Review: Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Elysian Brewing

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
Elysian Brewing Co. — Seattle, WA

  • Style:  Pumpkin Ale
  • Bitterness:  18 IBUs
  • ABV:  5.9%
  • Malts:  Pale, Munich, Crystal
  • Hops:  Magnum
  • Special Ingredients:  Roasted and raw pumpkin seeds in the mash. Pumpkin added to the mash, kettle, and fermenter.
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description: "A very drinkable pumpkin ale—brewed with seven and a half pounds of pumpkin per barrel and spiced in conditioning with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice." — Elysian Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  It has finally started to cool down in the Northwest, so I'm ready for my first pumpkin ale of the season! Night Owl is Elysian's original pumpkin ale and one of four they brew each fall. Last year, I profiled Elysian's The Great Pumpkin and Dark o' The Moon Pumpkin Stout. This year, they launched Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner. They've got lots of love for the pumpkin up in Seattle! Night Owl is being released in 12 oz bottles for the first time in 2012 and I'm tasting it as part of my series on fall seasonal brews.

The tasting:  Light copper in color, hazy, with lots of sediment particles floating in suspension. It has an off white head that dissipates very quickly. Aroma is full of spice—cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Flavor mirrors the aroma with the addition of a solid caramel and biscuit malt base. Alcohol is not noticable in aroma or flavor and the hop bitterness is limited to light earthy notes in the background. Night Owl is medium bodied, softly carbonated, and finishes with spice. While many spices are used in this beer, they're very balanced, with no single spice dominating the others.  You may have noticed that I didn't mention pumpkin in my tasting notes. Although that may seem strange, I think pumpkin is hard to detect in aroma or flavor. It's all about the spice, in my opinion!

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  Night Owl has everything that I look for in a pumpkin beer. It's got fall color, rich spice flavors, and a chewy body. It also tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass! If you're looking for a pumpkin beer this fall, you can't go wrong with this Night Owl.

Have you tasted Night Owl? What's your favorite pumpkin beer?

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1 comment:

  1. As a home brewer myself for a few years, I have found this Elysian Pumpkin Ale at the Jade Tea House as my personal favorite choice of local bottles beer there. I am searching for it today on draft if that is possible in Portland. Please inform us where to find it in various Portland locations. either in bottles or on draft. It is one of my all time favorites after Deschuttes Abyss Stout. - Mark Seibold, Sandy OR


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