10/24/21: Heavy Seas Beer's The Great'er Pumpkin

2:09 PM

Today's beer is another pumpkin standard that I see annually on store shelves. It's also one that I've never tried before. Why? I don't know exactly. I just know that, routinely, when I do decide to take the plunge any given year (and I always the decision to opt in) it's gone. Sold out.

I decided to shake up that cycle this year. Enough waiting and thinking about what could've been. It's time, finally, to crack into my first bottle of Heavy Seas' Great'er Pumpkin. Let's see if it's as scarily good as I've heard (because--full disclosure--I've heard some good things about it).

Heavy Seas began life in 1995 as Clipper City Brewing Company. It was founded by Hugh Sisson, who cut his teeth in the 80s working in (at the time) Baltimore, MD's only craft beer bar. Brewing piqued his interest and, shortly after, he found his way into making and selling his own craft.

Clipper City introduced its Heavy Seas line of beer in 2003. Brews under this imprint focused on heavier, bolder styles of beer. The line took off and, in 2010, Clipper City officially changed its name to Heavy Seas. The brewery's since done their damnedest to make approachable, frillessly great beer.

The Great'er Pumpkin (you can find it toward the end of the brewery's "Our Beer" page) is a 10% ABV (the strongest beer I've had this season!) bourbon barrel-aged pumpkin ale (the label on my bottle specifies that the base beer's a cooper ale). Brewed with pumpkin, the beer features notes of cinnamon, clove, ginger, oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Sounds mighty fine to me.

I've found over the years that bourbon barrel-aged pumpkin beers always have an incredibly decadent bouquet, and Great'er Pumpkin's not exception. There's something divine about the mix of the cinnamon, vanilla, and oak--it imparts something akin to a warm, buttery breakfast pastry. There's pumpkin here, too, flirting sultry-like with the maltiness of the beer. I'm not getting much from the ginger and clove, nor is there much of a boozy bite to the nose.

Purrl was asleep under the covers on our bed at the time I need to take the picture below, so Lottie's filling in for her. Our scruffy little pup gave my bottle eight quick whiffs and a few licks (just around the lip of it, though--she's on a strict no-beer diet).

There's a pounding of pumpkin in the ale's flavor profile that hits hard in the fore and creeps around well into the dastardly long finish. Rushing in behind its initial hit, the ginger, cinnamon, and clove show up, adding some extra bite to the ale's mild hoppiness. Then, mingling in the finish with the pumpkin are all those great bourbon flavors--oak, vanilla, and some slight caramel, all paving the way for a smothering of boozy warmth.

Mouthfeel-wise, the beer's lighter than I anticipated. Don't get my wrong, it's still big, bold, and incredibly full-bodied. But I guess I expected something a tad thicker than this. It hits all the stout marks, to be sure. It's just that its ABV and flavor profile had me hoping for something a tiny bit more substantial. I won't knock Great'er Pumpkin for following the style, though.

Michelle and I are having chili tonight. I know I mentioned chili in the last post but, c'mon. It's chili season. We got out for a drive today to take in the fall colors (our area's peaking right now) in the cold rain. There's a fire roaring in our stove, we have some pumpkin-scented candles lit, and chili about to be simmering on the stove. I know this isn't a memory, but I want to put you in the exact state of mind I'm in right now. 

Why? Because I'm giving the first 10/10 of the season to Heavy Seas' Great'er Pumpkin. There's a specialtiness about it that I can't pin down with written word. It's just, great. Greater than great. Great'er. Don't be like past John and let it slip away. Get it if/while you can.

You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

A Beer You'll See Here Soon

Jolly Pumpkin's Blanca