Pumking from a story I’ll eventually tell revolving around @briannedrouhard‘s webcomic, @harpygee (go read it!), but it’s an AU story where they’re in SPAAAACE and have TECH and SSSSTUFFFF. Happy New Year! I hope 2016 will be an amazing year!
Warlock is an Imperial Stout brewed with puréed pumpkin and spice. Release is limited to the month of September, sold in 22 oz. bombers. If you’re familiar with Pumking, this is essentially the dark version. Novel aromas release a delightful blend of pumpkin pie (nutmeg), caramel sweetness, hints of coffee and dark chocolate. It reminds me of a pumpkin pie candle. I could sniff on this all day!
The palate starts with a muted body of coffee, then develops flavors of chocolate cola. Malts advance into richer layers of dark chocolate, then pumpkin begins to dance in the background. As the darkness slowly falls away, more pumpkin character is allowed a brief moment to breathe before a buttery, caramel-like sweetness settles like an anchor to the low register. A bite of spice creates a soft climax, then washes into a modest touch of earthy hops with tame bitterness. Final complexities suggest graham cracker crust, allspice, nutmeg, and star anise. The aftertaste is gently elevated by a tart edge of orange and cinnamon. An ABV of 8.6% is low enough to keep from intruding, but high enough to give a hefty kick of ethanol. Mouthfeel is wet (low in carbonation), very creamy, and somewhat anticlimactic with a medium-full body load.
I think they made good choices on hops, because the flavor is minimal, and their bitterness is mild enough to accentuate the malt roast in a complementary way. Sweetness matches bitterness for a proper ratio of balance. Although the pumpkin completely dominates the nose, it’s effect is much more tame on the tongue. I think the chocolate/pumpkin mix is really working here, however, it leaves something to be desired on the Double Stout side of things. What this beer has to say is interesting – I only wish it shouted louder! It’s fun to imagine what it could be if pushed further. I think it needs a little work, but if the ingredients sound alluring to you, I recommend it.