I picked up this growler of freshly brewed Imperial Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Co. during the Brew n Q event held Saturday. I brought it to a friend’s house to share since I wanted to finish it last night, without being affected by the 8.9% alcohol. Definitely a good play.
One of the more enjoyable pumpkin ales, in my opinion, because it’s not overwhelmingly “pumpkin pie” flavored, STBC Imperial Pumking has now joined Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale as favorites for the style. Of course, St. Arnold Divine Reserve 9 – an Imperial Pumpkin Stout – takes the top spot for me, despite being more spiced and flavored than the others in my top 3. I certainly do have a soft spot for stouts.
Anyway, here’s a breakdown of Southern Tier Brewing Co.’s Imperial Pumking Ale:
Appearance: Thin head atop a sunlit russet-colored brew with hints of ruby.
Aroma: Smells sweet, malty with an intense, fresh-baked pumpkin pie aroma. Nutmeg, graham, caramel and copious amounts of pumpkin are present. Oddly, for an 8.9% ABV brew, I don’t smell even a light whiff of alcohol… until it warms up a bit more. Then the heat of the alcohol is present in the nose, for sure.
Taste: Taste of pumpkin is very evident but not anywhere near as overwhelming as I expected from the aroma. I’ve tasted far sweeter pumpkin brews, much heavier in pie flavor, that I didn’t like nearly as much as this one. Alcohol remains well hidden, except for a bit of heat in the finish as it warms up, similarly to the aroma. Also present in the finish are clove and nutmeg.
Mouthfeel: Thin, especially as far as imperials go, but I’d say about medium-light overall with a silkier body as the glass wears on and warms up, settling down the carbonation.
Overall: A very enjoyable autumn seasonal, whetting my appetite for more flavors of fall. Glad I picked up a growler from the brewery. I definitely recommend tasting this ale, if you haven’t already.
[techtags:SOUTHERN TIER BREWING CO, PUMKING, IMPERIAL PUMKING, PUMPKIN ALE, BEER REVIEWS]