Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine - Almanac Beer Co.

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Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine

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766 Ratings
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Ratings: 766
Reviews: 104
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 147
Gots: 146 | FT: 25
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

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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Ratings: 766 | Reviews: 104
Reviews by Dope:
Photo of Dope
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Crystal clear ruby red pour. Tall and frothy tan head. Great head retention as the head slowly but surely fades out. Decent little blips of lacing here and there but otherwise fairly minimal.

S: Wow, really nice. Sweet dark fruits combined with clean pumpkin and mild pumpkin spices to boot. Some nutmeg and cinnamon at least. Quite a bit of brandy when swirled. Not a spice bomb. Excellent.

T: Sharp, stinging brandy up front. Sweet and fruity. Pumpkin is there but hiding behind the brandy initially. It comes out to play with the aforementioned pumpkin spices more towards the middle and finish. A bit of bitter spiciness in the finish, maybe even a little hop presence in there? Oaky and spicy finish aftertaste for sure.

M: Pretty heavy but the brandy cuts it quite nicely. Dry, oaky aftertaste.

O: Very unique and well executed. Don't see many (okay, any) brandy barrel pumpkin barleywines. Surprisingly well executed in fact. Brandy is sharp to begin with but mellows out just right through the progression of flavors. Not a spice bomb like so many pumpkin ales. Good combination of complexity, balance and uniqueness. A must-try.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a bulb glass a deep auburn color with a nicely formed slightly off white head atop.Aromas of brandy and pumpkin spice with alot of brown sugar and alcohol,still it's warming and inviting.Brandy alcohol sweetness and brown sugar melds into real pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors,man it's rich tasting and a real sipping flavorful beer.You can tell alot of care and time went into this beer it's a true artisan ale and thee BEST pumpkin infused beer I have had.

Photo of scottfrie
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

375ml bottle into snifter. Bottled Autumn 2013.

A: Pours a deep amber color with a quarter inch thick greasy off-white head.
S: Rich and complex notes of roasted pumpkin, pumpkin spice, gingerbread cookies, and slight brandy barrel. Smells amazing.
T: Follows the nose with rich and decadent flavors of roasted pumpkin that tastes amazingly fresh like the actual squash and not synthetic flavoring or syrup. Flavors of brandy barrel, brown sugar, gingerbread, vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom, leather, and pipe tobacco come through as well. The finish is sweet and almost juicy with notes of caramel and honey, and the aftertaste is full of pumpkin spice, cocoa, and mellow oak and brandy.
M: Full body, tiny, soft bubbles of carbonation, rich and smooth mouthfeel. Decadent and smooth. Drinks really well.
O: I was blown away by this one. Probably the best pumpkin beer I've had the pleasure of drinking. Can't wait to see how this ages further.

Photo of CraftFan5
4.84/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

No idea what this was supposed to taste like, but I was very pleasantly suprised.

For a 12% barleywine, I was expecting a thick, dark, pumpkin-y brew. Instead, I got a light, tart, pre-Thanksgiving holiday treat. It's possible it was infected, because I'm not sure it was supposed to be tart, but I enjoyed it immensely anyway. Appearance was standard for a pumpkin ale - a deep orange with a light fluffy head. Nose had that slight tartness along with the pumkin and spices. Taste had all the holiday spices you could ask for. The tartness was definitely there, adding to the complexity of this beer. I couldn't taste the 12% at all, like at all at all. Mouth was medium to light with a pleasant amount of carbonation. This was a masterpiece, accidental or not.

Photo of Knapp85
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Big thanks to MillerBuffoon for saving and sharing this one with me. This poured out as a brownish amber color with some highlights of gold. There was a cream colored head that forms on top, it slowly drops and leaves a nice coating over the beer. There is a scattered lacing on the glass as well which is very nice. The smell of the beer is earthy, it's got a good amount of spice to it with plenty of booze too. The flavors is awesome, the flavors at first aren't much to rave about but they really come out as the beer settles on the taste buds. This is loaded with sweet malt and earthy pumpkin followed up by some of the best spice balance I've ever tasted in a pumpkin style beer. The brandy barrel aging isn't dominant at all but probably adds to the flavors in some way. Incredible flavors though, hard to describe perfection but I think this has it. The mouthfeel of the beer is medium to heavy, it's got plenty of body for the style and a very nice carbonation. Overall this was excellent as a Pumpkin Barleywine and that is primarily how I'm looking at this. It's more than just an American Barleywine to me. This is something everyone should try, I will be looking to get more of this.

Photo of tjk135
4.42/5  rDev +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.

Photo of Franziskaner
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2013)

Texas Liquor
Carlsbad, CA

Clear copper. Minimal head, but very appropriate for the style. Somewhat sticky. Leaves an oily sheen down the glass.

Exceptional aroma for the style. Good amounts of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving spices combine, but the caramel, brandy, and mild wood notes are not lost. Complete and exactly what this treatment should model.

The flavor is quite similar to the aroma. Low bitterness, good amounts of pumpkin pie spices, some definite gourd/pumpkin character, caramel, toffee, yam, bread, and brandy. Incredibly drinkable. Alcohol is hidden well enough.

Medium to near full in body with lower carbonation. Very appropriate for the style.

Delicious. I had no trouble finishing this bottle and would have continued drinking more if I could.

Photo of MrMoose916
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

A: Mahogany brown, slight orange tinge.

S: Tons of spice; Cinnamon is dominant, clove, nutmeg, ginger, I also get a fairly nice sniff of the rye barrel, but don't get much brandy

T: Wow wow follows the nose very nicely; tons of spice (ginger, cinnamon, clove), sweet pumpkin, carmel, the rye and brandy mesh so well. Excellent

M: Medium-full mouthfeel, right on for the style

O: this is an amazing pumpkin beer, I am blessed to live so close to the brewery so I pick up several bottles for the fall season, everything goes together so well in this beer, I highly recommend picking up or trading for this beer. Cheers.

Photo of LXIXME
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Medium sized light tan head just sort of sits above a thick cloudy burnt caramel colored barleywine.

Very light pumpkin pie aroma with its spices and all.

Light pumpkin pie taste, almost have to wait and think about it, I like when the fruits or vegetables beers have a underplayed taste of what they are trying to bring out.

Light dryish aftertaste with just a hint of the beers tastes remaining behind with this medium bodied beer.

I really liked that fact the the higher alcohol level of this barleywine doesn't interfere with its taste or aroma. Well done and very drinkable.

Photo of tclipse
1/5  rDev -76.2%

My bottle was completely infected and as sour as their Dogpatch or Farmer's Reserve bottles.... not a good match with pumpkin and spice. I love Almanac's sours, but this wasn't supposed to be one of them.... 1/5 review given for the quality control issue.

I will edit this if I am able to try it again, but as I am on the east coast, that is not likely, and I am really disappointed.

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is a very good beer- I don't like pumpkin beers or barley wines so this is a real success. Pours a slightly hazy amber mahogany color with little head, good retention and some nice lacing.

Smells like pumpkin, caramel, and a little rye whiskey.

Tastes like malt, caramel, pumpkin, brandy, a little rye spice but not as much as the nose.

Medium full bodied and modestly carbonated. I realoymlikemthis one but it is pricey and I'd probably get their other beers over this one.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into a taster.

Appearance - Deep orange. Decent white head.

Smell - Brandy is strong. I think I actually smell the pumpkin. Lots of caramel.

Taste - Spiced caramel malt. Sweet with a nice brandy flavor. Oaky in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Hefty sugar content. A little boozy.

Overall - Good but not amazing.

Photo of Treyliff
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
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

Photo of EliotRosewater
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a gorgeous burnt orange, copper color with about a finger of head. Looks like Fall.

S - big whiff of caramel, little bit of molasses, bourbon, oak. Pumpkin pie is a pretty good description - nutmeg, allspice maybe a little cinnamon in there. Caramelized notes are the most predominant.

T - very pleasant bourbon flavor to go along with all the sweetness. Nice to have all the bourbon flavor with none of the boozy burn. Pumpkin and spice comes out as the beer opens up.

M - decent effervescence. Not as much of a lingering finish as I was expecting or hoping. Medium body.

O - the nose on this thing is absolutely incredible. It drinks very nice with a big bourbon and caramel profile with pumpkin on the back end. Another phenomenal beer from Almanac.

Photo of emerge077
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Skye for this one! :thumbup:

Body was a bright coppery orange, with a compact layer of off-white foam on the surface. Minimal spotty lacing, nice clarity.

Aroma was nice, fairly complex with pumpkin spices and an undercurrent of sweet brandy warmth.

Taste was similarly complex with boozy barrel elements upfront, sticky toffee and vanilla, with pumpkin spices of nutmeg and clove in the periphery. Full bodied and sticky, we split this 4 ways and that was enough, though i'd try it again if I saw it. Unique use of pumpkin for sure.

Photo of Mightykingmalard
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: creamy off white head that burns off very slowly. Has a distinctly orange color, a little red in there. Mostly translucent and has a fair amount of cloudiness.

S: at first smell, it smells strong of a sour. Definitely has some pumpkin in it.

T: tastes like a cross between a Belgian and a sour. Has a maltiness that is like a barleywine, but doesn't have much other similarity to a barleywine.

M: not a bad feel, but it's Belgian feel leaves a little too much sugar on the tongue.

O: there is a lot here for people that like sours and Belgians (more Belgian than sour, to be honest) but I am unfortunately not a fan of either. It is pretty balanced. This unfortunately is not my thing, but I can tell why a lot of people would like it, so I didn't too harshly dock it.

Photo of rjp217
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of beepill
4.73/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at City Beer Store on 8/9/13. Poured into snifter glass. Reviewed from notes taken on my phone.

A - Deep orange-brown color. Cloudy, opaque. Thin head but lasted throughout the session. Decent lacing along the way.

S - Wow. Intense pumpkin pie and oak-aged brandy. The smell makes me want to gobble it up immediately. Spiciness of the pumpkin pie variety. Sweet smells coming from roasted pumpkin, caramel, and butter cookies.

T - Tastes just like it smells. I love the almost perfect balance of pumpkin and oak-aged brandy that permeates throughout. A great power punch of those two dominating flavors. Can definitely taste a spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sweet ginger. I know the flavor is more complex, but the initial taste is awesome nonetheless.

M - Decent level of carbonation that allows you to really feel like your drinking a slice of pumpkin pie. Thick and full-bodied.

O - This barleywine is another great one from Almanac. Probably my new favorite barleywine. Very drinkable and I enjoyed it thoroughly. After drinking this, I bought a few bottles to cellar. This was just a memorable beer that makes my mouth water just thinking about. And I am not even a pumpkin kind of guy. Only reason I did not give it a 5 right now is because I know this will get better with some age.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No vintage or bottling date info was apparent.
Poured in to snifter.

A - Deep mahogany colour with the slightest bit of translucency and a thin later of tan coloured head.

S - Rich toffee, caramel and raisin notes complimented by pumpkin and spice aromas and a faint hint of brandy in the background.

T - Sweet toffee, burnt sugar and raisins from the base beer are complimented by a nice pumpkin and spice presence that add a layer of flavour without overwhelming the palate as many pumpkin beers do. A touch of brandy barrel notes show up in the background. Warming alcohol presence throughout.

M - Full body. Light carbonation.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Curran tonight.

This one pours a light amber color, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells very strongly of pumpkin flesh, with brandy, cinnamon, brown sugar, and clove.

This is a pretty strong beer, as evinced by the ABV and it being a barleywine. I get a ton of real, authentic pumpkin flesh, tons of the usual pumpkin spices- clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc, some vanilla, a ton of sweet boozy brandy, and a bit of oak.

This is pretty thin bodied for the ABV, honestly, slightly disappointing. There's a sweet, slightly syrupy mouthfeel, and a lower level of carbonation.

This is really interesting, but didn't quite meet the hype for me.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%

A: hazy amber-brown ale with a couple of fingers of tan head that thinned to a filmy cap and lace tendrils

S: spiced pumpkin, a sweetened vegetal aroma; vague wine and whiskey and wood...

T: barrel-aging is assertive with the pumpkin in the foreground; rye wood barrels and brandy wine elements at play in the vegetable patch; pumpkin and autumnal spice, faintly sweetened, mix effortlessly with herbal and earthy dankness

M: rich and smooth, medium-full body, slight tingle; chewy character with some density

O: a finely crafted marriage between pumpkin ale and American barleywine - hops are dank and earthy, lots of wood and musk; clean, fresh tasting raw pumpkin flavors are elevated through spice and sugar; barrel characteristics come forward to say hello, and then slide into the background, keeping everything a little lighter, tighter, and airier than they would have been otherwise. Epic.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.04/5  rDev -4%
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.

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Like a caterpillar on its back warmed by the sun, Raul is feelin' this. Now, the main man just had a few Newman's Own organic prunes (it's all about staying regular, my peeps) and the transition into this bad boy was like Bob Barker on a Price is Right Model - smooooth perfection!

Not that the main man is intimidated by a Barley Wine, but when Raul first sees the words he thinks of some Knights of the Templar kind of shit. Rest assured, this thang was smoother than Princess Laura of Locksly, while the pumpkin spice was balanced well and added a glorious texture like Rumpelstiltskin spinning Beyonce's latest weave.

Is Raul feeling this? Yes he is, my children. Yes he is.

Photo of VashonGuy
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%

This is a unique beer. Classified as a barleywine, but hey, it's tart! Is it a sour? No, not really, but it's definitely got a tart character. Is it a pumpkin ale? No, not really. The pumpkin is part of the show, but in a supporting role at most.

Half of this ale mixture was aged in rye and brandy barrels, and you can pick up that barrel aged character, but again, it's not the dominant note.

This beer is pretty spicy. It's got a thinnish mouthfeel. Nice appearance, with a good head up front. Color is amber. Aroma has the pumpkin and the barrel aging and the spices. And did I mention that it's a little tart? The 12% ABV is hidden to a remarkable extent - beware!

Really a remarkable creation by the folks at Farm to Barrel. In 2013, this was one of my two most favorite pumpkin beers, and in 2014, it's at the top of the charts again!

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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac Beer Co.
94 out of 100 based on 766 ratings.