Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale

By on March 11, 2008 @ 10 PM (5 Comments)

Note: The Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale was reviewed by both John and Dad on different days and originally posted as two separate reviews. We usually do our combined reviews together in one post, so this post has been edited to bring you both reviews on one post.

Son Beer Love Review (March 11, 2008):

The Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale is the fall seasonal from Blue Moon Brewing Company, makers of Blue Moon, which isn’t half bad for a mass market craft beer (it’s brewed by Molson Coors, though you won’t find Coors anywhere on the bottle – just a reference to Golden, CO). This one came in a 12 oz bottle (I got a six-pack) and it’s 5.6% ABV. I served it up in a regular pint glass with a beer temperature of 46 F.

I was unsure what to expect with this one. Past experience with “fruited” beers weren’t always great – (see Sam Adams Cherry Wheat). But you may be saying “well pumpkin isn’t a fruit, it’s a vegetable!” and I would admit I’ve got very little experience with vegetable-based beers, but pumpkin is actually a fruit, though we generally regard it as a vegetable. That aside, I approached with trepidation, not knowing what the future would hold.

I was actually surprised. We’ve said it before, the fruit should enhance the beer, not overwhelm it and this one hits that mark. The pour produced a 1 1/2″ average sized frothy off-white head that laced a good amount and dissipated slowly. The beer itself has a little bit of carbonation and the clarity was normal with an amber/orange color.

It’s got a good malt aroma and a nice subtle flavor. I was able to pull out notes of caramel, roasted malts, some florals, alcohol, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, spices and a vegetable smell I presumed to be pumpkin. The initial flavor is lightly sweet. The pumpkin is really done well (meaning it’s subtle) and there’s enough other things going on that you don’t overfocus on it – though the other notes are not nearly as discernible in the taste as they were in the smell. I was also surprised to pick up a touch of alcohol in the taste, given it’s relatively average gravity.

The finish is average in duration and a little hoppy – sweet but sharp. It’s actually pretty smooth considering. The body laced really well in the glass (impressive!) and the mouthfeel was somewhat watery. On a malt to hop scale I’d put it slightly favoring the malt side, but the balance overall was good, though not too complex (not as complex as the aroma led me to believe it would be).

It’s a very unique taste for a beer, quite unlike anything else I’ve tried (I’ve shied away from any other beer with pumpkin in it after my wife tried one with her friends once and said it was the most rotten swill she’d every consumed). I liked it but probably wouldn’t want a second one. It passes the drinkability test, fails the repeatability test, passes the memorable test and the unique taste gives it a bit of an unexpected wow factor. Final say is worth a try, but share the six-pack with some friends and have it as a good change-of-pace, one-time session beer. I’ve got to think as pumpkin beers go, I can’t imagine one being better.

Father Beer Love Review (May 16, 2008):

After my last visit home in the fall Mom Beer Love sent me an article out of the K.C. newspaper about the new pumpkin ales out in the area. Thanks Mom. This was about the only one I could find locally.

I got a 6 pack and went to work on it (this is my favorite kind of work). I used a pint glass and got a large 3 inch frothy, off-white head that faded slowly and left a fair amount of head lacing. Body color was amber and had a soft carbonation to it. It came in a 12 ounce bottle and had an ABV of 5.7%. The aromas were caramel, toffee, floral, yeast, allspice, brown sugar, nutmeg and spices. Taste were lemon, allspice, nutmeg and pumpkin. Initial flavor was light sweet, acidic and sour. Finish flavors were light sweet, bitter and salty. Finish duration was short, mouthfeel was dry, and it had some body lacing. On the malt to hop scale we use I gave it 2 to the left of balanced toward malty – in other words a 3. This is right up my alley. It was repeatable and drinkable but was only so-so for memorable. It didn’t have a wow factor but I would buy it again.

Overall it was fairly complex and was my first pumpkin ale but I knew I couldn’t go wrong with a Blue Moon product, they do have a way with craft style beers. I found the pumpkin subtle and a nice change of pace. There is also the historical perspective that we have all read about. I must admit this has got to be the best way to study history I’ve ever found, 12 ounces at a time. Wonder why they didn’t teach us this way in high school? Guess I’ll never know.

Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)


5 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. Allison N. Hanna says:

    The best beer in all the land!

  2. Jeff Kent says:

    If you want to try an amazing pumpkin ale, pick up the Dog Fish Head. I look forward to the pumpkin ales as much as the Oktoberfests this time of year but nothing surpasses the Dog Fish Head version. Possibly because they use real pumpkin during brewing rather than just pumpkin pie spices.

  3. Nice review, and I’d agree with most of what you say about the beer. Not bad, but not something to really seek out for seconds either. I’d also agree w/ Jeff. The Dogfish Head Punkin’ is actually very good. Cheers!

  4. Steve Huffman says:

    Pumpkin ale with no pumpkin flavor. Not horrible, but absolutely not worth $10 per six-pack. I’m done with Blue Moon.

  5. Dad says:

    Steve, if you are paying $10 six-pack you are being gulled. On Jan 8 John and I tried a Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale, this was pumpkin pie in a bottle. The spices were really predominate and we gave it a 7/10. John has had this on tap and said it’s even better. Review to follow. Dad

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