So, this might be a bit out of season since Pumpkin flavored brews are typically released in Fall when we’re all eating pumpkin pie, but on a recent trip to Total Wine, I came across a couple of big bottles of the second release of Epic and DC Brau’s collaborative Imperial Pumpkin Porter, Fermentation Without Representation. While one of my two bottles will age for a while in my beer cupboard (perhaps as an incentive for X to do another Great Pumpkin Beerathon), I decided to crack open one and write up a long-due big bottle.
Now, I don’t particularly remember having this beer when it was released on tap, so it was likely a simple taste. I’m pretty excited to try it again in a more coherent state. I love pumpkin pie, Epic makes great beers, and imperial porters are right in my wheelhouse. The fact that DC Brau helped is putting me on edge in a similar way to those stereotypical gifts from your Aunt/Uncle — usually, you have to pretend you like it, but every-once-in-awhile, they knock it out of the park. Let’s hope for the latter.
Pour: It pours similar to what you’d expect in an imperial porter, black with a nice creme colored head. Nothing to suspect something interesting is lurking within…
Aroma: BOOM! There’s the pumpkin spice, but to be honest, it’s there but not as over-bearing as some of the more pumpkin-y porters out there. For me, this is a good thing. Other than the spice, I don’t pick up much aside from a touch of the typical-boozy smell of porters.
Taste: I think it’s pretty interesting and a good change from the normal or bourbon-barrel porters that I usually drink. The flavor range goes from boozy-porter to an interesting little bit of pumpkin and ends with a bit of a sort of gritty coffee bitterness in the throat. Now, akin to the aroma, the taste isn’t overwhelmed by pumpkin like the bigger pumpkin beers.
Body: Fermentation Without Representation still has the body of a porter; it has a medium thickness that lightly coats your mouth and throat for a few seconds but then clears out.
All in all, I think this is a decent pumpkin beer, especially if you don’t want to feel like you’re drinking pumpkin pie filling. It’s good, but I don’t think it’s the absolute best pumpkin beer out there — just a good starter beer to get yourself used to the flavoring. If you come across it, it may be worth socking one away for a year, but I can’t make promises about how it’ll be until next year.
Till then, it’s good
I’m becoming a big fan of Epic Brewing so when I saw this bottle I just had to try it. The Hopulent is an IPA that Epic is changing throughout the season. They are changing the grain bill and they are doing everything over the top, lots of hops and lots of malt.
This particular Hopulent was the Release #13. Epic has a website describing when each beer was brewed and which ingredients were used. The #13 was brewed on February 13, 2011 using Premium Briess Two Row with a nearly equal amount of Ultra Premium Maris Otter as the base malts. Briess Munich Malt and Weyermann CaraMunich finish off the bill nicely. Next the hops:
In the Boil: Columbus, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe and more Simcoe. The Dry Hops: Chinook and Centennial. (Now us homebrewers need to figure out how to clone this one) This grain bill resulted in an 8.4% ABV beer.
The pour was light and cloudy with a very small white head. The aroma was exactly what I like in an IPA: very sweet hops and lots of them. The taste followed the aroma with very sweet hops upfront, but then a solid malty middle and a slightly bitter finish created a beautifully balanced big beer.
Now unfortunately this is a limited release beer and I’m not sure how many are around, but if you can find one definitely try it. This was an awesome beer!
I really can’t remember whether I picked this beer up at Whole Foods on P St NW or D’vines on 14th NW, and I wish I did because I want another. No matter where it was purchased, I remember thinking that I had heard good things about Epic and couldn’t pass up a quasi-special edition imperial IPA.
Based on previous reviews, I feel that readers have gotten to know my tastes pretty well; when it comes to IPAs, I prefer ones that have a good balance between the floral/citrus and bitterness – even if one hits you up front and the other follows. Even though the Epic Imperial IPA was a bit on the sweeter side, it did not disappoint, and I honestly think it’s one of the better tasting IPAs I’ve ever had. Thankfully, I decided to save this big bottle to share with a fellow J Streeter (Pyzocha) who also agreed that this beer is stellar.
The beer is a cloudy yellow color with a nice white head, and it has a nice floral sweet smell. The taste is absolutely divine – a nice floral sweetness with a touch of citrus that is followed with just enough bitterness to clean the palette. The beer’s body was creamy, full of flavor and had a small aftertaste.
All in all, get it! And tell me where you find it, so I can get some more…
I saw the Brainless on Peaches at Whole Foods on P St (where else?), and felt like it deserved my attention. I guess I have a sweet spot for fruity beers. Maybe it’s from all the Mike’s Hard Lemonade I drank in college (I know, just thinking about it makes me want to vomit… please don’t think less of me).
The Brainless on Peaches looks almost identical to the regular Brainless, but that’s definitely where it ends. The color is a nice pale gold, which you would expect from a Belgian ale. I expected a peach aroma, but it was really just oak and cloves. It was like an oak aged Belgian, no peaches in the aroma (that my primitive nose could find). The taste is where the peaches were. The beer starts off with a gentle wheat flavor, but quickly dives into the peaches. It’s very sweet in the middle. The mouthfeel is kinda soft, actually, which I’m going to attribute to the oak aging. The finish is sweet, but not overwhelming.
All in all, it’s almost exactly what I expected. Sweet, but not too sweet. If you see it around, feel free to grab it. You don’t need to jump out of your chair and race out now, though.