much lighter than I was expecting, given the look and smell. Upfront the feel is slightly sharp due to the vegetal pumpkin, but then this settles into a smooth, rich feel. The roasty notes add some nice movement to the feel. The carbonation at the end is also nice.
Drinkability: This is quite drinkable. It is smooth and the roasty malt adds a backbone for a very pleasant and drinkable beer. Good marks here.
Overall: My girlfrend and I drove down to the brewery to taste this beer and have a lunch, knowing that this beer was just released this past Thursday. It was a nice lunch, so it was worth it. I really enjoyed the roasty flavors in this beer, as well as the smooth oatmeal. It is lighter than I thought it would be, for both flavor and feel. I do wish the flavors were a bit bolder. I could also go for a bigger dose of pumpkin, though I wouldn’t want to lose the nice roasty flavors. Even so, this was a nice one. And compared to other pumpkin porters, I certainly like this better than Starr Hill’s Pumpkin Porter. I liked last year’s Epic/D.C. Brau Imperial Pumpkin Porter quite a lot, certainly more than I liked Blue Mountain’s pumpkin porter this year. I haven’t had that collaboration this year yet, so can’t quite speak to 2012. Really, I think the Blue Mountain Pumpkin Oatmeal Porter is the best pumpkin beer in 2012 out of the breweries in the Charlottesville (/Crozet/Roseland/Nellysford/Afton) area.