Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 38, Elysian Night Owl

Wow, I am now more than 1/10th of the way through my 365 days devoted to this blog!  I'm guessing that at times this summer when I am away at sea that I won't be able to post and will try and work around that.  I apologize in advance.

This beer is a pumpkin ale using real pumpkin and pumpkin seeds in the mashing process.  It's very good.  I never thought that I would hear myself say that as I typically don't like fruit in my beer, but lately with the whole gluten free arena, I have been utilizing fruits to help a beer that is somewhat lacking out.  Dogfish Head with their T'weason Ale is a prime example using strawberry to help out the sorghum base.  I also am not a huge fan of overly spiced beers and this one is spiced, but very mildly so.  And again, I've been delving into this realm as well and am especially fond of fresh ginger because it is so aromatic and a great digestive aid.

This is definitely geared as a fall beer, but I think it is drinkable at any time.  Look at that label.  Pretty cool, huh?  AND the bottle can be reused for homebrew!

The beer poured a copper color with a thin white head of medium sized bubbles that fade to a thin ring of tiny bubbles that leave very little lacing.  I poured the beer at about 55 degrees so that I could get a nice aroma from the beer.

Speaking of which, the beer smells like ginger bread and malts.  There is no hop aroma but only of the spices used in gingerbread like allspice, ginger, nutmeg, etc... but don't let that scare ya, it isn't displeasingly strong.

The beer tastes just as it smells with the aroma definitely enhancing the effect.  The beer starts off malty and sweet with the gingerbread aroma taking charge and then working it's way towards the gingerbread flavors and then approaching the end of the sip with a lingering peppery taste on the tongue to be finally finished off with the mildest of hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is bread-like or (starchy?) and definitely chewy sweet.  Thick bodied!  No skinny blonde here.  The carbonation is low, but just enough to carry those malty and spicy flavors all over your tongue.

I'm fairly new to pumpkin ales as I have shied away from them in the past only remembering one of note which was Dogfish Head Punkin Ale and not really liking that one.  But as I study these beers, I find the need to reassess that conclusion.  I blogged about it in the late summer when I went to volunteer for them and will have to look that up.  It is supposed to be the number one pumpkin beer in the world.

So judging by all the criteria involved and putting my impartiality aside, I am going to have to give this a 9 out of 10.  Personally I like a little more head and this is imbalanced and a bit overly sweet.  I get a hint of alcohol in the beer as well, but you know, I am just being overly critical when I say those things.  Ultimately it's fecking good!

Try one before winter ends, you will enjoy it.  It's probably really well aged now also and a lot of flavors are really starting to pop!


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