Reviewed by Brady White on November 13, 2014 in Autumn Guide
- Brewery: Avery Brewing Company
- Origin: Boulder, CO, US
- Rated On: November 12, 2014
- Best Before: Bottled September 12, 2014
- ABV: 17.22%
- Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature
- Style: Pumpkin Ale
- Rating: GREAT !!
This 12oz, gold foil capped bottle pours a goopy, murky, very dark brown colour, with one finger of tightly foamy, almost cake-batter-esque head, which maintains some ultra-sturdy retention, eventually leaving a bit of ski-hill profile lace around the glass.
It smells of intense sweet pumpkin flesh, chocolate pudding, sharp ginger, cinnamon, and lesser clove spice, molasses, further grainy brown sugar, complex caramel notes – both malty and wooden in origin – and a strangely soft Bourbon barrel booziness. The taste is likewise densely packed, a strong caramel/toffee malt holding sway, amongst concentrated pumpkin pie puree, nutmeg, clove, and sweet cinnamon spice, brown sugar syrup, the vanilla, caramel, and mild rye astringency from the barrel, a suggestion of nutty, nougaty chocolate bar, and a barely, but still restrained warming alcohol. The bubbles are present, to be sure, but mostly in a mere supportive, structural manner (the guy you marry, vs. the guy with whom you spend Spring Break), the body, well, ripped is the best word I can come up with, because it is solid, heavy, and tight – and pretty smooth ‘n creamy, what with all those spice and alcohol esters mucking about. It finishes sweet and punchy, the cocoa-tinged caramel malt starting to assert its provenance, as the pumpkin and its spiced friends exhibit the turkey tireds, and the barrel notes keep on keepin’ ‘er between the lines.
I have to admit, I was more than a wee bit trepidatious before opening this monster of a beer, but once I became resolute, it really isn’t all that scary – due in no small part to the deft hand(s) who crafted this. It really is quite porter-like, if you discount the initially heady pumpkin, the spice, and the Bourbon character – I know that sounds fairly spurious, given how big and varied this offering is, but overall, what we have here is a tasty, full, and incredibly warming pumpkin ale.