MaltDawg (1344) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - SEP 18, 2010
3.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
(Sample Date: 9/1/2010 Source:Other) 12 ox bottle from a mix pack. Caramel and dark sugar with light apple pie spice notes in aroma. Clear amber brown with small tan head. Cinnamon hits first in flavor along with caramel and fruit. Medium body and mouthfeel. Very spicy on the tongue.
Chad9976 (1203) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 18, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
There are basically two types of pumpkin beers: those that taste like real pumpkin and those that taste like pumpkin pie. The former tend to be more of an acquired taste since theyíre usually very spicy and earthy, whereas the latter are very sweet and borderline gimmicky. I think Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale does an excellent job of walking the line between the styles.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into an English pint glass. The color is a pretty shade of mahogany with a slightly ruby red haze. It forms a good-sized, frothy, off-white head which leaves some lacing on the glass and never completely dissipates. It regenerates with a swirl of the glass.
The aroma is exactly what I like in a pumpkin beer: noticeable pumpkin scents with components of spice afterwards (mostly cinnamon and nutmeg). It doesnít smell overly-spiced, which is nice.
When it comes to the Samuel Adams lineup, I find the "real" beer styles are solid but the seasonal/gimmicky brews tend to flop. So when I took my first sip of Harvest Pumpkin Ale I was floored. This beer is pretty much exactly what I look for in a pumpkin brew: sweet pumpkin pie-like flavor up front, satisfying spice in the middle, and a slight hop bitterness on the finish. Itís rare a pumpkin beer can be this well-balanced.
As the beer warms, the taste evolves from pie sweetness to a more earthy, organic pure pumpkin flavor. The bitterness increases too, but thereís still a tasty sweetness akin to dark chocolate in the aftertaste (which makes for a strange, but pleasant, flavor combination). Although I did find the palate began to weaken and thin out towards the end.
I donít think Iíve ever described a pumpkin beer as having a creamy texture, but I would say thatís true here. The thicker, softer texture helps take some of the edge off the spicy kick. However, Harvest Pumpkin Ale is not what I would consider quaffable, nor is it refreshing as it definitely dries out the mouth. Drinking it slow helps to appreciate the complexity of the palate.
At 5.7% this beer has the perfect potency. Any heavier would make it too intense and any lighter might make it too mild. I think it would work well as an after-dinner beer accompanied by pumpkin pie or bread.
Itís a shame that the only way to get Harvest Pumpkin Ale is in the Samuel Adams autumn mix pack (as of this writing). Itís possible a lot of craft beer enthusiasts might be denied of such a solid example of the pumpkin beer style.
NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at:
Mora2000 (5780) - McKinney, Texas, USA - SEP 17, 2010
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
I was really excited to try this one since I look forward to the release of pumpkin beers each fall.
The beer pours a orangish-brown color with a white head. The aroma is class pumpkin ale, with lots of pumpkin and nutmeg notes. The flavor is more of the same. I get a ton of pumpkin, along with the classic pumpkin pie spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I also get some caramel malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
Not quite as good as Southern Tier Pumking, but a step above most of the pumpkin ales that are on the market.
maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - SEP 17, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle courtesy of MaltDawg on 09/01/2010. Clear dark amber body with a large rocky off-white head. Sweet nutmeg, pumpkin and spice aroma. Sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, spice, and light pumpkin flavor. Medium body with moderate carbonation.
chickenflea (340) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - SEP 17, 2010
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle. Pours a light brown color with a small beige head that leaves a small ring and a bit of film. Nose is sweet, nutty malts with hints of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spicy. Palate is smooth and sticky with a nice light carbonation. Flavor is sweet nutty pumpkin up front with a stingy light hop note in the finish. Mild tinniness on the finish. Otherwise a solid beer.
Damico (2613) - Royersford, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 17, 2010
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The color is a deep amber with a big huge, creamy head. The flavor is very subtle for a pumpkin, not the big forces of pumpkin and spice but a subtle mixture of this with smooth malts. The aroma is similar with malts and subtle spices.
mybrainhurts (352) - North Dakota, USA - SEP 17, 2010
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Aroma is a festive mix of pumpkin pie spices, earthy malts, and toasted bread. Not as much pumpkin as I would have liked but it is present in flavor. Bready malts, cinnamon, coriander, and a hint of roasted brown sugar. Slightly sour and harsh at the finish and distracts a bit. Overall, not bad, not great.
WisconsinBeer (706) - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA - SEP 16, 2010
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I was never a big fan of Sam Adams, but beers like this are warming me up to them. Bottle. Pours a deep brownish red color with medium carbonation and very little head. Flavor is rich malts, ripe fruits, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie spice. Medium bodied with just a hint of mild sweetness. This is a solid beer, and ranks up there with the best pumpkin brews.
Tripplebrew (777) - Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA - SEP 16, 2010
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a clear amber with thin tan colored head. Aroma is earthy, metallic notes, a pepper pumpkin pulp. Flavor is a bit of caramel nut bread with pumpkin pulp and clove. Body is creamy but light with active carbonation. I took this thinking it was going to be anything great but I am pleasantly surprised. It is probably one of the better pumpkin beers I have had lately. A nice fall refreshment.
junon (420) - Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - SEP 15, 2010
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: AUG 14, 2013 Big pumpkin flavour.. Caramel. Spice. Dark crystalline appearance. Full bodied. So much so it really clings to your mouth from beginning to end. Even flow of flavours all the way through. Nice job.