Autumnation Pumpkin/Harvest Ale
To quote “Simple Jack”: Sixpoint, you m-m-m-m-make me haaaapy.
Another change in the seasons brings another great seasonal release from the boys in Brooklyn. With Autumnation, the brewery melds the richness and full-flavored pumpkin beer style with the pungent and biting addition of wet hops. The twist on this one is this year, the drinker got to pick which hop was used. In an online vote, Citra won out over Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and – my choice – Simcoe. (So close!)
Autumnation pours a slightly hazy rust orange color, like the color of changing leaves. The head’s about two fingers worth, really foamy and sticks around for a while. The lacing’s pretty mild and there really aren’t any alcohol legs holding on.
The nose has a strong, wet pungent hop smell of citrus. Orange and grapefruit are what pop out the most. There’s a bit of spice on the nose as well from the ginger used in the brewing, with brown sugar giving it a mellow sweetness. Definitely a good malt backbone and a bit of a nutty note as well.
On the front of the tongue is just a bit of hop bitterness and it’s got a fairly medium-bodied mouthfeel. There’s definitely a subdued wet hoppiness on the front and toward the middle of the palate. The finish starts off with a juicy orange note and blooms into a really citric, biting grapefruit flavor. The hop bitterness sticks to the roof of your mouth, but the maltiness is definitely there. It’s nutty and a bit sweet with a good bit of spice added in as well.
There’s been a lot of gnashing of teeth over the lack of a pumpkin taste in the beer. But remember: You don’t taste the pumpkin in a pumpkin beer; you taste the spices (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar) generally used in pumpkin dishes. The pumpkin affects the mouthfeel more than the flavor, kind of like what oatmeal does in oatmeal stouts and porters. With that in mind, there’s only a little bit of a creaminess from the pumpkin. The malts take over more as it warms and the mouthfeel of the pumpkin becomes more noticeable, but it’s there.