Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine
Almanac Beer Co.

Heirloom Pumpkin BarleywineHeirloom Pumpkin Barleywine
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American Barleywine
4.23 | pDev: 10.64%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
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
Photo of jbaker67
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reddish caramel, dark, moderate foamy sandy head, nice lacing. Spicy nose, lots of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Soft alcohol and what smells like the advertised Brandy. Spices aren’t as strong on the tongue. Instead its a rich malty and candied toffee background. Barrel aging is noticeable, and compliments the beer well. Very smooth, balanced, not over done with spices, warming, a bit chewy at times. Moderate to full body and mouthfeel.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2013)

Texas Liquor
Carlsbad, CA

Clear copper. Minimal head, but very appropriate for the style. Somewhat sticky. Leaves an oily sheen down the glass.

Exceptional aroma for the style. Good amounts of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving spices combine, but the caramel, brandy, and mild wood notes are not lost. Complete and exactly what this treatment should model.

The flavor is quite similar to the aroma. Low bitterness, good amounts of pumpkin pie spices, some definite gourd/pumpkin character, caramel, toffee, yam, bread, and brandy. Incredibly drinkable. Alcohol is hidden well enough.

Medium to near full in body with lower carbonation. Very appropriate for the style.

Delicious. I had no trouble finishing this bottle and would have continued drinking more if I could.

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Photo of Gtreid
4/5  rDev -5.4%
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 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 CommanderOfAwesome
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a wonderful burnt caramel orange color with a nice 1.5 finger head. Deep amberish color.

S: Nice pumpkin aroma, pumpkin pie spices, I can almost smell the crust. Getting some nice vanilla notes which I attribute to the barrel.

T: Oh yes, thank god. As a midwest/East Coast transplant now living on the west coast; this beer is a FUCKING god send. Pumpkin beers on the west coast completely suck ass, and when you try and talk to people about pumpkin beers they roll their eyes and act like you're asking them about Keystone. Pumpkin and spice meld in perfect harmony with the spice playing very very well with the barrel. Pumpkin, spice, caramel malts, vanilla, and crusty breadyness this delivers.

M: Medium full bodied with the spice dancing on your tongue. Slight alcohol warming as it goes down.

O: Thank god for a decent pumpkin beer on the west coast, too bad its $11 for a 12 oz. This beer is awesome and I would reccomend to ppl looking for a pumpkin beer, or a new beer experience as the barleywine aspect of it is interesting.

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Photo of jvillefan
4.77/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: A golden orange body with an ivory white laced head. The body is very clear with no cloudiness.

S: Roasted pumpkin is the first thing that comes off. Cinnamon and other spices follow. It then transitions into a sweet caramel aroma. It finishes with a sweet brandy aroma.

T: Among the best "pumpkin beers" out there. It tastes like fall should. There are pumpkin pie spice flavors of clove, cinnamon, and vanilla. The pumpkin comes up next but is not overpowering. The malty body is throughout and is a rich caramel and toffee flavor. The brandy comes up on the end and acts as a nice finish to an amazing beer.

M: A little light but great mouth feel and great carbonation.

O: This is the best "pumpkin beer" out there. It beats Unita Oak Jacked, Epic Fermentation without representation, Schafly, and Pumking. I am waiting to try Good Gourd but I believe that is the only pumpkin beer that has a chance a being better then this one.

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Photo of EliotRosewater
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a gorgeous burnt orange, copper color with about a finger of head. Looks like Fall.

S - big whiff of caramel, little bit of molasses, bourbon, oak. Pumpkin pie is a pretty good description - nutmeg, allspice maybe a little cinnamon in there. Caramelized notes are the most predominant.

T - very pleasant bourbon flavor to go along with all the sweetness. Nice to have all the bourbon flavor with none of the boozy burn. Pumpkin and spice comes out as the beer opens up.

M - decent effervescence. Not as much of a lingering finish as I was expecting or hoping. Medium body.

O - the nose on this thing is absolutely incredible. It drinks very nice with a big bourbon and caramel profile with pumpkin on the back end. Another phenomenal beer from Almanac.

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Photo of HoppingAlong
4.91/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Thank you to Dave from Distiller's Outlet for grabbing me this extra bottle out of his stash.

This is easily not only one of the best pumpkin beers on the market, it is also one of the best barley wines on the market as well. This is autumn in a glass.

A: The appearance is a nice orangish, reddish color, with a nice amount of lacing around the glass.

S: I am not sure there is a beer out there that smells quite like this. Pumpkin, sage, cinnamon, even a little bit of cumin and coriander-- the nose is wonderful. Just a bit of nose from the brandy and a tad burnt bourbon-- but absolutely divine.

T: A thorough blend of pumpkin, brandy, spice, the mouth is equal to the taste. While it is a little hot on the back end, as this does come in at nearly 13%, some time in a cellar would produce an amazingly smooth finish. As it is now, however, all of the elements of a good barley wine are here, with just a fabulous mouthful of pumpkin pie.

M: Lacking just a bit on the carbonation. It doesn't, however, take away from the experience.

O: As mentioned above, this is another fabulous beer from Almanac. While I have an affection for other pumpkin beers, this one is leagues above the competition. I bought a couple of bottles of this to cellar, although I am not sure that they will make it though the coming fall season.

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Photo of beepill
4.73/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at City Beer Store on 8/9/13. Poured into snifter glass. Reviewed from notes taken on my phone.

A - Deep orange-brown color. Cloudy, opaque. Thin head but lasted throughout the session. Decent lacing along the way.

S - Wow. Intense pumpkin pie and oak-aged brandy. The smell makes me want to gobble it up immediately. Spiciness of the pumpkin pie variety. Sweet smells coming from roasted pumpkin, caramel, and butter cookies.

T - Tastes just like it smells. I love the almost perfect balance of pumpkin and oak-aged brandy that permeates throughout. A great power punch of those two dominating flavors. Can definitely taste a spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sweet ginger. I know the flavor is more complex, but the initial taste is awesome nonetheless.

M - Decent level of carbonation that allows you to really feel like your drinking a slice of pumpkin pie. Thick and full-bodied.

O - This barleywine is another great one from Almanac. Probably my new favorite barleywine. Very drinkable and I enjoyed it thoroughly. After drinking this, I bought a few bottles to cellar. This was just a memorable beer that makes my mouth water just thinking about. And I am not even a pumpkin kind of guy. Only reason I did not give it a 5 right now is because I know this will get better with some age.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep chestnut color with a reddish tinge around the edges. A small light brown head.

S: I don't get pumpkin pie as much as I do roasted pumpkin. A slightly bitter, vegetal smell to it, but it's definitely pure pumpkin. A good amount of sweetness in there in the form of toasted brown sugar, brandy, cinnamon and some clove. I'm really digging this smell, Doesn't have the pumpkin pie extract-like smell that a lot of pumpkin beers have.

T: A nice blend of pumpkin flesh and spicy sweetness. Hints of pumpkin pie, nutmeg, cinnamon. Definitely more of a pumpkin nut loaf flavor than pumpkin pie flavor. The brandy is there, but it's really an afterthought, which I kind of like because I'm not what you would call the biggest brandy fan. Really well done.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost clear, reddish amber color with a small, off-white head that goes down quickly. Scent is OUT OF THIS WORLD! So inviting...smells absolutely delicious. Fresh pumpkin pie and sweet Thanksgiving spices...nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice. The amount of pumpkin that shines through the aroma of this beer is ridiculous! Hefty amount of Brandy as well, but doesn't smell like it's going to be too hot. Taste is just as it smells. Magnificent. Sweet brandy and barrel characteristics up front, immediately followed by the Thanksgiving/Autumn spices. Sweet pumpkin pie and cinnamon. Lovely, boozy brandy flavors. Reminds me of a pumkin loaf I had one time that was made with Brandy. Oh man, I don't see it getting any better than this when it comes to pumpkin beers. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and slightly sticky. Drinkability is high. Overall, this may just be the best pumpkin beer I've ever had. It's absolutely delicious! I know this beer has great reviews, but I GUARANTEE you...once this beer catches the beer nerd buzz...it will be the most sought-after pumpkin beer out there. Spot on in every way.

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Photo of impending
4/5  rDev -5.4%
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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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of t420o
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Almanac Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine

A- pour yields a 1-1/2 finger tan creamy head with nice retention and great lacing. Beer is amber in color. 4.5

S- pretty heavy on the pumpkin pie spices aspect, some fresh pumpkin, underlying Barleywine base, a tad of the brandy barrel comes though. 3.75

T- not quite as heavy on the spices as the nose suggested though still on the forefront. Pumpkin, brandy barrel, a little of some non-aggressive hopped American Barleywine, slight vanilla, a little hot. Excellent, though not as rich as I like my Pumpkin beers. 4.25

M- medium viscosity and carbonation. Smooth. 4.25

O- another excellent beer from Almanac. I really feel this would greatly benefit from a year or two of age to mellow the alcohol and subdue some spices. As it is, still a top 5 or so Pumpkin beer in my opinion, and I love pumpkin beers. 4


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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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Photo of Igotmypistola
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Yes it is august, and yes it's 95 degrees outside, but eff it. i'll see if i can get into it. Let's transport myself to fall.

Pours a stunner of a barleywine. Beautiful dark hues, orange-red-deeeep brown. And already i can smell the pumpkin. WOW. This thing smells UNbelievable. Just super rich and full. This is no pumpkin out of a can. This is a carmelized over an open flame kind of pumpkin. The kind that invites you to curl up next to your lady next to a campfire. absolutely fantastic. The taste is just the same. exactly how it smells. just rich and supple. Just the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice. perfect pairing. tastes like a boozy pumpkin pie.. hands down the best pumpkin 'anything' ive had.

i had this for dessert and it was on point! i can't say enough about these new farm to barrel beers from almanac. another winner.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 1
375 mL bottle poured into Lost Abbey teku on 1-Aug-13

Loads of roasted pumpkins in the aroma with cinnamon spice, caramel, vanilla, with hints of toffee and nutmeg. Smell a bit of booze as well.

Taste follows the nose with the first thing to hit you with is the pumpkin pie with vanilla a la mode. I thought Pumking tasted like pumpkin pie, but this one's much closer to the actual pie due to the nice spice levels and the creamy, velvety texture. I have to attribute this to the brandy barrel, though it didn't have much of an earthy barrel presence.

The only drawback was the heat that meddled with the flavors. Letting the glass sit to near room temperatures helped a bit. I'm definitely seeking out another bottle and let it sit. I'm going to assume the age will work favorably for the balance of alcohol and flavors. I just hope it doesn't lose that pumpkin and spice because it was perfect.

This has the potential to be one of the best pumpkin ales out there, if not the best. I prefer this over Pumking and other pumpkin ales I've tried because of the texture and the brandy presence. I'm done with summer... bring on the Thanksgiving feast!

NOTE: I've yet to try Schlafly's pumpkin ale, which I've heard good things about.

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