Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine | Almanac Beer Co.

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Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine
813 Ratings
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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Ratings: 813 |  Reviews: 115
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of jaydoc
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one at his place.

Bottled Autumn 2013.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, pumpkin pie, canned pumpkin, spices, and brandy aromas. Taste is much the same with pumpkin pie and brandy flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with an awesome pumpkin pie presence that is especially apparent in the aroma.

 633 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 1,052 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

 1,197 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy yellowish amber in color. It poured with nearly a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving only wispy lacing covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of sourness and pumpkins are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is a little sour and has notes of pumpkins and spices in the flavors. Hints of whiskey are also perceptible.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather drinkable for a 12% abv beer as it hides its alcohol very well. I liked how it wasn't dominated by flavors of pumpkins or pumpkin spices.

Serving type: bottle

 697 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -16.9%
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

 3,496 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Skye for this one! :thumbup:

Body was a bright coppery orange, with a compact layer of off-white foam on the surface. Minimal spotty lacing, nice clarity.

Aroma was nice, fairly complex with pumpkin spices and an undercurrent of sweet brandy warmth.

Taste was similarly complex with boozy barrel elements upfront, sticky toffee and vanilla, with pumpkin spices of nutmeg and clove in the periphery. Full bodied and sticky, we split this 4 ways and that was enough, though i'd try it again if I saw it. Unique use of pumpkin for sure.

 548 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of brentk56
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Autumn 2013

Appearance: A hard pour produces a rocky two inch head that leaves some patchy lace; the liquid is a muddy tea brown color

Smell: Buttered Rum, pumpkin, Brandy and caramel dominant; subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg

Taste: The buttered Rum and caramel flavors lay down a sweet backbone, with the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg spices building in the middle; after the swallow, the Brandy barrel adds another layer of flavor; there is an oddly metallic tone in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet, though not as much as would be expected given the ABV

Overall: A really different take on a pumpkin beer with great complexity and nice balance

Thanks, c64person, for the opportunity

 765 characters

Photo of LXIXME
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Medium sized light tan head just sort of sits above a thick cloudy burnt caramel colored barleywine.

Very light pumpkin pie aroma with its spices and all.

Light pumpkin pie taste, almost have to wait and think about it, I like when the fruits or vegetables beers have a underplayed taste of what they are trying to bring out.

Light dryish aftertaste with just a hint of the beers tastes remaining behind with this medium bodied beer.

I really liked that fact the the higher alcohol level of this barleywine doesn't interfere with its taste or aroma. Well done and very drinkable.

 583 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

 1,655 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 981 characters

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Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 813 ratings
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