Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Southern Tier Pumking (2012 Batch) - Gus #3

Today's beer is one that has developed quite the "cult" following.  Most people compare other brews of the same category to it.  There are countless threads on the interwebz about it.  And countless more threads from home brew websites trying to copy it.  This is one of my favorite brews since having it and I will continue to look forward to it every year.  I'm talking about Southern Tier's Pumking.  This Imperial Pumpkin Ale is constantly at the top of the list of pumpkin beers.  It has quickly become one of my favorites.  I know I  will look forward to its release every year.

How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:

Information from Southern Tier's website:
About the Beer:
Style:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Brewed Since:  2007
ABV:  8.6%
Fermentation:  Ale yeast, two types of malt, two types of hops, pumpkin
Color:  Deep copper
Effervescence:  Medium carbonation
Nose:  Pumpkin, pie spices, buttery crust, vanilla, roasted pecans
Flavor:  Malty sweetness, vanilla, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, pie crust
Bitterness:  Low
Body:  Medium-light
Serving Temperature:  40-48 degrees Fahrenheit
Glass:  Goblet
Availability:  Autumn seasonal, August release / 22oz / 1/6 keg
Cellaring:  35-40 degrees Fahrenheit

Food Pairings:  Particularly tasty when paired with traditional thanksgiving dinner, a compliment to pumpkin pie, desserts.

“bewitched and brewed with pagan spirit”

"All Hallows Eve is a time of year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent.  It is thought that we harness this magic to brew our powerful pumpkin ale.  Not so, but it is with great respect to the magic of their trade that our brewers produce this fine beer.  Take a whiff of this complex ale and your journey has just begun.  At first sip, a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds, yet another victim enraptured by the Pumking."

I poured this brew into a 12oz tulip glass instead of the recommended goblet.

Appearance:  Just as described by Southern Tier, this brew poured clear, light copper.  Slight orange hues in there as well.  The pour left me with a solid finger and a half head.  The head disapated rather quickly leaving just a few islands of bubbles floating behind.  Mild carbonation with just a few streams of bubble running up the side of the glass.  Decent lacing when the head was present.  Slight, very slight hints of alcohol legs were present.  This is a big pumpkin beer at 8.6% ABV.  Very nice looking brew. It instantly makes me think of Halloween or Thanksgiving when I look at it.

Aroma:  This brew has a huge, HUGE aroma.  I was instantly hit with it when I popped the top on this thing.  So many different notes in there.  Very complex.  First thing I picked up was the pie crust aroma that they describe.  Buttery flaky pie crust.  Then the pumpkin pie aromas started in.  Pumpkin, nutmeg, big hints of cinnamon and allspice.  There is also a creaminess hint in there as well.  Almost like pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top of it.  The vanilla hints mix well with that.  So amazing how they incorporate all these things into this beer.  My mouth started watering as soon as I popped the cap.

Taste:  The taste overwhelmingly matched the smell.  Just a bit more of the sweet, buttery crust and pumpkin flavors.  It matched so well.  Vanilla creaminess again on the back of the tongue.  A medium moutfeel that went perfect with the taste.  Nothing to heavy.  As it warms up I pick up some brown sugar notes.  And still nothing is overpowering the other.  They all mix so clean and well.  The crust flavor is so amazing.  It's so specific.  It tastes like a pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust, poured out of a bottle.

Verdict:  This is as close to a phenomenal brew as you can get.  Exactly what I want in a pumpkin beer.  Nothing overwhelms or hides the other.  Everything works nicely together.  It's amazing how they really get that pie crust flavor in there.  I think this beer really lives up to the hype.  I feel like I could drink it over and over again in the fall and winter.  This brew is going to get an A+ from me.  Definitely pick this up if you get the chance.  I'm going to cellar one of my bottles to see what it compares to with next years.  If you do get a chance to taste, or have tasted, this amazing brew let me know what you think as well.  I'd love to hear what others think about it.  I know one of my best friends loved it the first time I split a bottle with him.

This brew would pair well with, of course, a slice of pumpkin pie.  Maybe also used as an after Thanksgiving dinner drink.  I could also see it, as I'm going to try, as a Halloween night drink.