Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 8.0% ABV.
I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a stout glass.
Appearance: An easy pour allowed less than a finger of greyish off-white head, which was thin to start with and gone in about a minute, save for a little ring around the sides of the glass. This has a beautifully rich burnt orange/red, which is mostly transparent with some tiny bubbles fizzing up towards the center of the glass.
Smell: As I bring this to my nose, I immediately notice a strong aroma with roasted pumpkin and nice bold spices. There are some vegetal and mildly sour aromatic notes as well. However the pumpkin and spices mostly come off as roasty and warm. For spices I get definite clove, cinnamon, nutmeg. The spices are sort of woody and appealing. This also has a vanilla-like sweetness to it, and a strong dark sugar malt sweetness. Great appealing aroma.
Taste: This starts off rich, hitting you with the bold spices and the roasty pumpkin. The spices are especially nice in this one- warm, nutty, and bold but not harsh or caustic. I get some combination of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. I happen to know this has cardamom as well. The nuttiness and earthiness of the spices is something noticeable – like it has some spicy pepper, roasted pistachio, and a touch of persimmon. The roasty pumpkin flavor sits alongside a very sweet but not syrupy malt backbone. The sweetness is ripe stone fruit- juicy plum, along with some dark or burnt sugar. This finishes beautifully, with the high malty sugar fading away into the bold but not overly aggressive warm spices. The aftertaste has some slight sour notes and some mild spice of white pepper and earth.
Feel: This offering is medium bodied plus, and has moderate carbonation. The sweet malt and the warm spice really makes for a nice feel. The pepper and sour notes allow the feel to be more dynamic, and do something other than give across that smooth pumpkin pie flavor. The slightly sour in the aftertaste is not ideal, but it functions more to invite another sip rather than to bother me. There is a little bit of a noticeable alcohol nip towards the finish. Overall good feel.
Drinkability: For something 8%, it does pretty well here. Given how rich this is, how sweet it is, and how bold the spices are, I wouldn’t be able to do much past this 12 oz bottle. It is in the imperial style. Given that style, it is pretty darn drinkable and doesn’t accost with alcohol.
Overall: I quite like this offering. It is well worth trying if you haven’t already. It has unique spicing that still fits into the warm and inviting pumpkin pie style pumpkin ale camp. The cardamom adds a lot, as does the nice dose of clove and nutmeg. This is definitely one to include in a tasting, or to have on a slow Friday night. I think I am enjoying it more this year than I have in the past. The spices are really working nicely for me this time. Think of bold, warm, somewhat woody and complex spicing in a strong pumpkin ale.
Overall Rating: ***3/4
About Weyerbacher and their imperial pumpkin ale: Weyerbacher Brewing Company is located in Easton, Pennsylvania. They have been brewing seriously good beer there since 1995. See my 2013 review of Weyerbacher’s imperial pumpkin ale for more about them and the making of this beer.