Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine
Almanac Beer Co.

Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine
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Style:
American Barleywine
ABV:
12%
Score:
94
Avg:
4.23 | pDev: 10.64%
Reviews:
117
Ratings:
815
From:
Almanac Beer Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  146
Gots
  128
SCORE
94
Outstanding
Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine
Notes: 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: 117 | Ratings: 815
Reviews by kojevergas:
Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

"50% ale brewed with pumpkins aged in brandy barrels. 50% ale brewed with spices." 375ml brown glass bottle with appealing printed-on label art and real style as well as a branded pry-off cap acquired at a local SoCal bottle shop for $10.99 USD and served into a flared stem-snifter/tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are somewhat high given the brewery, which all things considered has put out mostly mediocrity save for 3 or 4 good sours.

Served cold, straight from me freezer, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of white/light khaki colour. Good thickness; decent creaminess. Light uneven lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is good considering the ABV - about 4 minutes.

Body colour is a semitransparent translucent glowing amber-red. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Average vibrance.

Looks interesting for a barleywine, but it's not unique or special. No overt flaws are immediately obvious.

Sm: Lovely pumpkin gourd. Caramel, allspice, rosemary, brown sugar, nutmeg, sage, maybe a biteen of clove. Clean biscuity malts and barley. Not getting any brandy notes at all. A pleasant aroma of above average strength. No yeast, hop character, or alcohol is detectable. Looking forward to trying it.

T: Well integrated pumpkin gourd is complemented beautifully by a subtle spicy character including notes of allspice, rosemary, and nutmeg. Brown sugar evens out the body alongside clean biscuit malts and clean barley. It does have some hints of pumpkin pie, but gourd is really the dominant pumpkin note. I don't get much in terms of brandy; maybe a vague red wine-like tone? Nice caramel. Frankly, I'm shocked at how well this hides its ABV. Drinks like it's maybe 8%. Well balanced and built. A delightfully unique take on the barleywine style; I applaud the innovation and execution. A lovely brew for the fall, though limited in its complexity and subtlety.

Constructively, I will say the barrel aging seems poorly handled; the brandy adds little that's noticeable. I don't get any yeasty or hoppy notes.

Flavour duration, depth, and intensity are all above average. I like this beer quite a bit.

Mf: Full-bodied. Smooth and wet. Unrefreshing. Slightly overcarbonated. Poignant thickness. It's a good approachable texture overall for the style, and complements the flavour profile well.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable - especially so for the unnoticeable high ABV. I'd recommend this to friends; it's a great take on a barleywine and is apt for its intended season. Maybe we could get the release date right next time? A solid brew from Almanac that shows they're not a one trick pony only able to brew good sours. I look forward to seeing how this brewery develops; clearly they've got some talent and are turning things around from the mediocrity of their early days. It's a good beer, but I don't know that it's necessarily worth its hefty pricetag. If they could just fix that issue, I'd be more than willing to get it again. Solid stuff.

High B-

***
09.26.17: found a 2013 vintage lurking in my cellar.

The brandy sets off the pumpkin gourd and spices wonderfully, emphasizing nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, and allspice.

More barrel aged pumpkin ale than barleywine, though, and the texture is a bit coarse.

High B- / WORTHY

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to rudzud for sharing. Batch 1

Pours a bit if a fluffy fizzy bubbly head covering, nice lacing, hazy auburn reddish murky sediment color.

Nose brings vegetal gourd, pumpkin flesh, little pumpkin pie and mild bready crust dough malt, mild brandy and barrel notes, nice pumpkin pie filling and spices, toffee candy.

Taste is super sweet, candy galore, malty sweet with reddish toffee caramel malts, sweet syrupy candy and just a hint of booze. Nice pumpkin, little vegetal, into mild pumpkin pie filling with mild pie spices, nice candy toffee and caramel, faint biscuit pie crust, mild brandy notes, apple brandy cinnamon schnapps, tasty. Finish is sticky syrupy toffee caramel apple cinnamon candy and pumpkin pie, mild bitterness and spices lingering, pretty bitter.

Mouth is med bod, syrupy, decent but lighter carb, hint of booze.

Overall pretty interesting, nice beer, nice pumpkin, nice spices, nice barrel and brandy, but just too sweet syrupy and candy like.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.84/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of mxchap
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
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]

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Photo of jmdellafave
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of TheBaumer
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Matty123
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of kscaldef
2/5  rDev -52.7%

Photo of Dicers
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of boudeysbigbrew
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of freemanj
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of devilfluff
2.5/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sour. This bottle was clearly infected. The beer behind the unwanted intrusion had potential, but I can't rate it on hopes. The bottle wasn't so far gone as to be undrinkable, but a sad fate for a beer I had high hopes for.

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Houser
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of garrettboatman
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Mineo
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of anteater
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bierdeflanders
3.37/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

S: spices, sweet, toffee

A: brown with an orange hue, slight translucency about a finger off-white head

T: holiday spice (cinnamon, nutmeg), toffee, lots of brandy notes

M: medium body, lots of carbonation for a barleywine

O: pretty drinkable barleywine, the 12% abv is masked nicely with the sweetness from the pumpkin and the brandy.

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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 815 ratings