Nick Carr on September 28, 2015 2 Comments ALE TALE: Quick Characteristics Brewery: Rogue Ales & Spirits Location: Newport, OR Style: Pumpkin Ale ABV: 6.1% IBU: 25 Appearance: Dark Amber with one finger head; Good Clarity. Aroma: Pumpkins; Light caramel and toasty malts; Noticeable spices and hint of citrus zest. Flavor: Heavy spices; Restrained caramel; Hints of vanilla and toasty malts; Dry finish with pumpkin-sweet aftertaste. Hops: Rogue Farms Independent Hops Malts: Rogue Farms Dare, Risk, Carafa II, and Crystal Wheat malts Special Ingredients: Fresh Pumpkin, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Orange Peel, Cardamom, Vanilla Suggested Glass: Mug, Nonic Pint, Shaker Pint Serving Temp: 46°F—50°F Approximate Shelf-Life: 4 to 6 Months Availability: Fall Seasonal Pairs With: Braised pork ribs, Grilled turkey legs, Pepper jack cheese, Pumpkin muffins The farm lay quite under the first crisp air of a year aging into autumn. Trees that bordered the expanse of grain, hops, and vegetables had started to tinge scarlet and golden along their outer edge, while deep inside the canopy, though less pronounced, leaves had gone a shade lighter, as if shedding color, readying themselves for their last days. In the middle of the vegetable garden lay the pumpkin patch; ochre eyes staring out from under the big drooping leaves. Harvey felt lucky. He sat right smack dab in the middle of the whole patch. He was also very excited. Since the time he’d started to gain a little of his own coloring he’d been aware enough to appreciate the farm and the singular mission of this particular pumpkin patch. All the pumpkins here had a purpose. They were counted upon to create something bigger than any single orange-fleshed squash could become on its own. Not carved to grotesque or grinning jack-o-lanterns. Not interred in a single small pie, one offering in the sea of indulgence called Thanksgiving. No, this patch would gain fame. They were picked and transported fresh to the brewery where the fiery throws of creation took place. Like fevered and ebullient alchemists the brewers would set to their work; baking and caramelizing, grinding, spicing and hopping. Catching all the crisp satisfaction of autumn-change and the harvest in the very freshness of ingredients used. Upon the stirring and clanging of the brewhouse would arise the mellow earthy vegetable smells of squash going through the crucible of fire; then to be added judiciously to a brew of warm scented nutmeg and cinnamon, ginger and clove. The slow trundling of a motor brought Harvey out of his reverie. The farmer was coming, for today was Harvest day and Harvey was a Rogue Pumpkin. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Rogue’s Pumpkin Patch Ale. Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Pours a dark amber with a one finger head that is completely wiped away in a matter of moments leaving not even a stich of foam upon the surface. Clear with almost no carbonation taking the upward ride off the bottom. Maybe the most pumpkin-like smelling of the pumpkin beers I’ve tried so far. Some light caramel and toast malts. Spices are not over the top but still the most noticeable aroma –as with any pumpkin ale- nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. There is a hint of citrus zest there too. Overall this one smells more like baking pumpkin and less like pumpkin pie. Mouthfeel and Taste: Medium full body with a full mouthfeel. Very low carbonation allows the mellow punpkiny smoothness to completely envelope the palate. There is no prickling here. It is richly warming, no doubt a combination of alcohol and the spice load. The spices are heavy and round in the front of the palate, especially the nutmeg and clove. Restrained sweet caramel too, rounds things out. Mid-palate the malt becomes a little toaster, along with the pleasant roasted squash. Vanilla notes flit, but remain subdued. Back of the palate is warming and full. Has very slight bittering at the back end with the spice sitting warm and heavy through the finish. Slightly drying in the finish and the spice hangs on, augmenting the pumpkin-like sweet quality of the aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS This is the best example of a well-balanced pumpkin beer I’ve ever had. Now granted, it is early in the Pumpkin beer season and I plan to try a few of them this year, but this sure was a great way to start it all off. There seems to be more pumpkin flavors in this beer and less of just the pumpkin pie spiciness and sweetness found in so many other examples. Whether it is because of the very fresh self-farmed ingredients used by Rogue, or just a more judicious hand in the adding of those ingredients, or both is hard to say. Either way it is awesome that they use their own ingredients and you’ve got to give them props for going “whole-hog” fresh on the pumpkin end of the brew. Very nice! Cheers!