Isley Brewing “Stunt Dubbel Dubbel” Pumpkin Ale is around 7% ABV.
I poured some of a 32 oz growler into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: I poured this carefully, and then hard at the end. This did not produce any real head. This beer has a rich medium burnt orange/amber, which is mostly clear. It looks to have mildish carbonation. Great color.
Smell: On the nose I get some vegetal squash, and some very pleasant and strong spicing. This has standard fare “pumpkin pie” spicing, but it also has some warmth and a nice pop to it. I get something like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. This also has some smooth brown sugar and sweet maltiness, and not much by way of hops, save for a little brightness around the edges. Great spice in the aroma.
Taste: This does have that vegetal pumpkin to it, which you get up front with some slight sour notes. The spices quickly follow, and form something of a prominent bitter wave that works its way to the back end of the sip. The spices aren’t as warm as they were in the nose. I think I get some cinnamon and ginger, but not as clear as I was expecting. Definite strong bitter spicing. This also has some smooth malt that doesn’t say a whole lot, but is complicated by some earthy yeast. The finish has the bitter spicing and yeast taking hold and hanging out in the aftertaste. The pumpkin gets a bit lost by the end. I like the earthiness in this, though it doesn’t have a lot of complexity.
Feel: This is medium bodied with light carbonation. I wonder whether it was different right from the tap. (This was purchased yesterday, quickly stored in a cold fridge, and pulled out right before pouring. A 32 oz growler should be able to store enough carbonation.) The feel has some mellow mild sweetness, which gets interrupted by the botter spice and yeast. Not completely one dimensional in feel, but not that complex either. There is a slight alcohol bite at the end. The bitterness hangs and invites another sip. After a bit of drinking this, the bitterness detracts.
Drinkability: This is OK here. The yeast and heavy spice do hang on my palate, such that I’m not sure I could have more than one of these.
Overall: This is alright. I like the earthiness from the yeast, but wish the spices did a bit more to add complexity, and weren’t so muted and flat-lining at bitter. The smooth malt is nice, and is good to set against the vegetal notes and the spice. Yet the pumpkin does get a little lost in this one towards the end. This doesn’t really feel to me like a dubbel. For that, I’d want a little more richness. This would be a good choice if you wanted something with a yeast and a bitter spice presence, perhaps after a sweeter maltier offering- which Isley often offers up in good numbers. This is not a top pumpkin beer in the state, but nothing to avoid. I like the Belgiany pumpkins I’ve had before a bit more than this one. For example, Hardywood Park’s, which I’ve yet to review this year, is quite good.
Overall Rating: **1/4
About Isley and their offering: Isley opened in Richmond, Virginia in late October of 2013. They are located in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition, very close to Ardent Craft Ales, whose pumpkin ale I reviewed a week ago. Isley’s brewmaster is Josh Stamps, who works with their sole owner, Michael Isley.
I visited Isley to pick up a growler of this beer, which is the first year I’ve heard about Isley having a pumpkin offering. They weren’t so keen on giving information about the beer, saying that they keep their recipes very secret. I was able to learn that the ABV was around 7%, and that they were planning on also having this for the Scott’s Addition Pumpkin Festival in a week.