Three Brothers “Five Pound Fall Ale” Pumpkin Ale is 5.3% ABV.
I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: A slow then firm pour allowed over two fingers of thick and frothy off-white head. This hung on for quite some time, leaving fairly thick lacing when it dissipated some. The color is a very clear and beautiful darker reddish orange. It looks to have heavy carbonation.
Smell: Starting out I get a lot of spice that is earthy and warm: cinnamon, clove, and allspice being what I think are the most prominent. The spice profile has a woody and seed-like character. There are some subtly sour tones of something like vegetal squash, as well as some mild dark sugar. Finally, there is some breadiness adding to the otherwise smooth malt. This smells smooth, almost creamy, and warm, but with a heavy dose of spice.
Taste: This has nice smooth and deep flavors. The spice is warm and still woody, with some clove and allspice coming through (I think). There is some great roasty pumpkin, and some bready malt with a rich darker character. The flavors are also woody, like from toasted pumpkin seeds. This has some slight astringency, especially towards the end. Finally, there is a restrained sweetness of something like molasses. This finishes with the warm spice and some slight astringency grabbing hold at the end, leaving a little slightly sweet and soft bitterness in the aftertaste. Good flavors.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate plus carbonation. It is smooth and soft with a creamy texture. The woody spices bring great warmth, as does the roasted pumpkin. This doesn’t drag or overwhelm in any way. Really great feel.
Drinkability: This is good here. It is low to middle of the road for ABV, smooth, and doesn’t drag on the palate. The woody flavors do come on strong, but don’t make this cumbersome or busy.
Overall: This is a successful pumpkin ale. It has woody spicing, great strong roasted pumpkin, and restrained sweetness. The feel is on the creamy side, which is nice. There is a lot of good flavor for something this low in ABV. I especially enjoy what comes off as pumpkin seeds. I certainly recommend this offering from Three Brothers. It reminds me of Anderson Valley’s “Fall Hornin'”, which also brings a creamy texture to a warm spiced pumpkin ale. I think Three Brothers is better, due to its more roasty pumpkin as well as its deeper and more pronounced flavors overall. Try this if you get the opportunity. I grabbed some bottles when I visited their tap room a few weeks ago. I think it was somewhat limited in production.
Overall Rating: ***1/2
About Three Brothers and their offering: Three Brothers Brewing opened in Harrisonburg, Virginia in December of 2012. They are owned by three brothers, from oldest to youngest: Adam, Jason, and Tyler. Having grown up in that community, they say that their goal is to work to brew good and unique craft beer by collaborating with and supporting their community. This is exactly what they did for their “Five Pound Fall Ale”, which I was told was only the third beer to be bottled by Three Brothers, as well as their first in 22 oz bottles. Three Brothers had previously released and distributed their “The Great Outdoors” pale ale and their “Hoptimization” IPA on tap and in 6-packs.
Three Brothers brewed “Five Pound Fall Ale” on September 14th, 2013. Many people from the community brought 5 pounds of their own roasted pumpkin that they either grew or sourced themselves. This was Three Brothers’ first beer to be community sourced. And it is a good one. They approached 400 pounds of pumpkins for a 465 gallon batch, which comes out to over 4/5ths of a pound of pumpkin per gallon of beer! The brothers use their family pumpkin pie spices in the beer, similar to how Geoff Logan from AleWerks constructed his recipe with his brother. First released just to the pumpkin contributors as well as to their “passport members”, “Five Pound Fall Ale” was then available to the rest of the public on October 10th. It seems like they have sold a lot of it, if not sold out entirely. (I’m not sure, so check if you are interested in trying it.) The three brothers are also coming off of a bronze medal win at the Great American Beer Festival for their Rum Barrel Aged Belgian Dubbel. Three cheers for Virginia beer.