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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine - Almanac Beer Co.

Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

355 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 355
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.84%


Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
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.

(Beer added by: Rollzroyce21 on 08-02-2013)
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Ratings: 355 | Reviews: 49 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BrotherDylan
BrotherDylan

California

4.99/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best Pumpkin beers of all time. Not cloying at all with perfect pumpkin to beer balance.

The time and effort put in to roasting to perfection 500 pounds of Pumpkins then mashing them to get so much flavor without causing an overly thick and syrupy mouthfeel that pumpkins can cause sometimes is a testament to the passion and effort put into this beer. It takes a skilled and dedicated brewer to make a perfect barrel aged Barleywine then blend it with another perfect fresh pumpkin beer. The extra time brewing a pumpkin beer and aging a Barleywine in brandy barrels really paid off.

T: perfect kiss of brandy with a slight balanced oakyness and a pervasive pumpkin flavor dancing on a stage of spices. Cinnamon galore... nutmeg and clove are the supporting cast. A truly perfect beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2013 08:13:32 | More by BrotherDylan
Photo of HoppingAlong
HoppingAlong

California

4.91/5  rDev +15%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2013 02:43:49 | More by HoppingAlong
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.83/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2013 15:25:48 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jvillefan
jvillefan

California

4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2013 20:33:38 | More by jvillefan
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp

New York

4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Autumn leave 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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2013 02:19:46 | More by vfgccp
Photo of beepill
beepill

California

4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-13-2013 21:55:23 | More by beepill
Photo of Igotmypistola
Igotmypistola

California

4.71/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | 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.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2013 22:57:27 | More by Igotmypistola
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero

Texas

4.66/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2014 02:26:49 | More by elNopalero
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy

Florida

4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
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. Slick palate but surprisingly light bodied, low to medium carbonation. This is as unique as it gets, and pretty amazing.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2013 21:41:09 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver

California

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 04:59:09 | More by SHODriver
Photo of notchucknorris
notchucknorris

California

4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2013 21:59:30 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of DovaliHops
DovaliHops

California

4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost clear, reddish amber color with a small, off-white head that goes down quickly. Scent is OUT OF THIS WORLD! So inviting...smells absolutely delicious. Fresh pumpkin pie and sweet Thanksgiving spices...nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice. The amount of pumpkin that shines through the aroma of this beer is ridiculous! Hefty amount of Brandy as well, but doesn't smell like it's going to be too hot. Taste is just as it smells. Magnificent. Sweet brandy and barrel characteristics up front, immediately followed by the Thanksgiving/Autumn spices. Sweet pumpkin pie and cinnamon. Lovely, boozy brandy flavors. Reminds me of a pumkin loaf I had one time that was made with Brandy. Oh man, I don't see it getting any better than this when it comes to pumpkin beers. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and slightly sticky. Drinkability is high. Overall, this may just be the best pumpkin beer I've ever had. It's absolutely delicious! I know this beer has great reviews, but I GUARANTEE you...once this beer catches the beer nerd buzz...it will be the most sought-after pumpkin beer out there. Spot on in every way.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2013 07:49:15 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
CommanderOfAwesome

California

4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a wonderful burnt caramel orange color with a nice 1.5 finger head. Deep amberish color.

S: Nice pumpkin aroma, pumpkin pie spices, I can almost smell the crust. Getting some nice vanilla notes which I attribute to the barrel.

T: Oh yes, thank god. As a midwest/East Coast transplant now living on the west coast; this beer is a FUCKING god send. Pumpkin beers on the west coast completely suck ass, and when you try and talk to people about pumpkin beers they roll their eyes and act like you're asking them about Keystone. Pumpkin and spice meld in perfect harmony with the spice playing very very well with the barrel. Pumpkin, spice, caramel malts, vanilla, and crusty breadyness this delivers.

M: Medium full bodied with the spice dancing on your tongue. Slight alcohol warming as it goes down.

O: Thank god for a decent pumpkin beer on the west coast, too bad its $11 for a 12 oz. This beer is awesome and I would reccomend to ppl looking for a pumpkin beer, or a new beer experience as the barleywine aspect of it is interesting.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2013 04:18:25 | More by CommanderOfAwesome
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received in a trade, Batch 1. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice crystal clear dark deep well, rusty pumpkin hue with a thin half finger head that faded quickly to leave a thin cloud and light halo.

S - Aromas of a fair amount of pumpkin, toffee, caramel, malts, faint booze. Not much brandy.

T - Taste is malty sweetness, caramel, pumpkin pie filling. Very soft and subtle brandy notes, next to no alcohol. I'm hard pressed to call this a barleywine. Blindfold me and I'd think this was an awesomely tasty pumpkin ale. The brandy is so soft here and balanced so wonderfully with the pumpkin. The spice notes are light too so this never feels like a fake pumpkin beer, or, a super spiced winter warmer-esc pumpkin ale. The lingering aftertaste of pumpkin is good. Just awesome, tastes like a pumpkin pie with a few splashes of brandy in the filling.

M - Mouthfeel is quite impressive. Lightly carbonated, smooth, rich. I know its a double digit ABV its there in the warming factor, but it is sure hidden very, very well.

O - Overall, this one was tough. I really dont think it smelled or drank like a barleywine. Was far too easy drinking for the ABV. The pumpkin and brandy are balanced out exquisitely. Wish I had another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 01:01:46 | More by rudzud
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 22:51:31 | More by oberon
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 11.26.13
Bottled Autumn 2013

A - Pours a murky, light brown with a small yellow-tan head that moves to the edges quickly.

S -Spices, pumpkin, bourbon.

T - Fall spices, pumpkin, and nice bourbon base.

D - Heavier body with lower carbonation.

O - Great and different mix of flavors. Great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 05:50:13 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of mxchap
mxchap

California

4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark copper color with rich orange/red hues. No lacing and thin head with little retention. [3.75]
Aroma: Pumpkin spice and pie. Rich dance between esters / fusel. The brandy is noticeable, but blends together with the pumpkin. A hint of vanilla. [4.25]
Taste: Pumpkin and brandy. Raisin and toffee from the malts. These are the flavors that are noticeable; however, this beer is very complex and there is a lot going on under the hood. Noticeable bitterness as it warms up. [4.5]
Feel: Carbonation is spot on. It is a little bit "chewy", but for being 12% alcohol surprisingly light. Similar to the scaldis amber effect. [4.25]
Overall: The best pumpkin beer I have tried. You can tell there is a great barrel-aged barleywine in there too. The pumpkin just brings it to a whole new level. It's a little boozy, but should mellow out beautifully with time. [4.50]

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 18:42:02 | More by mxchap
Photo of JohnG190
JohnG190

New York

4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely copper with a thin, off white head that dissipates quickly. Decent lacing. Brandy hits the nose front and center, followed by dark fruit, molasses, and faint vanilla notes. The taste is amazing - raisins, roasted pumpkin, malt that finishes with vanilla and brandy. Layered and complex. Some alcohol warming. Finishes sweet and boozy. Creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. Overall, this is a dessert in a glass. Extremely well crafted, it's the perfect accompaniment to a cool autumn evening.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2013 22:05:44 | More by JohnG190
Photo of zhanson88
zhanson88

California

4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper color. Low to moderate carbonation is apparent. About 1/2" of off white head forms, which has pretty nice retention characteristics. Good remaining head after the head reduces, and decent lacing.

Smell: Toasted malts, toasted pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc... all of the usual pumpkin pie spice suspects. Not much barrel or brandy characteristics noted, but it doesn't retract for me. Really nice scents here.

Taste: Rich toasted pumpkin, a bit of toffee sweetness, as well as significant spice character. Again, not getting a lot of barrel here. Perhaps a bit of brandy character, but that's it.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Body on this beer is about medium, maybe slightly less. Carbonation is moderate. Back end and finish is a bit dry which seems misplaced. All in all mouthfeel is okay though. Overall, I was definitely a fan of this beer. One of the best pumpkin beers I've had. Very rich flavors and no glaring weaknesses. Make an effort to try this if you can. Probably the best pumpkin beer that I have had to date.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 04:36:59 | More by zhanson88
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

as complex as a pumpkin beer can probably be. blended pumpkin barleywine and spiced ale aged in brandy barrels, its incredible. runny looking orange hued copper liquid without a ton of head but a lot of stature, patient looking and confident in personality. a nose of sweet English and American barley malt on the caramel/toffee spectrum, lots of fall spice, musty oak, black pepper, alcohol, and pumpkin pie notes. the flavor is all of those things, the heat and silk from the brandy comes through, definitely an after dinner type of beer here. the alcoholic strength is intense as it warms up, but it stays somehow soft and mellow in feel, even with a lot of body. spice and sweet go back and forth on the finish, the pumpkin itself is in the background throughout, never really dominating, but always contributing a sweet squashy flavor. without much carbonation it feels almost like a liqueur, and it drinks a lot like one. perfectly appropriate Halloween night beer, like no other! clever and superbly executed, I need to try more from these guys.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2013 21:04:33 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2013 03:07:41 | More by ehammond1
Photo of EliotRosewater
EliotRosewater

California

4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2013 03:03:57 | More by EliotRosewater
Photo of rlee1390
rlee1390

Indiana

4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Ruby red in the glass with a one finger head and some carbonation.

S-Caramel and malt of barleywine. Then comes the pumpkin and spices. Rounded out with oak and brandy notes.

T-Starts with caramel and rather malty. Good deal of oak and brandy as well. Ends with pumpkin and spice. Well balanced.

M-Medium bodied, tad velvety, nice carbonation.

O-Wow. A great take on a pumpkin beer. They brandy went nicely and the barleywine base was a great touch.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 01:12:10 | More by rlee1390
Photo of kevanb
kevanb

Illinois

4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle, Autumn 2013, poured into an Almanac Beer Co stemmed glass.

The beer pours a fairly murky brown color, much like a deep amber or dark burgundy, hues of reds, oranges and golds appear around the edges when struck by the light. A wispy layer of thick sediment forms at the bottle of the glass and a large, fluffy, khaki head rises about 2-3 fingers high with moderate retention and leaves a wonderful trail of sticky lace. The aroma is really smooth, sweet and rich pumpkin, pleasant brandy, soft grain undertones with a warm and welcoming spice bill that really pops at the back end. The pumpkin is muted and the brandy and grain stand out well, but the spicing is perfectly integrated. Only a touch of fusel alcohol, to be expected at 12%, is present, but really only after the beer warms. The flavors are in line, lots of rich malt and sugary brandy, pumpkin is more subtle and plays nicely with some dark fruits and caramel, brown sugar leads the way when the spice comes out with some nutmeg and cinnamon flavors that are well layered and balanced. The mouthfeel is nice, carbonation is low and the beer is quite smooth and rich. The finish is soft but warm from the alcohol, with just a light zip from the carbonation that I wasn't expecting.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this, a creative and innovative take on a pumpkin beer. The brandy barrel works wonderfully and the spicing is executed extremely well. It's still a dominantly sweet beer, but one of the better pumpkin beers I've had to date, and one of the better barrel aged barleywines at that matter.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2014 02:03:56 | More by kevanb
Photo of Rollzroyce21
Rollzroyce21

California

4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 1
375 mL bottle poured into Lost Abbey teku on 1-Aug-13

Loads of roasted pumpkins in the aroma with cinnamon spice, caramel, vanilla, with hints of toffee and nutmeg. Smell a bit of booze as well.

Taste follows the nose with the first thing to hit you with is the pumpkin pie with vanilla a la mode. I thought Pumking tasted like pumpkin pie, but this one's much closer to the actual pie due to the nice spice levels and the creamy, velvety texture. I have to attribute this to the brandy barrel, though it didn't have much of an earthy barrel presence.

The only drawback was the heat that meddled with the flavors. Letting the glass sit to near room temperatures helped a bit. I'm definitely seeking out another bottle and let it sit. I'm going to assume the age will work favorably for the balance of alcohol and flavors. I just hope it doesn't lose that pumpkin and spice because it was perfect.

This has the potential to be one of the best pumpkin ales out there, if not the best. I prefer this over Pumking and other pumpkin ales I've tried because of the texture and the brandy presence. I'm done with summer... bring on the Thanksgiving feast!

NOTE: I've yet to try Schlafly's pumpkin ale, which I've heard good things about.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2013 06:06:30 | More by Rollzroyce21
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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac Beer Co.
95 out of 100 based on 355 ratings.