Flying Monkeys Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Reviewed by on October 21, 2014 in Autumn Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

  • Origin: Barrie, ON, CA

  • Rated On: October 21, 2014

  • Best Before: Bottled August 28, 2014

  • ABV: 10.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Pumpkin Ale

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Flying Monkeys is a brewery situated near the shores of Lake Simcoe north of Toronto, in cottage country (or at least you can see it from there, so I’ve been told).  They have sassy marketing to accompany their sassy beers, such as this one, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale, with a preponderance of random Hallowe’en themed imagery on the label, as well as on the cardboard tube it comes in.

This 750ml bottle pours a mostly clear, dark orange-brick amber hue, with two fatty fingers of puffy, rocky, and densely bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent spooky tree branch lace around the glass as things slowly recede.

It smells of thick, gooey gingerbread – heady caramel/toffee malt, graham cracker crust (thanks again, label!), clove, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, with touch of dark fruit, let’s just say raisins, thrown in, like mom or grandma might be prone to do – all soaked in a shot or two of pumpkin vodka (is that a thing?), or maybe rum. The taste is more of the same – a big gingerbread house goodness, with a focus on the grainy, brown-sugar resplendent caramel malt, the alcohol starting to even overshadow the plucky seasonal spices – nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, yadda yadda, you know the drill – a somewhat sidetracked pumpkin fleshiness, and a very subtle, minding its own business dry hoppiness. The carbonation is generally on the low-fi side of things, barely a whisper of frothiness can be heard over the aforementioned din, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight, and still just kind of smooth, as only the alcohol has much power here, and that power is certainly much. It finishes off-dry, the sweetness of the forward malt, pie-like spices, and booze surely tempered, but with a lingering, burbling sense of chaos throbbing right under the floorboards.

Ok, I get it – take a well-made, rounded, and flavourful pumpkin ale, spices and all, and imperialize it, with success falling somewhere between amped-up English IPAs, and Imperial Lagers, from low to high. Yeah, just a bit too boozy, even though all other metrics are pretty much nailed – this is a great one for all we northerners who had to wear our costumes over a parka, the odd Hallowe’en as a kid.

Brady White



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