Yesterday was Pumpkinator release day for the imperial pumpkin stout from Saint Arnold Brewing. And while I wasn’t able to attend any of the release events (Corporate Brew & Draft had both a keg and a cask of Pumpkinator to try side-by-side), I was able to grab a couple of bottles. Naturally, I had to crack one open yesterday evening. Here’s what Saint Arnold says about Pumpkinator:
Pumpkinator is a big, black, full of spice, full of flavor beer. Originally released in 2009 as Divine Reserve No. 9, it is an imperial pumpkin stout and our answer to how a pumpkin beer ought to taste. This year’s version comes in at 10% ABV. It is brewed with a combination of pale two row, caramel and black malts, Cascade and Liberty hops for a background hop flavor, pumpkin for a rich mouthfeel, molasses, brown sugar, spices and dry-spiced to make it feel like you just walked into your mom’s kitchen while she was cooking 37 pumpkin pies. It is the most expensive beer we have brewed.
Pumpkinator pours black with a touch of ruby notes visible when held up to the light. There’s a decent sized off-white head that fades, while adding a bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma is pure autumn delight with a blend of pumpkin as well as spices and molasses sweetness. There are many flavors that come out, as I noticed the classic pumpkin pie spice, a touch of vanilla, and pumpkin to go along with a sweetness, presumably from the molasses. The thing about Pumpkinator is that it has a big malt backbone and full mouthfeel, and it holds up to the spices without overwhelming or turning the beer into a glass of liquid potpourri. Pumpkinator successfully walks the fine line between not enough pumpkin spice and “oh-my-God-I’m-drinking-a-candle” that many other pumpkin beers fail to navigate. At 10% ABV, Pumpkinator is definitely a sipper, and the big mouthfeel only contributes to that. But it’s quite enjoyable, and one that I look forward to year after year. I also enjoy the fact that Saint Arnold waits until mid-October to release Pumpkinator, unlike other breweries who seem to think the public wants to drink pumpkin beers in late-July (I’m looking at you, Southern Tier).
Grab a couple bottles if you can, one to enjoy now, and one to age until next fall’s release.