10/31/22: A Very Thirsty Dog Halloween (Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale)

4:31 PM

I love me some Thirsty Dog. The brewery makes the best seasonal beer around (including my all-time favorite Christmas beer). Last year, I came to the conclusion that, aside from making great Christmas ales and Oktoberfest lagers, the Akron-based brewery also has a killer pumpkin ale in their repertoire. 

Earlier this fall (or late-summer, I guess) (probably sometime in August or September), the brewery posted an Instagram story featuring their Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale. I was filled with an immediate curiosity. Where I live, I don't have access to much of the special beers Thirsty Dog puts out, but I kept my fingers crossed that I'd come across a bottle of this supped-up Pumpkin Ale. Luckily for me (and for you, reading this), I found one. Now, here at the very end of Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month, I'm ripping the foil off my bottle and seeing if it's as good as I hope it is.

Thirsty Dog is, like I mentioned above, an Akron-based brewery. They specialize in small-batch beers that are brewed with high-quality ingredients and care. Let me tell you (as an avid fan of the brewery), their care and quality really shine through in their product.

Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale takes Thirsty Dog's Pumpkin Ale (brewed with pumpkin, clove, squash, honey, and ginger) and puts some real Halloween magic on it. By this, I mean the brewery adds even more pumpkin to the beer and lets it sit in bourbon barrels until it emerges as this whopping 13% ABV behemoth.

From the nose, I get pumpkin (and squash--I wouldn't be able to differentiate between the two here) and some of the clove, honey, and ginger. There's vanilla and oak from the bourbon barrels, which impart an almost cream cheese frosting quality to the ale (my favorite part about BBA pumpkin beers). This wonderful bouquet finishes in a boozy burn that's as appealing to Purrl as it is me--she gave my bottle (before I poured it into my glass) twenty-eight whiffs!

BA Imperial Pumpkin Ale greets my tongue with a bit of pumpkin flavor with the associated spices. This is quickly followed by the alcohol which boasts all the oakiness and vanillaness of a good bourbon. All of this meshes quickly and perfectly into something akin to an almost light red wine. In the finish (warm and boozy), I find some pumpkin pie, graham cracker, and that wonderful cream cheese icing.

In my glass, the imperial ale is a nice cooper color, like a freshly-minted penny, with bubbles rushing to the top to join a head that faded too quickly (this was white [almost-snow white] and finely laced).

The mouthfeel here is mostly thin--easy drinking with a bit of bite after the ale sits on my tongue for a few seconds. 

It's another Halloween, and another year of Michelle and I waiting around anxiously for trick-or-treaters. See, we live in a country-adjacent setting. We're just outside suburbia (we have about a half-acre) and are about a half-mile away from the nearest child-populated subdivision.

Last year, though, we had two kids call upon our door! We bought full-sized candy bars this year to reward them with should they visit again. We'll see--it's growing dark rapidly and the rain's only just holding off. I'll be sitting here, sipping my BA Imperial Pumpkin Ale as I wait.

I gotta say: Thirsty Dog's Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale did, in fact, live up to my expectations. It takes the excellent base Pumpkin Ale and makes it more. This is a downright creepily good 10/10. It's a Very Thirsty Dog Halloween, indeed.

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