It’s Thanksgiving and we have the entire family over at our house for lunch and dinner. I started with some bourbon, and I thought this would make a great transition over to beer (I’m planning to have some of my pumpkin beer later). I bought this beer last year with the intention of having it last Thanksgiving, but never got around to it.
Location: Poured into a pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 15% ABV, ~500 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s black in color with some brown-ruby highlights when held up to the light. It has a thin head that faded quickly to a creamy ring around the edge of the glass. It has a nice roasted pumpkin and cinnamon aroma with some hints of the bourbon barrel with a bit of vanilla and bourbon.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium, as the aging must have lightened it a bit. The mouthfeel is a bit crisp from carbonation, but it was mostly smooth. The flavor up front is mostly toasty pumpkin sweetness with a good dose of cinnamon and nutmeg spicing. In the middle, the sweetness is more caramel-malty along with the pumpkin spices with mostly cinnamon. The finish is still mostly pumpkin-malt sweetness with the spices taking over a bit and masking a bit of vanilla bourbon flavor. The spices and sweetness are what last in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: Of course you should try this with some pumpkin pie (I did), because of the complementary flavors. However, with all of the sweetness, I thought it worked better with more savory flavors. It worked perfectly with the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes, but it would also be great with chicken, pork or other lighter meat.
Overall Impression: I was really looking forward to this beer, combining two of my favorites – pumpkin beer and bourbon barrel aged beer. Despite being aged in the fridge for a year, the spices were still pretty strong, but the malty-pumpkin sweetness took center stage. The bourbon barrel flavors complemented it nicely and were a bit more subtle than I was expecting. While this was a very good beer, I can’t say the cost-benefit was there with this one, as I think I paid $12 for this 12oz bottle.