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Heavy Seas “The Great’er Pumpkin” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2014)

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Heavy Seas “Great’er Pumpkin” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 10% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: A mostly careful but slightly splashy pour produced a finger or so of frothy off-white head. This slowly reduced to a dollop still atop the beer, along with as a fairly thick ring along the sides of the glass. This also left the beginnings of some lacing. This has a beautiful rich orange color with reddish hues. It is mostly very clear, with a slight haze, and bubbles suggestive of moderate to heavy carbonation.

Smell: Bringing this to my nose gives me great aromas of roasty pumpkin, bourbon, strong round oak, some very mild sourness, subdued hops, and a complex and well-incorporated spicing. The spicing is hard to pin down, but I get something like nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. It has a nice rich malty sweetness with caramel and some brown sugar. I also get some good vanilla in this as well. Great complex, rich, and round aroma. Now I get to taste it.

Taste: The first sip is wonderful, strong, and stays with me for a while. It has great complexity in flavor from the somewhat roasty pumpkin and spices, which are set against a strong and sweet malt backbone and rounded out with bourbon and oak. This is a cold weather sipper for sure. The pumpkin is present, and strong. There is enough by way of hops to add some brightness here and there, and a little floral dimension. The bourbon and oak really add great roundness and warmth to this, and are well-balanced. The bourbon does have a bit of a bite to it. In any case, the sweet but not heavy malt, the brown sugar flavors, and the vanilla bring this all together like a piece of pumpkin pie with some finely aged bourbon, served neat. This finishes dryer than I was expecting, letting the round complex bourbon, vanilla, and oak linger in this fairly prolonged aftertaste. Really successful.

Feel: This is medium bodied plus, with moderate carbonation. It has a very rich and round feel to it. There is great complexity, but the edges of the barrel really come through with vanillin and some softening of the otherwise rich and strong flavors. There is a little alcohol bite, but nothing major. Really great feel.

Drinkability: Given the strength of flavors with this, and the bourbon barrel aging, its not something to chug. But its roundness and balance of sweetness does really help it to drink really well. I would guess something like 10%. Not incredibly drinkable here, but that’s not really to be expected. For all the flavor and complexity,I say this is still really successful here.

Overall: This is a must try. I’ve spoken about its complexity and roundness. There is great bourbon and oak, wonderful balance, and the sweet malt, brown sugar, and vanilla are all equally effective contributions to this rich and warm offering. There is also great pumpkin and well-done and importantly, not overdone spicing. Some might find this boozy, I would guess. I say, if you like bourbon barrel offerings, especially pumpkin ales done in bourbon, you need to try this. For the price, about 8 or 9 bucks, it is a steal.

Overall Rating: ****1/2

DSC03813About Heavy Seas and their offering: Heavy Seas opened in 1994 (under the name, “Clipper City Brewing”), and is located in Baltimore, Maryland. I wrote about them last year in my 2013 review of “Great’er Pumpkin”.

Before this beer is aged in bourbon barrels, the brewers use pumpkin, brown sugar, and some spicing of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and clove to make this beer. More info can be found in last year’s review of this beer. This year is, I think, my favorite year having this beer.

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Anderson Valley “Pinchy Jeek Barl” Bourbon Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale (2014)

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Anderson Valley “Pinchy Jeek Barl” Bourbon Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale is 7% ABV.

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

Appearance: I poured it pretty easy, which gave a little light brown creamyish head, which was fairly thin, and gone pretty quickly. This left a thin ring around sides of glass. The color is a medium-dark brown, moderately cloudy, and blocking some light. This looks to have moderate carbonation.

Smell: At the outset I get buttered popcorn, butterscotch sweetness, and caramel. This is very candyish, with not much of a hop profile. I maybe get a little fruitiness, and some brown sugar. There is a little spice, with (I think) cinnamon, and some light bourbon. The aroma is mostly butterscotch, buttered pop corn, and a little bourbon. The aroma smells very malty, sweet, kind of sickeningly sweet. I’m nervous this is going to be too sweet.

Taste: This is not as sweet as I was expecting, which is good. I get some malty sweetness of caramel corn and brown sugar,as well as something kind of like marshmallow. There is some roastiness to the malt, adding a nice dimension to the flavors. I get some spice, but it really blends in among the very sweet malt and the bourbon notes. The bourbon is pretty round, with just a few unkempt edges. There is a little bit of vegetal squash, but it is not so pronounced. There are basically no hops present in this. This finishes with the sweetness fading into a dryer finish, and some more definite bourbon popping through a bit. The sweet malt and buttery popcorn flavor continues in the aftertaste. This has some diacetyl hanging out, and a few sourish notes. I’d say it has OK flavors, but is not so balanced. I wish there were more pumpkin.

Feel: This is medium bodied plus, with light to moderate carbonation. It is sweet, and ends up a bit heavy on the palate. The heavy sugar at the outset is sort of coarse,and returns a bit after the sip is over. The more I sip this, the more the sugar is harder to work with. Some more spice and hops could balance this out a bit . The dryer finish is good. So the feel has some different parts to it, but is still too heavy for me.

Drinkability: This is OK but not great here. There is something coarse with the sugar. The bourbon is round enough, but this buttered popcorn and sweet trend in this hangs, and stays on my palate.

Overall: The more I drink this, the more the sugar hits me. There is not enough pumpkin in this, and the spice profile doesn’t really come out. It has a whole lot of that buttered popcorn and sweet marshmallow-like sweetness. So, something like diacetyl. For me, it is a bit much. I like the dry finish and the bourbon having a presence but not taking over. But I could go for a lot more pumpkin, and some hops to balance this out a bit more. I wouldn’t recommend this, especially given the higher price. This was about 12 dollars at a competitively priced beer store. I would recommend Anderson Valley’s 2014 “Fall Hornin'”, which I reviewed a few days ago

Overall Rating: *3/4

DSC03786Anderson Valley and this offering: I recently wrote about Anderson Valley, with my 2014 review of their “Fall Hornin'”.

“Pinchy Jeek Barl” is part of Anderson Valley’s “Barl Series” of beers, beers aged in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels. For this beer, Anderson Valley uses Pale Two-Row, Munich, Maris Otter, Crystal 120L, and Dark Chocolate malts, as well as some pumpkin puree. Bravo hops takes this to 20 IBU’s, and the beer  sits in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels for 6 months. Other “Barl Series” beers include a stout, and imperial stout- “Huge Arker”, and an amber ale.

 

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Blue Mountain Barrel House “Spooky” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2014)

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Blue Mountain Barrel House “Spooky” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 8.2% ABV.

I poured some of a 750 ml bottle into a stout glass.

Appearance: My pour was careful at first, and had a heavier hand at the end. This produced about two fingers of frothy and thick egg-shell-colored head. This clung to the sides of the glass and left some definite lacing, while settling in to a notable cloud still atop the beer. This has a medium to dark burnt orange/amber, with good clarity and just a slight haze to it. It looks to have moderate carbonation.

Smell: Smelling this immediately gives me rich bourbon, along with some vegetal pumpkin behind it. There is a nice richness in smell, created also by the addition of some warm spiciness that blends in and doesn’t advertise itself so clearly or heavily. I get a little earthy yeast, and some mild bright hops. Nice bourbon-heavy aroma. It doesn’t smell harsh, and in fact smells round. I am very eager to take my first sip.

Taste: I get bourbon at the outset, along with some nice vegetal pumpkin. There is something warm to this one, in part because of the bourbon. The pumpkin adds a nice contrast, with a little astringency. Some fairly tame complementary spice adds more complexity. It is almost like nutmeg. More noticeable is that the bourbon and pumpkin are paired so well together. This is rich, and has some earthiness. It is not overly sweet, which is a little surprising. The malt is smooth and restrained with respect to the sweetness it contributes. I get some yeast with pleasant bitterness, along with some very tame hops to give a hint of brightness towards the end. The hops have a floral character to them, some mild perfume, and are balanced very well against the otherwise malty pumpkin offering. This finishes dry, with the hops and earthy yeast. The aftertaste has some restrained bitterness, a hint of hops, and warm bourbon. Great flavors in this one.

Feel: This is medium bodied, with moderate plus carbonation. It has a nice warmth from the bourbon, is somewhat round, and doesn’t come off as too aggressive. The astringent pumpkin and floral hops add some nice complexity to the feel, allowing it to be dynamic and interesting. There is a mild alcohol bite, especially towards the end of the sip. Otherwise good feel.

Drinkability: For a bold bourbon aged imperial pumpkin offering, this does alright. This is strong, and not the sort of thing one thinks of if considering sessionable beers. For what it is, I say it drinks well. There is some mild bitterness hanging on my palate, but nothing too distracting. Decent here.

Overall: This beer has great flavors, nice complexity, and a good pumpkin presence. It has great warmth from the bourbon, and nice restrained sweetness. The more I sip this, the more the bourbon settles in. I really like the roundness that is achieved here. I also like the balance of hops, and the nutty character that contributes but doesn’t overwhelm. Overall the flavors are warm and rich, and many things I’d want a pumpkin beer to be. The bourbon is strong, and maybe a bit stronger than I’d ideally want. Even so, this is still a really successful offering. This just came out last year, and has quickly become one of my favorite VA pumpkin beers.

Overall Rating: ****

photo 2 (1)About Blue Mountain Barrel House and “Spooky”: Blue Mountain Barrel House is located in Arrington, Virginia. They are something like an outpost brewery location for Blue Mountain in Afton, Virginia. They brew a number of barrel-aged beers under the “Barrel House” name, but also produce some Blue Mountain mainstays. Blue Mountain Barrel House makes some great beer, with one of my favorites being their “Dark Hollow”.  I also really enjoy this “Spooky”. This bottle notes that “Spooky” is made with cocoa nibs and pumpkin flavor. I think the cocoa nibs are what I was thinking of as like nutmeg. In any case, I wrote more about this brewery and this delicious beer in my 2013 review of “Spooky”.

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Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged “Smashed Pumpkin” Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2013)

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Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged “Smashed Pumpkin” Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 12.0% ABV.

I poured some of a 750 ml bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: A hearty pour tossed up a half-inch of off-white head, which slowly dissipated and left no real lacing. The color of this is a bright medium burnt orange, with a slight haze to it. This beer looks to have heavy carbonation.

Smell: To start I get good strong bourbon, strong and smooth vanilla, round oak, and some roasty pumpkin with some spicing. The spicing isn’t so clear, and takes a backseat to the other strong aromas. I sense some cinnamon with some helpers. The bourbon, vanilla, and roasty pumpkin are the big players. This also has a prominent booziness. For my tastes, it has a wonderful albeit intense aroma.

Taste: The flavor of this is also wonderful. There is strong bourbon that isn’t overpowering, very smooth vanilla and oak that lasts throughout, and some roasty pumpkin with spices. It is much smoother than I was led to believe from the aroma. The bourbon is pervasive but doesn’t end up harsh, which is quite a feat for something this bold. The pumpkin is on the roasty side, and is accented by some spice. The spice bill seems to include some cinnamon and some nutmeg, maybe with some ginger thrown in as well. This also has a lovely and strong honey and toasted malt sweetness, adding some more depth and roundness. This finishes sweet and smooth with the honey and some of the spices leading into an aftertaste of muted honey and some spice soaked in bourbon. Just delicious and round flavors.

Feel: This is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The feel on this is warm and round. It has some depth and structure from the bourbon and the spice, and some smoothness from the oak, vanilla, honey, and roasted pumpkin. It is also creamy, with a rich smooth texture. Outstanding feel.

Drinkability: For something this bold that is 12%ABV and has strong bourbon, this is very good on this score. This is a definite sip and savor, something to enjoy the complexity of. There is strong bourbon, but it is very well balanced and rounded on the edges. I”m blown away by how different and how much smoother this beer is than the “Smashed Pumpkin” I reviewed last night.

Overall: I think this beer is  a huge success. Not that I don’t like Shipyard, but I was expecting this to be a bit harsher and rough around the edges. This is mostly because of my experience with their bold and delicious though somewhat boozy “Smashed Pumpkin”. To compare the two, I even poured a little glass of “Smashed Pumpkin” from the half a bottle I sealed last night. And it is really quite stunning how different this bourbon barrel aged version is. The complexity is really amped up with this bourbon barrel version, as is the roundness. “Smashed Pumpkin” is more acidic, and not as round and complex. In any case, I have to say that this is my favorite bourbon barrel aged pumpkin ale I’ve ever had. Its close contender would be Heavy Seas’ “Great’er Pumpkin”. But I find this offering from Shipyard more complex and round, with less of a cidery quality and more of a creamy and bold imperial ale personality. In any case, this bourbon version comes very highly recommended. If you get the chance, make this one happen! I’m having it next to a warm fire, and couldn’t be happier.

Overall Rating: ****1/2

2013-11-18 23.34.42About Shipyard and their Bourbon Barrel “Smashed Pumpkin”: Shipyard Brewing opened in Portland, Maine in 1994. I wrote a little about them last night, when I reviewed their “Smashed Pumpkin”. Shipyard is quite a large brewery, having produced 158,000 barrels in 2012 alone. They also make some popular brands of soda called, “Capt’n Eli’s Soda”.

Shipyard makes their Bourbon Barrel Aged “Smashed Pumpkin” by aging an imperial pumpkin ale in bourbon barrels for over 100 days. The grain bill includes Pale, Whole Wheat, and Munich malts. They use some Saphir and Willamette hops alongside of a top-fermenting English ale yeast, and hit 12% ABV. Given the mention of Saphir hops on their bottle,  which is not claimed to be part of their “Smashed Pumpkin”, it looks like a little more goes into making this beer than merely aging their “Smashed Pumpkin” in bourbon barrels. Whatever the magic is, I hope they continue to do it.

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Heavy Seas “The Great’er Pumpkin” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2013)

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Heavy Seas “The Great’er Pumpkin” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 10% ABV.

I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: This got a steady pour, and tossed up a half finger of light tan foam. This was gone in a minute or so, and left minimal lacing. The color on this is a very clear and bright orange/amber. Beautiful color. This looks like it has moderate carbonation.

Smell: Starting out I get a slight acidic or cidery quality along with some warm and inviting bourbon. This has some spicing which seem to consist of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. This also has some great round vanilla and oak, lending more complexity to the aroma. The more I smell this, the more the aroma builds for me. Some brown sugar and smooth lightly toasted malt round out a great aroma.

TasteI get very powerful flavors up front. This has some roasted pumpkin, strong but not harsh bourbon, vanilla, oak, and some enjoyable spicing. Like the aroma, there is a faint cidery quality to it, though it is less pronounced than the aroma led me to think it would be. The beer is quite bold. The bourbon, strong vanilla, and oak are all round and wonderfully complementary. As for spicing, I get some warmth from the spicing and maybe some cinnamon and allspice, though nothing so clear. The flavors really marry together in this beer. The sweetness in this is well-balanced with the other flavors. It seems to consist in some brown sugar and some almost rum-like qualities. Though the sweetness is strong, it doesn’t get syrupy. This has great sort of rugged flavors that are rounded on the corners. It has great complexity and depth, without totally overwhelming the palate. Delicious.

Feel: This is medium bodied plus some, and has moderate carbonation. A great warmth exudes from this beer, as does some nice woody oak and a strong vanilla and brown sugar sweetness. This is certainly a strong beer, and it is clear it is an imperial. Although, the 10% doesn’t come through so clearly to me. Great warm feel with some texture.

Drinkability: This is a bold and textured imperial ale aged in bourbon barrels. So it is not really made for drinkability. Even so, there is some definite roundness from the vanilla and the oak. The sweetness also helps to keep the 10% from coming through and burning. Not something you’d want to chug, though not something you’ll have to choke down either.

Overall: I’m quite happy with this beer. It has good roasty pumpkin flavor and a barrage of other flavors that work off each other. It has bourbon, persistent vanilla, oak, some clear cinnamon and allspice, brown sugar, a cidery quality adding a bit of acidity, and some other sugar reminiscent of rum. It is also warm. Though it is a little aggressive in places, it has some roundness. I think this is a very successful full-flavored pumpkin ale, with well-incorporated bourbon that doesn’t take over. I like this even more than I did last year. So I’m glad I decided to pick up a bottle this year. This is a must try.

Overall Rating: ****1/4

DSC03683About Heavy Seas and “The Great’er Pumpkin”: Hugh Sisson founded Clipper City Brewing in 1994 in Baltimore, Maryland. Hugh had previously worked as lead brewer for Maryland’s first brewpub, “Sissons”, which was only allowed to make the jump from tavern restaurant to brewpub by Maryland law in 1988. This was due in part to lobbying Hugh participated in. Clipper City ended up having a few different brands they brought out over the years. Heavy Seas, which came to the scene in 2003, became their most popular. Heavy Seas is now the only brand by Clipper City, and working hard to keep up with demand is what they do.

I had the privilege of touring Heavy Seas a year or two ago, which was a lot of fun. The brewery operation is fairly small and not glamorous. It is rugged, like a lot of the flavors in Heavy Seas’ beers. Like many brewers, the brewers at Heavy Seas started with home-brewing, and found their way into a pretty big business, which can involve a lot of change. Recently a number of the Heavy Seas beers have been renamed and re-branded under their now familiar pirate theme. I’ve heard that the aim was to bring the beers into a more cohesive set. I like some of the new art, though this overhaul in branding and names has caused some confusion.

“The Great’er Pumpkin” is part of the “Uncharted Waters” series, comprising Heavy Seas’ barrel-aged beers. They use pumpkin, brown sugar, and spicing of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and clove. Their main malt is a British crystal malt. After fermentation, the beer is aged in bourbon barrels, which impart some oak, vanilla, and bourbon. I don’t know what barrels are used. They are great, whatever they are. In years past, Heavy Seas made “The Great Pumpkin”, which was a non-barrel aged imperial pumpkin ale. I haven’t seen that at all this year, and have good reason to believe they have retired it. In any case, I’m glad “The Great’er Pumpkin” is still around, and hasn’t been marooned.

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Blue Mountain Barrel House “Spooky” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2013)

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Blue Mountain Barrel House “Spooky” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale is 8.2% ABV.

I poured some of a 750 ml  bottle into a porter glass.

Appearance: My steady then hearty pour tossed up two fingers of bright and off-white frothy head, which slowly but never totally dissipated to leave thick lacing. This has a bright burnt orange color with some red to it, and looks to have heavy carbonation.

Smell: Strong bourbon up front is joined later by some vegetal and sweet pumpkin, some vanilla, and some warm earthiness, perhaps from some spicing. I am not getting anything real spice heavy, though.  The more I smell this, the more the earthiness seems to come from the bourbon. This has real clean bourbon to it, which dominates a lot of the aroma, and suggests a bit of booziness. Nice bold aroma.

Taste: I get bold and round flavors of roasty pumpkin, bourbon, and a complex and strong sweetness, like from vanilla, dark honey, and molasses. This is really bright also having some strong floral elements, as from some artfully added hops. This is not just a real malt-heavy pumpkin pie style pumpkin ale. It has a lot of complexity to it, and incredibly well-balanced flavors. There is a mild alcohol bite to it, but nothing major, especially for something that has this much flavor. This finishes with some of the floral sweetness staying strong. This continues into the aftertaste, which has just a bit of a bourbon bite as well. Really nice flavors. A lot less bourbon than the aroma suggested.

Feel: This is medium to heavy bodied, with moderate (plus some) carbonation. This is quite round and has a lot of warmth to it. It also has a lot of sweetness that does keep it fairly thick. The bourbon comes through and adds a little booziness, though nothing that detracts so much. This is a heavy, sweet, but has enough floral notes and bourbon to balance it out. Great round and interesting feel.

Drinkability: This is pretty good on this score, despite the little booziness. The flavors are strong, which make it hard to drink very fast. But they have a roundness and are pretty smooth. Before trying this beer tonight for the first time, I had heard that it was on the boozy side. Maybe the 2 months of sitting in my fridge helped, or maybe what I heard wasn’t so spot on, since this really isn’t terribly boozy. Decent marks here.

Overall: I would certainly buy another bottle of this, even at that 11-12ish dollars for a 750. I love how bold the flavors are. It has great balance, roasty pumpkin, and nice bourbon. There is that slight alcohol bite, though this is otherwise good with respect to being boozy. The floral notes are also nice. For my tastes, I’d rather have a little more roasty pumpkin and a little less of the floral and honey sweetness. In any case, this is quite good. Another great offering from Virginia. In fact, it is the best bourbon offering I’ve had so far this season. Soon I’ll have Heavy Seas’ “Great’er Pumpkin”, and Shipyard’s bourbon aged “Smashed Pumpkin”.

Overall Rating: ****

image (16)About Blue Mountain Barrel House and “Spooky”: Blue Mountain Barrel House was founded by the Smack family in 2011 in Arrington, Virginia. It opened as a “sister brewery” to the original Blue Mountain Brewery, which is located in Afton, Virginia. Blue Mountain Barrel House bottle referments all of their beers, which are mostly available in 750ml bottles. This technique allows for a richer texture and more substantial head retention, and also offers certain flavor advantages. About half of the beers done by their facility are aged in American white oak bourbon barrels, by the hand of Taylor Smack, brewmaster. Taylor previously worked at Goose Island, quite notable for their bourbon barrel aged beers, with their quite notable and sought after “Bourbon County” line.

Blue Mountain Barrel House makes “Spooky” by adding cocoa nibs to their imperial ale with pumpkin flavor. They then age it in bourbon barrels for a few months. This bit beer hits 22 IBU’s and 8.2% alcohol, and is worth spending an evening with.

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Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. “Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale” (2013)

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Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. “Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale” is 10% ABV.

I poured all of a 12 oz  bottle into a Belgian ale glass.

Appearance: I poured this with some force, which produced no real head to speak of. The color is a very clear and bright yellowish orange, almost like brass. This looks to have mild carbonation.

Smell: At the outset, I get very clean and not boozy bourbon, as well as a mild spice bill. The spices coming through are cinnamon, maybe some nutmeg, and maybe some more of the “pumpkin pie” spices. I also get a fairly heavy dose of vanilla to the aroma, as well as a little light brown sugar sweetness. I’m not getting a whole lot of pumpkin or malt. This smells very bright and almost like a cider. Nice interesting aroma.

Taste: This has an almost cider-like crispness to it. The flavors are all restrained in it so that, surprisingly, nothing really smacks you in the face. I get the bourbon which, though mellow, adds some warmth and depth. There is also some very mild astringency and starchiness to this, with a little pumpkin flavor. On top of this is a sweetness of intense vanilla with a slightly and bordering on artificial-like quality to it. The spicing is very subdued, and brings maybe a little bit of cinnamon and some mild bitterness. The flavors in this are bright and acidic, but balanced well. This finishes dry with a thin alcohol note. It has some light brown sugary sweetness fading into dull spicing.  A little bourbon and faint dull spice in the aftertaste.

Feel: This is light to medium bodied, and is surprisingly light for something this heavy-hitting. It is also surprisingly light-bodied for a bourbon barrel aged beer. The feel is crisp and acidic, like a cider. It has some warmth from the bourbon, but is otherwise clean and dry. Alright here.

Drinkability: This drinks smoothly, quite smoothly for something 10%. Thee is a bit of alcohol bite towards the finish, but nothing really harsh for this style.  The bourbon also isn’t overpowering, as in many bourbon barrel aged beers. Decent marks here.

Overall: I like the flavors in this. The spicing contributes to the flavor, but is very subdued. The bourbon is nice and smooth, and also contributes without overwhelming. There is enough sweetness to add in some body and roundness, yet not too much to detract from its dry finish. I do wish that there was more pumpkin to this one. The flavors are all good and blended pretty well. This is maybe more acidic than I was expecting. It is also a lot lighter in body than I was expecting. For those that like the bourbon-aged beers, this is a good one to try. The bourbon builds more and more as you drink it. It is a great example of how to contribute bourbon without giving a punch to the face or otherwise totally overwhelming the palate at the first sip.

Overall Rating: ***

DSC03628Lexington and their Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale: Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. began in 1999 in Lexington, Kentucky, after the former Lexington brewing company closed. Their flagship Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is one of their award-winning beers, which like some of their others, is aged in their Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. The beer is added to the barrels after only a handful of hours from when the Kentucky bourbon has left the barrels. Their main beers are now available in 13 states, as well as in China and Ireland.

Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Co. produced Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale as a new seasonal in 2013. It is their first seasonal, which has been available in limited markets in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin since late August. I spoke with Danielle Palmer, who does public relations for the company. She was very helpful and informative. For this brew they use Kentucky-sourced pumpkin, and spicing of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. They then age this beer in Kentucky bourbon barrels for six weeks to achieve some round bourbon and some vanilla tones. It is a great addition to their lineup, and has been talked about as the first of a number of new seasonals to be offered by Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Company. So look out.

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