Almanac Dark Pumpkin Sour (2014)

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Almanac Dark Pumpkin Sour is 7% ABV.

I poured all of a 375 ml bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: I got about between a quarter and a half inch of light brown and creamy foam atop the beer, which had good retention and stuck well to the sides of the glass. As I hold this to bright light, the color is a murky and very dark reddish brown, with some sediment towards the bottom and a little light coming through. This looks to have mild carbonation.

Smell: I get some great round sour notes, some nice oak, some sweet molasses and definite dark malt, as well as some bright vegetal squash. I get a little mild nutty spice, but not much by way of a hop profile. This smells round, complex, like a nicely blended sour. Great dark malt.

Taste: This has a complexity in flavor from a lot going on, all contributing to a pleasant sourness with lots of additions from dark malt, oak, and what seems like other adjuncts. I get good strong sour notes, which are smooth and round and rich, with nothing biting or sharp. These are complemented by the dark malt adding a mild pleasant dark sugar sweetness. This is sour and earthy. I maybe get some vegetal squash, but there is not a whole lot of pumpkin or spice that is easy to pick out among the bold sour tones in this. Maybe some nutmeg. This does have great wood tones, but nothing peaking my interest by way of a hop profile. This finishes with some of the bold sour tones fading a bit to reveal some earth and bark, which linger in the aftertaste along with some hints of sourness.

Feel: This is medium bodied plus, with moderate carbonation. It has a bite to it, as one might expect from a sour. For a sour, it has a nice roundness, and nothing that makes my lips pucker. The mild sweet dark malt works nicely with the sour tones, as does the mild spice, oak, and earth. So good complexity in feel.

Drinkability: This drinks nicely for a sour. As mentioned, the dark malt really helps along the sour tones and makes the sips a bit rounder. It is certainly a sipper, and something that demands attention. So, for the style, pretty good here.

Overall: I think this is a nice, round, and enjoyably complex offering. It doesn’t showcase much pumpkin. In fact, the more I drink it the harder it is for me to pull out pumpkin. It has a lot of good things going for it. I like how the dark malt and wood work with the sour tones. This makes for a pleasant drinking experience. The earth and bark in the aftertaste invite another sip, which bursts with nice flavor. So all of that is really good. I’d definitely try this one if you are a sour fan and like pumpkin offerings. Even so, again, this doesn’t showcase the pumpkin so well. So not a big winner for me. This is the first year Almanac put this beer out, and it sits alongside another pumpkin barleywine I already reviewed. For my money, I’d go for the barleywine over this. That has much more pumpkin flavor, and has a richness that this doesn’t. It is also the style that I prefer a bit more.

Overall Rating: **3/4

DSC03801About Almanac and their offering: Almanac started in 201o, with an emphasis on Northern California agriculture in their beers. I reviewed their Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine last night, but wrote more about them in my 2013 review of Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine.

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