Hoppin’ Frog “Frog’s Hollow” Double Pumpkin Ale (2012)

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Hoppin’ Frog “Frog’s Hollow” Double Pumpkin Ale is 8.4% ABV.

I poured some of this 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: A careful pour gave just a touch of off-white and thin foam. This didn’t last long, and fizzed away to leave just a thin ring around the sides of the glass. This has a very bright orange/copper color that is also slightly hazy. This looks to have medium to heavy carbonation.

Smell: Up front I get strong pumpkin pie spices, along with strong roasty pumpkin. The spices present seem to be cinnamon, nutmeg, and a good dose of ginger. I think I am getting some allspice too. In any case, the spices are warm, slightly punchy, and add a nice addition to the aromas in this beer. There is also a decent and pleasant vanilla presence. Overall this smells warm and very nice. Certainly this is in the “pumpkin pie” style of pumpkin ales.

Taste: At the front I get the strong roasty pumpkin with strong spices. The ginger in the spicing adds a sort of punch. The pumpkin is forthright, and reasonably well balanced (with the spicing). As in the nose, I get spicing of cinnamon, but now I’m thinking I get more allspice than the nutmeg I suspected. The spice and pumpkin flavors in this are strong, and are set against a caramel and rock candy sweetness. The sweetness is not as strong as I was suspecting from the nose. There is also some wheat-like malt, and some vanilla. This finishes to push more of the vanilla and slightly bitter spices to center stage, while also giving off some sweetness. The aftertaste has some of the bitterness from the (I think, ginger in the) spicing, and some vanilla, and some booze. There is a noticeable booziness to this one.

Feel: This is medium bodied with medium carbonation. There is some warmth with the spicing, and strong pumpkin which enables reasonably smooth and rich sips. However, there is perhaps a bit too much of the spice punch. I wouldn’t say there is too much in terms of spices, just that the mixture of spices is a bit too punchy. The booziness also detracts from the feel. Otherwise, this would be incredibly enjoyable for feel. As it stands, it is just alright on this score.

Drinkability: This is not the most drinkable of pumpkin ales; but this doesn’t mean a whole lot, given that this is in a heavy-hitting style. It has bold and rich flavors; so one wouldn’t expect it to be so “drinkable”. Even so, the 8.4 percent comes through more than I was expecting. As I recollect last year’s batch (or batches), I also remember that this was the case. The drinkability in this is helped by the smoothness from the vanilla and the strong pumpkin. I would still prefer a great number of other pumpkin ales (even within this heavy-hitting style) for drinkability.

Overall: I do like the strong pumpkin, the smooth vanilla, and the warm spicing in this quite a bit. It makes for a reasonably complex and inviting pumpkin ale. I don’t like the overly-punchy spice aspects and the booziness. Even so, this is a really good pumpkin ale. Were it not for these issues, this would really blast off into my top top tier. Also, if this weren’t at the price point it is (at 10ish for a 22), I would put this as a “must try”. It is certainly a very good beer and worth a try, but may not be as competitive in price with other similar or less boozy 22s. For example, Southern Tier’s “Pumking” is much cheaper, as are a few others.

Overall Rating: ***3/4

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