Troegs “Master of Pumpkins” Pumpkin Ale is 7.5% ABV.
I poured some of a 375 ml bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: My pour gave less than a finger of off-white head, which dwindled to leave some mild lacing along the sides of the glass, and nothing else on top. The color is a medium burnt orange amber, with some moderate haziness and definite sediment to it. It looks to have light to moderate carbonation.
Smell: This gives off a lot of spices up front, as well as some Belgian-like yeastiness and earhtiness, as well as some nice strong vegetal pumpkin. As for spice I have a hard time pulling them out, but get something like cinnamon and nutmeg, and ginger too. This has some sweetness, as from Belgian candi sugar and a little light brown sugar. There is also some nice brightness in hops, on the citrisy side. The malt is smooth with some toastiness. Overall a strong aroma, and a great aroma. Really looking forward to tasting it now.
Taste: This has a really nice complexity up front: strong roasty pumpkin with some vegetal tones, complex and strong earthy spicing, Belgian-like and somewhat peppery yeast, as well as some nice citrus from the hops. As for spices, I think I get ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The spice also has something earthy to it, perhaps some clove, though perhaps that is coming from the yeast. I also really enjoy this real sweet malt along with this good toastiness and a little bread. The hops have some good citrus notes. This finishes with some definite candi sweetness, fading into more of the punchy spice, which lingers with some roasted pumpkin and slight sourness in the aftertaste. There is overall a good balance of earth and spices to roasty pumpkin and strong but not over the top sweetness. Very enjoyable.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. This has a lot of complexity in feel, strong sugar, strong spice and yeast, as well as some bright hops in the mix. You do get a little bit of an alcohol bite, and the earth and the spices do hang a bit on the palate. Still, I say this does pretty well.
Drinkability: This is a fairly bold offering, not for those looking for the light lager. It drinks at about what I’d expect for a 7.5% beer, maybe with a little more alcohol bite. The strong sugar does detract a bit, as does the aggressive spice and yeast. For the style, which I’m guessing is something like a belgiany farmhouse, it drinks pretty well.
Overall: I like this one. I was surprised by how much spice and earth you get up front. It also has just great complexity, with nice roastiness. I’ve had a few other belgiany pumpkins, and this is my favorite so far. It nicely balances the belgiany farmhouse side with the smooth, homey, roasty pumpkin and pumpkin pie elements that go so well in a pumpkin ale. I wish the alcohol didn’t have that mild bite. And I also think it is a bit on the sweet side, and maybe with a bit too much spice hanging out. Even so, I really like how it all comes together for a very rich and complex offering. This is certainly a good alternative to the typical pumpkin pie offerings you see. It came out a bit later in the season, at least in VA. I wonder why.
Overall Rating: ***1/2
About Troegs and their offering: Troegs Brewing was established in 1997, and is located now in Hershey, Pennsylvania. There is a lot to say about them, much more than I have time and space to get to here. Their impressive lineup of beers includes many great ones, especially their “Nugget Nectar” amber ale, “Troegenator” Doppelbock, and their monstrous and much celebrated winter seasonal, “Mad Elf”. I look forward to making it out there soon.
I know this beer was available some last year, but this is the first shot I’ve had at it. Troegs notes that this beer is made from Pennsylvania honey, cane sugar, and roasted Pennsylvania Neck pumpkins, as well as a spice bill of cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg. It is also a nice homage to the great Metallica album, “Master of Puppets”!