Nov 12, 2013

Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was one of my favorite seasonal cartoons that I looked forward to every Fall as a kid — ok, I’ll admit it, I still look forward to the show even now. I often imagined sitting out in the pumpkin patch with Linus, huddled in the cold air with eyes peeled for that mythical gourd. As an adult, however, I recognize that I would need a little something to tide me over and keep me warm. In steps Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin, a 10% ABV bourbon-barrel aged pumpkin ale that will not only keep you all comfy (inside), but probably be reason enough for the Great Pumpkin to avoid this particular patch.

I’ve had a variety of pumpkin-influenced beers over the years — with some really stand-out examples in the past month of two. This, however, is the first time that I’ve run across Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin (or any barrel aged pumpkin ale for that matter). As a fan of a glass of bourbon with my wife’s pumpkin pie, I was beyond excited to finally have run across a bottle of this not-so-mythical brew.


Yeah, yeah, yeah… I got a little silly with the photos for this review. At any rate, Greater Pumpkin has a creamy, but short-lived cap of off-white foam sitting atop slightly hazy, copper colored brew.

Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin photo


Light vanilla, soft bourbon, distant pumpkin, orange peel and subtle spices combine for a refined and balanced nose. The bourbon notes are just at the right level and work well with the light malt sweetness that’s present.


The pumpkin flavor comes out more in the flavor than the nose hinted at and mingles nicely with woody notes, vanilla and bourbon (which again is at just the right level). A blend of spices lingers mostly in the lasting finish as does the slowly fading bourbon traits. There’s a good deal going on within this beer, but the brewery has managed to get everything working in harmony. At 10% ABV, the beer is most certainly warming, but not overtly so.


I’m impressed with the balance to this beer. It’s got everything I like in a pumpkin ale and reminds me of Thanksgiving without tasting too dessert-like. The barrel aging is spot-on and injects just the right amount of vanilla, wood and bourbon into an array of flavors that would make even Linus’ “Great Pumpkin” temporarily turn cannibalistic for a nip or two of this brew.

Rating: 4.25/5

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