Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus (2012)

Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus is 4.0% ABV.

I poured some of this 750 ml bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: A steady and robust-at-the-end pour gave about 3 fingers of really frothy egg-shell-colored foam. This hung on for a good bit, leaving thick lacing on the glass with significant head retention. The color on this is a bright and slightly dusty looking toasted orange. Many bubbles suggest heavy carbonation.

Smell: I get some bready and some very strong fruity yeast. This has some nice sour notes, along with some earthy funkiness. This doesn’t smell very sweet but has some caramel notes. This smells great.

Taste: To start, there is some nice earthy, herbal, and sour notes that hit together. This is complex, and interesting with each sip. The funky and yeasty flavors combine really well with the herbal and earthy notes; and then there are the sour flavors, which add nice complexity to the taste. The pumpkin flavor is clear and noticeable throughout. The pumpkin is hard to grab hold of and focus on just as pumpkin flavor, in part because of the many other flavors, but especially the sourness. This is a lambic, so one would expect some of the strong fruity and tart yeast notes to be front and center. Even so, the pumpkin flavor doesn’t get lost. It is clear. The finish on this lets the sourness dissipate a bit to favor some of the earthy and herbal notes a bit more. There is something like spiciness on the back end, but it is different from the standard pumpkin pie spices, and I think is better classed as “herbal”. This also lets a slight raw sugar sweetness poke through a little bit  on the finish. The aftertaste is more subdued with some funky yeasty notes lingering a bit. One of the most interesting and complex pumpkin beers I’ve had.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with medium to heavy carbonation. The feel has some sharp tart notes, but also some smoothness and earthiness that breaks into the sour and tart notes a bit towards the end. Good feel. The sour notes don’t overwhelm the palate.

Drinkability: This is not the most drinkable, mostly in part because that is simply not on the agenda for a beer like this. The funky herbal and yeasty notes that go along with the tart flavors of pumpkin make for a complex beer that just won’t be so easy drinking for a lot of folks. If one is into the sour notes and the complex yeast notes, the ABV won’t keep one from drinking a good bit of this.

Overall: This is the only non-U.S. pumpkin beer I will try this year. (I almost went ahead to get a bottle of the St. Ambroise Pumpkin, but the shipping was hard to justify in the midst of a few other purchases.) I quite like this beer. The sour, herbal, and funky yeast notes complement the clear and unadulterated pumpkin. Lovely Camera Girl mentioned that this is different from a lot of the pumpkin beers she and I have tasted in that it doesn’t work seriously with the pumpkin pie spices. I agree. This is nice, and a nice take on pumpkin beer. It would be really enjoyable with Thanksgiving dinner. The sour notes and the pumpkin and earthiness would work well with all of the savory and sweet foods. (In fact, I wish I had another bottle for Thanksgiving- I might have to work on this.) This beer isn’t in the upper echelons of great pumpkin beers for me, in great part because the pumpkin isn’t incredibly strong or roasty or warm. Even so, this is complex, has great pumpkin flavor, and is unique compared to most all of the other pumpkin beers I’ve had. The only pumpkin beer I can think of that is even slightly similar is Hardywood’s Farmhouse Pumpkin, since that one has some Belgian yeast notes that add some character as well. The Timmermans, so I say anyway, is more complex and interesting, even though the pumpkin is warmer and more front and center with the Hardywood. So I’d give the Timmermans a slight advantage.

Overall Rating: ***3/4

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