Midnight Sun “TREAT” Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (2014)

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Midnight Sun “TREAT” Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter is 7.8% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a porter glass.

Appearance: A slightly splashy pour gave about two fingers of light brown and frothy head. This had decent retention and dissipated some to leave fairly thick lacing and still some thin foam atop the beer. This has a very dark brown/black color, with no real light getting through. Doesn’t look murky, just dark. Tiny bubbles rising along the sides of the glass suggest mild to moderate carbonation.

Smell: This has a nice smell, real rich. I get strong chocolate, almost like Hershey’s chocolate syrup, along with some vegetal pumpkin, great smooth roast, and a warm blend of spices. For spices I get cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe some allspice. This also has some sweet brown sugar to it. Not much by way of hops. Absolutely top notch aroma, save for the slight suggestion that this might be really sweet. Now I taste and find out.

Taste: This starts strong with great and smooth dark roast, building with some nice cocoa- more cocoa /dark chocolate than milk chocolate- as well as some vegetal pumpkin. This is really quite rich. The malt is dark and very sweet, lots of chocolate and some coffee. A little vanilla. As for spices, the roast really makes it hard to discern what is part of the spice bill. I do get a spice presence, as from clear cinnamon and perhaps nutmeg. The vegetal pumpkin has a pleasant sour note that adds complexity to the otherwise sweet and roasty offering. Some non-descript hops are adding some balance, good for a porter. This finishes with the brighter vegetal pumpkin pulling away a bit to accent more of the chocolate and dark roast. The finish is almost like cola. The aftertaste has some strong lingering roast, as well as a little coffee-like bitterness. Really good flavors, very strong chocolate, nice pumpkin presence.

Feel: I’d say this is on the lighter end of heavy bodied. Given how strong the flavors are, I’m surprised this isn’t really heavy on the palate, or cloyingly sweet.The dark roast is nicely balanced against vegetal pumpkin notes and sweet chocolate, and enough hops for balance. It also seems like there might be some lactose in it, in terms of feel. A little creaminess. So I’d say really pleasant feel here, save for some strong roast that just won’t depart after the sip, which could detract for some.

Drinkability: This drinks really well. The sweetness really helps it out here, and the fact that it tastes like dessert. One thing holding it back is the strong dark roast, which does stick around a while on the palate. The sweetness, though making it smooth to drink, may also hold one back from having much more than 10 oz of this. So I’d say this is fine for the style- an imperial roasty porter in the pumpkin pie style.

Overall: I’ve known about this beer for a few years. Finally I get a chance to try it. Thanks to CraftShack.com, a craft beer site out of California, I can count on getting some of the Pacific Northwest (and above) beers. In any case, this beer is pretty good. I like all of the flavors, which are quite rich and strong. The chocolate you can’t miss, and it is joined by some unbridled roastiness, The pumpkin is present throughout this beer, but could have more of the stage. The pumpkin isn’t as central as offerings like the Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, in the same state as Midnight Sun. I also think the spices are nicely balanced. This beer runs for about 14.50 per 22oz. So it is a little on the pricey side, I think, especially for something under 8%, and for the quality. But it really is a nice rich offering, with pretty good pumpkin. It is definitely a beer for dessert. If you like strong roasty porters, or sweet malty beers, especially with chocolate notes, this could be a good pick. The more I drink it the more I would want a little more pumpkin and a little less roast. The roast gets a little overpowering. In any case, this is certainly enjoyable among the pumpkin porter’s I’ve had, but doesn’t quite accomplish all that Alaskan’s Pumpkin Porter does.

Overall Rating: ***3/4

photo 4 (3)About Midnight Sun and their offering: Midnight Sun Brewing is located in Anchorage, Alaska.

To make this beer they use pumpkin, cocoa nibs, and a blend of spices. It is then aged in oak.


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