Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale

Alltech's Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company

Appearance

This pours a crystal clear, dark yellow color and produces a finger of fizzing, white head. It wastes no time in dissipating and leaves behind no sign of lacing to come. There remains a thin membrane of interest on the surface and a showcase of mild carbonation through it’s body.

Aroma

Nice notes of pumpkin, butter, bourbon, nutmeg and allspice make the nose tingle with excitement. There are faint hints of ginger, vanilla and oak as well. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on and a lot of it has to do with the barrel-aged quality. The alcohol is discernible and strong. There’s no real aromatic mention of the foundation at the nose.

Taste

This is much tastier than I remember. For the most part, the taste follows the nose but does so in a balanced fashion. I get cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and some notes of supplemental ingredients. However, the most pronounced aspect is the alcohol. It’s buttery character meshes with the spice bill nicely and strengthens into the finish. There’s some moderate suggestions of raw pumpkin on the palate, especially in the transition from front to back. Its foundation is a bit more striking than in the past. There’s a collaborative layer of malt and hops that act as a good structure for the spices and alcohol to work their magic. The back re-emphasizes the buttery booze and it finishes with a kick of pumpkin spice.

Mouthfeel

This is a medium-bodied beer and is mildly carbonated. It has a very wet, silky smooth texture that only stays interesting because of the sharpness of the spices. It’s warm (boozy) and quite drinkable. After some time, the wetness of the palate actually succumbs to the dryness in the finish and aftertaste.

Overall

I have to clarify two important things. First, I let this one sit on the shelf for some time. I allowed it to round itself a bit and really soak in the aged aspect it hinges on. Secondly I let it sit for at least a 3-5 minutes after its pour. This definitely improved the experience. Beyond these two notes, this is a pretty average bourbon-infused pumpkin option. The alcohol is very nice and the balance and dynamic it accounts for in regards to the entire experience is applaudable. While the spices aren’t overpowering I definitely would have enjoyed a bit more raw pumpkin flavor. However, it’s the feel that disallows a stronger recommendation for me. At times it can be a bland feeling experience, enhanced solely by the alcohol. Nevertheless, it’s at least quite drinkable, and there’s really no major flaws with it. If you want a boozy pumpkin beer this certainly is one worth trying. It truly is the smoothness and balance of the alcohol aspect that pushes this one above other available options.

3.25