Tuesday, November 25, 2014

065. Karbach Krunkin Pumpkin

Thanksgiving is this week, and I'm still trotting out the pumpkin beers from my vault: Karbach Krunkin Pumpkin. At least this one mentions turkey day on the label, so I guess i can save my guilt for seconds on Thursday. I picked this ale up a while back -- it came in a 22 oz bottle that is commonly called a "bomber" at my local Spec's Liquor store. This was the last bottle they had.

Speaking of which, I do think this would be a decent beer to share with guests at a big meal, as I believe it is better consumed in small glasses, rather than downing the entire bottle, as I'm doing tonight. It's just too sweet and spicy for my taste.

First Pour
Popping the top is like breaking the seal on the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The moment you do, aromas start swirling out of the bottle, almost spinning around the top seeking release. And they are pleasing. Spice, malt, a hint of hops, an undercurrent of yeast and the promise of pumpkin pie. The pie is definitely a portent of the sweetness to come.

The pour yielded a respectable one-finger head that was surprising consistent as it sat atop a rich chocolate brown ale that could stand next to a Guinness without being embarrassed -- yup, it's that dark. The first sip was pretty cold, and it was almost cloyingly sweet with a generous amount of pumpkin flowing through. It was good, but I could tell right away that this was not nuanced enough to be from Karbach Brewing Co., so I would need to let it warm up a bit so the other flavors could come alive.

So wait I did, and was rewarded for my patience. Even a few degrees allowed some of the dormant flavors to awaken and swarm forth, delivering more spice and subtlety as the brew warmed above 50 degrees. I began detecting pepper, pumpkin spice and hops -- in other words, the flavors promised by the pleasing noseful I got when I opened the bottle.
1.  Take pale, Munic and crystal malts and mash for 90 minutes.2.  Lauter with sugar pumpkins baked for 60 minutes at 420 degrees and boil wort for 70 minutes.3.  Add hops at beginning and end of boil and add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice at very end of the boil.4.  Ferment with yeast, cold condition and bottle.*Best served chilled in goblet-style glass to goblins, ghouls or naughty nurses at your favorite Halloween party or uptight in-laws at Thanksgiving dinner.*-- From the label
If you like more bitter flavors, drink this warm and you will find a nice counterbalance to the sweetness. Well... probably not enough for the true hops whores out there. If you love IPAs, then this is not the beer for you.

Fortunately, this is a limited release and kind of hard to get, so there is no chance it will become part of your everyday larder. But, as a once-in-a-while fall treat, this is a treasure that even  Indy could enjoy.

Closing Thoughts
This is a really good pumpkin ale; in fact, it is probably the best one I've ever had. That being said, I don't love pumpkin ales all that much. But if they were all this good, I would consider trying more of them. This is a dark ale suited for winter. I think it would pair will with turkey or other food, but is probably way too sweet to pair with dessert.

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:
Type: Pumpkin Ale
Color: Rich chocolate brown
Aroma: Spices, pumpkin, hops, yeast & sweet malt
Hops: Present, but not as pronounced as expected
Malt: A sweet foundation
Head: One-finger head that shrinks to a thin ring that never quite fades completely
Lace: Almost none.
Bitterness: Not really -- this is a fairly sweet ale
Carbonation: Medium to light
Mouthfeel:  Refreshing, but the yeast does get a little cloying after drinking a lot
Temeprature Sweet Spot: 50 - 55 degrees
ABV: 8.5%
My Rating: 7 out of 10

Other Reviews Worth A Sip:
Mostly positive reviews at Beer Advocate. A few didn't get it, but those that did really enjoyed it a lot.

No comments:

Post a Comment