Monday, September 1, 2014

Epic Imperial Pumpkin Porter (7/10)

Through September and October, I’m planning to review primarily beers brewed with pumpkins, though a few others will undoubtedly creep in that aren’t pumpkin ales.  This is the first of those reviews.  Another will appear on Friday.

Epic Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah, produces this Imperial Pumpkin Porter, which is a ported brewed with pumpkin and spices.

It features several different malts, three varieties of hops (Nugget, Perle, and Tettnang), pumpkin, vanilla bean, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

It pours nearly black, with a tan head that lingers for an unusually long time.

The aroma is very malty, covering up any pumpkin and spice.

The flavor is primarily malty with bitterness to it that seems to come from the grain rather than the hops, though it’s hard to say that with any certainty.  Pumpkin and spice are there if you look for them, but they take a definite back seat to malt and hops.  Honestly, if you think of it as a straight-up porter it’s not a bad flavor balance.  (If you think of it as a pumpkin beer or a pumpkin-and-spice-forward beer, then it fails.)

RateBeer gives this a 96/100 with well over 200 ratings.  Beer Advocate gives it an 86/100 with nearly 300 ratings.  Looking at it as a porter, it’s good.  Looking at it as a pumpkin/spice beer, it’s not as good. I’m giving it a 7/10.  With a year of cellaring to mellow it out, it might even get an 8.

I had this particular sample at an Oktoberfest event.  I’ve seen and purchased the bottled version locally at Kenny Road Market.

Pumpkin Beer Flavor Profile:
Dominant Flavor (Beer, Spices, Pumpkin):  Beer
Pumpkin intensity:  Low
Spice intensity:  Low
Malty or hoppy:  Malty (dark roasted malts)
Sweet, balanced, or dry:  Balanced
Dominant flavor:  Malt
ABV:  8%
IBU:  Unknown, but would estimate in the 25-28 range
My Rating: 7/10

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