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.


  1. No Sam Adam's Octoberfest or Harvest Moon?

  2. These are all pumpkin brews, Octoberfest wouldn't fit, although there's definitely enough of them out there to do another tasting. Not a giant fan of the Blue Moon series, though I admit, most of that is due to some latent beer snobbery.