Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Dogfish Head Brewery

Appearance

This pours a dark golden color and produces a finger of fizzing, slightly foamy, white head. The retention is good and I’m left with a thicker surface membrane than expected. There’s a light cloudiness but calling it hazy would be an overstatement. It’s a lively looking beer.

Aroma

A sweet aroma greets the nose, spearheaded by cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and perhaps a hint of clove and vanilla. I get notes of roasted malt and mild but vegetal pumpkin beneath the spices. There’s very little in terms of hops at the nose.

Taste

Most immediately surprising is the foundation. While it’s certainly malt-forward, there is a calm hops aspect that smooths out any overpowering sweetness on the palate. Up front I get a spice bill that is stronger than the nose suggested. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove – the staples – are all present and quite strong. These sit playfully on top of the base and are actually enforced by the bready malt and hops combination. The back provides a slightly more burnt flavor lead by roasted pumpkin, hefty spices and a final kick from the malt profile. Much like the front and back, the finish provides a fairly balanced, decently complex character.

Mouthfeel

This is a medium-bodied option with a playful effervescence on the palate. This is derived from the base and from a moderate amount of carbonation. While mostly wet, it does provide a nice grain texture on the palate. The 7.0% alcohol aspect provides just enough warmth to round the feel out.

Overall

In the end this is a solid pumpkin ale. The flavor is there, developed from a combination of raw pumpkin and the staple spices. It’s well-balanced and complex for the most part, and it has an engaging feel on the palate. It goes down smoothly and ought to satisfy both the ale lovers and the pumpkin enthusiasts alike. Not to mention, for the second year in a row, they’ve created a pretty bomb label design.

3.5