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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine - Almanac Beer Co.

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Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

104 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 104
Hads: 776
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 147
Gots: 151 | FT: 24
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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Reviews: 104 | Hads: 776
Photo of HoppingAlong
4.91/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Thank you to Dave from Distiller's Outlet for grabbing me this extra bottle out of his stash.

This is easily not only one of the best pumpkin beers on the market, it is also one of the best barley wines on the market as well. This is autumn in a glass.

A: The appearance is a nice orangish, reddish color, with a nice amount of lacing around the glass.

S: I am not sure there is a beer out there that smells quite like this. Pumpkin, sage, cinnamon, even a little bit of cumin and coriander-- the nose is wonderful. Just a bit of nose from the brandy and a tad burnt bourbon-- but absolutely divine.

T: A thorough blend of pumpkin, brandy, spice, the mouth is equal to the taste. While it is a little hot on the back end, as this does come in at nearly 13%, some time in a cellar would produce an amazingly smooth finish. As it is now, however, all of the elements of a good barley wine are here, with just a fabulous mouthful of pumpkin pie.

M: Lacking just a bit on the carbonation. It doesn't, however, take away from the experience.

O: As mentioned above, this is another fabulous beer from Almanac. While I have an affection for other pumpkin beers, this one is leagues above the competition. I bought a couple of bottles of this to cellar, although I am not sure that they will make it though the coming fall season. (1,329 characters)

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.87/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The Pumking just lost his crown. The brandy barrel adds some delightfully sweet characteristics to this beer. This beer is somewhat expensive, but worth the money for the drinking experience. (191 characters)

Photo of CraftFan5
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
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. (772 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (1,197 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Autumn leaves-brown body. Fine, bone white head sits low with ok-to-low retention and lace.

S - Unbelievably fresh pumpkin nose loaded with nutmeg, pie dough, and fresh cinnamon.

T - Outstanding. Warm booze opens the door for fresh nutty pumpkin, toasted pie crust, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, caramel, allspice, brown sugar. Fantastic, dry backend is loaded with fresh pumpkin flavor.

M - Smooth, medium-full frame with an edge of spice and boozy warmth.

O - Starting from a barleywine base for this pumpkin brew is absolutely genius. Hands down one of the best pumpkin beers I've haver had. (597 characters)

Photo of jvillefan
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: A golden orange body with an ivory white laced head. The body is very clear with no cloudiness.

S: Roasted pumpkin is the first thing that comes off. Cinnamon and other spices follow. It then transitions into a sweet caramel aroma. It finishes with a sweet brandy aroma.

T: Among the best "pumpkin beers" out there. It tastes like fall should. There are pumpkin pie spice flavors of clove, cinnamon, and vanilla. The pumpkin comes up next but is not overpowering. The malty body is throughout and is a rich caramel and toffee flavor. The brandy comes up on the end and acts as a nice finish to an amazing beer.

M: A little light but great mouth feel and great carbonation.

O: This is the best "pumpkin beer" out there. It beats Unita Oak Jacked, Epic Fermentation without representation, Schafly, and Pumking. I am waiting to try Good Gourd but I believe that is the only pumpkin beer that has a chance a being better then this one. (940 characters)

Photo of Impfan
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Beautiful balance of pumpkin, pumpkin spice, rye barrel, and brandy barrel. All the ingredients are very soft and natural tasting, and the barrel influence is paradoxically very present, and yet subtle and nuanced. Unlike even the better pumpkin ales I've enjoyed, this one is blissfully devoid of that perfumy, over-spiced character, and is redolent of real gourd goodness. Wow! (380 characters)

Photo of beepill
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
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. (1,317 characters)

Photo of Ancalagon
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
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. (327 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours an amber grapefruit color. It glows, with a thin layer of foam. I get a distinct pumpkin aroma—clearly reminiscent of roasted, steamed pumpkins rather than any sort of holiday spicing dominating. The flavor has a definitive bitterness, with pumpkin and pine in contrast. Freakin’ fantastic as a barleywine—and as a pumpkin beer. (345 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (941 characters)

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%

2014 RELEASE
Purchased Sept 2014 from Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido Ca

V: Pours murky, the color of auburn hair with an off-white head to about one-finger with aggressive pour. The head lingers and holds stubbornly, leaving a thin lacing as the beer is consumed. (4.15)

S: Roasted vegetable on the scent, somewhere between well-roasted pumpkin and carrot with spice, cloves in particular but not overbearing. It does not smell like a pumpkin pie, but if you have ever made one from scratch, it smells somewhat like the mixture of pumpkin and spices before you place it into the crust for cooking. (4.6)

T Not far off the nose at all! Spice is there but not front-and-center, it is really the pumpkin that is predominant. The allspice/clove is noticeable but does not carry the flavor alone. I am truly amazing that the 12% ABV is so well hidden... this beer could be trouble in that regard ;)
Goes down so easy even with the unusual and strong taste of roasted pumpkin, sugars and spices. I would also like to note that the warmer this beer got, the better it tasted. Aftertaste was a caramelized pumpkin, resting brightly on the tongue. (4.8)

M: Thick and slick, silky smooth. Coasting the tongue luxuriously, the mouth feel is absolutely perfect and complimentary to the taste. (5.0)

I was completely surprised by this offering. So spectacularly made, I have tried many pumpkin beers that, out of respect to the makers, I did not review as I was disappointed greatly. This is the first pumpkin beer that excited me enough to want to seek out to have more. I intend on buying and cellaring. (1,610 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%

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. (902 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%

a: a hazy murky dark brown color with a hint of light purple matte. not much head to speak of, but that to be expected from a 12%

s: pumpkins, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, caramel. smoothly fades into some definite brandy notes along with a hint of wood and some more sweet sugar

t: the flavor profile in here is truly unique. you can feel the flavors transiting inside your mouth after the first sip. pumpkins up front with a hint of ginger. that fades into a nice pumpkin pie flavor, which definitely includes some nice spices and a bunch of clove. there is a nice pie crust flavor that follows which includes more of those spices. this finishes with the barrels. brandy for sure in here, but not in a way that it dominates the flavor - its more of an afterthought and then you pick up the alcohol in here; yes there is some, but helps cut some of the sweet

m: its on the fuller side of medium. medium carbonation

o: truly complex flavor profile in this beer, that really put a smile on my face. all i will say is if you are a lover of pumpkin beers, give this one a try (1,085 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Stone beer garden. Pours a deep clear orange with barely any white head and some nice lacing. Aroma of massive pumpkins, caramel malts, and some nice cinnamon and nutmeg that is there but not overpowering the aroma. Flavor is sweet up front, big pumpkin flavors, caramel malts, some cinnamon and nutmeg spice on the finish that keeps this from being extremely sweet. I assume the sweetness comes from the brandy barrels. Really nice lingering finish of vanilla whipped cream, almost like they planned it this way like a spoonful on top of my pumpkin pie. Slick palate but surprisingly light bodied, low to medium carbonation. This is as unique as it gets, and pretty amazing. (685 characters)

Photo of MrMoose916
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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. (624 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a nice deep brown with a half finger of light tan head that fades to a small pool and collar around the glass
S: smells of some pumpkin pie spices, caramel, and some barrel notes
T: taste is some spice, pumpkin, brandy, caramel, slight piney and citrusy hops, and some more sweetness. swallow is more pumpkin, spices, a bit of alcohol and brandy.
M: smooth and full on the palate with soft carbonation and a neutral finish that leans toward drying
O: Truly an outstanding beer. This beer is complex, smooth and all the flavors work so well together. Almanac may be one of the best breweries that most people haven't heard of. (634 characters)

Photo of coloradopumpkinbeerfreak
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Boozy on the nose with aromatics of cinnamon, nutmeg, oak, pumpkin sweetness. Beautiful deep orange hues with good lacing when poured in a snifter. taste I am hit with initial sweetness as well as some nice spice, and then it moves into the warmth and brandy notes and syrupy mouthfeel. I love this beer. I found Almanac at GABF and was very lucky to snag this bottle. No rye detected. Great beer. (404 characters)

Photo of _RL_
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Oh my. This is delicious. A good deal more nuance than most pumpkin beers and much less sweetness and in-your-face buttery or sweet pumpkin flavor than Pumking or Schlafly's Pumpkin beer. Extremely smooth and drinkable - not at all a sipping beer despite the 12% abv. I agree with an earlier review that the flavor and aroma is unique. Just outstanding. (353 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

The beer comes in a rich dark orange amber.

The aroma hits of deep and bold pumpkin that is not covered too aggressively by the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. There's a big caramel sugary and maple syrup sweetness in there as well.

The flavor follows with a pop of cinnamon and nutmeg, surrounded by sweet pumpkin. Vanilla from the barrel shines through along with the brandy sweetness. There's then a sweetness of toffee and maple syrup. On the back palate, the barleywine comes through and offers a light woody bitterness to balance out the beer.

One of the best pumpkin beers I've ever had. Highly recommended for those unable to get Good Gourd Almighty. (662 characters)

Photo of i4ourgot
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Great beer I get a little scared when it comes to fruit or vegetable beers. I am not a fan of a beer with a overpowering dominant flavor. This beer pours with little to no head, a little lighter in color than maple syrup. Very light in carbonation but the body is rich. Lots of caramel flavors and fruity raisin/ fig. This beer is sweet but not overly sweet. Lots of different caramel flavors come out. Some oak vanilla and whiskey flavors are present as well. I really enjoyed this beer and the barrel ageing really does wonders for this beer. (546 characters)

Photo of trippytbta
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Bottle poured into tulip

A: Pours amber brown with tiny off white head

S: sweet carmel pumpkin

T: As it warms up it is perfect alcoholic pumpkin pie

M: full to medium bodied

Overall: Pumpkin barleywine, such an epic style, and Almanac does this perfectly. (261 characters)

Photo of theholygose
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Appearance - dark hazy orange/brown with a neat head

Aroma - carmely/buttery pumpkin, spice, brown sugar. Smells amazing.

Taste - lots of spice upfront, mellows out with a ton of malt and clear crisp and sweet pumpkin, caramel from the malts in the background.

Mouthfeel - full and heavy but not abrasive. Light carbonation and low acidity.

Overall - a fantastic brew, well worth the usual Almanac price for this different experience (437 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep chestnut color with a reddish tinge around the edges. A small light brown head.

S: I don't get pumpkin pie as much as I do roasted pumpkin. A slightly bitter, vegetal smell to it, but it's definitely pure pumpkin. A good amount of sweetness in there in the form of toasted brown sugar, brandy, cinnamon and some clove. I'm really digging this smell, Doesn't have the pumpkin pie extract-like smell that a lot of pumpkin beers have.

T: A nice blend of pumpkin flesh and spicy sweetness. Hints of pumpkin pie, nutmeg, cinnamon. Definitely more of a pumpkin nut loaf flavor than pumpkin pie flavor. The brandy is there, but it's really an afterthought, which I kind of like because I'm not what you would call the biggest brandy fan. Really well done. (766 characters)

Photo of Igotmypistola
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Yes it is august, and yes it's 95 degrees outside, but eff it. i'll see if i can get into it. Let's transport myself to fall.

Pours a stunner of a barleywine. Beautiful dark hues, orange-red-deeeep brown. And already i can smell the pumpkin. WOW. This thing smells UNbelievable. Just super rich and full. This is no pumpkin out of a can. This is a carmelized over an open flame kind of pumpkin. The kind that invites you to curl up next to your lady next to a campfire. absolutely fantastic. The taste is just the same. exactly how it smells. just rich and supple. Just the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice. perfect pairing. tastes like a boozy pumpkin pie.. hands down the best pumpkin 'anything' ive had.

i had this for dessert and it was on point! i can't say enough about these new farm to barrel beers from almanac. another winner. (841 characters)

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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac Beer Co.
94 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.