Quick Take: At 8.5%, barrel beer chasers that aren’t big on boozy beer taste and favor drinkability over drunkability may find something (anything!) to like here. If you are expecting a rich, full flavored, spiced pumpkin beer, you should keep on looking. If you want a beer that is so lightly flavored it is damn near ghostly, you’ve found your fall drinker.
Quick Take: I think Southern Tier listened to some of the criticisms of Pumking and tweaked the recipe. The heart of this is still the Pumking fans (like me) know and love, but with the rough edges shorn off to make it a more casual friendly beer. The Pumking detractors aren’t going to change their tune nor will this win over those that want the pumpkin front and center, but someone on the fence may find this year’s version to be a pretty enjoyable fall treat (or summer patio/fire pit drinker).
Changes from Last Year: Not only has the bottle label changed to regulate the King of Pum to a small bit of leafy green around the bottom, but the serving glass has changed from a beefy goblet to more of a water goblet and the serving temp has nudged up from 40°F to 42°F (Personally, I like it a bit warmer at 55°F). The vanilla has backed off and the spices seem less intense, but that may just be my palate. As these elements fade back, the earthy pumpkin is given more of a chance to come through, though it still isn’t a featured player. It also finishes with less bitterness, but more heat and malty bread.