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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine - Almanac Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

109 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 109
Hads: 798
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 146
Gots: 143 | FT: 22
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 12.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Rollzroyce21 on 08-02-2013

50% ale brewed with pumpkins aged in brandy barrels
50% ale brewed with spices

This is a beer made with real pumpkins. We hand-roasted over 500lbs of heirloom pumpkins from La Tercera Farms in Bodega Bay. The caramelized gourds were then added to our velvety American Barleywine and aged in brandy barrels for a year. Finally, we blended the barrel-aged beer with freshly brewed ale and added a delicate hint of pumpkin pie spices to round out this decadent autumn sipper.
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Reviews: 109 | Hads: 798
Photo of FriedSlug
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured ruby, brown, and cloudy with an off white head. Smells like tart pumpkin with notes of caramel and brandy. Has a nice boozy aroma. The taste follows the smell with the tart pumpkin and spices early and the caramel and brandy at the end with a nice sour bitter finish. Nice medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of spacecake9
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in the Fall of 2014 and in my cellar for a year.
A - Pours a dark orange/brown color with a small head that settles to a ring quickly.
S - The aroma is pumpkin with a hint of sour.
T - Flavor is very much like the nose. Nice pumpkin flavor with a tart finish. The alcohol is not noticeable.
M - Medium body and carbonation.
O - I really liked the idea of a boozy barrel aged pumpkin barleywine but what I got was more of a tart pumpkin ale. Not bad but I would not buy again. On the other hand, if you like sours this may be perfect for you.

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Photo of devilfluff
2.5/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sour. This bottle was clearly infected. The beer behind the unwanted intrusion had potential, but I can't rate it on hopes. The bottle wasn't so far gone as to be undrinkable, but a sad fate for a beer I had high hopes for.

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Photo of Damian
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 12.68 fl.oz. (375ml) bottle purchased at Royal Liquor, Encinitas, CA
Bottled Autumn 2014
Served in a snifter

Deep, dark, orangey-amber appearance. The liquid was capped by a finger tall crop of bubbly, khaki colored foam that left odd shaped droplets along the glass. The head quickly fell to a frothy, lasting ring of bubbles.

The aroma was interesting and rather surprising. It contained strong yet not overwhelming pumpkin pie spice notes. Nutmeg dominated. Some clove and allspice were also apparent. Touch of caramel malts and brown sugar-like sweetness. There was a bit of a vegetal quality as well. Some crisp, tart, lemony notes were detectable in the background. If I had to guess the base beer, I might say a saison but definitely not a barkeywine.

The flavor was malty and spicy but not quite as pumpkin ale-like as the nose. Pie spice notes were present but they seemed a bit muddled. Good amount of caramelized malts. Touch of brown sugar sweetness. Some vegetal notes appeared on the back end. The beer finished with lots of crisp, citric tartness. This reminded me a bit of a spiced wild ale. At 12% ABV, the alcohol was surprisingly nowhere to be found.

The mouthfeel creamy and soft and contained a finely beaded effervescence. In terms of body, however, the beer was disappointingly thin for the style.

Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine is a really interesting hybrid pumpkin beer. Aside from the lackluster mouthfeel, the steep price point and the fact that the barrels play absolutely no role in the flavor or aroma, this is still worth a try. Perhaps a fresher bottle would showcase more pumpkin and spice notes and less tartness.

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Photo of beergoot
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The body exhibits a murky, pumpkin-orange/brown color; dense, creamy, frothy head. Spicy pumpkin aroma; cinnamon, coriander, orange. Mild sour flavor underlies a likewise mild caramel and pumpkin taste; brown sugar; tart and phenolic; tannic. Medium-heavy body; creamy and smooth; dry, puckering mouthfeel.

You don't notice any alcohol or boozy character to this offering. What does stand out in a unique manner is the pumpkin-related flavors and the brandy barrel aging that adds a wine-like character to things. Overall, I like this although it wouldn't be my go-to example for a pumpkin ale, but if you've had lots of pumpkin ales and either are tired of them or want to explore a new twist on the style, then this beer is well-worth checking out.

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Photo of cherche
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

l: amber in color, with about 1 finger of khaki colored head. decent retention.
s: spicy, not in a jalapeno way, in a cinnamon, pumpkin spice way. for the abv there is very little detection of alcohol on the nose.
t: taste is a little more mild than expected given the smell. still has a spicy, zesty flavor but less pronounced and more prominence of the pumpkin and fruitiness .
f: feels pretty heavy on the tongue with average carbonation
o: overall a very enjoyable beer but it just doesnt have a distinguishable characteristic that separates the good beers from my the great beers. it is sort of a pumpkin spice beer, sort of a barleywine...definitely mild for the abv. worth a try but not one i will seek out or pay the almanac premium for again.

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Photo of darktronica
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Autumn 2014 batch poured into a snifter. A lovely smokey topaz color, with modest head that quickly dissipates. Smells of sweet potato, nutmeg, oak, and caramel, but everything other than the spices is somewhat subdued. The taste, however, is extremely complex. The brandy barrels, in combination with the pumpkin spices and Almanac's signature barrel tartness, lend interesting apple-pie notes to what is otherwise clearly a pumpkin beer. That the base beer is a barleywine is also unmistakable, with moderate maltiness and a light hoppiness lurking just under the surface. Really nice for pumpkin fans.

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Photo of fox227
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The aroma is generally pumpkin pie spice. The flavor kicks things up a bit with tart cherry, the aforementioned pie spice, oak, and birch. The carbonation is lively but not over done. The mouthfeel is medium, and I don't detect very much of the 12% alcohol by volume. It is mostly covered up by a pervasive tartness. The beer is blended from different batches, one in a Rye Whiskey barrel, and one in brandy. This is further blended into a fresh, non barrel aged beer, which mellows out the proceedings. I would be more curious as to what a 100% barrel aged version would offer, as the beer is crying out for more balance with other flavors. I do not get the rye whiskey aspect, and I'm not a brandy drinker so I can only imagine the impact. I feel that a robust burnt caramel bourbon flavor would really round out this beer into something special, but as it is, it's good, if not remarkable.

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Photo of TruePerception
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almanac's Heirloom Pumpkin, 50% brewed with pumpkin and aged in rye and brandy barrels, 50% brewed with spices. 12% ABV.

A: 2.5 fingers of light, creamy tan head. Medium orange-brown in the glass. Yellow in the dimple. Tons of free-floating sediment. Slight sheeting and lacing.

S: Creamy pumpkin, nutmeg. Slight brandy sweetness. Faint rye. Molasses slowly coming forward as I continue to sniff. I feel like this one will give off more aromas as it sits.

T/MF: Molasses and a slight green coffee note up front. Creamy pumpkin upon swallowing. Slight tartness. Nothing akin to the Dark Pumpkin Sour, but it's there. Nutty. The brandy and rye don't seem to dominate so much as round out the flavors present in the beer. A bit of pumpkin shell. Pumpkin spice is much lighter on the palate. It's not a beer where anything jumps out at you, but rather one where the elements all work in harmony. And, it's a well disguised 12% for a pumpkin beer.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. into a Belgian tulip glass.

Edit: Oh my gosh! I took a breath into my mouth as I took a sip, to try to hit those olfactory spots in the mouth, and the barrel flavors bloomed nicely.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown murky No head

S: pumpkin pie. Spices. Sweet brandy

T: pumpkin. Pumpkin pie. Baking spices.

F: smooth. Light bite.

O: amazing. Such flavor packed in here

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Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to rudzud for sharing. Batch 1

Pours a bit if a fluffy fizzy bubbly head covering, nice lacing, hazy auburn reddish murky sediment color.

Nose brings vegetal gourd, pumpkin flesh, little pumpkin pie and mild bready crust dough malt, mild brandy and barrel notes, nice pumpkin pie filling and spices, toffee candy.

Taste is super sweet, candy galore, malty sweet with reddish toffee caramel malts, sweet syrupy candy and just a hint of booze. Nice pumpkin, little vegetal, into mild pumpkin pie filling with mild pie spices, nice candy toffee and caramel, faint biscuit pie crust, mild brandy notes, apple brandy cinnamon schnapps, tasty. Finish is sticky syrupy toffee caramel apple cinnamon candy and pumpkin pie, mild bitterness and spices lingering, pretty bitter.

Mouth is med bod, syrupy, decent but lighter carb, hint of booze.

Overall pretty interesting, nice beer, nice pumpkin, nice spices, nice barrel and brandy, but just too sweet syrupy and candy like.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Murky deep brown I color with little light seeping through. There's a fingernail of beige on top. The flavor is a complex blend of pumpkin, nutmeg,cinnamon with a bit of brandy after the swallow. The mouth is thick and rich but considering the strength I would call it smooth.

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Photo of tjk135
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really good pumpkin beer. Lots going on with this one, including some tartness. As others have stated, not sure if this was intended but I really enjoyed this beer with the tartness. Split a bottle with a friend and the top half of the bottle tasted very different from the bottom. First pour was much sweeter than tart, but both were excellent.

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Photo of atone315
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Doesn't taste like a b-wine, can't pick up much of the barrel , and not exactly a pumpkin ale....although I get a little bit of each, with quite a bit of tartness...I still enjoyed this brew. Would love to know if this is what Almanac wanted me to taste or not. Will seek out more to see if there is bottle variation.

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Photo of rjp217
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acidity is kicking in on my 2014 bottle. The tartness somehow works with the pumpkin and brady barrel. Not sure if this an infection or a Brewers intention but it works.

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Photo of Josh012012
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a strong presence of pumpkin spice is the dominant flavor with very mild brandy barrel. doesn't really taste much like a barleywine but more like a pumpkin ale.. .also this must be the mildest 12% beer I've ever had.. alcohol is not perceivable. overall this has a nice balance and mouth feel and delivers good pumpkin spice flavor... one of the better pumpkin beers out there

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Photo of MenardMa
3.51/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

As a couple other reviews have mentioned, my bottle was pretty sour which I didn't really expect. Still tastes decent but not at all what I was anticipating. Mine tastes a bit like a tart white wine with pumpkin pie spices.

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Photo of rand
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 12 oz bottle to tulip

A stodgy-looking orange-brown brew, sudsy and viscous, yields huge wafts of grainy sugars and holiday spice, propelled by ample alcohols volatiles. It tastes as it should, pumpkin-y, resiny, oaky, but lactic acid and a prominent hop profile give this brew complexion and depth it's contemporaries often lack. This is well crafted and tasty.

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Photo of Brabander
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I am not really a pumpkin ale man so this one was my cup of tea. Decent head and nice lacing, no carbonation. Slight sourness and the barrel is far away noticable.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got in a trade with RaulMondesi. 375 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 8/4/2014. Pours hazy dark orange/copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of tart cherry, pumpkin, green apple, caramel, brown sugar, toast, red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, oak, leather, vinegar, light vanilla, and oak/spice earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, spices, and oak barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big tart cherry, pumpkin, green apple, caramel, brown sugar, toast, red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, oak, leather, vinegar, light vanilla, and oak/spice earthiness. Fair amount of earthy spiciness and fruity tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of cherry, pumpkin, green apple, caramel, brown sugar, toast, red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, oak, leather, vinegar, and oak/spice earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, spices, and oak barrel flavors; with a good malt/spice/tartness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and fairly creamy/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice pumpkin beer. I obviously got an infected bottle; but it still turned out very tasty with balanced malt, spice, and barrel flavors with the tart/fruity yeast notes. A very enjoyable offering even with the infection.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled sutumn 2014, poured into a tegu glass

A- pours a bright clear amber color with a ruby hue, small foamy white head eventually reduces to a thin layer skimming the top, some nice lacing left behind

S- caramelized pumpkin & brown sugar sweetness mixes with subtle cinnamon & nutmeg. Brandy, oak barrel and a touch of spicy rye, buttered rum

T- surprisingly tart up front with notes of pumpkin, cinnamon & clove immediately kicking in. Brown sugar/caramel sweetness mixes with the barrel flavors of brandy, oak & spicy notes from the rye barrel. There's still a slight hop presence with some herbal/earthy hop flavor before finishing sweet and fruity with more tart linger

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a tart & dry finish, ABV is hidden brilliantly

O- quite a different take on a pumpkin beer, and it's outstanding. Perhaps we need more pumpkin barleywines

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting take on a pumpkin ale. Lots of spice and pumpkin flavor. Slight peppery flavor which lessens as it warms leading to other spices. Definitely a complex take on a pumpkin beer. Not my favorite pumpkin beer, but definitely worth trying.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Firestone Walker snifter. Pours a hazy orange amber with a half finger light khaki head that dissipates slowly to a thick film with nice lacing. Nice holiday aroma of pumpkin, light brandy, caramel malt, faint pie spicing. Flavor is pumpkin, light caramel malt, cinnamon and clove, finishing lighter with some tartness; mild butteriness and pumpkin finish that is reminiscent of fresh pumpkin ready to baked into a pie. Medium bodied without the expected heaviness of a barleywine. A nicely made, well balanced pumpkin ale with a great interplay of malt and pumpkin and light, but distinct pie spicing. The light tartness was expected from this brewery that excels at sours, and seemed to be more a yeast flavor than rye (which I would have preferred). Not quite to my taste, but nicely made and flavorful as anticipated from Almanac. Brandy flavor is present, but I wouldn't have identified without prior knowledge. Interesting and festive.

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Photo of brentk56
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Autumn 2013

Appearance: A hard pour produces a rocky two inch head that leaves some patchy lace; the liquid is a muddy tea brown color

Smell: Buttered Rum, pumpkin, Brandy and caramel dominant; subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg

Taste: The buttered Rum and caramel flavors lay down a sweet backbone, with the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg spices building in the middle; after the swallow, the Brandy barrel adds another layer of flavor; there is an oddly metallic tone in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet, though not as much as would be expected given the ABV

Overall: A really different take on a pumpkin beer with great complexity and nice balance

Thanks, c64person, for the opportunity

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Photo of Ancalagon
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Excellent beer. Look reminds me of leaves falling from the tree. Smell is sweet with pumpkin and brandy. Taste is exceptional. Heavy on the pumpkin. Also taste vanilla and nutmeg and slight tartness. Feel is very thin. Can't believe it is 12%. Overall, this is an exceptional pumpkin/barley wine ale. Very great pumpkin flavor.

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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac Beer Co.
93 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.