Elysian “Dark O’ The Moon” Pumpkin Stout is 6.5% ABV.
I poured some of this 22 oz bottle into a stout glass.
Appearance: A steady pour gave about 1/4 of an inch of hazelnut colored head. This didn’t last long, and left fairly thin lacing along the sides of the glass. The color of this is an opaque and very dark oil brown. No real light is getting through this beer. This one also appears to have light carbonation.
Smell: I smell somewhat roasty and dark malts up front. There are also some light notes of toffee and molasses. There is pretty light pumpkin, and nothing much stronger for spicing. I guess I get some light cinnamon. The smell is nice, and on the light side for a beer that pours and appears so hearty. I’m now pretty jazzed to taste it.
Taste: To start I get strong roasty flavors, some complexity in earthy and spicy notes, and a nice fairly light lingering pumpkin. The dark malt and roasty flavors give some flavors like chocolate, coffee, and molasses. The spicing adds some slight wood, earthiness, and something like light cinnamon. There is also a rich sort of smokiness to this. The pumpkin hangs out in the background, and has a vegetal quality to it. As this finishes, you get a bit more of the vegetal pumpkin and some of the earthy and… tree bark-like notes. The aftertaste hangs on to the roastiness and some of the woody and earthy tones. There is nice roastiness and dark malt in this, though also some quite noticeable booziness (especially toward the end).
Feel: This is heavy bodied, with light carbonation. It is fairly thick and coats the mouth well. The interplay between the vegetal pumpkin and the dark and roasty notes makes for an interesting feel. However, the relatively strong booziness, which is definitely more prominent towards the end, detracts. It is otherwise fairly rich, complex, and roasty.
Drinkability: As noted, this has nice complexity, richness, roastiness, and pleasant (though not incredibly strong) pumpkin. This invites new sips, and gives a kind of smoothness to the sips. However the alcohol, which is sort of surprisingly strong for something only hitting 6.5%, does pose some real problems here. I do think that, were it not for the forthright alcohol presence, this would be incredibly drinkable.
Overall: This is the third of three Elysian pumpkin beers I’ve tried the past few days, and I was a bit struck by the alcohol in this. I wasn’t expecting it, in great part because of the ABV. I thought it would be a lot smoother, given the roasty stout style. It did have really nice roasty and earthy flavors, some subtle and light vegetal pumpkin in the background, and nice light spicing. The dark chocolate and coffee tones are also great additions; but again, the alcohol really detracts from this one. Thinking of this as a pumpkin beer, it isn’t as successful as the other two Elysian offerings I’ve tasted: their “Great Pumpkin” and their “Night Owl”. The pumpkin is more subtle, which could work quite well if the other flavors were accomodating and the alcohol wasn’t so prominent. As it stands, the pumpkin is light, and it lacks the smoothness one gets from other dark and roasty beers. For example, Flying Dog’s “The Fear” is dark (though isn’t touted as either a stout or porter), but still remains much smoother and holds a strong 9 percent.
Overall Rating: **1/2