Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout | Rock Art Brewery

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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout

Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"A big stout brewed in the colonial fashion with large amounts of pumpkins and spruce tips added to the kettle for flavor and bittering qualities. The pumpkins compliment the malt flavors, and were used to add sugars to the mash. What ever you do, do not think this is going to taste like pumpkin pie. 50 IBUs."

Added by Brad007 on 09-11-2009

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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 201
Photo of vfgccp
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A –Nice ruby brown body. Light tan head is creamy with great retention and ok lace.

S – Brown sugar, chocolate malt, fruit cake, woody bitters and a hint of light coffee.

T – Roasted malt with just a touch of smoke. Tree bark, molasses, and a kiss of fresh pumpkin through the center. Char and pine on the backend.

M – Light body for the style, but not unpleasant. More porter than stout.

O – Light on the pumpkin, but over the profile is fresh and piney with a well integrated profile. Tastes almost like a wet-hop stout.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a Stella glass. Picked this up in VT during Thanksgiving weekend. Never seen it down here in MA, so I figured it was time to try it out.

Appearance: The beer poured a one finger mocha head. Pitch black and can't really notice anything else at all. Head has reduced to a thin layer with some lacing left on the glass.

Smell: A lot of coffee, mocha, and alcohol on the nose. Smells dry and spicy.

Taste: Same as above, but I could notice the spruce tips, earthiness,and pumpkin in the rear of the sip very subtlely. Also some bitterness towards the end. Spruce tips do a good job of masking the alcohol. This beer tastes better as it gets warmer.

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, smooth, full bodied, a little dry and boozy, and easy to drink.

Overall: This was a very interesting take on the style. With the subtleness of the pumpkin and the addition of the spruce tips to the kettle, this beer was better than I expected. Very scarily good and will have to grab a bottle next time in VT.

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Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An opaque black brown color with a decent tan cover that settles to a film with similar trail of sketchy lacing. The aroma embraces the subtle spruce idea as advertized. Some skunky, earthy seaweed malt. Nice but not overpowering. The flavor comes out with plenty of spruce hopiness as promised. It’s malty with herbal subtleties over a bit of charcoal but the spruce description is true to form with minty-like freshness. This stuff is about full bodied with balanced carbonation to provide a drinkable, very uniquely tasty beer, although the pumpkin element is not obvious to me.

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Photo of ikats
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark ruby with a wonderful brown head that dissolves slowly (some time in and there is still noticeable head). Aroma is a bit difficult to analyze (my sense of smell is terrible to begin with). Roasted notes. Maybe a bit of sweetness. There is a hoppy component there too. At first taste this beer hit me pretty good. Any sweetness in the aroma is relegated to the background and this beer is all about dryness. Very dry with a touch of bitterness in the back and a touch of sweetness on the lips. As you drink it, the beer feels smooth, but dry aftertaste may not be pleasing to everybody. Personally, I'm enjoying it. My first thought - ice cream (I have a weak spot for stouts with vanilla ice cream). I think it would play nicely off this stout's dryness. Medium body. Somewhat warming.

I will not be reaching out for this beer often, but on a winter day it will be delicious with a dessert. My mom and dad brought me this beer from their trip to Vermont (I only mention it because I always enjoy when people bring me beer as souvenirs).

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black body beneath the foamy, mocha head that very slowly dissolves leaving a thick lacing clinging to the glass.

The visual versus the aroma confuses the senses a bit. Upon first examination, the aroma is of roasted malt traditional of an Imperial Stout. Upon closer review, there is a woody spice to this beer from the spruce, and then the pumpkin comes out a bit too.

After the roasted malt coats the palate, the pumpkin is quite apparent. Not only is the pumpkin flesh easy to decipher, but the woody notes from the spruce could also seem similar to pumpkin seeds or even stem. The wood and spice aspects are more prevalent mid-palate while the pumpkin flesh highlights the finish.

Medium in body (light for an Imperial Stout) with medium carbonation and fairly smooth finish.

This is a tough beer to evaluate. I think I can see what Rock Art was going for and they did a pretty good job. The blend of roasted malt, wood, and spice are nice in the aroma and the pumpkin flesh does well with the malt in the flavor. If anything, it could be a bit fuller in body. A craft beer brain and senses are not used to this type of beer with this blend of qualities. One could argue the brewer got a bit too crazy, or that given what they chose to work with, got it just right.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout pours black into the glass with a medium sized, light tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thick ring around the surface leaving behind several spots and lines of lace on the glass.

The aroma is malty with notes of coffee and roasted malt. Pine and pepper notes are also present.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is highly carbonated, with a creamy body. The flavor begins with dark malt flavors with roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. Towards the end some pine and citrus hop move in. It finishes dry with a touch of spice. Once gone the pine and chocolate notes linger on the palate.

The pine flavor makes this beer interesting. It has nice stout flavor, but is somewhat over carbonated.

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Photo of jonB
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an opaque brown with a mocha head that dissipates somewhat quickly. The smell is sweet malts with hints of brown sugar and piney hops. The taste has plenty of malt, which gives it a full mouthfeel and finishes with subtle hoppiness. It finishes dry and even with no hint of alcohol. A very well balanced beer that is great to sip. Not at all what you would expect with pumpkin in the name, but a very nice surprise.

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Photo of oline73
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours almost black but it is a reddish brown when held up to the light. There is just under a finger of off white head that goes away completely.

Smell: Roasty with some pine and a hint of sweet, dark fruit.

Taste: I don't think all the flavors work together in this beer. There is a strong bitterness that comes from the roast and some pine as well. There is a slight hint of citrus peel in this one too. I'm missing the pumpkin. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very mild carbonation and a finish that is a bit slick.

Overall: I wasn't in love with this beer. I don't think everything worked together and didn't really taste pumpkin.

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Photo of philbe311
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A finger and a half worth of tightly packed slightly creamy medium khaki colored head with a bit of a batter-like top... Modest retention gives ay to a full but slightly lopsided veil of lacing... The color is a deep dark brown... Only a couple of stray carbonation bubbles can be seen rising on the sides of the glass towards the top...

S - Fairly subdued... The spruce notes are rather muted... Some notes of molasses... Very lightly roasted malts... The pumpkin is quite subtle and buried beneath the surface... Very faint chocolate notes...

T - The spruce tips assert themselves on the palette and provide a surprising bitterness... Some lightly roasted malts... Very faint coffee notes...

M - Medium bodied... A bit thin... A light bit of sharp carbonation... A slightly awkward finish that tends to linger for a while...

D - While I didn't expect a blast of pumpkin, as many have said, it is almost completely absent... The spruce tips provide a unique flavor which prove to be a bit challenging... The mouthfeel really detracts from this one overall... Far from a drain pour, but not one I would neither recommend nor purchase again...

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Photo of stonermouse
2.94/5  rDev -19%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Drank over about an hour, so had it cool through room temp.

Pours cola-brown, with a head that vanishes quickly. Low carbonation and no lacing at all. Looks like a flat RC Cola.

Aroma is decent, if nondescript. A little coffee comes through, along with, believe it or not, a little cola-like smell. Not quite the overwhelming wallop I expected from an "extreme" beer.

I expected big flavor, and I didn't get it. This is pretty mellow all around. There's a bit of chocolate and coffee, but pretty generic, mild flavors. The advertised pumpkin flavor pretty much didn't exist, and there was a touch of pine, earthiness, and a bit of plain hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is rather dry and thin. Finishes with a bitter and mildly unpleasant dryness.

Not sure what to say about this one. It's a fairly average stout advertised as an "extreme," imperial-type stout. Nothing about this brew is extreme. It's not an offensive brew, but it offers only slightly more than a Guiness in a fancier bottle.

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Photo of Doshkin
2.98/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a - very dark almost black amber. decent head that dissipated quickly

s - some spicy, hoppy smells. not too strong

t - fair amount of hops for what i expected. bitter. no pumpkin taste at all. this was kind of a weak, hoppy stout

m - bubbly, smooth, spiced

o - this is not very "extreme", as claimed very blatantly across the label. i guess the one good thing about it is that it masks the 8% pretty well. i didn't find this beer particularly impressive in any way. i won't buy it again. would not pick it as a beer to hang out and relax with, and i definitely not drink more than a bottle of it. too bad a got a big bottle to come to these realizations : P

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Photo of rfgetz
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lightly chalky near black with minimal cap of brown head. Scent is a mix of roasted dark malts, chocolate and pine resin. Taste brings lots of chocolate to the front, spruce and pine resin and seasonal spice in the rear, lingering sweetness at the end. Medium bodied, chalky and grainy on the palate. Odd combination of flavors doesn't overpower and is good enough for a 12oz serving or so, just wish there was some pumpkin in there.

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Photo of DCon
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received a 22 fl oz bottle in a trade w/ LarryG, not sure the estimated price, & shared w/ GeoffTheAleMan. Poured from the Bright Orange bottle with words like "EXTREME", VERMONT, & Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout in Black into a 16oz Samuel Adams Imperial Pint Glass. Does not have a freshness date.

Aroma- VERY strong chocolate aroma with tons of roasted malts. Can sense this is going to be a very strong stout but Spruce?!?! Nothing to do with the season or any type of pumpkin beer so far.

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger, dark brown head that stays and keeps bubbles around. Has a dark brown and mighty viscous body. Leaves thick lacing behind.

Flavor- Strong malts and chocolate once again! Roasty and very great! No pumpkin/spruce once again... Light bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, and leaves a bit of booziness on the palate.

Overall Impression- Imperial Stout & Spruce OR pumpkin can't be mixed... I was wondering how they were going to feed in Pumpkin or the Spruce characteristics and they didn't... Weak for a pumpkin style but for an Imperial Stout, great! I had to rate this one accordingly (could have been a B or higher, but when they say its a "Spruce Stout", this must be included!). Thanks for the interesting one LarryG!

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Photo of AshleyMiller
2.5/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a-translucent dark mahogany with a very limited head that dissipates quickly.

s-very little here. some pine, slight hops, very lacking

t-much like the smell, the taste leaves something to be desired here. no hints of pumpkin, spice, malt. only bitter pines and the slightest hint of coffee, maybe.

m-light, opposite of what i was expecting from a pumpkin imperial stout.

o-very disappointing. the first rock art i've had that i haven't enjoyed. was looking forward to kicking back and enjoying it on a cold, rainy vermont day. it didn't bring me the warmth and fall flavor i hoped for. perhaps it was a bad batch, and i'm certainly willing to give rock art the benefit of the doubt on this one.

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Photo of angelogarcia3
2.87/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

As many of you know, I love stout beers. However, I've run into my first stout beer that I was disappointed with. Rock Art's Imperial pumpkin spruce stout is that beer. A very translucent black color indicates it's weakness in body. A very thin head also tells you not much in carbonation or body. The taste is of burnt coffee with a hint of pine. Moderate bitterness which lingers afterwards.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a pretty nice looking stout. The color was black and have a pretty good sized head on it. The lacing was minimal and the head faded after a little while. The smell of the beer was pretty decent, There was some light elements of spruce in there but mostly some aromas of pumpkin spice and roasted malts. The taste didn't have too much pumpkin flavor to it or spruce, it seems a little light on both of those qualities. However, the stout itself is pretty tasty, the dark malts and everything really taste good in this stout. The mouthfeel was nice, had some good body to it and a nice dry feel in the end. Overall this beer is good but I feel like it could have been way better.

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Photo of birchstick
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours dark color with hints of reddish orange around the edges; not much of a head to speak of

S - smells chocolaty with hints of vanilla and some bitter pine (spruce?). No pumpkin in the nose.

T - Starts with roasty, bitter coffee and mocha. This moves on to a nice sprucy bitterness that is slightly held in check by the burnt malt / coffee flavors and some bitter dark chocolate. There are some very subtle spices on the end, plus I am getting a dry mouthefeel, so I assume this is the pumpkin portion of the beer.

M - super creamy and smooth and finishes dry

D - Well, I was definitely expecting something else out of this when first got it. This was more a of double stout with spruce tips added than anything. However, it was tasty...just wish the pumpkin that was so prominently advertised in the name was there.

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Photo of fo5s
2.68/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

22oz bottle into a tumbler. No bottle dating, but this is new this year and I got it off the shelf just after thanksgiving.

Pours the deepest brown - not quite black here. Creamy 2-finger head suggests healthy carbonation.

Smell isn't surprising, typically nose of an imperial stout crossed with some zing, which I'm assuming is from the spruce tips. Not sure what to make of them - not spicy, not overpowering, but different.

Yikes, this is all over the place. Pumpkin is hardly noticeable (bottle disclaims that this won't taste like a pumpkin pie, but that's fitting for many pumpkin ales) behind a full palate of sprucy confusion. It's tough to distinguish how the base imperial stout is, but coming out of rock art I assume it's solid. Spruce taste lingers through the aftertase...

Actually feels great on the tongue. Carbonation is done well, livelier than I would have expected, but you couldn't go light on it with the strong spruce flavors to work with.

Drinkability? Not so much. Man I wish I had someone to split this bomber with me. The spruce becomes overpowering, almost repulsive by the end of the bottle.

Don't get me wrong, I like what rock art did here, and I'm a huge fan of the brewery in general. After being unsuccessful in tracking this one down, I finally stumbled across a bottle...and was deeply disappointed. This is more of a concept beer than a drinkable representation of the style. I likely won't revisit until rock art revises the recipe, but I do think this one has good potential if the balance is done right. (Note, I also recognize I'm off consensus here).

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch, opaque black with a 1/4 toffee colored creamy head. Carbonation is light to minimal. (from what I can see)

S - Coffee, bitter chocolate, chicory, and the pine and pumpkin I'm not detecting at all.

T - Bitter sweet chocolate and cocoa up front with some coffee and chicory blended in, dry deep roasted malt, bready with breadcrust and a "massive" pine attack on the tail end. This rates up there as one of the more bitter stouts I've ever had and I'm loving it! The IBU's are rated at 50 and it's coming through far more bitter. After a few sips the alcohol presents some warming in the throat. Where's the pumpkin in this beer? Not getting it anywhere but it doesn't matter, what is coming through is very enjoyable.

M - Thick, heavy body, and the hops bite the tongue a little bit.

D - Very good.

I picked up one bottle of this a few months ago just to try it because I didn't know what to expect. I'm now wishing I purchased several bottles or even a case of this beer. Nicely brewed and a fabulous sipper from a tulip glass.

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Photo of smcolw
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dense, beige head that leaves a solid ring of lace after each sip. Dark brown color with a the faintest of light coming through.

Dry cocoa aroma--Lightly chalky. I cannot detect any pumpkin or spruce to the nose. This simply smells like an appealing stout.

This is a very good, dry stout on its own. In fact, I don't pick up any pumpkin or spruce. As an "Imperial Stout", this one is pretty mild--I don't taste alcohol warmth or over-the-top burnt malts. The swallow and aftertaste has plenty of mocha and some peppery hop bitterness.

Okay, it isn't what I was expecting, but it is still a very solid stout.

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Photo of stakem
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes taken on 9/26/10.

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass and shared with a friend who was insistent I pick this one up to try. It appears a dark brown color with lighter brown around the edges. A finger of tan head appears and retains fairly well. Spotty lace clings to the glass.

Aroma is dark sweet malts almost like molasses mixed with a bit of citrus and some other spices. Some fresh grainy character mixed with alcohol is noticed in the background.

The taste of this brew is bitter upfront from a combination of dark grains and the flavor of the spruce. The overall grainy, dark roasted flavor is quite bitter but a bit watery in the feel. The bitterness lasts long into the aftertaste. Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall not bad but honestly not pickin up on any of the pumpkin contribution, not even the typical pumpkin pie spices. If you buy this brew expecting an imperial stout you will be let down. I believe the only "imperial" aspect of this brew is the amount of spruce used. Not quite a stout, not quite a pumpkin ale.

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Photo of bbenvenuti
3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into my dfh sifter. Grabbed this bottle from a random country store near my parents house in Barre VT. Beer pours a dark color as expected. I didn't get a overwhelming pumpkin smell from this beer but I definitely got a hint of the spruce. I am not a huge stout guy but I enjoyed this beer. It was not overly heavy but drank very smooth. Rock art is typically my beer of choice during VT visits. Good quality and a great price. I would definitely grab a bomber of this beer each year to drink once.

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Photo of silentjay
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours almost black with a fluffy khaki colored head that only raises to one finger, but retains well and laces well.

very faint aroma even from my tulip glass. after sticking my nose into the foam, i get some chocolate, vanilla, dark roasted malts. would like a bit more aroma, and where is the pumpkin and/or spruce?

flavor is much nicer with plenty of chocolate, pumpkin (not pumpkin pie spice!), a lot of bitterness from a generous hopping and the spruce contributes a good amount as well. dark roasted malts are there adding some roasted coffee, brown sugar, and black molasses.

pretty full mouthfeel with just a bit too much carbonation and some bitterness left to linger a while.

drinks pretty damn well. is easily one of the best pumpkin beers I have had, but rating it as an Imperial Stout puts it against tough competition and deflates the scores a tad.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber from Beverage Warehouse, Winooski VT, $3.99. Rock Art is always a bargain. No dating. Served cold in a chilled pint glass. I had this on draft once before but didn't take notes.

Dark as night dark brown brew gives an inch of creamy tan head that leaves good lace and settles to a thick stable layer. Smell has dark dry aspects from roasted barley/malt, a bit of candy sweetness, some mild piney hop, but overall is a bit mild. Mouthfeel is very thick and viscous, smooth and heavy with mild carbonation that cuts through just barely enough. It has a minty kind of feel that cools the mouth and tongue (from the spruce?)... very unique and interesting. Taste is a good thick malt body with a moderate level of dark malt, but is balanced well with other stuff so it isn't biting or astringent. Some light caramel sweetness, thick and bready backbone, and the awesome cool minty sprucey feel. The cool feel balances the thickness, making for a highly drinkable brew. Simply awesome, I love it.

No obvious sign of pumpkin, but it is likely contributing to the thick body. Hops are also subdued, likely play a subliminal supporting role to the dark malts and minty zing. I reallly really like this, the unique spruce/mint feel is crazy cool.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.41/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 8.0% ABV, 50 IBU, no date.

Thanks to Thorpe429 for another pumpkin beer!

A - Clear on the pour and totally black in the glass, this stout is topped by a bold, three-finger head. Fantastic retention and some thick lace make it a sexy looking stout.

S - It predominantly smells of roasted malts with subtleties of coffee and dark chocolate which makes this much more of a stout than anything else. Spruce is almost absent from the nose while pumpkin is missing all together. Aroma is a bit thin for a double.

T - Rich roasted malt mirrors the aroma with a hefty helping of dark chocolate and low coffee notes. The spruce is much stronger in the flavor but I still don't get any pumpkin in this.

M - Rich and full-bodied, it's a bit thicker than the aroma makes it out to be. It's very smooth but the light spruce seems to aid in bringing out this light solvent alcohol finish. There's a low bitterness that seems to be a roasted malt and hop combo.

D - Another pumpkin stout let-down to be brutally honest. I picked up no pumpkin in this at all. It should have been one or the other in the brew, not both additions. As a spruce stout it's good, but it's called Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout. Reasonably drinkable for a strong stout.

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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout from Rock Art Brewery
3.63 out of 5 based on 201 ratings.
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