Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Weyerbacher Brewing Company

Appearance

This pours a reddish, amber color and produces a small chestnut-colored head. The retention is minimal at best but the moderate carbonation keeps providing a spring-like surface coat that acts as a spectacle at least.

Aroma

The smell is rich with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and clove. There’s also a mild, buttery sugar to the nose. Together, the ingredients provide a juicy pumpkin aroma and hints at a higher level of alcohol to come.

Taste

The taste is made up of a sequence of ingredients that clearly defines a front, back, and finish. The spices come first by showcasing strong notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom. These clearly sit atop a malt-driven front that makes for a grainy, cookie-like sensation.  The back balances the experience with a heightened level of hops and booze. Notes of alcohol begin to heavily intertwine with the pumpkin flavor, making for a vibrant, pungent finish. The aftertaste provides lingering notes of pumpkin and booze. Although each ingredient is clearly defined (with an entrance and exit), the experience is decently balanced and the pumpkin flavor stays fairly consistent.

Mouthfeel

This is a medium-bodied beer with light-to-moderate carbonation. The alcohol makes for a warm, smooth sensation. It’s not syrupy because it’s not overwhelmed by sweetness, which is notable. Considering its strength and the individual boldness of each ingredient, it’s surprisingly forgiving to the palate and especially drinkable on a cooler night. Still, I find its mouthfeel could be more interesting or complex.

Overall

This is certainly one of the more sound imperial pumpkin options. Its spices and alcohol content are well-pronounced, and all sit atop a solid foundation. It’s complex, decently-balanced from front to back, and doesn’t risk ruin with too much sweetness or by hinging on pumpkin spice alone. If anything, it could use more texture, perhaps provide more surface activity, or just generally produce more interest on the palate. Nevertheless, this is a good option for those looking for some booze in their pumpkin without needing a syrupy sweet cover.

3.5