Bloody Mary Pilsner – Storm Brewing (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Bloody Mary Pilsner – Storm Brewing, 5% ABV – 1L., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

-?!!! Bloody mary in a beer?! Lol what, this sounds very interesting… I’m a fan of Bloody mary’s and Caesar FYI. Brewed with tomato juice, limes and Thai chilies.

  • Style: (tomato, lime, thai chilies) Flavoured Lager
  • Taste: Tomato undertone lime crisp barley malt gentle spicy
  • How much: $8 – 1L, bring your own bottle (March, 2015)
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: it’s not bad at all

Visual: (growler fill) Pours translucent orange with a reddish hue, thin ringed micro retention, non-sticky, a few steady streams in the center.

Nose: tomato juice, squeezed lime (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: veggie undertones, incoming lime oil

Mid-palate: very crisp bite, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) lime juice, sweet barley malt,

Finish: tomato aftertaste, gentle lingering spicy kick, subtle bitter hops.

Summary: Surprisingly done well and very drinkable. A good balance of sweet-spicy-aromatic without any unpleasant flavours. Probably not for all but I love tomato juice so I welcomed this.

The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing (Seattle, WA, USA)

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  • My Rating: B

The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Elysian Brewing, 8% ABV – 1 pint 6 fl.oz., (Seattle, WA, USA)

On the front side label:

“Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Ale brewed with pumpkin and pumpkin seeds and fermented with spices.

The Great Pumpkin was the 2007 Silver Medalist at the Great American Beer Festival in the Fruit and Vegetable category and is also the world’s FIRST Imperial pumpkin ale.”

  • Style: (pumpkin, spices) Spiced Imperial Ale
  • Taste: alcohol/crisp-fizzy -> sweet/banana/caramel malts/spiced pumpkin -> ginger/toffee/hoppy bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Hastings Liquor
  • How much: $12 – 1pt 6fl.oz., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours bright golden orange with bits of suspended sediment, barely any head, thin micro CO2 ringed retention, some slow streams.

Nose: cinnamon, nutmeg spiced malts, pumpkin, caramel, banana. (5)-aromatic strength

Attack: subdued alcohol, crispness with fizzy-tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (6)-sweetness, (MAIN) banana, sweet caramel malts, pumpkin (HINTS) cinnamon & nutmeg

Finish: ginger dryness, hoppy bitterness, toffee sweet aftertaste, soft bitter-hop finish.

Summary: Great structure and interesting flavours. Quite different from all the other pumpkin beers that I’ve tried in that it has the sweetness and floralness of a tripel in addition to pumpkin and spices. Unique and recommended. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Enlightenment Great Punkin – Renaissance Brewing (Marlborough, NZ)

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  • My Rating: C

Enlightenment Great Punkin – Renaissance Brewing, 7.2% ABV – 500ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the front side label:

“Brewed with roasted pumpkin and a blend of spices to yield ‘punpkin pie’ notes and a deep red/orange colour. Lightly hopped with NZ Fuggle. A medium body and moderate bitterness allow the flavour of the pumpkin, spice and caramelized malts to shine through.”

  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: creamy/fizzy -> brown sugar/pumpkin/root beer/bad-salty-bitterness -> molasses off-dry malty bad roughness.
  • Where I got it : W.16th
  • How much: $9 (after 10% off) – 500ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Attractively designed label. Pours beer bottle brown with a massive lasting foamy head, thick layer of retention, thick clusters of fast streams.

Nose: sour, almost metallic caramelized malts, hint of orange oil citrus, mildly roasted pumpkin. (6)-aromatic strength.

Attack: creamy/fizzy mouthfeel, malty (7)-sweetness

Mid-palate: (MAIN) brown sugar malts, pumpkin, root beer, ginger dryness (HINTS) nutmeg, almost salty (off-putting) texture

Finish: lingering molasses, malty burnt bitter finish.

Summary:  The CO2, visual, and bottling are nice, but what I don’t like is burnt, saltiness in the mids. Perhaps its the roasting or off-balance of the spices that make it leave a lingering bad taste in the mouth. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Harlot’s Harvest Pike Pumpkin Ale – Pike Brewing (Seattle, WA, USA)

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  • My Rating: B+

Harlot’s Harvest Pike Pumpkin Ale – Pike Brewing, 8.5% ABV – 650ml, (Seattle, WA, USA)

On the front label:

Ingredients: Water, Malt, Pumpkin, Hops, Spices, Yeast. (Pumpkin as the 3rd ingredient and spices as the 5th! It means lots of pumpkin was used in this brew.)

  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: soft CO2 -> demerara/cola/roast pumpkin/malt -> caramel/coffee-chocolate bittersweet malty finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off) – 650ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: likely, if I’ve already tried all the pumpkin beers available
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Cool label of a woman holding her pumpkins… Pours very dark brown with minimal head, lasting ringed retention, lots of streams along the perimeter.

Nose: caramel pumpkin pie filling including the spices, plus brown sugar malts. (5)-aromatic strength.

Attack: soft creamy carbonation and sweetness

Mid-palate: (MAIN) demerara sugar (6)-sweetness, cola, roasted pumpkin, malts (HINT) hoppy bitterness, root beer, cinnamon/nutmeg

Finish: hints of ginger dryness, caramel malty sweet, (a really nice) coffee-chocolate bittersweetness to finish.

Summary:  Superb balance and a top-notch pumpkin ale compared to all the local (BC) ones I’ve tried to date. It has depth, complexity, and drinkability at a great price point. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Pumpkin Ale – Lighthouse Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Pumpkin Ale – Lighthouse Brewing, 5.5% ABV, 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Ingredients on the front side label: water, malted barley, pure CANADIAN PUMPKINDEMERARA SUGAR, MILK SUGAR (LACTOSE), hops, spices, yeast.

  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: crispy fizzy-silky -> milk caramel malts/pumpkin -> brown sugar/ginger/malt finish.
  • Where I got it : W.16th Liquor
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off) – 650ml, January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Simple label, unique ingredients for a pumpkin ale; namely the demerara and milk sugar. Pours cloudy copper brown with a small dissipating head, light lacing, ringed retention, several slow streams.

Nose: sweet caramel malts on the nose with a hint of chocolate. (5)-aromatic strength

Attack: sharp crispness, silky-fizzy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (6)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, milky, pumpkin

Finish: brown sugar, traces of ginger, semi-sweet malt.

Summary:  Not a whole lot of detectable spice but a damn smooth brew with depth and balance. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Organic Pumpkin Ale – Nelson Brewing (Nelson, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Organic Pumpkin Ale – Nelson Brewing, 5.0% ABV, 650ml, (Nelson, BC, Canada)

Ingredients on the front side label: water, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Pumpkin, Organic Hops, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Ginger, Organic Allspice, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Cloves, Yeast. (all organic!)

  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: fizzy crisp -> cola malt/cinnamon/pumpkin -> burpy/malt/ginger dry finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 – 650ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados:

Visual: All organic! (except the water and the yeast) I feel healthier already thinking about how good this organic beer will be for me. Organic = good, right? Hmm.. I’ve had organic beers before, and they all seemed lacking in depth and flavour. Let’s hope this one will prove me wrong. Pours light-medium dark brown with almost no head, light ringed retention, several slow moving streams.

Nose: weak, faint malts on the nose. (2)-aromatic strength

Attack: tingly-fizzy, (8)-high crispness

Mid-palate: (4)-sweetness, (MAIN) cola malts, (HINT) cinnamon, pumpkin saltines

Finish: burpy, light malty exhale, mild bitter (4)-hops, ginger dryness.

Summary: Overall this brew is very weak in body and depth. Not much punch or distinct spices. Skip this seasonal brew in favour of others that do it much better. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Pumpkin Head – Fernie Brewing (Fernie, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Pumpkin Head (Pumpkin Brown Ale) – Fernie Brewing, 5% ABV, 650ml, (Fernie, BC, Canada)

Ingredients on the front side label: water, malted barley, hops, yeast, ORGANIC PUMPKIN,CINNAMON, NUTMEG, CORIANDER, CLOVE, ALLSPICE.

  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: fizzy toffee malt -> cola/brown sugar/sarsaparilla -> coriander/clove/crisp sweet toffee finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.60 – 650ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, it’s only okay

Visual: Their label has undergone a transformation since the last time I had this, which made me wonder if they changed their recipe. Wth, label changing DOES work… Pours beer bottle brown without much head or retention, a few slow streams surfacing along the side of the glass.

Nose: brown sugar caramel malts with hints of cinnamon. (5)-aromatic strength.

Attack: light fizzy-tingly

Mid-palate: cola medium (6)-sweetness, (MAIN) cola, brown sugar malts, (HINT) sarsaparilla,

Finish: coriander dryness, traces of (2)-clove, crisp sweet-toffee malt finish.

Summary: The spices are definitely there in this quite drinkable brew. It tastes mainly like a cola but with a creeper alcoholic kick and detectable pumpkin-seasonal spice notes. Overall decent but not addictive. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)