Corcoran “Padawan” Pumpkin Ale (2014)

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Corcoran “Padawan” Pumpkin Ale is 6% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a “craft beer glass”.

Appearance: A steady pour tossed up a finger of off fairly thick off-white head, which has decent retention and still sits pretty firm atop the beer, and is sticking to the sides. (Later on as I drank this, there was definite lacing along the sides.) The color of this is a moderately hazy burnt orange/amber, and has what appears to be moderate to heavy carbonation.

Smell: For aroma I get nice vegetal pumpkin, with some bright citrus notes: lemon and tangerine. This has something of a warm spice presence with good balance, and I think consists of cinnamon, clove, and allspice. The malt has a little toast some nice breadiness, which is set against some caramel sweetness. The hop profile seems bright, but not overwhelming. I also get a little yeasty earthiness. Good aroma, smells like a fresh and nicely balanced pumpkin ale in the pumpkin pie camp.

Taste: To start I get strong vegetal pumpkin, which is joined by a balanced spice profile and some strong earthy yeast notes. The pumpkin is great and fresh-tasting, and works nicely with the sweetness and the spices. The spice profile has some cinnamon, clove, and I think allspice, and is balanced with the vegetal pumpkin and the sweetness from the malt. The malt gives off some smooth caramel, and a little breadiness. I get some bright citrusy hops around the edges, which are also in balance and don’t overwhelm. This also has a lot of an earthy yeast presence to it, almost like a german yeast, and even reminds me a bit of a bock.This finishes with the vegetal pumpkin fading away to bring more earthy and lager-like yeast forward, which hangs out in the aftertaste quite a bit and has notes of smoke and some mild pepper. This has definitely good flavors, but is real strong on the yeast, stronger than I’d expect.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate plus carbonation. It has a smooth feel, like from a robust lager with heavy yeast. The earth and pepper add some complexity in feel, which  otherwise has some bright notes, some slightly tart vegetal pumpkin, and smooth caramel malt. So a pretty good feel, though perhaps a bit coarse from the yeast.

Drinkability: This drinks alright. For a 6% beer, it could be smoother. The malt backbone is really smooth, but the yeast and pepper drag a bit. The peppery yeast does hang on a long time, and kind of builds up on my palate. I wonder what yeast and spices were used.

Overall: I think this is an enjoyable beer. I picked up a bottle of this for $10.50 in a Richmond bottle shop, a ways away from Purcellville. I knew this beer was also produced last year, but never had the opportunity to venture that far out to see Corcoran. I like this offering, but was a bit suprised by the heavy yeast, which still sits on my palate. The vegetal pumpkin is strong and really nice. If someone had asked me what this was I would have guessed a strong lager or some kind of hybrid. but the bottle says “pumpkin ale”. I’m glad I finally got the chance to try it, but think the 10.50 is way too high. The shop I bought it at doesn’t have the best prices for beer. But still. I’d feel more comfortable with 5 or 6 bucks for this one. 7 would be more of a stretch. In any case, this is a unique VA pumpkin offering, which is kind of hard to do with how many there are.

Overall Rating: **3/4

photo 3 (3)About Corcoran and their offering: Corcoran Brewing company is located in Purcellville, Virginia. They opened in 2011 near the grounds of a winery, when the family wanted to branch out into the beer industry. I had a chance to taste some of their offerings at the Holiday Cheer and Beer event, which took place a bit north of Richmond about two years ago.

This Star Wars themed beer sits in at 6%, and is made from real pumpkin, honey, and pumpkin pie spices.

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