Dogfish Head “Punkin” Pumpkin Ale is 7% ABV.
I poured all of a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head IPA glass.
Appearance: I poured it pretty easy, giving a quarter inch of bright white and creamy foam. This dwindled a little atop the beer, still covering the surface a few minutes later. This has a bright orange/amber color. It has pretty good clarity, is mostly clear, but has some mild haziness and a bit of sediment floating in it. It appears to have very heavy carbonation.
Smell: To start, I get some vegetal pumpkin with some slight sour notes. There is also a nice spice presence, with some nutmeg, cinnamon, and maybe some ginger. The malt is smooth in this. This also has a sweetness to it like light brown sugar, and a little brightness as from some citrusy hops. Mostly vegetal pumpkin with nicely balanced spices.
Taste: I get some vegetal pumpkin up front, followed by the pleasant spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and maybe some clove. Not sure I get ginger on the taste. The spices are nicely balanced with the pumpkin, which brings some bright notes into this beer. This is also a bit richer than an otherwise standard 6ish% ABV pumpkin beer, with a little darker malts. This has some sweetness to it, like light caramel and light brown sugar. As for hops, there is some citrusy hops contributing but not taking the spotlight. The finish is on the dry side, and has some of the bright pumpkin flavor leading into an aftertaste with mild fine-bitterness from the spicing. Good flavors, nicely balanced spices. I remember this being sweeter and richer in the past.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate to heavy carbonation. It has some smooth malt for a base layer, and the pumpkin and spices adding some complexity. There is a kind of mild alcohol bite with this towards the end. Otherwise I’d say the feel is fine. The spices are nicely dosed in this, and contribute to a decent feel.
Drinkability: This does pretty well here. The mild alcohol bite, along with the slight sour tones form the pumpkin keep this from going down lile water. But eh smooth malt and nicely balanced spices really help. This doesn’t drag.
Overall: I used to like this a lot more. Not sure if this is best explained by my palate changing, or by the beer. Probably some combination. I remember the malt profile being differt, richer, and more robust. This feels a bit on the thin side. I also don’t really remember a notable alcohol bite. But in any case, this is a decent offering in terms of a good spice presence and some consistent pumpkin. Even so, it is not a standout for me. They have obviously re-branded it, with a new image, which I think is really fun and playful. But I’d rather drink a few other DFH offerings above this. They are a great brewery.
Overall Rating: **1/2
About Dogfish Head and this offering: Dogfish Head is a brewery located in Milton, Delaware. My partner and I head there every year or two to do a tour and see the great facility. It is really a blast, and is fun to see how it grows.
Last year I wrote more about Dogfish Head and their pumpkin offering in my 2013 review of “Punkin”.