Malts: Two-row Harrington, Metcalf, and Copeland pale malts, Caramel 60, Special B, and Smoked Malt
Hops: East Kent Goldings and English Fuggles
Special Ingredients: Real pumpkin and a spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice
Calories: 199 per 12 oz.
Sampled: 12 oz. bottle
Description: "A perennial favorite at our brewery Halloween party, Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale is brewed with over 11 pounds of real pumpkin per barrel, adding a full body and sweetness to this dark reddish amber brew. Deep roasted malts, including a smoked malt, lend a distinct roasted character while traditional pumpkin pie spices give the beer a subtle spice note.” — Samuel Adams
The tasting: Deep copper in color with an off-white head that dissipated fairly slowly. Very spicy aroma dominated by nutmeg and clove. Sweet malts are present as well. Overall, the aroma is very nice—it's got the pumpkin pie thing going on. The flavor mirrors the aroma with the spices dominating. There are some mild grassy hop notes in there, but I don't taste much pumpkin. It has a mild caramel sweetness and hop bitterness in the middle. Harvest Pumpkin Ale is light to medium bodied and moderately carbonated. It has an effervescent mouth feel and finishes with spicy clove and a mild grassy hop bitterness.
Rating: 3 star. Good. I would drink this again if someone gives it to me. While I loved the spicy aroma of Harvest Pumpkin Ale, the nutmeg and clove dominated the flavor. When it comes to spice in beer, less is more.
In general, I don't think pumpkin itself has a very strong or distinctive flavor. So I find it ironic that I'm profiling nine beers made out of squash that doesn't have much flavor. Personally, I think the appeal of pumpkin beers is in the spices—and it is fall, after all.
Have you tried Harvest Pumpkin Ale or any other Samuel Adams beers? Do you think pumpkin has much flavor?