Full Tilt “Patterson Pumpkin” Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 9.0% ABV.
I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: A careful pour produced some off-white bubbles, but nothing much by way of head. This has a very hazy deep reddish orange color. There is also some definite sediment to this beer. It looks to have moderate carbonation.
Smell: From the moment of pouring I get a strong aroma of spicy and mostly vegetal pumpkin, which brings with it some pleasant sour notes. This is joined by intense spicing and brown sugar. For spicing I am getting some warm and aggressive cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice (I think). This also has some nice vanilla to the aroma. Some strong citrusy and piny hops rounds out a great aroma.
Taste: The first sip is just absolutely full of flavor. Strong spice, vegetal pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla, and hops. This has a very strong hops presence, especially given most all of the others in the pumpkin ale style. There is a lot of flavor with this beer. It demands attention. The spicing is strong, with a little bit of bite to it. I get strong cinnamon, as well as some ginger, and nutmeg. The cinnamon really comes on strong. The sweetness is forthright with brown sugar and something like vanilla going on with it. As for the hops, there is some citrus and some pine. This finishes with the strong spice and the hops taking over more, leaving some hoppy bitterness and some spice in the long aftertaste. Overall, good and strong flavors.
Feel: This ale is medium to full bodied, with moderate carbonation. It is full-flavored, and has a warmth and a richness to it. The strong spicing does give some texture to the feel, and hangs on in the aftertaste. The spicing is a bit more coarse than I typically want, but adds some character. There is an alcohol bite to this, but is nothing major given how the strong sweetness and the other strong flavors come to demand attention.
Drinkability: This is a bold, full-flavored beer. It has an aggressive spice presence, strong hops, and some noticeable alcohol. So it is not a paradigm drinkable pumpkin ale. Even so, especially given how strong this is for flavor and ABV, it drinks pretty decently.
Overall: This is a serious pumpkin offering from Full Tilt. There is strong pumpkin flavor and strong spice, especially with the cinnamon. Really all the flavors in it are sort of bold and unforgiving. As noted, it has a notable hops presence, which balances pretty well with the other flavors. This is nice and fairly unique in this style. As for criticism, I wish there was a little less of an alcohol bite, and that the spicing wasn’t as intense. Even so, one can easily see why they picked ‘Full Tilt’. Strong and serious unrelenting flavor out of Baltimore, Maryland!
Overall Rating: ***
About Full Tilt and their “Patterson Pumpkin”: Full Tilt opened around early 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Co-owners Nick Fertig, and Dan Baumiller, who are also cousins, began thinking about this venture in 2008. They talk about their brewery as “grassroots”, and from what I can tell, their brewery is a great example of the phrase. Both Nick and Dan still have other jobs, and also work full-time on the managing of Full Tilt beer. Currently their beer is contract brewed local in Baltimore, enabling them some freedom to get their own set-up going on their own clock. I had a great conversation with Nick, who explained that before the brewery started, him and Dan were constantly having parties to share their beer with friends. These events quickly gained a big following, as Nick and Dan furiously experimented and brought new and often full-flavored beer to these events. Nick said that the name Full Tilt came as an explanation for how they made and shared their beer. Interestingly, some of Full Tilt’s grassroots growing from home-brewing, as well as their pursuing strong and serious flavor, reminds me of their neighbor, Heavy Seas. I look forward to trying more of Full Tilt’s beers.
Full Tilt makes their tasty “Patterson Pumpkin” with 2-Row Pale, Carapils, Dark Munich, and Red Wheat malts. They add pumpkin right into the mash, something that takes some patience as pumpkin can clog things up. Also added is some brown sugar, and some spicing of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Crystal, Sterling, and Willamette hops take this bold beer to 48 IBU’s. Enough of that beer that is “reminiscent” of pumpkin or pumpkin spice. This offering from Full Tilt makes sure you can’t miss it.