I’m surprised that I never posted a review of Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale over the last few years. This year was special – a local retailer added growlers to their offerings and I got to have Punkin’ from the tap!
The half-gallon went pretty quickly, but I did take some notes. I have said in the past that I didn’t want to do quantitative reviews, but if I don’t keep to some kind of standard I’ll never be able to keep up with what I’ve experienced. I have decided to use the Beer Judge Certification Program‘s beer scoresheet to take my notes and give ratings. This will also allow you to bench my scores against other ratings, though others may be on a different scale. BJCP scores are 0 to 50.
Sweet alcohol, cinnamon & nutmeg. To my olfactory, this was a lot like last year. Appropriate for this style. (9/12)
It pours clear in a deep amber color. The keg it came from was perfectly carbonated. It has a foamy yet crisp head that lingers. (3/3)
Hoppy up front, followed by sticky sweetness with an only slightly-floral bitterness in the alcoholic finish. The next breath is of alcohol and spices. (16/20)
Positive. The palate is well-compensated as it comes in to balance. Warm in the throat. The low carbonation makes it very smooth. (5/5)
After drinking for a few minutes, it begins to warm up (and so do I). More spices surface and everything comes into play. The alcoholic finish, while a bit strong at first, subsides and becomes quite enjoyable. If I could change anything about this beer, it would be the quantity of spices present – its festivity gets a bit overwhelming in the same way that a strong scented candle does in a small room. (9/10)
The tally is 42 out of 50 (Excellent).
With that said, I want to make sure no one reads this review as a desire to change what Dogfish Head does. There’s absolutely no way I’d tell any brewery to do anything differently – from my I love Craft Beer perspective, it’s perfect. I wouldn’t believe for a second that a batch of Punkin’ that reached consumers wasn’t what Dogfish Head wanted to serve, so I know that this beer is exactly what they wanted me to have. Besides – Dogfish Head makes “Off-centered ales for off-centered people.” It would only be an odd beer if it were a perfect example of a particular style.
In the end, I highly recommend Punkin’ to those adventurous enough to tackle this year’s craft Pumpkin beers – it’s worth the time.