Elysian “Night Owl” Pumpkin Ale is 5.9% ABV.
I poured some of this 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: A steady pour gave just a tad of off-white head that dissipated very quickly to leave a very thin ring of barely-there foam. The color is a slightly hazy medium orange/amber. This appears to have light carbonation.
Smell: To begin I get some somewhat roasty pumpkin, along with some heavy spicing. The spicing is earthy and quite woody, and seems to have some cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. The woodiness in this is nice, and is paired with a slight sourness, as though this may have been aged in fairly neutral oak barrels. I don’t think this was, but that’s the impression that I get. I’m now ready to taste it, right now.
Taste: Up front I get roasty pumpkin, forthright spicing, and a serious woodiness that imparts a smooth and enjoyable flavor. The pumpkin flavor is clean and strong, as are the spices. The spices are strong with cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Quite surprisingly, they don’t overwhelm, and don’t even leave much of a bitterness for the aftertaste. In addition, the malt in this adds a nice restrained sweetness with maybe a touch of raisin. This finishes quite smooth with some of that slightly raisin-like sweetness and the wood notes. The aftertaste has some of the woodiness and a touch of the attentive sweetness. This is wonderfully flavorful, and impressively well-balanced.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with light to medium carbonation. The feel is quite smooth, and ushers in quite a pleasant sipping experience. The spices and woodiness and sweetness all work well to give each other space but don’t end up manifesting themselves in a real busy beer. There isn’t the often experienced bitter or astringent aftertaste that one gets with many spiced pumpkin beers. This one works so well with its flavors to create a really pleasant feel.
Drinkability: This is one of the most drinkable pumpkin ales I’ve had. It is smooth, but still has significant and interesting flavors. The pumpkin is also not lost, but comes through pretty clear. This sits in at 5.9 percent, so I see nothing that hurts its drinkability.
Overall: I am so happy to drink this one now. It is certainly real good. I don’t remember liking this one as much last year; but that may be because I had it as one among many that I tasted at a tap takeover last year (at a bar that also had established itself as having some issues with its taps that year). In any case, this is a real good one. The wood and pumpkin and spices are all prominent, yet are balanced so well. There is a nice slight sourness that comes in among the wood and sweetness that adds even more subtle complexity to this beer. This holds its own against a good number of pumpkin beers, and is right up there with some of the heavy hitters that work with incredibly intense flavors. It is not the most intense of the pumpkin beers I’ve had, but is very good. This is the first I’m tasting of 3 Elysian pumpkin beers that a very helpful guy named Nicholas out of Washington state helped me to acquire. I’m quite glad to have this one, and look forward to trying the “Great Pumpkin” tomorrow, and the “Dark of the Moon” the day after. Thanks Nicholas!