This pours a dark, nearly black color with only a glimmer of cola color at its base under good light. Its head is a chestnut color and about a finger in size. It continues to produce a light coat throughout the experience but shows little sign of lacing.
It smells rich and robust, carried by a malty base and an aromatic blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, graham cracker and pumpkin. There’s a tiny bit of fruit at the nose and perhaps some faint notes of vanilla as well.
The front hesitates to hit you with the fullness that the nose suggested, but as you make way it grows deep, dark, and super rich. The front defines a malt-driven base and subjects the palate to a roasted pumpkin flavor. As I transition, the spice profile begins to build some, following the nose with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, among others. The back also begins to build some bitterness into the base which makes for a rounded out foundation by the end. The back, though, primarily injects an immense amount of fruity pumpkin and surfaces a heavily roasted stout character. The sugar gives way to booze which carries into the finish. Still the palate continues to be bombarded with spicy flavor and booze well after consumption. My palate is left tingling, forcing me to take extra time to indulge.
This is a full-bodied beer. It’s super smooth but the rounded base, mixed with sharp spices and alcohol produce enough texture to keep the palate interested. It’s a warming experience thanks to the blend of sugar and alcohol. It certainly feels heavier than its brother Pumking, but still just as enjoyable.
What stands out most is it’s gradual build from a mild introduction to a staggering blitz on the senses. This isn’t a surprise though, considering it is an imperial stout after all. The addition of spices, what seems to be a natural pumpkin ingredient, and sugar all supplement the complex and prominent flavor. This is a deep take on a pumpkin beer, but it balances well the need for spotlighting fundamental imperial attributes with characteristics of the season. Like in years past, this is one of the stronger experiences that you should take part in.