Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blind Pumpkin Beer Tasting

Last night, I held a blind pumpkin beer tasting event for my wife's family featuring 11 locally available pumpkin beers. I used the Beer Advocate weighting for rating the beers, based on appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel, and drinkability (though I kept in average percentages rather than a 5.0 scale, simply because I didn't feel like doing any more math.)

Here are the aggregated results for the five tasters, as well as my own ratings, and some general thoughts for each selection.

Average / Steve's score / Notes

Wolavers Will Steven's Pumpkin Ale
86.6% / 78% / More pumpkin than spice, though lots of cloves in the finish. The overall favorite, and organic too.

Arcadia Jaw Jacker
85.6% / 82% / Not actually a pumpkin beer, just pumpkin spices, but had a full body with great drinkability.

BrewWorks Devious
81.8% / 88% / My personal favorite, though not exactly 'blind' since it was in a bigger bottle than the rest. Dark, thick, strong, and full.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale 2010
76.6% / 80% / One of the best balanced, a little bit boozy.

Dogfish Head Punkin
74.2% / 75% / Very clear appearance, lots of pumpkin, less spice.

Saranac Pumpkin Ale
73.2% / 82% / A bit sweet in spots, but otherwise nicely balanced and more 'beery' than some of the others.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale
72.6% / 83% / Very spicy aroma, one of the best all-around balanced flavor and body.

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
69% / 70% / A good spicy aroma, but lacked any kind of substance or body in the flavor department.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale 2009
67% / 64% / Really developed a lot of ammonia-like phenols over a year, I won't be aging this beer anymore.

Southhampton Pumpkin
58% / 66% / Flavor comes primarily from spices but little else going on in this beer.

Shipyard Pumpkin Head
54.6% / 59% / Another one that used pumpkin spices, but no actual pumpkin, but this really came off as a spiced adjunct lager - like Miller Lite with some cinnamon added.

Just for fun, afterward we opened a few other goodies. Two bottles of Mest-up DIPA (HomebrewerFlip's Pliny the Elder clone), a 2007 De Struise Pannepot, and a Cantillon Iris, both fresh from our Belgian Beergrimage.