Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout - Rock Art Brewery

Not Rated.
Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

198 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 198
Reviews: 88
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 17
Gots: 15 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 09-11-2009

"A big stout brewed in the colonial fashion with large amounts of pumpkins and spruce tips added to the kettle for flavor and bittering qualities. The pumpkins compliment the malt flavors, and were used to add sugars to the mash. What ever you do, do not think this is going to taste like pumpkin pie. 50 IBUs."
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 | Reviews: 88
Photo of Thorpe429
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a tiny tan head. Smell is near nonexistent. Minimal spruce and roast. Taste is stronger with more spruce and hints of pumpkin. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Fairly drinkable; nothig is overdone. One of the better things i've had from Rock Art and fairly unique.

Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a pretty nice looking stout. The color was black and have a pretty good sized head on it. The lacing was minimal and the head faded after a little while. The smell of the beer was pretty decent, There was some light elements of spruce in there but mostly some aromas of pumpkin spice and roasted malts. The taste didn't have too much pumpkin flavor to it or spruce, it seems a little light on both of those qualities. However, the stout itself is pretty tasty, the dark malts and everything really taste good in this stout. The mouthfeel was nice, had some good body to it and a nice dry feel in the end. Overall this beer is good but I feel like it could have been way better.

Photo of oline73
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours almost black but it is a reddish brown when held up to the light. There is just under a finger of off white head that goes away completely.

Smell: Roasty with some pine and a hint of sweet, dark fruit.

Taste: I don't think all the flavors work together in this beer. There is a strong bitterness that comes from the roast and some pine as well. There is a slight hint of citrus peel in this one too. I'm missing the pumpkin. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very mild carbonation and a finish that is a bit slick.

Overall: I wasn't in love with this beer. I don't think everything worked together and didn't really taste pumpkin.

Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm glad to see others bringing some pumpkin stouts to the table, rather than overspiced ales.

A creamy rich 1 finger head comes on strong, and fades somewhat slowly, leaving a thick lacing on the sides as it fades. The beer is just about pitch black, about as close as it can get without being so. Just the slights hits of light get through the bottom at the stem of the tulip glass.

The nose has some nice creamy stout aromas, more like a milk stout or possible irish stout than anything. A slight roasted malt, some very light chocolate and creamy milk chocolate. Some dark malt aromas, a little coffee and toffee. A very light boozy aroma, and some light bitterness both from some earthy spicy hops and little bit from the roast. Way in the background I get some vanilla, a slight cocoa nibs, and hints of pumpkin.

Taste starts a little chalky surprisingly. It comes on with a dry Irish stout demeanor, but gets a little too chalky tasting, weird. After that is has a slight creamy stout flavor, some light chocolate and vanilla, some light sweetness. Pretty malty though, plenty of dark malts, some roasted malt and coffee, some light chocolate malts, little caramel, etc. A very slight hint of booze too, but not much. It has some bitterness, but not as much as I expect, and hints of earthy hops. As the taste progresses this really different taste starts to come through, it's bitter and piny, and sprucey... oh wait, it's spruce! It doesn't come out at first, but as the taste goes on it comes on, and boy does it let itself be known. It's almost like pine sap in the background and adds a not so pleasant touch. I get just a hint of pumpkin flavor, but it's almost non-existent. It does get a slightly fluffy flavor too late. As it finishes the spruce continues to bomb my mouth. The piny sap like bitterness and dryness is just harsh. The dry finish also brings a strange feel to it that accentuates the spruce too.

The mouth is creamy and pretty rich, a little sticky, and decent carbonation.

It has a lower but tolerable drinkability, with some of that lingering spruce that bombards a little too much. Some stickiness on the finish as well. The bitterness is not typical either, with that spruce flavor, it's pretty beh. But, for the abv of 8% it does drink well which adds some drinkability.

Photo of Slatetank
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Al's of Hampden -served chilled in a pint

A - A deep brown that almost looks black but under the light is just a shade lighter.The tan head settles to a ring and clarity is translucent

S - The smell has a nice spruce element with light roasted grain and mild hop notes w/ a gentle coffee aroma and slight caramel malt odor

M - The feel is roasty, dry and bitter w/ a clean finish

T - The flavor does not give much pumpkin, but the spruce is picked up with a slight resinous tinge and dry bitter flavor. The stout has a nice roasted base and the finish keeps the dry woody lingering

D - A drinkable stout, pumpkin is slightly gimmicky without much presence in the flavor. I would drink it again as it is a pretty nice beer for the style if you like spruce in your beer

Photo of smcolw
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dense, beige head that leaves a solid ring of lace after each sip. Dark brown color with a the faintest of light coming through.

Dry cocoa aroma--Lightly chalky. I cannot detect any pumpkin or spruce to the nose. This simply smells like an appealing stout.

This is a very good, dry stout on its own. In fact, I don't pick up any pumpkin or spruce. As an "Imperial Stout", this one is pretty mild--I don't taste alcohol warmth or over-the-top burnt malts. The swallow and aftertaste has plenty of mocha and some peppery hop bitterness.

Okay, it isn't what I was expecting, but it is still a very solid stout.

Photo of mdfb79
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 8/27/10 notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark black color with a few inches of brown head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, alcohol, and vanilla. No pumpkin at all.

t - Taste is very similiar to the nose. Mostly chocolate and roasted malts, with hints of alcohol, vanilla, and dark fruits. Again, no pumpkin here.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, I thought it was pretty smooth and creamy, and very easy to drink.

d - A pretty nice stout from Rock Art that was very easy to drink, but it really doesn't have any pumpkin in the smell or taste at all. Would try again but if you're looking for a pumpkin beer, go with something else.

Photo of drabmuh
3.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Mike, served in a tiny ticking snifter for ticking. Beer is amber / orange with a mild haze, off white head, some lacing, decent retention, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is low, nearly non-existent. Some faint spice, perhaps a pumpkin?

Beer is nice though, decently spiced, nice gourd presence. Strong but not overpower, everything is subtle and nice. For a pumpkin beer not bad. I'd have it again, maybe.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear but opaque very dark brown bordering on black in color with very light amounts of gentle carbonation along the edges of the glass and some dark cola brown + reddish amber highlights. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts with some light hints of chocolate. There are light to moderate aromas of spruce with just a hint of pumpkin.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark roasted malts along with some chocolate malts. There is a light to moderate flavor of dry cocoa powder and some hints of sweet milk chocolate as well. There are light flavors of pumpkin and spruce. Light amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light hints of dryness and alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Interesting to see someone doing something other than an ale with pumpkin (and not something that tastes like pumpkin pie). I wish the spruce flavors and aromas were a little more prevalent and there was a little more earthiness from the pumpkin.

Photo of stakem
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes taken on 9/26/10.

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass and shared with a friend who was insistent I pick this one up to try. It appears a dark brown color with lighter brown around the edges. A finger of tan head appears and retains fairly well. Spotty lace clings to the glass.

Aroma is dark sweet malts almost like molasses mixed with a bit of citrus and some other spices. Some fresh grainy character mixed with alcohol is noticed in the background.

The taste of this brew is bitter upfront from a combination of dark grains and the flavor of the spruce. The overall grainy, dark roasted flavor is quite bitter but a bit watery in the feel. The bitterness lasts long into the aftertaste. Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall not bad but honestly not pickin up on any of the pumpkin contribution, not even the typical pumpkin pie spices. If you buy this brew expecting an imperial stout you will be let down. I believe the only "imperial" aspect of this brew is the amount of spruce used. Not quite a stout, not quite a pumpkin ale.

Photo of Gavage
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a dark brown almost black color with a 2" head that falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: definite earthy and woodsy aroma here.

Taste: nice roasted malt profile with a big earthy tone. The spruce is definitely noticeable but not overpowering. Some pumpkin spice is there but very soft. Alcohol is slightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Long lasting earthy and woody aftertaste.

Overall: decent fall / winter time beer, but the pumpkin flavors were very mild.

Photo of yourefragile
3.04/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle.

Pours a dark cola brown with a thin bubbly tan head. Nose of yam, pine, earth, anise, and holiday spice. Thick, lightly carbonated body. Sweet chocolate and anise flavor, rich malt, not much like you'd expect from other pumpkin beers. More like a pine-y/minty sweet speciality stout.

Photo of smakawhat
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at Rock Art Brewery into a taster shaker pint glass.

A dark brownish red body, pretty dark, presented with a faint tan collar. Looks inviting.

Nose is quite diverse. Cola soda. Beech nut and nutmeg. THere's a little bit of faint spicy toffee in the background. This smells very strange, and nothing like a pumpkin beer.

Taste seems to match the nose quite correctly. No sense of dense pumpkin body, lots of burnt charcoal without any sweet grainy tastes. Finishes with hop pine and a twiggy woody character no doubt because of spruce tips added I am guessing. Finish is wet and also a little burning.

Interesting beer, probably like it because it doesn't taste like a regular pumpkin beer, but not really drawn to wanting this again.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bruce for the opportunity to try this one.
Pours a solid dark brown/black color with a smallish off white head that quickly dissipates to a cap. Smells of roast caramel and ash with a spicy earthy menthol aroma that I assume is spruce. This beer smells a bit oxidized or maybe that's a mix of spruce and pumpkin. The flavor is a bit spicy and roasty. Herbal spicy menthol hits up front followed by a roasty caramel and toffee. This finishes with a long lingering bitterness that seems more intense than just hops. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a roasty bitter mouthfeel. This one is certainly out of the box, but it really didn't work all that well for me. The pumpkin is almost non existent and the spruce adds a harsh bitterness that I really couldn't get into.

Photo of jdhilt
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Opaque brown color, some yeast left in bottle. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Spruce nose. Brewer is right - nothing like pumpkin pie, spruce (there's a whole forest here) adds the bitterness, malts are in background, not finding much pumpkin. $4.54 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is jet black, with some dark mahogany highlights around the edges, and a thick, dense, creamy head that is light tan, and slowly settles into a filmy coating. Aromas of roast, bitter coffee, hints of pumpkin sweetness, spruce highlights, bittersweet chocolate, and earthy tones. Flavors are roast and sweet initially, with highlights of pumpkin, a solid dose of bittersweet baker's chocolate, woody notes, and hints of pumpkin. Creamy overtones help round some edges and keep an overall balance. The body is robust, creamy, and smooth throughout. The aftertaste is smoked, roasted, and bitter, with a chocolate and subtle pumpkin linger. Bitter, slightly dry finish, with a roasted linger. Good, solid, tasty brew.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with an amber glow.

S - Spruce, roasted malts and a touch of maple syrup. Not getting pumpkin at all but a nice nose.

T - Spruce, roasted malts and maple. Decent sweetness overall with some bitterness present as well to provide balance. No pumpkin comes through at all.

M - Medium body, light carbonation.

Photo of vfgccp
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A –Nice ruby brown body. Light tan head is creamy with great retention and ok lace.

S – Brown sugar, chocolate malt, fruit cake, woody bitters and a hint of light coffee.

T – Roasted malt with just a touch of smoke. Tree bark, molasses, and a kiss of fresh pumpkin through the center. Char and pine on the backend.

M – Light body for the style, but not unpleasant. More porter than stout.

O – Light on the pumpkin, but over the profile is fresh and piney with a well integrated profile. Tastes almost like a wet-hop stout.

Photo of Brad007
3.81/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a motor-oil black color with a thick brown head into my fluted glass.

Aroma is chock full of pumpkin spice and bitter coffee and they are the dominant aromas.

Taste is woody/earthy upfront (due to the spruce?) with bitter coffee, light cream and chocolate. Pumpkin spice is a bit muted.

Mouthfeel is full of spruce, bitter coffee and light cream. Nothing unusual here. Carbonation feels ok.

Interesting take on an imperial stout. A bit of aging will mellow it out but it is still quite drinkable at this stage. Worth a try if you enjoy imperial stouts.

Photo of puboflyons
4.53/5  rDev +28%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle that is stamped July 19. Not sure if that means expires in July 2019. Sampled on September 8, 2013.

The pour is black as night with a huge, lingering soft tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is dark malt and spruce grove forward with a much more muted pumpkin spice note. It's there but you have to seek it out. Some chocolate. No alcohol note. Very enticing aroma.

The body is bold and creamy.

The taste is mildly sweet up front with a piney dressing. Yet it is not overly hopped. Moderately bitter and dry finish. Pumpkins are in the background. Warming and smoother as it goes along.

I'm not sure why it gets low BA ratings. Probably because the pumpkin is not in your face. But this is still a topnotch beer.

Photo of claspada
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aromas are all stout; coffee and chocolate are the biggest elements, then at the background there is a slight herbal note from either the spruce tips or hops, can't really tell to be honest.

The tastes are also very American stout. Once again coffee and cocoa are the biggest characteristics in the flavor, in addition on the palate the spruce/ herbal flavors make a small appearance, however the pumpkin isn't noticeable at all. Which is quite disappointing

This is a decent offering from Rock Art, not a bad stout at all, but false advertising if you ask me because there is no Pumpkin, unless I am just desiring the spice characteristics of the typical Pumpkin ale. This is no Cape Ann Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout, that is a great beer worth searching out for if you want a dark Pumpkin beer. This didn't work as well as I hoped. The beer was good, just didn't live up to my expectations.

Photo of rudzud
3.37/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark, dark brown almost black. The kicker is the fact that there is hardly any head! Even with an aggressive pour! What I got was less than one finger of light off white/tan head, left barely any side lacing, and left some light clumps of thin lacing on the brew.

S - Some nice chocolate notes and definate pine/spruce. Pretty interesting smells. Almost, almost like a really, really rich black IPA. Can't pick up any pumpkin at all though which is a huge disappointment.

T - Like the nose big chocolate flavors along with piney/spruce notes. Not IPA style pine, but legitimate pine (in a good way). Again, sadly, like the nose I pick up NO pumpkin.

M - Not nearly as thick as I would expect for a stout, let alone an imperial stout. Not heavy at all, almost watery. Again, I compare this to a black IPA. Would be a nice one, but a poor mouthfeel for an imperical stout!

D - This is a good drink, but not a good stout at all. The flavor is good, but pumpkin is misleading. The mouthfeel is far too watery for a stout, and I miss a good head. Flavor is good though.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 8.0% ABV, 50 IBU, no date.

Thanks to Thorpe429 for another pumpkin beer!

A - Clear on the pour and totally black in the glass, this stout is topped by a bold, three-finger head. Fantastic retention and some thick lace make it a sexy looking stout.

S - It predominantly smells of roasted malts with subtleties of coffee and dark chocolate which makes this much more of a stout than anything else. Spruce is almost absent from the nose while pumpkin is missing all together. Aroma is a bit thin for a double.

T - Rich roasted malt mirrors the aroma with a hefty helping of dark chocolate and low coffee notes. The spruce is much stronger in the flavor but I still don't get any pumpkin in this.

M - Rich and full-bodied, it's a bit thicker than the aroma makes it out to be. It's very smooth but the light spruce seems to aid in bringing out this light solvent alcohol finish. There's a low bitterness that seems to be a roasted malt and hop combo.

D - Another pumpkin stout let-down to be brutally honest. I picked up no pumpkin in this at all. It should have been one or the other in the brew, not both additions. As a spruce stout it's good, but it's called Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout. Reasonably drinkable for a strong stout.

Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An opaque black brown color with a decent tan cover that settles to a film with similar trail of sketchy lacing. The aroma embraces the subtle spruce idea as advertized. Some skunky, earthy seaweed malt. Nice but not overpowering. The flavor comes out with plenty of spruce hopiness as promised. It’s malty with herbal subtleties over a bit of charcoal but the spruce description is true to form with minty-like freshness. This stuff is about full bodied with balanced carbonation to provide a drinkable, very uniquely tasty beer, although the pumpkin element is not obvious to me.

Photo of Jwale73
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. 2010 vintage. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a loose, half-inch, tan-colored head that quickly disperses towards the edges, forming a bubbly band around the perimeter and a soapy skim dispersed across the surface. Spots and slashes of lacing revealed during the tasting. Nose is difficult to pin down. I'm a bit unfamiliar with all the aromas, but if I had to describe it I would say a slightly creamy/lactic quality hits first, followed by a perfume-like herbal essence with some cocoa notes bringing up the rear. Nice complexity in the flavor profile - Malt, char, muted pumpkin spice and cocoa. Mouthfeel is medium-light, perhaps a bit thin for the style, with a light carbonation, consistent from sip to swallow. I wasn't really sure what to expect from a Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout - I anticipated big, unbalanced flavors, but was pleasantly surprised by the way everything nicely coalesced. Not a big stout by any means, but flavorful without being overly sweet or bitter, and a well-hidden abv. Well worth a try if the opportunity presents.

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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout from Rock Art Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.