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The Beer Circle » Avery Brewing Co., Beer, Cellar, Gosling's, Pumpkin Ale » Cellar: Avery Brewing Company Rumpkin

Cellar: Avery Brewing Company Rumpkin

Craft beer these days pushes the limits of styles, taking them to places breweries never dreamed of in the past. Avery has done just that. Think about the last time you were drinking a pumpkin ale, did it cross your mind that it would taste better with triple (or quadruple) the ABV and aged in rum barrels? Well, it should have.

Enter: Rumpkin. An 18% ABV pumpkin ale aged in Gosling’s rum barrels.

I wanted to let that line stand on its own up there, just so you can read it over and over again. There aren’t any typos (double checks…yep, no typos). Last year I tried this monster for the first time on-tap and thought it was really boozy (shocker, right?). So when I came across a bottle I decided to lay it down for consumption sometime within the next decade. Then, I came across a bottle from this year’s batch randomly at Norm’s Beer and Wine in Vienna, VA and I thought to myself, “hey, I should drink those.”

Avery has been operating out of Boulder, Colorado since 1993 and is known for its HUGE beers. Of note, Uncle Jacob’s Imperial Stout, which I enjoyed at Snallygaster, and Mephistopheles’ Imperial Stout (and it’s Addict brethren).

Avery Rumpkin 2012
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The beer pours out of the bottle the most ridiculous color of orange I have ever seen. It rests in the glass almost brown, viscous as hell, and with an orange-tinted head. The head is nothing more than a few bubbles and hangs out for only a fleeting second. It just looks like a big beer.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The aroma is strangely muted. Spices, definitely some rum, but mostly pumpkin. The alcohol is hot and dominates the other aromas. I guess I expected the pumpkin and rum to attack me right off the bat, but this seems to be a more blended, less aggressive aroma.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The taste is really focused on the rum. In fact, I'd almost say the rum is cut with pumpkin. There seems to be another factor adding thickness here, which I'll call molasses because the beer is really sweet. Spices rest on the backend, both from the beer and the rum barrel. The pumpkin really presents itself throughout the entire taste, attempting to compete with the rum when it reality it only plays second fiddle. The finish is all rum and vanilla and the beer warms you as you drink. I do like the beer despite it's over-the-top ruminess. I'm impressed that pumpkin can play on this level, but I'm afraid it isn't quite good enough to make this a top notch offering.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The beer actually burns on the way down, which although I've had a good number of very high ABV beers, I can't say I'm used to. The body is thick and heavy, coating the mouth with rum and spice. The size of this beer makes the drinkability a bit lower than it could be. The alcohol just takes you over.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This set me back $11 for 12oz at one of my local bottle shops. While that price isn't completely outrageous for a beer of this size and rarity, it's still too much when you're nearly paying $1 per ounce of beer.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This beer quite literally warms my soul. I thought the fresh version was hot (something I remember when I had this on tap last year), so I'm excited to see what happened to the bottle I held on to for a year. If you can find this, buy it, and experience it. I doubt you'll regret it.

Beer Stats
Style: Rum Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 18.10%
BA Score: 88
RB Score: 99
Avery Rumpkin 2011
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The body has gotten much darker, and the bright orange appearance that so struck me before has turned into more of an amber sludge with a white head. The body is much more clear than the 2012 version. As before, the bubbly head doesn't stick around all that long. A ton of something has built up at the bottom of the bottle after filtering out of the beer over the last year, which I didn't pour into my glass. I can't stress enough that they look like different beers.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The pumpkin asserts itself much more, with the spices underneath. The rum plays well here and the booze is as strong as ever at the finish. I'm actually a little surprised the alcohol hasn't been cut a bit more, as it's still almost burning my nostrils.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
I'll say this right up front, the taste of the aged Rumpkin is significantly better. I'd say the best pumpkin beer I've had to this point. The balance, finally, is noticeable and MUCH appreciated. The sweetness is still big, and the caramel seems to be much stronger than any pumpkin beer I've had before. The rum and alcohol play big parts here, but as I said it's actually balanced. The spices are gone and are replaced by a big malt finish. I appreciate the beer not burning on the way down.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Aged Rumpkin has a thinner body, yet more carbonation than its fresh brethren. The drinkability is much higher because of the balance and lower level of noticeable alcohol. I still feel the 18.1% ABV after I'm about halfway through the bottle, however.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
As with the 2012, this beer cost more than $10 for the bottle, which is too much. I'd say paying the price makes more sense if you plan to age it, as I believe it becomes a better beer.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Aging Rumpkin for a year showed a huge improvement. I actually wish I had another bottle to hold onto for a few year, as I bet this will only continue to get better. I absolutely recommend you age this over drinking it fresh. Having had it fresh on tap and in the bottle, this is much better.

Beer Stats
Style: Rum Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 18.10%
BA Score: 88
RB Score: 99

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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