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Gritty McDuff's Halloween Ale - Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Gritty McDuff's Halloween AleGritty McDuff's Halloween Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

272 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 272
Reviews: 182
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.26%
Wants: 12
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Every fall marks the return of our legendary Extra Special Bitter for the season, Halloween Ale – the beer so good, it's scary! From its humble beginnings in 1990 as a small-batch seasonal in our Portland Brew Pub, Halloween Ale has grown to be one of the year's most anticipated beer releases. This robust brew has a deep amber color, a bold, malty palate and a well-rounded hop finish. The perfect beer for a crisp autumn day!

(Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 08-29-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 272 | Reviews: 182 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BuckSpin:
Photo of BuckSpin
BuckSpin

Maine

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22oz bottle in a Shaker pint

BAside: FYI - The 22oz Halloween Ales are actually brewed by Gritty's at their Freeport brewpub. The 12oz are contract brewed by Shipyard. So be warned....

Poured slow, thick, silent & viscous. Deep, almost lush nose, rich & sweet. Brown sugar, dried stone fruits (cherry), caramel/corn syrup, really high quality leather. It feels like you could fall into it, strong with atmosphere, like an old house. With a little bloom some faint butterscotch emerges, finally becoming overall lighter with a dried fruit quality. Head was a thin blanket of very loose latte hued foam that faded almost immediately into a transparent sheen of a floater with an delicate edge ring. Color is striking, a radiant, crystal clear cherry mahogany, warm & rich, like an antique sideboard that's been cared for & passed down for generations. Some isolated bubbles rise zombie-like, slowly, no hurry, thru the abyss. Too bad there is no head on this beauty....perhaps that is how they got the idea for the "Headless Bartender" label?

Ahhhh...after a few sips create some room an aggressive, vertical re-pour creates a solid 2 finger's of tight, sticky, lightly snapping foam that has some descent retention and laces like torn drapery in the windows of that abandoned house at the edge of the neighborhood that the kids won't go near. This is much, much prettier to look at!

A nice, creamy balance initially, it starts off lightly sweet, full & wet, but then shifts into a more bittersweet, semi-dry feel. The taste is eventually more bitter than sweet (although some distant brown sugar & dried cherry add an echo of sweetness), but its a tough call as it walks that line very well. The caramelized malts are burnt & add to the bitter nature & dry mouth-feel. Hops are round with a slightly citric (orange) quality to them. They add both that citrus sweetness initially and then bitterness as it warms. Typically any balance is immediately noticeable, but this almost teeter-totter balance from tongue to palate is, to me, atypical yet rather enjoyable.

There is not much transition from this bittersweet aspect/feel as it hits the palate, finishing sweeter with burnt caramel, a little drier, leaving more bitter than sweet with a woolen, slightly chewy, tannic aftertaste that films over my tongue and is slightly unpleasant, to be honest.

A nice beer that has 2 gears. I liked the shift from initial taste to palate, but didn't particularly care for what transpired after that. It wasn't bad at all, just not particularly good. Simple pub fare like burgers, deli sandwiches, etc, are the rule here, or maybe some nice Cheddar. I'd certainly drink it again, but wouldn't stock up on it. Just like the holiday its named after, its definitely fun once a year. Check out the 22oz bottles before, like a ghost, they disappear....

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2007 02:30:27 | More by BuckSpin
More User Reviews:
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Maine

1.5/5  rDev -60.2%

06-27-2014 20:08:33 | More by PressFastF0rward
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02-24-2014 03:04:39 | More by TheBigBoy
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3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From Notes on 10-17-13, On-Tap at the brewpub.

A - Clear dark orange amber with half a finger of white head, no lacing.
S - Some light candied pumpkin, touch of caramel malt.
T - Sweet and sugary at first, light on the pumpkin flavor, a lot of peppery spice at the end.
M - Light bitterness and a tad soapy which is weird.
O - Mediocre at best, lacks character and pumpkin flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2014 16:22:10 | More by Omnium
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Goldndomer

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -20.4%

02-09-2014 22:40:14 | More by Goldndomer
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3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

01-04-2014 19:19:31 | More by swierczt
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3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

12-28-2013 06:52:12 | More by theoceantakesme
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chefhatt

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3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I poured this beer into a glass and it has a reddish color body with a very small head to it. The smell has a malty, carmel taste. The taste is kinda sweet and malty, a little velvety, on the back of the tongue i get a little bitterness. The mouthfeel is oily smooth and overall is a ok beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 20:50:52 | More by chefhatt
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Cheld

Maine

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

12-18-2013 14:10:40 | More by Cheld
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Maine

4/5  rDev +6.1%

12-07-2013 21:05:30 | More by Crumpetsnbeer
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11-21-2013 02:28:15 | More by BeerMeister8
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MikeG304

New York

4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Nice amber color and creamy head with decent lacing.
Sweet, malty aroma with a hint of hops. Nice nose overall.

From the first time I had it(I get some every year when I go to Maine) I always described the flavor as kind of buttery, with caramel in there too, which hits you towards the end.

The mouthfeel is almost,to me, oily smooth, to go along with the buttery taste.

This is one of my favorite, non stout/porter beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2013 21:12:21 | More by MikeG304
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11-18-2013 16:16:41 | More by MGodduclan5
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3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

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11-12-2013 21:42:06 | More by JKV96
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VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a clear reddish copper color. Thin, off white head. Lots of droopy lacing

S-Really nice nose that is stylistically accurate. Tea-like hops and a big caramel covered apple aroma. Mostly sweet. Decadent.

T-Apples and overly steeped tea. Caramel and hard toffee candies. A bit of spicy hoppiness.

M-A bit sticky and the carbonation is a little soft. It still drinks easy enough,

O/D-Really gotta respect their Fall seasonal is an ESB. I think more brewers should experiment with this style. Enjoyable beer and it's been around for quite a whole too. Surprised it's taken me this long to try.

Serving type: bottle

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scotorum

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the colorful 12 oz. bottle into a Harpoon IPA glass

a: Clear dark red/brown amber, finger high offwhite head receded to thin surface foam and almost no lacing.

s: Caramel malt

t: Rich caramel malt forward with what they say is hops, but seems a bit different in that there is an unusual sharpness rather than mere bitterness involved.

m: Moderate, good body, hops(?) tingling on the tongue is not carbonation, which seems light.

o: Great caramel malt base is run down a bit by the sharpness of the hops. Still a fine dinner or holiday brew when you want something slightly different but still basically very English.

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New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

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11-01-2013 02:54:37 | More by Dburke
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Gritty McDuff's Halloween Ale from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 272 ratings.