Chad9976 (1026) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 5, 2010
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: DEC 25, 2011 Itís very rare I encounter a beer so good it makes me want to sing its praises from the rooftops. Sure, I do drink some outstanding beers once in a while but every once in a great while a beer comes along that is such an outstanding performer in more ways than one.
Southern Tier Imperial Pumking definitely has one of the most accurate names of any beer Iíve ever drank. This is indeed the king of pumpkin beers as it has an absolutely delicious, complex palate that is surprisingly smooth and does not drink or feel nearly as strong as its label would indicate. This is a beer that can do it all and you donít have to be a beer nerd to enjoy it.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
For some reason I love orange beers. If you know me you know I love India Pale Ales which often tend to be orange in color as are pumpkin beers. Most of those beers are only slightly orange with brown or amber being the dominant hue, but Pumking is indeed orange proper.
The body is slightly cloudy but mostly clear. Upon the initial pour a mass of tiny bubbles rise to the top and generate a very thin layer of off-white, foamy head. If I had to criticize this beer for anything it would the fact the head is minimal and dissolves quickly.
The aroma is very inviting with a strong presence of pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon. There is a slight bready maltiness to the nose mixed with vanilla and oak as well. Alcohol is also noticeable but itís buried underneath the aforementioned scents. Few beers are as tempting from their aroma as this one is.
We all know taste is indisputable but I think some thing are universally regarded as delicious and pumpkin pie is probably one of them. Southern Tier Imperial Pumking is as close as any beer probably will get to liquid pumpkin pie, at least in terms of enjoyment. In fact, Iíd say this beer is actually better than the pie since itís so much more complex.
As the nose indicates, the palate here is quite complex. Upon first the first sip the taste of real pureed pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon make themselves known giving the beer a sweet, confectionary taste. On the finish thereís an even stronger flavor of oak and vanilla as if this were a cask-conditioned brew (to my knowledge it isnít).
And not unlike a double bock, Pumking also has a bready maltiness from its use of two-row pale and caramel malts. Magnum and sterling hops balance everything out for a ever-so-slightly dry bitterness. This is a beer that doesnít really taste like ďbeerĒ but itís not so overly-flavored to point of becoming gimmicky thanks mostly to its smooth finish.
Iíve never been a huge fan of ďbig beersĒ since drinking them requires quite a bit of effort on the drinkerís part. However, if I had drank Pumking blind Iíd never know it has a potency of 9% ABV. How can a beer this smooth go down so easily? This is even more impressive considering how complex and rich the palate is since intensely-flavored beers tend to be for sipping only.
In fact, I might almost scold Southern Tier for making this beer too smooth since itís the kind of beer you want to savor. How they were able to make a beer with so complex and potent and yet so smooth is a borderline miracle. Iíd even go as far as to say this beer wouldnít intimidate even the most casual, lightweight drinker since itís so tasty and so smooth.
Itís beers like Imperial Pumking that make beer geeks like me go crazy for niche craft breweries like Southern Tier. At $9 per 22oz bottle (and its limited distribution) it would be an easy beer for the pedestrian beer drinker to pass up. However, a beer this good should never be passed up Ė especially considering how well it would pair with both a meal and dessert (or as a treat in and of itself). If ever there were a ďmust drinkĒ beer, this is it!
NOTE: watch the video version of this review at:
harrymel (1096) - Spokane, Washington, USA - DEC 19, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottled August, 2011
A: Pours orange, pumpkin orange. Single finger of transient, white foam falls quickly to a broken sheet of the same with a central cap. Excellent clarity, looks like a melted orange popsicle.
S: Graham cracker crust, cinnamon, a little nutmeg. Smells sweet and slightly oxidized.
T: Well, Southern Tier has a knack for making things taste like their name - tastes like pumpkin pie, a bit of whipped cream and orange zest here for me. The spices resonate for a time after I swallow.
M: Medium bodied with moderate carb and a nice long slick on the finish.
O: This beer is exactly what I anticipated it would be, that being said - I donít dislike it, but do not subscribe as fervently as many in the forums do. Itís good, about as good as every beer in the Black Water series - itís literally well done, but nothing more.
Serving type: bottle
drunk_again (81) - GREECE - DEC 19, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
650ml bottle. clear orange color with thin head. aroma is cinnamon, clove, pumpkin, cardamom. taste is pretty much the same with moderate to heavy sweetness.
AndySnow (1826) - Stockholm, SWEDEN - DEC 18, 2013
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Appearance: Amber colour with a small off-white head.
Aroma: Spices, pumpkin, cinnamon.
Body: Medium body and low carbonation.
Flavour: Spices, pumpkin, hops, cinnamon, sugar.
nasmith003 (24) - Virginia, USA - DEC 17, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Sweet pumpkin pie aroma and copper orange color. Sweet malty backbone with hints of nutmeg and allspice. Clean finish.
HoppyScallywag (7) - Butler, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 11, 2013 does not count
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very good pumpkin beer. Lots of flavor but not obnoxious. Pretty pricey. I would buy a bottle or 2 at the bar.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
anthony850 (91) - Andover, New Jersey, USA - DEC 10, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Nice pumpkin taste with almost no spices
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
jhliesen (656) - West Melbourne, Florida, USA - DEC 6, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bomber---a little late to the ratings, also had the past two or three yearís brews. Orange color with a small head, light lacing. Full aroma of pumpkin, caramel and nutmeg. Taste has vanilla up front balanced with the pumpkin and spices. Some caramel on the finish with a light finish unlike most other pumpkin beers. Produce place.
scarletfire65 (829) - Rockaway Park, New York, USA - DEC 6, 2013
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bomber at home. Aroma of roasted hazelnuts and Frangelico liqueur. Soft, smooth palate. Tastes of creamy canned pumpkin, hazelnuts, powdered ginger. More nutty than pumpkiny. Really great silky mouthfeel. Slightly dry finish.
hstreet (65) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 6, 2013
1.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 2/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 2/20
The only reason I gave this an eight for aroma is beacause I cannot figure out the smell from the begining which I kind of like...Otherwise this is pure pony piss
jcnielsen (1330) - Kansas City, Missouri, USA - DEC 4, 2013
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bottle. Pours a golden orange color with white head. Big cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin aromas. Pumpkin, vegetal, earthy, slight alcohol flavors. To me the pumpkin flavor is this beer is a little funny. Not my favorite pumpkin beer.