With pumpkin ales being released earlier and earlier every year, I try to avoid jumping on the band wagon too early and encouraging this trend. However, Pumking by Southern Tier makes this incredibly difficult/impossible. As much as I want there to be pumpkin ale stock available in November to be enjoyed during a traditional Thanksgiving feast, passing up on the ruler of gourd-based fermented beverages is not an option. So turn down the AC and turn up: It’s Pumking time!
Pumking pours a clear, bright copper with a thin, sudsy head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is dominated by pumpkin pie spice: nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. These spices rest on a base of rich vanilla and sweet malt with a slight hint of hop citrus in the background.
The flavor is pumpkin pie in a glass. The profile begins with strong pumpkin pie spice and a heavy dose of vanilla and sweet malt. There’s also an oaky bourbon aspect that warms the palate. The body isn’t incredibly heavy for the ABV with a creamy, velvety texture.
Pumking rules over lesser pumpkin ales with robust pumpkin pie flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the palate with a sweet, malty mess. Southern Tier does an excellent job of elevating the style without straying from its roots. This masterful pumpkin ale is one of the few that I will purchase slightly out of season. However, now that I’ve started… Let the flood of pumpkin beers begin!
- Appearance: Clear, Bright Copper / Thin, Sudsy Head
- Aroma: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove, Vanilla, Sweet Malt, Light Hop Citrus
- Flavor: Pumpkin Pie Spice, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Bourbon, Sweet Malt
- Mouthfeel: Medium Body / Creamy, Velvety Texture
- ABV: 8.6%
- Score: 90