Sunday, August 18, 2013
Review: Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Hi, beer aficionados!
It's a nice, quiet Sunday evening in the late summer, so I figured I'd plop down and have myself a nice fall brew. Ah yes, fall brews are popping up like little buds in stores everywhere. From Sam Adams' Octoberfest (a favorite of mine) to Southern Tier's Pumking (the greatest of all pumpkin beers, in my humble opinion), spicy, rich beers are coming into season.
But this review is about one I haven't seen before. Many breweries have a pumpkin beer. Dogfish Head, Saranac, and many more. However, other than their Octoberfest, I haven't seen Boston Beer Co. release an actual pumpkin beer until this year. Their release if Harvest Pumpkin Ale. And I'm going to have a glass of it and tell you my thoughts. Here we go!
Harvest Pumpkin pours a nice dark amber color, almost reddish. It's a bold fall color that works. The head left something to be desired, though; it poured a thin layer of head that dissipated much to quickly, and there's no lacing.
I get the pumpkin spices in the nose, exclusively. However, the aroma of these spices isn't very present. I get hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and, luckily, of actual pumpkin. Some pumpkin beers in the business will be called pumpkin beers while they are merely brewed with cinnamon to give drinkers the flavors of pumpkin pie. But ale brewed with real pumpkin is very nice, and that's why it's refreshing to actually smell the righteous gourd in this beer.
Harvest Pumpkin is tasty, but nothing extraordinary. There are notes of cinnamon spice, a tiny hint of pumpkin, and a nice maltiness. The lack of a pumpkin taste kind of left me disappointed because it was definitely present in the beer's aroma, but it falls short in the taste, becoming masked by the spices and malt. However, for what it's worth, I still think the spices are pleasant and not overbearing, which makes this pumpkin ale very drinkable. And at only 5.7% ABV, that's a good thing; you could probably have about 3 of these, still not be drunk, and have enjoyed a nice fall beer experience.
I think this is where the pumpkin in this brew shines. The body of this beer is not too thick, but medium, and I think the pumpkin has a lot to do with that. The gourd creates a pleasant thickness that sticks around.
All that I get in the finish is the lingering of cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg, as well as the thick feeling of the pumpkin. It goes down really smooth and leaves behind just the right amount of flavor.
Total Score: 66.5/100
So overall this turned out to be more of a "pumpkin spice" beer than a real "pumpkin" beer. Don't get me wrong, though: it's nice. It's a solid fall brew that has the right amount of spice and body to be pleasant, but not overbearing. It's good that they released this earlier rather than later in the autumn season because it's a good one for transitioning into fall. Grab yourself one of these in a mixed six pack, or pick up a whole sixer if you wish! It's also available in the Sam Adams Harvest Sampler. Your choice.
Until next time, cheers!