Sunday, December 11, 2011

Southern Tier: Imperial Pumking – On the Fundamentals of Pumpkin Pie

With its catchy orange label depicting a crowned Halloween pumpkin, this bottle has been catching my attention for several weeks now, and a friend and I finally managed to give it a whirl. The obvious question before cracking open the bottle was “what exactly does imperial pumking mean”. Indeed, both my friend and I have had so few of these pumpkin ales, and we really had no idea what Southern Tier’s version might be like. 

As it turns out, pumpkin ales generally contain those ingredients found in pumpkin pie, minus the actual pumpkin. If you’ve never been lucky enough to try pumpkin pie, well you have no idea of wonderful constellation of flavors you’re missing. With rather strong notes of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking is about as close as you might come to the featured flavors of pumpkin pie without ever eating it. 

Pouring the contents into a glass reveals a somewhat clear, orange color – very befitting for this particular style of beer and for this particular time of the year. In our case, the head seemed to be a bit weak, although in all fairness to Southern Tier, we probably lacked the proper glass for this one. When taking a quick look at, we see that indeed the head on Imperial Pumking has been rated as somewhat lacking it amplitude and longevity. Nevertheless, the lacing appeared to be somewhat impressive – mildly dense and resilient. 

When taking a whiff of this thing, my friend and I were immediately struck by the distinctive character of this particular ale. It definitely captures the essence of pumpkin pie, and coming from rural America by birth, I can speak with tremendous authority on the fundamentals of pumpkin pie. Despite the 8.6 percent ABV in this ale, no hint of booze could be found in the aroma. The taste is similar to the aroma profile: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice were front and center; again, no booze. The mouth feel was medium, but a bit on the watery side.  

My friend and I basically concluded that, while this is undoubtedly a respectable ale, the magnitude of spice in Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking is also too overpowering. Our preference (and expectation perhaps) would have been for a pumpkin ale with forward malt notes supported by pumpkin pie spices. Instead, Imperial Pumking is adjunct forward with, at best, weak references to the malt. Nevertheless, if you like pumpkin pie or want to try it, Southern Tier makes a pretty good approximation with this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...