Fegley’s Brew Works “Devious” Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2012)

Fegley’s Brew Works “Devious” Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 9% ABV.

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

Appearance: A careful but hearty-at-the-end pour gave about 1/4 of an inch of off-white foam. This pretty quickly dissipated to leave a frothy but thin ring around the sides of the glass. The color is a fairly bright dark orange/amber. This appears to have heavy carbonation.

Smell: To start I get strong dark fruit, strong spice, and some pumpkin that is on the roasty side. The spices I am getting include cinnamon and clove, with perhaps some other pumpkin pie spicing added as well. This smells like it has a strong sweetness of intense dark fruit and malt. This also has something like rum and raisin going on in it. These smells are complex, powerful, and really inviting.

Taste: Up front there are some intense and dark fruit flavors, something like rum, and strong spicing. The darker fruit flavors are really prominent and account for a great bit of the flavor profile. I get maybe some raisins and some fig. These work well with the sweet dark rum that is also prominent throughout. The spices aren’t as strong in the taste as they were in the smell. They fit in better, and seem to consist of cinnamon and clove. I don’t get a ton of clear pumpkin in this, certainly less than in the smell. There is some pumpkin that comes through a bit more on the back end, though it isn’t so clearly undeniable pumpkin. The flavors that I do get are quite nice, though. They are strong and earthy. As I sip this, the finish lets some of the dark fruit notes reveal more slightly bitter and earthy notes; these hang on some for the aftertaste along with some of the strong dark fruit notes. The aftertaste is surprisingly fruity and pleasant. I was, given the spicing and earthiness, expecting a more bitter end to the taste profile. One last thing to note is that there is some definite booziness that comes especially towards the end of the sip (and afterwards).

Feel: This is on the heavy side of medium bodied, with medium carbonation. The feel is rich, warm, and decently complex. It starts out relatively smooth, but makes way for some coarser spicing which breaks up the feel a little bit. This is intense and, though on the sweet side, not syrupy or overly sweet. These are all nice traits. One downside is the prominent booziness which disrupts the feel a bit.

Drinkability: This one is not so drinkable. The flavors this has are pretty great, but they are intense, and somewhat heavy on the palate. There is also a prominent booziness that hangs on. This one wasn’t made for drinkability.

Overall: This has nice and bold flavors. It has some really pleasant earthiness, nice dark fruit, and a decent spice profile that doesn’t overwhelm the palate. I also really like the finish and specifically, how some of the dark fruit comes out. Often with the imperial pumpkin ales that have spicy and earthy profiles (and really, many other pumpkin ales too), you get the spices hanging on at the end. With this, they are clear towards the end, but fight for attention with the dark raisin, fig, and rum flavors. There are a couple of things I didn’t like as much. As may be expected, I would have liked more clear pumpkin, and for that pumpkin to be showcased a little better. I could also do with a little less booziness. By my watch, this beer is better than some of the similarly styled rum and dark fruit pumpkin ales (like Sam Adams “Fat Jack”), in great part because the pumpkin is still there, but also because of the surprisingly pleasant finish. I don’t like this as much as the bigger contenders that really accomplish good clear and pleasant pumpkin flavor in the midst of similar complexity. These include the Uinta “Oaked Jacked” Pumpkin Ale, the Long Trail Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and Heavy Seas’ Great Pumpkin and Great’er Pumpkin.

Overall Rating: ***

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