Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wolaver's Pupmkin Ale

Otter Creek recently ran out of their last batch of the Wolaver's Pumpkin Ale, and consumers are eagerly awaiting the next batch to come on tap as this fall's seasonal beer. It is still available at grocery and liquor stores, so apparently the brewery sent most of their batch out of their warehouse... Anyway, the beer combines a variety of spices with a delicate pumpkin aroma and flavor. The pumpkins are organic and are grown by a local farmer.

Alcohol Content: 
Adjuncts: Will Stevens, VT Organic Pumpkins, Ginger Powder, Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon

Price: $9/ 6-pack
Medium: Pint Glass

Aroma: An interesting ginger root (or in this case ginger powder) creeps through the other aromas with a distinct freshness. Spices dominate the restrained pumpkin character. Clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon all remind me of spice additions in pumpkin sweets such as pie, bread, desserts, etc. This creates a warming sensation. Some graininess provides body and sweetness but spices are the showcase in this example. Hops cannot be determined.
Appearance: Slight haze with an amber/ orange color. Caramel malts probably provide the deep color while most would suggest the pumpkins are the sole reason. I know this example is unfiltered but turbidity is not very high. A creamy tan head presents a nice finish for this festive beer. Great retention and solid lacing.
Flavor: Malts are very sweet and provide depth of body for the big spice additions. Spices are still favored, just as in the aroma before sipping. Ginger remains on the palate long into the aftertaste and gives an extra kick to the pumpkin spices. Clove also shines through the predominately malty sweetness. Hops do not contribute flavor, or at least unidentifiable within the grand mix of sweet and spice. Finish remains dry, suggesting a highly attenuative yeast strain/ low residual sweetness from the malts. Only a light pumpkin flavor compared to the depth of all the 
Mouthfeel: Bitterness is refreshing for the style and potentially aids in the crisp, dry finish. Moderate to light body with a sweet malty start that is cleaned up as it move across the palate. In other words the beer starts out sweet, with a supporting body but then finishes light and refreshing. Spices add to the mouthfeel and provide the warmth in this beer (as opposed to the alcohol warmth often perceived). Not cloying. Carbonation is moderately high.
Overall Impression: Ginger is very noticeable and provides a unique twist on the beer. I couldn't put a description to this taste at first but after giving it some thought, (and peeking at the ingredients) it clicked! I think this differentiates it from other pumpkin beers. Cinnamon perhaps adds a little heat in aftertaste - I enjoyed this aspect a lot. After trying various pumpkin beers, Shipyard is still one of the best on the market; However, ff I had to choose Vermont's best offering it would surely be Wolaver's.

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