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Pumking

Pumking

Judges Rating: 
75
Aroma: 
20 / 24
Appearance: 
5 / 6
Flavor: 
29 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
14 / 20

Starting a second decade of brewing operations, Southern Tier Brewing Company enters the seasonal holiday beer fray with Pumking, its own unique take on imperial pumpkin ale. Brimming over with loads of nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, married deftly with obscene quantities of sweet, chewy malt, this beer has garnered an intensely loyal following. Tom was intrigued by the competing notes of “pecan pie and sweet, honeyed malt,” but noted a distinct lack of pumpkin in the nose. Its glittering spun gold color, brilliant clarity, and lively effervescence belie Pumking’s not inconsequential 8.6 percent ABV, promising a much lighter, more readily quaffable brew. Flavors of sweet creamery butter, Graham cracker pie crust, and hot buttered rum are front and center, with myriad spices interwoven among them. The sheer intensity of flavors took Lee somewhat aback, as he tasted by turns, “buttered Graham crackers, Brach’s butterscotch candies, and sweetened pumpkin pie puree,” all the while looking for an underlying beer. Pete, too, was floored by the “almost syrupy butterscotch,” yet pushed past that to find comforting notes of “toasted pumpkin seed and silky Zanzibar cinnamon.” The prominent butterscotch sweetness left the judges a bit ambivalent overall. Any style questions aside when it comes to pumpkin taste, given that it’s crammed with exotic spices, any beer lover would enjoy finding Pumking on hand at the end of a chilly winter's day.

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