With Halloween just around the corner, I went on the hunt for a new Autumn beer to carve into. What I found was a deeply complex Imperial Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices and aged in bourbon barrels. From their Uncharted Waters Series, Heavy Seas’ the Great’er Pumpkin gave me quite a punch to the pallet, and, at 10% ALC, gave me a little buzz as well. The series as Heavy Seas puts it “explores the unique changes that happen to beer when exposed to wood.”
Pours a pretty burnt orange and foggy like a fresh-made apple cider. It had a thin fizzy head with a cautious poor, so I would suggest getting a little more aggressive with your pour than I did. Despite the small head, the carbonation was still a little stronger than I would have expected.
Initial scents of Autumn spices clove, ginger, nutmeg and even a vegetal smell like sweet potatoes and carrot. Overall, it smells like a boozy pumpkin pie.
Thin bodied and moderate carbonation. Definitely thinner than what I would have expected for a barrel-aged Imperial. A small amount of alcohol warmth on the back end.
A strong brown-sugar like maltiness overwhelmed my pallet, immediately followed by the distinct Autumn flavors of clove, nutmeg, ginger, and pumpkin pie bringing forth memories of holidays passed. After the initial wave of sweetness passes, a second swarm of flavors join the party: anise, vanilla and oaky bourbon. I find Great’er to be delicious and complex, but as I was drinking it without the accompaniment of food, I find the sweetness to be a bit too much. If you can find the Great’er Pumpkin in your area, I would highly recommend pairing it with your Thanksgiving dinner to enjoy its complexities but also to “pull back” the sweetness a notch. I truly wanted to score Heavy Seas’ the Great’er Pumpkin higher, but I found the sweetness to conflict with drinkability. Do you disagree?