When you’re a pumpkin-loving fool like me, there’s only one pumpkin beer that really knows how to carve out a piece of your heart.
Naturally, it’s Southern Tier’s Pumking, a seasonal gift from the Beer Gods of Autumn to the soul of my
stomach liver. But wouldn’t you know it, I found a secondary, if not slightly lacking alternative. It’s Sam Adams Fat Jack, a new, limited entry to heir seasonal lineup. It’s pretty awesome, but it’s only got a 82 on Beer Advocate. These people don’t know what’s good for them.
I won’t say Fat Jack is a second coming of Pumking, but it was a nice surprise that when I popped he cap on this bottle I could smell pumpkin right away. When I want a pumpkin beer I want pumpkin pie in a glass. Fat Jack did its best on this one. Find out just how well after the jump.
The smell is just like pumpkin pie up front, with some sugary sweetness – maybe molasses? There’s some definite canned pumpkin smell that mixes with cinnamon and brown sugar. So far, so good.
Where this beer differentiates from Pumking is the alcohol flavor. Pumking stands at 8.6 percent ABV and Fat Jack is at 8.5. With Fat Jack, the booze is fairly easy to taste, whereas I find it much more easily hidden with Pumking.
On each sip of Fat Jack, the alcohol and pumpkin are really battling for the most attention and depending on your palate, I could easily see either of those winning out. Even if the booze ends up being too much, the sweetness of the malt helps to smooth it over by acting as a crust-like flavor to all the pie filling aromas and flavors you experience. Sam Adams uses rye and smoked malt in this beer, which help to give it an earthy, full-bodied character. The use of low alpha acid East Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops mean that there will be little detectable bitterness, especially if you focus on the pumpkin like me.
Speaking of which, the slice if pumpkin pie I had withe Fat Jack really helped to cancel out the pumpkin flavor – not the smell – and being the alcohol forward. This gave the brew a nice warming feel between bites. Here are my Rate That Beer notes: