Granville Island “The Pumpkining” Pumpkin Ale (2013)


Granville Island “The Pumpkining” Pumpkin Ale is 6.0% ABV.

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

Appearance: A hearty pour tossed up two fingers of off-white head, which dissipated to a thin layer of foam in about five minutes, and left some medium lacing. The color is a very clear medium burnt orange/amber. This looks to have heavy carbonatation.

Smell: I get strong toasty and bready malt and some spicing up front. There is some definite nutmeg and ginger to the spicing. This has some slight sour notes to it with some banana and some pleasant vegetal pumpkin. For sweetness there is a bit of tame molasses. Not so sweet on the nose. Great malt to this.

Taste: This has good and complex toasty and bready malt, along with some notable spicing that I think combines nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. There are also some brighter fruity tones, with some banana and vegetal pumpkin. It tastes a bit darker than it looks. Some restrained sweetness from some malt and molasses is good with the bright fruit. This finishes with the great toasty malt holding strong with some fruity notes on the end. Mild bitter notes and smooth malt are present for the aftertaste. Great flavors, wonderful malt base. Not a ton of pumpkin.

Feel: This is light to medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. The smooth malt adds a nice base which the spicing and mild sour notes add some complexity to. There is a little creaminess. Nothing is overdone or heavy. Great balance, and great feel.

Drinkability: This is definitely drinkable. It is darker than I was expecting, but certainly smooth. The toasty bready malt draws some attention, as do the fruit notes. But this is still very smooth and good on this score.

Overall: This is the fifth Canadian beer I’ve reviewed here. And this is a successful pumpkin ale. For my tastes, it could use a little more pumpkin. I get great toasty and bready malt, which is a great base. There is also some banana and a bit of vegetal pumpkin that I enjoy. My favorite thing about this beer is how the malt comes through, and the overall balance. This is great for its balance, as a lot of pumpkin ales go too heavy on the spicing.  The label suggests that this would be more aggressive with its spicing than it is, given the “sinister spices” tag. In any case, this has great balance and great malt. I want to try more Canadian beer, as I’ve only recently started sampling such offerings.

Overall Rating: ***

DSC03726About Granville Island and their pumpkin offering: Granville Island Brewing opened in Vancouver, BC in 1984 as Canada’s first microbrewery. Their first beer was their “Island” Lager, soon joined by a number of other self-proclaimed “West Coast inspired” beers. Granville Island has taken on a number of new brewers over the years, and has also expanded into new facilities outside of Vancouver. In 2009, the company was purchased by Molson Coors Canada.

This pumpkin offering has very little information given out about it. It is 6.0% ABV, has an OG of 14 degrees Plato, and  has 15 IBU’s. The bottle mentions “sinister spices” and “killer pumpkin”. Little else is said about the making of this beer, other than that the recipe came out of the notebook of brewer, Vern Lambourne.


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