Location: Lexington, KY Style: Pumpkin Ale/Seasonal ABV: 10%
Autumn is my favorite time of the year. There's cool weather, football, and pumpkin-flavored everything! I have a few staples during this time of the year when it comes to pumpkin beers: Dogfish Head Punkin, Cigar City Good Gourd, and Southern Tier Pumking. But each year, there are newbies that find their way on the shelves, and I am always a sucker for trying new pumpkin beers.
Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale is one that I have been excited to try and eagerly anticipated its distribution here in Jacksonville. Beer:30 was the first place that I saw with the Pumpkin Barrel on the shelves, and I was eager to bring it home and give it a taste.
So why was I eagerly anticipating this beer amidst the many other pumpkin ales that one can buy this time of the year? Well, for starters, anything aged in bourbon barrels gets my attention, and Alltech has proven themselves with their other releases. Combine that with an ABV of 10% and a limited release and I am all but salivating. Ok, I lied. I was definitely salivating.
After a few hours in the fridge, I cracked one open and indulged. Here are my tasting notes:
Appearance: Nice copper color. Clear and rusty. The head is pretty too. It's a quarter-inch in size and sticks around for a bit, but not long enough in my opinion.
Aroma: This is Fall in a glass. I can pick up on some cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, oak, and bourbon. These scents liven as the beer warms. I was able to identify a new ingredient every other minute or so. It's like an aromatic candle that keeps on giving...except you can drink it too!
Taste: Smooth is the first thing that comes to mind. Before I mention the various flavors, I think it's important to highlight how smooth this one is. The bourbon and vanilla stand out to me, which blend to create a well-balanced drink. Of course, the pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon are easily tasted as well. The bourbon is blunt, which I appreciate. The finish is boozy and slightly bitter, possibly from the oak.
If you have had the standard Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, you'll recognize a lot of the same flavor profile. Only this one is complimented with the harvest spices. Like the standard ale, the pumpkin variation is sweet, but it's not overwhelming. It seems to fall somewhere in the middle.
Mouthfeel: This is a medium bodied beer with an appropriate amount of carbonation that is easily forgotten due to the overall creaminess of the beer.
Overall: I enjoyed this one when I first sipped it and I liked it even more after about 20 minutes of letting the beer warm in my glass. The aromas and flavors really blossomed after about 15-20 minutes. The 10% does have a warming effect, which isn't a bad thing.
The only complaint I have with this is the price-point. $14.99 is steep. I know it's 10% and barrel-aged, but it still feels a bit overpriced for a 4pk. Nonetheless, Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale has earned itself a spot on my annual list of pumpkin beers I can't wait to come out each Fall.