Sam Adams “Fat Jack” Double Pumpkin Ale is 8.5% ABV.
I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: I poured this from a higher altitude, bringing up a couple of fingers of tan head. This hung on for awhile, reducing down to some froth while leaving some notable lacing. The color is a bright and clear dark ruby amber. This looks like it has moderate carbonation.
Smell: There are some dark malt aromas to this one with just a touch of roastiness to the malt, as well as some smoke and spicing. For spicing I am not getting anything so clearly distinguishable, though I am getting some woodiness in spice, some nutmeg, and maybe allspice. This also has a kind of dark vegetal fruit thing to it, and a bit of astringency. Maybe some dark cherries and a little squash. Not much sweetness to the aroma. Alright marks here.
Taste: I get a burst of juicy pumpkin and dark fruit like plum and cherry. There is a lot more sweetness than the aroma indicates. A layer of thick spice complements the pumpkin and fruit flavors, and consists of something like nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. As for sweetness, I get a resin-like sweetness that is neither a honey nor a brown sugar sweetness. It is more akin to spiced rum, with some vanilla and maybe a touch of molasses. This finishes sweet and just slightly boozy, letting the sugar gradually fade to reveal some earthy spicing. The spice is around for the aftertaste, along with some lingering sugar. Good strong flavors in this one.
Feel: This is medium to heavy bodied, with light to moderate carbonation. It is certainly on the sweet side, with a bit of stickiness to the feel. The sugar and spice do give some texture to this. The feel is also fairly round, and warm, with nothing really dragging on the palate. The 8.5% does not come through so much. Pretty good marks here.
Drinkability: The “Fat Jack” does alright for drinkability, given its weight class. It is not too boozy for something this potent. It has some strong sugars to it and intense flavors that make it hard for this one to be imbibed at high speeds. Not a beer meant for this metric. Fairly easy to go through, though.
Overall: I really enjoy this beer. The vanilla and dark fruit and pumpkin make great complimentary flavor profiles. It has a good bit of sugar, but also doesn’t bring the alcohol bite one might expect at 8.5%. The more I drink this, the more I think I am getting brown sugar in the sweetness. This is a bit sticky, and maybe a bit sweet for my tastes. Yet is has nice warmth and some enjoyable texture. I’ll definitely get this one again, as I am a fan of the imperial pumpkins, especially when they cultivate the dark flavors and rum-like qualities. I liked this even more than I liked this beer last year.
Overall Rating: ***1/2
About Sam Adams and “Fat Jack”: Jim Koch started Sam Adams in 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts. You can find out lots about the history of Sam Adams from their website. One thing that can be said is that they pioneered distributing serious craft beer in the U.S.. Recently Koch was named a billionaire, in virtue of his company’s worth; they are certainly selling beer. They may not be your mom and pop brewery down the street but they continue to make good beer and reach out to more beer drinkers who are otherwise content with only light American lagers.
Sam Adams makes their “Fat Jack” with 28 pounds of pumpkin for each barrel. They use two-row barley, rye and smoked malts, along with East Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops to hit 25 IBU’s. Spicing consists of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger. This intense and flavorful beer is part of their small batch series, and is worth a try.