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.
Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 815
Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.87/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The Pumking just lost his crown. The brandy barrel adds some delightfully sweet characteristics to this beer. This beer is somewhat expensive, but worth the money for the drinking experience.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Super psyched to have picked this one up locally (welcome to NY almanac!). Enjoyed from a almanac flute.

a - brew pours a murky mahogany brown with a murky dark core and some rubyish highlights. Thin khaki head hung out as a deep ring clinging to the glass on the surface.

s - nose is majestic. Cinnamon pumpkin brandy. Great barrel to blend with a pumpkin beer...kind of like rumpkin lite.

t/m/o - SPOT ON! Really well balanced barrel aged pumpkin. The fact that it is a barleywine is not lost here. The pumpkin glazed over the caramel malt and then aged in brandy is simply the recipe to happiness. I don't get much of the rye but here is definitely wood and the blend is like a softly cinnamonized pumpkin sangria. Definitely check it out!

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%

A: hazy amber-brown ale with a couple of fingers of tan head that thinned to a filmy cap and lace tendrils

S: spiced pumpkin, a sweetened vegetal aroma; vague wine and whiskey and wood...

T: barrel-aging is assertive with the pumpkin in the foreground; rye wood barrels and brandy wine elements at play in the vegetable patch; pumpkin and autumnal spice, faintly sweetened, mix effortlessly with herbal and earthy dankness

M: rich and smooth, medium-full body, slight tingle; chewy character with some density

O: a finely crafted marriage between pumpkin ale and American barleywine - hops are dank and earthy, lots of wood and musk; clean, fresh tasting raw pumpkin flavors are elevated through spice and sugar; barrel characteristics come forward to say hello, and then slide into the background, keeping everything a little lighter, tighter, and airier than they would have been otherwise. Epic.

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Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%

Purchased Sept 2014 from Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido Ca

V: Pours murky, the color of auburn hair with an off-white head to about one-finger with aggressive pour. The head lingers and holds stubbornly, leaving a thin lacing as the beer is consumed. (4.15)

S: Roasted vegetable on the scent, somewhere between well-roasted pumpkin and carrot with spice, cloves in particular but not overbearing. It does not smell like a pumpkin pie, but if you have ever made one from scratch, it smells somewhat like the mixture of pumpkin and spices before you place it into the crust for cooking. (4.6)

T Not far off the nose at all! Spice is there but not front-and-center, it is really the pumpkin that is predominant. The allspice/clove is noticeable but does not carry the flavor alone. I am truly amazing that the 12% ABV is so well hidden... this beer could be trouble in that regard ;)
Goes down so easy even with the unusual and strong taste of roasted pumpkin, sugars and spices. I would also like to note that the warmer this beer got, the better it tasted. Aftertaste was a caramelized pumpkin, resting brightly on the tongue. (4.8)

M: Thick and slick, silky smooth. Coasting the tongue luxuriously, the mouth feel is absolutely perfect and complimentary to the taste. (5.0)

I was completely surprised by this offering. So spectacularly made, I have tried many pumpkin beers that, out of respect to the makers, I did not review as I was disappointed greatly. This is the first pumpkin beer that excited me enough to want to seek out to have more. I intend on buying and cellaring.

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Photo of theholygose
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance - dark hazy orange/brown with a neat head

Aroma - carmely/buttery pumpkin, spice, brown sugar. Smells amazing.

Taste - lots of spice upfront, mellows out with a ton of malt and clear crisp and sweet pumpkin, caramel from the malts in the background.

Mouthfeel - full and heavy but not abrasive. Light carbonation and low acidity.

Overall - a fantastic brew, well worth the usual Almanac price for this different experience

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Photo of dar482
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

The beer comes in a rich dark orange amber.

The aroma hits of deep and bold pumpkin that is not covered too aggressively by the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. There's a big caramel sugary and maple syrup sweetness in there as well.

The flavor follows with a pop of cinnamon and nutmeg, surrounded by sweet pumpkin. Vanilla from the barrel shines through along with the brandy sweetness. There's then a sweetness of toffee and maple syrup. On the back palate, the barleywine comes through and offers a light woody bitterness to balance out the beer.

One of the best pumpkin beers I've ever had. Highly recommended for those unable to get Good Gourd Almighty.

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Photo of tclipse
1/5  rDev -76.4%

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 Beerzebub
4.4/5  rDev +4%

Autumn 2014 bottle. Smells terrific - caramelized pumpkin, dark crusty bread, brown sugar, and well integrated spices - cohesive blend of spices, with cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried ginger the most noticeable. Similar elements on the palate, along with flavors from the brandy and rye barrels which come through more than in the aroma. Spicy cigar tobacco. Nice depth and complexity. Sweet, but not overly so, and dries out in the finish as a touch of bitterness comes in. Lingering old liquor barrels, tobacco, and spice, quite tasty.

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Photo of _RL_
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Oh my. This is delicious. A good deal more nuance than most pumpkin beers and much less sweetness and in-your-face buttery or sweet pumpkin flavor than Pumking or Schlafly's Pumpkin beer. Extremely smooth and drinkable - not at all a sipping beer despite the 12% abv. I agree with an earlier review that the flavor and aroma is unique. Just outstanding.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%

a: a hazy murky dark brown color with a hint of light purple matte. not much head to speak of, but that to be expected from a 12%

s: pumpkins, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, caramel. smoothly fades into some definite brandy notes along with a hint of wood and some more sweet sugar

t: the flavor profile in here is truly unique. you can feel the flavors transiting inside your mouth after the first sip. pumpkins up front with a hint of ginger. that fades into a nice pumpkin pie flavor, which definitely includes some nice spices and a bunch of clove. there is a nice pie crust flavor that follows which includes more of those spices. this finishes with the barrels. brandy for sure in here, but not in a way that it dominates the flavor - its more of an afterthought and then you pick up the alcohol in here; yes there is some, but helps cut some of the sweet

m: its on the fuller side of medium. medium carbonation

o: truly complex flavor profile in this beer, that really put a smile on my face. all i will say is if you are a lover of pumpkin beers, give this one a try

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a capped 375ml bottle (Autumn 2013) an orangish amber under a 1" thick off-white head which fades to the rim and leaves spots of lace. Aroma is dominated by pumpkin spices, some yeast, and aged wood. Flavor is pumpkin spices with brandy heat and toffee notes. Full body and moderate carbonation. Finish is sweet and slightly metallic. After 4 years, it's probably a good time to open these as they are not going to get better IMHO.

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Photo of MrMoose916
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

A: Mahogany brown, slight orange tinge.

S: Tons of spice; Cinnamon is dominant, clove, nutmeg, ginger, I also get a fairly nice sniff of the rye barrel, but don't get much brandy

T: Wow wow follows the nose very nicely; tons of spice (ginger, cinnamon, clove), sweet pumpkin, carmel, the rye and brandy mesh so well. Excellent

M: Medium-full mouthfeel, right on for the style

O: this is an amazing pumpkin beer, I am blessed to live so close to the brewery so I pick up several bottles for the fall season, everything goes together so well in this beer, I highly recommend picking up or trading for this beer. Cheers.

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Photo of trippytbta
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Bottle poured into tulip

A: Pours amber brown with tiny off white head

S: sweet carmel pumpkin

T: As it warms up it is perfect alcoholic pumpkin pie

M: full to medium bodied

Overall: Pumpkin barleywine, such an epic style, and Almanac does this perfectly.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a gorgeous dull tarnished copper color with flecks of gold when held to the light. It's topped by a razor thin, off-white head that settles quickly into a halo around the perimeter. Surprisingly (for an almanac beer), there is no sediment. The nose is overwhelming spices and brandy upfront (mainly clove and ginger), but has notes of brown sugar and earthy gourd/yam sweetness as well. Though there is a slightly booziness in the nose, it's not unpleasant and helps amplify the beer's spice profile. The taste has the same brown sugar/pumpkin pie sweetness upfront, which transitions quickly into a boozy, caramelized, pumpkin spice bomb for the finish. The beer has a rounded, sweet, full body cut with pungent pie spices, alcohol, and adequate carbonation. There are lingering pie spices coat the palate and take their time fading. This is an absolutely killer combination of pumpkin beer and barleywine, can't wait to have it again.

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

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a wine glass. Bottled Autumn 2013.

A: Good lace; good head. Beer is pellucid auburn.

S: Incredible. Rich and sweet. Super-spicy. The usual supects -- nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves -- as well as ginger and orange peel.

T: Tasty! Big and boozy. Loads of spices. Huge pumpkin. Huge beer...everything I could say would seem superlative. Recommended.

O: I love this beer. Exceptional. Would have again; any time, any where.

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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 Mightykingmalard
3.72/5  rDev -12.1%
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 homebrew311
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy dark orange with thin head and significant lacing. The nose is heavy on brown sugar and pumpkin flesh. This melds well with the rich malty barleywine malt bill. Some notes of cinnamon and pumpkin spice towards the end. This has a much more earthy and less spicey aroma than your typical pumpkin brew. The taste is ridiculously smooth for such a high gravity beer. Copious amounts of pumpkin flesh come through on the flavor with plenty of brown sugar along with it. The brandy barrel comes through and brings a bit of vanilla and caramel through while mellowing out the malts. The barleywine actually seems to be an appropriate base for the pumpkin treatment. Mouthfeel is thick and low on carbonation. Overall, another winner from almanac!

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a nice deep brown with a half finger of light tan head that fades to a small pool and collar around the glass
S: smells of some pumpkin pie spices, caramel, and some barrel notes
T: taste is some spice, pumpkin, brandy, caramel, slight piney and citrusy hops, and some more sweetness. swallow is more pumpkin, spices, a bit of alcohol and brandy.
M: smooth and full on the palate with soft carbonation and a neutral finish that leans toward drying
O: Truly an outstanding beer. This beer is complex, smooth and all the flavors work so well together. Almanac may be one of the best breweries that most people haven't heard of.

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Photo of MarcWP
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter.

Pours a walnut brown with fluffy beige head that has good retention for a barrel aged Barleywine.

Aroma is winter spices, coconut rum, and sweet malts.

Flavor is clove, cardamom, nutmeg, caramel, brandy, oak, and faint cooked pumpkin.
Nice and warming, not overly sweet or even sweet in general.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin but good enough for a Barleywine.

A nice fall time beer. I'm drinking this in the spring so maybe I'm not appreciating it as much as I should! Nice though.

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Photo of rudzud
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received in a trade, Batch 1. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice crystal clear dark deep well, rusty pumpkin hue with a thin half finger head that faded quickly to leave a thin cloud and light halo.

S - Aromas of a fair amount of pumpkin, toffee, caramel, malts, faint booze. Not much brandy.

T - Taste is malty sweetness, caramel, pumpkin pie filling. Very soft and subtle brandy notes, next to no alcohol. I'm hard pressed to call this a barleywine. Blindfold me and I'd think this was an awesomely tasty pumpkin ale. The brandy is so soft here and balanced so wonderfully with the pumpkin. The spice notes are light too so this never feels like a fake pumpkin beer, or, a super spiced winter warmer-esc pumpkin ale. The lingering aftertaste of pumpkin is good. Just awesome, tastes like a pumpkin pie with a few splashes of brandy in the filling.

M - Mouthfeel is quite impressive. Lightly carbonated, smooth, rich. I know its a double digit ABV its there in the warming factor, but it is sure hidden very, very well.

O - Overall, this one was tough. I really dont think it smelled or drank like a barleywine. Was far too easy drinking for the ABV. The pumpkin and brandy are balanced out exquisitely. Wish I had another bottle.

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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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Photo of jaasen64
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle poured into Gandhi-Bot tulip. Thanks uvm2003 for sending this to me in the BIF.

A- Pours a clear brown with an orange hue, some slight translucency that lets light through, about a finger's worth of off-white head that has a slight yellowish shade to it forms and has decent retention slowly receding to a thin layer, nice consistent carbonation.

S- Yams definitely stick out, along with spices, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a subtle balance between the pumpkin and brandy. A little bit over-spiced for my liking but overall decent aroma for what it is, brandy and pumpkin could come out a bit more but I'm not complaining.

T- Yams a little bit more subdued blending in with the pumpkins which are slightly more pronounced, brown sugar, slight cinnamon, nutmeg balance the beer and come out even more on the finish. Brandy plays a fairly subtle roll blending in with the components but adding balance and smoothening everything out.

M- Extremely smooth for 12%, decent carbonation without being over-carbonated, fairly drinkable.

O- Pumpkin beers are usually hit or miss for me, there's a lot that I hate (mostly because they are over-spiced) and a few that are done just right that I really enjoy. While this beer by no means blew me away it was well done for what it is. It was nice and smooth and had a nice balance between the pumkin, yams, and spices. The brandy played a little bit more of a subtle roll then I would have liked but did a good job smoothing everything out and adding an additional balance. I wouldn't recommend this beer for everyone but it's definitely an interesting try especially if you're into pumpkin beers.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
3.86/5  rDev -8.7%
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 kevanb
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle, Autumn 2013, poured into an Almanac Beer Co stemmed glass.

The beer pours a fairly murky brown color, much like a deep amber or dark burgundy, hues of reds, oranges and golds appear around the edges when struck by the light. A wispy layer of thick sediment forms at the bottle of the glass and a large, fluffy, khaki head rises about 2-3 fingers high with moderate retention and leaves a wonderful trail of sticky lace. The aroma is really smooth, sweet and rich pumpkin, pleasant brandy, soft grain undertones with a warm and welcoming spice bill that really pops at the back end. The pumpkin is muted and the brandy and grain stand out well, but the spicing is perfectly integrated. Only a touch of fusel alcohol, to be expected at 12%, is present, but really only after the beer warms. The flavors are in line, lots of rich malt and sugary brandy, pumpkin is more subtle and plays nicely with some dark fruits and caramel, brown sugar leads the way when the spice comes out with some nutmeg and cinnamon flavors that are well layered and balanced. The mouthfeel is nice, carbonation is low and the beer is quite smooth and rich. The finish is soft but warm from the alcohol, with just a light zip from the carbonation that I wasn't expecting.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this, a creative and innovative take on a pumpkin beer. The brandy barrel works wonderfully and the spicing is executed extremely well. It's still a dominantly sweet beer, but one of the better pumpkin beers I've had to date, and one of the better barrel aged barleywines at that matter.

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