This pours a vibrant orange color under good light and produces a half a finger of barely off-white head. This dissipates quickly and leaves nothing more than a thin membrane absent of any sort of lacing. It’s body has a mild haze to it as well.
This is a strong pumpkin pie aroma with heavy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and molasses. It’s very sweet smelling and gives signs of hefty pumpkin and a toasty malt base. It’s quite enticing.
Up front is a strong spice bill that follows the nose. It consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sugary sweetness derived from the base and a molasses-like aspect. The base is bready and malt-driven. It sets a splendid foundation for the spices and an eventual squashy pumpkin ingredient. As I transition I’m pleasantly surprised by a unforeseen amount of alcohol. The ABV is not hidden at all in this one but miraculously helps the spices and base. It’s not a rum-like booze many pumpkin ales rely on but rather a gingery, sweet booze that melts into the base beautifully. The back is more the same but intensified and with greater emphasis on a fresh pumpkin quality. The finish and aftertaste leave the palate yearning for more of the bright pumpkin pie sweetness. It really is a brilliant exhibit of pumpkin in a glass.
This is a medium-bodied beer with light carbonation. It’s crisp and clean, and the added booze provides an enjoyable, warming sensation all around. It is, however, fairly watery – absent of any real texture on the palate.
Like Elysian’s Night Owl, the Great Pumpkin delivers one of the better pumpkin beer experiences on the market. The balance is absolutely wonderful and the emphasized booze this year gives it a great warming quality. The entire experience provides an energizing take on the style that can be enjoyed by both pumpkin lovers and beer enthusiasts alike. The alcohol provides the most interest in terms of feel, but the taste overrides any lacking quality in the mouthfeel. Definitely make sure you grab this one while it’s available!