Indian Wells Spicy Pumpkin Ale (2013)


Indian Wells Spicy Pumpkin Ale is 5.5% ABV.

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

Appearance: A heavy pour produced a few fingers of off-white and thick head. This hung on for about 5 minutes, settling into just a few dollops of thin foam along the sides of glass, with just minimal lacing. This is clear and bright light orange. It looks to have moderate carbonation.

Smell: The first thing I get is very strong almost syrupy vanilla. This smells pretty sweet, and has a strong almost piquant spice profile. I get some more pungent cinnamon, and some other spice notes that aren’t manifest as particular spices per se. Maybe some nutmeg. This has a strong aroma of mostly sweet vanilla and spicy cinnamon.

Taste: This gives strong artificial-tasting cinnamon, as well as some vanilla. The cinnamon tastes a bit like Big Red gum, that spicier sting-y cinnamon. The sweet vanilla is also there, though somewhat clunky and artificial. The vanilla is much stronger in the nose than in the taste. There are some other spice components in this that help the flavor be something more than just fake cinnamon. I also also get a little bit of vegetal pumpkin before the finish. This finishes with the strong spice, and the sting-y cinnamon. The aftertaste has some of the cinnamon hanging onto the palate. The taste reminds me more of how a cinnamon broom smells than I’d like.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. It has some nice spices that add something to the feel. It doesn’t give off that warmth that one would like, as the sting-y artificial-tasting cinnamon hangs on and makes the feel unpleasant.

Drinkability: This is not so drinkable. The spices really drag, and aren’t so smooth or pleasant. I keep wanting another sip to get the spices off my palate, but then they come back again.

Overall: This is unfortunately not a successful pumpkin ale. I get a lot of Big Red gum, and not a whole lot of pumpkin. This also sits with me sort of odd, giving a harsh sting-y flavor that hangs and drags on the palate. The pumpkin flavor is overwhelmed, and unfortunately, not by something interesting or pleasant. This is supposed to be a spicy pumpkin ale, so I could certainly adapt to the spices giving a big punch. Even so, these spices just drag, sort of burn, and aren’t so pleasant. I would recommend against this one, as it feels very artificial.

Overall Rating: *1/4

DSC03527Indian Wells and their Spicy Pumpkin: Indian Wells was founded in 1995 in Inyokern, California. Inyokern is home to the Historic Indian Wells Spring, which has been thought to have saved numerous desert travelers’ lives. This natural spring also gravity-feeds into the brewery, and is used to make all of Indian Wells’ beer. Indian Wells Brewing prides themselves on using fresh local ingredients, including their barley, hops, yeast, and fruit. With a care for the environment, the brewery also focuses on energy-efficient and low carbon processes, so it sounds like it would be a cool place to visit and check out.

They make their pumpkin ale with their pure spring water, a blend of spices, and fresh pumpkin. They have been brewing this beer for about 3 years now, and it has become one of their most popular seasonals. Starting with about 20 barrels, they made 120 barrels of this seasonal this year. Of course, it isn’t as popular as their some of the beers in their main line, like their Mohave Red (red lager) and their Lobotomy Bock (German Dopple Bock).


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