Devil’s Backbone “Pumpkin Hunter” Pumpkin Ale (2014)


Devil’s Backbone “Pumpkin Hunter” Pumpkin Ale is 5.1% ABV.

I poured all a 12 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: I poured this carefully, with a little more force at the end. This tossed up less than a finger of off-white and thin head, which was gone in under a minute. This left no lacing but just a very thin ring around the sides of the glass. The color is a medium orange/amber with great clarity. It looks like it has mild to moderate carbonation.

Smell: I get mild vegetal pumpkin with slight refreshing sour notes, some mild spicing in the pumpkin pie camp- maybe nutmeg cinnamon, and a little smokiness. This smells definitely on the malty side, with not a lot of hops coming through. The malt aroma is the most prominent , and is toasty and a little bready. This smells like a sessionable pumpkin with some good vegetal tones.

Taste: The flavor is certainly on the weak side, in terms of strength. I don’t get a whole lot of pumpkin. I get some mild spices. The spices are subdued, and again I’d guess cinnamon and nutmeg, though they are not clear by any stretch. I get the toasty malt, which is enjoyably smooth and without much nuance. No real hops to speak of. This finishes with some slight sourish notes, which linger in the aftertaste. I’d want more (or something like) noticeable pumpkin.

Feel: This is light to medium bodied with light carbonation. It is pretty smooth for feel, save for some slight sour notes that are more noticeable through the end. Not so dynamic. Mostly light and not much to pay attention to.

Drinkability: This is pretty good here. It is light and goes down smoothly. There is that slight sourness that comes off the finish and in the aftertaste, which lingers. Other than that, good here.

Overall: This is not a destination pumpkin beer for me. As I drink more, the sourish vegetalish tones linger on my palate, and make the second half of this beer not so enjoyable. I like the malt profile, which has some smooth tones and some toastiness. But overall, I’d recommend a lot of other VA pumpkin ales over this one. Not much pumpkin or notable spice.

Overall Rating: **

DSC03776About Devil’s Backbone and this offering: Devil’s Backbone is located in Roseland, Virginia. Head Brewer Jason Oliver has been leading them towards winning a number of medals since they opened in 2008. Last year I reviewed their “Ichabod Crandall”, which was a very similar beer to this Pumpkin Hunter. I’m guessing it is the same beer, but under a different name. I even went back and looked and the label picture is the same, unless I am missing some subtleties. I wrote more about them and the brewery in my 2013 review of the “Ichabod Crandall“.


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