I originally planned on filming a review of this beer, but you know how it is. Time slips away from you, and before you know it it’s Halloween and you haven’t even bought the bag of Milky Ways that you were going to “pass out to the kids” even though nobody shows up at your house so you end up just eating an entire bag to yourself. Unlike that bag of Milky Ways (which I’ll be purchasing tomorrow when it’s on sale), tonight I decided to go ahead and cram this beer down my face in a pathetic attempt to get a Halloween-esque beer review up on Halloween.
The Great Pumpkin, brewed by Elysian Brewing Company, is brewed with pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, and spices. According to the bottle, it is the world’s first imperial pumpkin ale. Clocking in at 8% and 22 ounces, I’m sure to have an interesting review ahead of me.
I really think that appearance matters in a pumpkin beer. Not saying it doesn’t matter in other beers, but who wants to drink a pumpkin ale that is anything but orange? Nobody. Nobody does. Anyway, this beer is exactly what a pumpkin beer should look like. It’s the color of pumpkin meat, has a nice little head on it, slightly hazy – it just looks pumpkiny. If you imagined someone drinking beer out of a snifter while raking leaves, it would look like this beer.
Yep. It’s got pumpkin spice all up in my nose holes. It’s not as crazy as something like Pumking, but spice is definitely the dominating character. I’m gonna take a stab and say allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg went into this beer. Beyond that, there’s a bit of some pumpkin/squashy vegetable aroma that works with the spices. There’s a bit of sweet malt in there, and a touch of earthiness that balances things out. If pumpkin beers are your thing, this beer more than satisfies in the nose. As for the taste…
Matches the nose fairly well, but it’s not quite as satisfying. It’s got all the spice character that you’d expect, as well as that slight squashy flavor and some sweetness. In other words, it’s totally what a pumpkin beer should taste like. There is some slight booze that doesn’t quite fair to well on the palate, and it tastes more like 9-10% than 8. I don’t really mind booze in my beers because I’m super macho and can handle that sort of thing, but this might be a major turn off for other people. The lingering flavor is almost like buttery yams with nutmeg like some people have during the holidays, which hits my nostalgia button which I guess is a good thing. Overall, the flavor of this beer is spot on with what you’d want from a pumpkin ale, but it’s got a few rough edges that prevent it from being great. (Get it? Great??)
This beer is surprisingly thin, which was unexpected. There is some of body that prevents it from being too thin, but overall it’s pretty gosh darn drinkable I tell ya h’what. The carbonation is on the low side which is appropriate for the style. The one thing I did notice about this beer is there’s sort of a lingering slickness to it after you take a sip. It reminds me of a food that has a bunch of butter on it, which adds to the whole “eating pumpkin” experience and is a very welcome addition.
Is The Great Pumpkin as great as it claims to be? I’m going to give a solid “sorta”. It has all of those yummy pumpkin beer flavors and aromas that make me love this time of year, but it just doesn’t blow me away. The booze and lack of body are definitely negative factors in this beer. That being said, it’s still a really excellent example of a pumpkin ale. It has an authentic pumpkin flavor that seems to be missing from a lot of other pumpkin ales. I would most certainly seek this one out again, but I’m ok with waiting until next year to do so.