Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine | Almanac Beer Co.

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Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Fall

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.

Added by Rollzroyce21 on 08-02-2013

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Reviews: 113 | Ratings: 812
Photo of tclipse
1/5  rDev -76.1%

My bottle was completely infected and as sour as their Dogpatch or Farmer's Reserve bottles.... not a good match with pumpkin and spice. I love Almanac's sours, but this wasn't supposed to be one of them.... 1/5 review given for the quality control issue.

I will edit this if I am able to try it again, but as I am on the east coast, that is not likely, and I am really disappointed.

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Photo of devilfluff
2.5/5  rDev -40.3%
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 bierdeflanders
3.37/5  rDev -19.6%
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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Photo of kojevergas
3.46/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | 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-

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Photo of spacecake9
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in the Fall of 2014 and in my cellar for a year.
A - Pours a dark orange/brown color with a small head that settles to a ring quickly.
S - The aroma is pumpkin with a hint of sour.
T - Flavor is very much like the nose. Nice pumpkin flavor with a tart finish. The alcohol is not noticeable.
M - Medium body and carbonation.
O - I really liked the idea of a boozy barrel aged pumpkin barleywine but what I got was more of a tart pumpkin ale. Not bad but I would not buy again. On the other hand, if you like sours this may be perfect for you.

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Photo of MenardMa
3.51/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

As a couple other reviews have mentioned, my bottle was pretty sour which I didn't really expect. Still tastes decent but not at all what I was anticipating. Mine tastes a bit like a tart white wine with pumpkin pie spices.

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Photo of Mightykingmalard
3.72/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: creamy off white head that burns off very slowly. Has a distinctly orange color, a little red in there. Mostly translucent and has a fair amount of cloudiness.

S: at first smell, it smells strong of a sour. Definitely has some pumpkin in it.

T: tastes like a cross between a Belgian and a sour. Has a maltiness that is like a barleywine, but doesn't have much other similarity to a barleywine.

M: not a bad feel, but it's Belgian feel leaves a little too much sugar on the tongue.

O: there is a lot here for people that like sours and Belgians (more Belgian than sour, to be honest) but I am unfortunately not a fan of either. It is pretty balanced. This unfortunately is not my thing, but I can tell why a lot of people would like it, so I didn't too harshly dock it.

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Photo of cherche
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

l: amber in color, with about 1 finger of khaki colored head. decent retention.
s: spicy, not in a jalapeno way, in a cinnamon, pumpkin spice way. for the abv there is very little detection of alcohol on the nose.
t: taste is a little more mild than expected given the smell. still has a spicy, zesty flavor but less pronounced and more prominence of the pumpkin and fruitiness .
f: feels pretty heavy on the tongue with average carbonation
o: overall a very enjoyable beer but it just doesnt have a distinguishable characteristic that separates the good beers from my the great beers. it is sort of a pumpkin spice beer, sort of a barleywine...definitely mild for the abv. worth a try but not one i will seek out or pay the almanac premium for again.

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Photo of Brabander
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I am not really a pumpkin ale man so this one was my cup of tea. Decent head and nice lacing, no carbonation. Slight sourness and the barrel is far away noticable.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into a taster.

Appearance - Deep orange. Decent white head.

Smell - Brandy is strong. I think I actually smell the pumpkin. Lots of caramel.

Taste - Spiced caramel malt. Sweet with a nice brandy flavor. Oaky in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Hefty sugar content. A little boozy.

Overall - Good but not amazing.

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Photo of Damian
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 12.68 fl.oz. (375ml) bottle purchased at Royal Liquor, Encinitas, CA
Bottled Autumn 2014
Served in a snifter

Deep, dark, orangey-amber appearance. The liquid was capped by a finger tall crop of bubbly, khaki colored foam that left odd shaped droplets along the glass. The head quickly fell to a frothy, lasting ring of bubbles.

The aroma was interesting and rather surprising. It contained strong yet not overwhelming pumpkin pie spice notes. Nutmeg dominated. Some clove and allspice were also apparent. Touch of caramel malts and brown sugar-like sweetness. There was a bit of a vegetal quality as well. Some crisp, tart, lemony notes were detectable in the background. If I had to guess the base beer, I might say a saison but definitely not a barkeywine.

The flavor was malty and spicy but not quite as pumpkin ale-like as the nose. Pie spice notes were present but they seemed a bit muddled. Good amount of caramelized malts. Touch of brown sugar sweetness. Some vegetal notes appeared on the back end. The beer finished with lots of crisp, citric tartness. This reminded me a bit of a spiced wild ale. At 12% ABV, the alcohol was surprisingly nowhere to be found.

The mouthfeel creamy and soft and contained a finely beaded effervescence. In terms of body, however, the beer was disappointingly thin for the style.

Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine is a really interesting hybrid pumpkin beer. Aside from the lackluster mouthfeel, the steep price point and the fact that the barrels play absolutely no role in the flavor or aroma, this is still worth a try. Perhaps a fresher bottle would showcase more pumpkin and spice notes and less tartness.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.84/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Tulip glass.

A: Pours a burnt red color with some light tan head, streaks of lacing, with decent retention and above average clarity.

S: Huge, rich, savory pumpkin and brandy, a little supporting oak, and Thanksgiving spices. The brandy is actually prominent here, unlike quite a few brandy BA beers, and works in concert with the pumpkin.

T: Big, rich flavor of pumpkin, spice, a little booze and hint of brandy (much less so than on the nose). Drier than I would have expected, with kind of a diet cola-type flavor on the finish.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation.

O: A decent, but not exceptional, BA pumpkin beer. I liked Rumpkin substantially more, both in terms of balance and flavor.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Consumed 3/10/16

A: Medium amber with some dark copper and burnt orange - hazy, with some clarity around the edges - medium, light beige head, fades to a wispy cap, leaves some streaks of lacing

S: A lot of brandy, with some sharp grape, wood, and barrel - lots of heat, but it melds with the other flavors as this reaches room temperature - nice amount of pumpkin under the brandy, with pumpkin flesh and squash - pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice - big malt base, with some cooked malts, caramelized malts, caramel, molasses, and toffee - some sweetness

T: Pumpkin pie soaked in brandy - brandy flavors dominate, with wood and alcohol - malty, with cooked grains, cooked malts, caramelized malts, dark bread, toffee, molasses, straight-up caramel sweetness - nice amount of pumpkin, with some squashy pumpkin flesh, pumpkin pie filling, pumpkin pie spices - finishes with some earthiness and more heat

M: On the full side of medium, medium carbonation, smooth with some lingering alcohol heat

O: A pumpkin barleywine helps me cope with this lousy Smarch weather

I probably should have drank this in the fall. But today could pass for the late fall. Rainy, cold, ominous. This is truly a sipper. I should also note that this was borderline awful when I first poured it. But once it warmed up, it became good.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
3.86/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Dark golden transparent orange/pumpkin color. Medium lacing ring with some legs on it when I tip the glass. Minimal head on top.

S- I get a autumn harvest whiff as I take this brew in. Definite pumpkin present, but not overwhelming. Malty, roasty tofee, caramels.

T- Malt, caramel, pumpkin. This barleywine is a different take on barleywines I think because of how tame it is in barleywine flavor with notes of pumpkin filing in.

M- Medium body for this style. Above average carbonation follows down the throat.

O- A well done barleywine that would trend my taste buds toward barleywines and not away from them.

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Photo of fox227
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The aroma is generally pumpkin pie spice. The flavor kicks things up a bit with tart cherry, the aforementioned pie spice, oak, and birch. The carbonation is lively but not over done. The mouthfeel is medium, and I don't detect very much of the 12% alcohol by volume. It is mostly covered up by a pervasive tartness. The beer is blended from different batches, one in a Rye Whiskey barrel, and one in brandy. This is further blended into a fresh, non barrel aged beer, which mellows out the proceedings. I would be more curious as to what a 100% barrel aged version would offer, as the beer is crying out for more balance with other flavors. I do not get the rye whiskey aspect, and I'm not a brandy drinker so I can only imagine the impact. I feel that a robust burnt caramel bourbon flavor would really round out this beer into something special, but as it is, it's good, if not remarkable.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got in a trade with RaulMondesi. 375 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 8/4/2014. Pours hazy dark orange/copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of tart cherry, pumpkin, green apple, caramel, brown sugar, toast, red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, oak, leather, vinegar, light vanilla, and oak/spice earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, spices, and oak barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big tart cherry, pumpkin, green apple, caramel, brown sugar, toast, red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, oak, leather, vinegar, light vanilla, and oak/spice earthiness. Fair amount of earthy spiciness and fruity tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of cherry, pumpkin, green apple, caramel, brown sugar, toast, red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, oak, leather, vinegar, and oak/spice earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, spices, and oak barrel flavors; with a good malt/spice/tartness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and fairly creamy/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice pumpkin beer. I obviously got an infected bottle; but it still turned out very tasty with balanced malt, spice, and barrel flavors with the tart/fruity yeast notes. A very enjoyable offering even with the infection.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured ruby, brown, and cloudy with an off white head. Smells like tart pumpkin with notes of caramel and brandy. Has a nice boozy aroma. The taste follows the smell with the tart pumpkin and spices early and the caramel and brandy at the end with a nice sour bitter finish. Nice medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of LloydDobler
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter.

Hazy orange pour with an eggshell white head. Lots of sediment floating around in the glass. This is my first go-round with Almanac so didn't know what to expect. I love all the thanksgiving day aroma here, but not getting the sweetness of a typical barleywine. The taste threw me for a loop. Tangy pumpkin up front with a sweet finish. Nutmeg and cinnamon are present the whole way through. At first the tart was off putting but it grew on me. Not sure if this was the intention of the brewer, but this is a nice change of pace for me.

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Photo of stakem
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to BA anotherjoe for the hookup on this. 375ml poured into a tulip. The brew appears a hazy amber brown with a rich tan cap more than a finger strong that holds very well for the strength of the abv. Thick patchy lace hangs on the glass. When held to the light, orange to yellow coloration is seen around the edges.

The nose is big with vegetative pumpkin that blends into a pie-like spiciness of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and burnt sugar to molasses. More smells reveal some fruity quality from the alcohol that really starts to evolve as it warms up. Some vanilla, caramel and mild oaky quality is the last scents noted.

Taste is huge and boozy. Solvent alcohol blends in with some raisony rum character, oak, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and ginger. A hint of fruity alcohok and molasses, faint caramel with a solid backing of bitter herbal hops. While the vegetative pumpkin character was well included in the aromatics, it fails in flavor in lieu of alcohol and spice additions.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with modest carbonation. A huge sipper that caught me offguard with my first sip. Enjoyable and complex but a real kick in the pants. If I had a chance at another bottle of this, I would probably tuck it away and forget anout it until next year. It is quite boozy but rounded enough to be enjoyed now if you dont mind the alcohol burn.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to eyebereej for sending this! Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 375 mL bottle into a Russian River snifter glass.

A: Pours a hazy, pumpkin-pie-filling brown. A thin white head forms but quickly fades, and it has a good amount of large bubble visible carbonation.

S: Caramel and toffee malts. Nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet and boozy and pumpkiny. A nice and complex aroma, though maybe not a personal favorite.

T: Toffee and sweet malts, pumpkin and brandy. The cinnamon and nutmeg mix with the booze and ethanol heat. There are some raisins and dark fruit as well as mild woody tannins. It finishes with sweet malts, alcohol and residual pumpkin.

M: Full-bodied with a sticky mouthfeel. The alcohol is obvious but never hits that excessive level. Fairly low carbonation sensation.

O: This had the hallmarks of everything I don't prefer in a beer, but I actually found it pretty pleasant to drink. Well-planned, well-executed. It's nothing that I'd choose to drink frequently, but definitely good if you're in the right mood.

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Photo of beergoot
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The body exhibits a murky, pumpkin-orange/brown color; dense, creamy, frothy head. Spicy pumpkin aroma; cinnamon, coriander, orange. Mild sour flavor underlies a likewise mild caramel and pumpkin taste; brown sugar; tart and phenolic; tannic. Medium-heavy body; creamy and smooth; dry, puckering mouthfeel.

You don't notice any alcohol or boozy character to this offering. What does stand out in a unique manner is the pumpkin-related flavors and the brandy barrel aging that adds a wine-like character to things. Overall, I like this although it wouldn't be my go-to example for a pumpkin ale, but if you've had lots of pumpkin ales and either are tired of them or want to explore a new twist on the style, then this beer is well-worth checking out.

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Photo of TheCuriograph
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours an opaque rosy amber with a fleeting rocky head.

S - The nose is strangely barnyard, with crisp cider notes and musty dried hay. It’s grassy and sweet, with notes of kiwi and unripe apple. A bit wild without being funky, there’s not actually a dominant pumpkin-spice smell.

T - Tartness isn’t as pronounced in the taste as the nose would suggest. Rather, you get malted mealiness and oak (though little whisky) and, at last, the pumpkin and spice. There’s cinnamon, cloves, pepper, but also lemon zest, pear and fuji apple.

M - Quite lightweight and dry for its ABV.

Most pumpkin beers taste like pumpkin pie filling, while Almanac’s is reminiscent of a gourd cut open straight form the patch. As delicate and bright as Heirloom Pumpkin is, I’m not sure it’ll unseat Pumking as my preferred pumpkin ale. Almanac’s beer is brighter, tarter, and dewier. It’s also higher in ABV by nearly half. A tasty diversion, not a seasonal staple.

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Photo of ronricorossi
4/5  rDev -4.5%

bottle from Beer Rev in Oakland - pumpkin spice flavors are well done. It's heavy, but it's not overly think or syrupy like some barleywines can get. Body and carbonation levels are spot on. Really nice. Recommended.

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

375 ml bottle poured into my cycle tulip.

A: Deep burnt orange color. A small off white head appears then fades to a thin rim. Good retention, but little lace.

A: Sweet candi sugar, earthy pumpkin, and brandy booziness. The flavors meld well in the nose, but I am a bit concerned with how sweet this may be.

T: the brandy and the sweet candi sugar take over the taste. The base pumpkin takes a back seat. It starts off sweet, boozy in the middle, and finishes rather dry. I get a typicall barley wine flavor profile, ie, sugary and hoppy. Not a bad thing, I just wish more of the pumpkin ame through.

M: Full body with good levels of carbonation. Probably the best aspect of this beer.

O: Again, I am a huge fan of originality in beer, and this one sure dosent disappoint in that category. It is pretty sweet, but has a very interesting flavor profile. I have another one of these, and will probably sit on it till at least thanksgiving. Cheers.

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Photo of impending
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75


375 into my most pumpkin shaped snifter. Pours a deep walnut caramel, crystal clear, minor toffee head, minor lacing. stunning when an inch remains

The scent is a delight.
Undoubtedly pumpkin
Undoubtedly spiced
Undoubtedly brandy barrel aged
smells sticky sweet, no alcohol of measure

Explosive flavor powered by a strong solvent alcohol punch
there is a lot of delicious subtleties here but the alcohol unnecessarily mutes them
long burn in the aftertaste, especially at room temp when it peaks in goodness
again, pumpkin & spices
full bodied dull lifeless mouthfeel

this brew is too soon but will be fantastic in a year, wish that year had been in the barrel

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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac Beer Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 812 ratings.
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