Sunday, October 13, 2013

Harpoon UFO Pumpkin Ale

After a vacation home I returned to find all the pumpkin beers now available as part of the fall seasonal.     Kristine was determined to find Shipyard's pumpkin ale but we fell short and had to part from City Market with the UFO. We already had plans to make our own BLT sandwiches which we were delighted to find as a suggested food pairing on Shipyard's website. The beer is unfiltered which potentially helps in retaining more of the pumpkin flavor.

Alcohol Content: 5.9%
IBU: 20
Malts: German, Vienna, Munich
Hops: ?

Price: $8/ 6 pack
Medium: Wine glass

Aroma: Pumpkin pie. Plenty of spices reminiscent of nutmeg and cinnamon blends in nicely with whole pumpkins. All of the spices are kept in balance by malty sweetness and light alcohol notes in the nose. Hops are pretty much non-existent.
Appearance: Amber orange with a good amount of haze. I achieved more haze by pouring about 3/4 of the bottle and then gently shaking the bottom to arouse any yeast, then pouring the rest. A near-white head forms but quickly fades, leaving behind a juice-like appearance. Small, steady bubbles continue to collect around the sides.
Flavor: Malts and spices move across the palate together, with addition spice noted from the alcohol. Pumpkin is present throughout the experience but is somewhat masked by the heat from the alcohol and spices. Although hop bitterness is low, there is considerable bitterness and heat from high carbonation and spice that interacts with the hop bitterness in the finish. Aftertaste remains sweet with a refreshing dose of pumpkin coming back around.
Mouthfeel: Relatively smooth body with a sense of balance, although the alcohol notes come across moderately strong and slightly overpowers the rest of the beer. Carbonation starts out high and slowly begins to come out of solution, adding a bit of a carbonic bite at first but accentuating the beers light, tingling freshness. Slick/ oily, and too thin (watery). I'm wondering if the pumpkins provide the oily mouthfeel and also kills head retention.
Overall Impression: This beer strives to balance between spices and pumpkin but there is considerable amount of heat from the alcohol that makes the overall experience a little less pleasant. It's almost like a grain alcohol sensation achieved after taking a shot (to a lesser extent but you get the picture). Everything else is well balanced. Spices were not overdone, yet when paired with BLT sandwiches they are the only aspects of the beer that linger on the roof and back of the mouth. A delicious pairing!

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