Review: The Great Pumpkin, Elysian Brewing

The Great Pumpkin
Elysian Brewing Co. — Seattle, WA

  • Style:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale
  • Bitterness:  20 IBU
  • ABV: 7.7% ABV
  • Malts: Pale, Munich, Cara-Hell, Cara-Vienne, Cara M-Munich, and Crisp 45L Crystal malts
  • Hops:  Bittered with Magnum
  • Special Ingredients:  Roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash, and extra pumpkin added in the mash, kettle, and fermenter. Spiced with sinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
  • Sampled:  22 oz. bottle
  • Full Disclosure:  Sample provided by brewery

Description:  "Pours deep copper with ghostly white head. Intense pumpkin, sugar and spice on the nose with a nice bready and malty backdrop to tame all those autumn spices into a remarkably smooth, balanced and delectable fall treat." — Elysian Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  The Great Pumpkin is the second beer from Elysian that I'm profiling as part of my Great Pumpkin Beer Roundup. I had a small taste of it at a Beer Bloggers Conference (yes, Beer Bloggers have their own conference) last fall. I really enjoyed it and wanted to revisit it this year.

The tasting:  Reddish copper in color, cloudy, with a white head made of fine white bubbles that dissipated fairly quickly. There's a decent amount of sediment floating around in the glass. The aroma is spicy and comprised of the usual suspects—nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. There's also some brown sugar sweetness and alcohol in the nose. Very nice aroma pumpkin pie-like aroma! 

After the first sip, I noticed a strong dose of caramel malt, along with spicy clove and nutmeg. The spices are strong, but not overwhelming against the weight of the malt. Roasted pumpkin (I could actually taste it in this beer) and notes of vanilla are also present. Brown sugar and caramel sweetness emerge in the middle and are followed by alcohol.  While noticeable, the alcohol is nicely blended in and does not seem out of place. The
Great Pumpkin is medium in body, moderately carbonated, and has a creamy smooth mouth feel. It finishes with caramel malt and light cinnamon.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  This beer stood out in my mind when I first tasted it a year ago, and it just lived up to my lofty memory of it. While not a beer I'd drink every day, The Great Pumpkin is a treat. It's big and full of the festive aromas and flavors that remind me of fall! If you're looking for pumpkin pie in a glass, this is it. Pick up a bottle for your Thanksgiving table. Both you and your guests will be glad you did!

Have you tried Elysian's The Great Pumpkin? What are your favorite pumpkin beers!

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