King of the Pumpkin Patch
A Review of Pumking by Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Posted on 9/27/2012 by Chops
                   
Delicious
When the summer months start to fade, craft beer fans enter a frenzy of anticipation. This is because two of the most coveted beer styles are about to hit the market: Oktoberfests and pumpkin ales. These delectable brew treats signal the official transition into the fall months. I recently got my hands on the first beer of this year's fall season: the Southern Tier Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Any fan of Southern Tier knows that their bomber line is to die for (two words: Blackwater Series). So in an effort to score big on my first beer of the season, I could think of few things better than a Southern Tier pumpkin bomber.

In the glass, Pumking has a deep earthy orange coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that has good retention. The aroma of this beer really took me by surprise because pumpkin ales tend to be packed full of warming spices. Not so here. Pumking actually smells like a meaty fermented pumpkin, which I actually found quite refreshing for the style. Don't get me wrong though, I do love the spicy characters too and there are plenty at play here. I found a great mix of cinnamon, ginger and sweet vanilla. But, they aren't the dominant traits. To be perfectly honest, this beer smells just like candied yams, complete with the marshmallow crust. It's actually a pretty amazing intro that I highly advise taking your time with.

Much to my surprise, this beer also tastes like candied yams. Seriously. There is plenty of malty pumpkin sweetness acting as the base, and this is real pumpkin flavor, not just a spiced veggie beer. Couple it with a complimentary mixture of warming spices and sticky sweetness and you get a remarkable candied yam vibe. As an added bonus, the hop profile and alcohol burn compliment the spicy qualities without overpowering the mix, resulting in a cool amplification effect. Both notes tend to dominant the finish, resulting in a spicy bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Southern Tier's Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a deliciously unique brew. It's one of the few pumpkin ales you will come across that succeeds in separating itself from the rest of the pumpkin patch. It's a delightful balance of meatiness and sweetness, making it a must try for all levels of beer fans. Although, novices should proceed with caution because it does pack quite a wallop at 8.6% ABV. Pumking has officially kicked off my fall seasonal brew adventure and I couldn't be happier with the start. I just hope it hasn't ruined me for the rest of the patch.

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Pumking by Southern Tier Brewing Co.
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