This pours a solid dark brown with some mahogany red hues under good light. It produces a finger of caramel colored, bubbling head that was quick to dissipate. It settles to a thin membrane with no signs of lacing.
I get a strong sense of spices and bourbon at the nose. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove all tend to be present and fairly strong. I also find buttery base notes with strong hints of oak. It’s a rich smell all around.
Up front I’m greeted by a well-balanced mix of spices and mild pumpkin, as well as a robust base built on a malt profile. Seeping into the foundation and onto the palate is the flavor of a buttery bourbon. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove and a hint of sugar seem to concoct the spice bill. There’s a great sense of sugar as well but it’s tamed by the bourbon. There’s a mild but fresh tasting gourd as I transition to the back. The pumpkin is present but it’s notably meshed with the rest of the cast. In the back I get more of a dark fruit flavor and continued blend of bourbon and oak. The spices stay consistent, as does the base, into the finish. I’m left with a slightly woody, slightly smoky, bourbon pumpkin flavor in the throat. Quite a dynamic taste indeed.
This is a pretty full-bodied beer with mild carbonation. It has a velvety texture. The spices provide some nice friction on the palate while the bourbon aspect warms the experience from beginning to end.
Once again, the Headless Heron Barrel Aged Pumpkin Spice Ale is a great pumpkin option. It’s distinctly complex, well-balanced and provides a great sum of pumpkin, spice and alcohol. Everything is harmonious and actually makes it somewhat difficult to decipher – always a good sign in my book. The entire blend is superbly strong without being obnoxious. If you like pumpkin beer, this is one worth trying. If you like alcohol and complexity to your pumpkin beer, this is a must have.