After our prior efforts with Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin, I was tempted to try another beer that was more my style while it was still infused with pumpkin. I thought that maybe it was the style of beer more than the pumpkin that had fed my dislike for pumpkin beers. So I picked up a bottle of Southern Tier’s Warlock and asked G-LO to once again aid me in my effort.
The Warlock is from Southern Tier’s Blackwater Series and is an imperial stout brewed with pumpkin. Southern Tier is a brewer from Lakewood, NY and takes its name from the region in NY that represents the counties of New York State west of the Catskill Mountains along the northern border of Pennsylvania. We have previously reviewed the Harvest Ale, the 2XIPA, the Old Man Winter Ale, and the Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale.
Here is what Southern Tier has to say about their Warlock:
Imperial stout brewed with pumpkins Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own and also to counterpoint our Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this Imperial Stout into a goblet.
Dark and mysterious, the Blackwater Series is serious about high gravity. Reanimate your senses with Warlock’s huge roasted malt character, moderate carbonation and spicy pumpkin pie aroma.
Let’s get down to business…
- Appearance: Deep, deep mahogany with just the slightest ruby tint and quickly dissipating tan foam.
- Limpd: Lightly roasted, hints of coffee and the usual pumpkin flavors (nutmeg, allspice, etc.). Also getting an off-putting aroma that I can’t quite name (curry-esque, a little Indra Kunindra-ish).
- G-LO: Smells like what I think a Pumpkin Latté would smell like (i.e. creamy and a wee bit coffee like). I say think because I don’t partake of the nonsense that is a Pumpkin Latte. Also, getting a coconut curry scent at the end.
- Limpd: Roasted, nearly burnt malt; a little boozy, a little creamy and a little fizzy. A decent imperial stout fused with a bad pumpkin pie. That coconut curry (thanks for the assist G-LO) just kills this for me.
- G-LO: Lightly carbonated with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Starts off like an imperial stout with lots of dark chocolate and French roast coffee notes. The pumpkin pie kicks in at mid-palate and carries through to the end. That coconut curry vibe shows up in the aftertaste.
- ABV: 8.6%
Limpd: I have confirmed that it is not the style of the beer but the infusion of pumpkin and/or the spices that make up the “pumpkin” that I do not like. I will valiantly try pumpkin beers each year but I suspect that I will continue to dislike them.
G-LO: I can’t believe I am saying this, but I may have found a pumpkin beer that I actually enjoy. I had a feeling that the whole pumpkin beer thing would work with an imperial stout. I’m so glad I was right. For once.
Categories: Brew Review, Southern Tier
I should stop here. Or there.
But I didn’t.
So, as you might suspect, I was minding my own business a few weeks back (I do that for a few minutes a day kind of like some people do yoga – but without the extreme pain and public embarrasment that comes with downward dogging in a steam-ridden, sweat box beneath a neon-clad banner extolling the virtues of Yoga Now or Waddle Like Cow. Anyway, I’m safely bothering nobody when I open the craft beer research fridge in search of a West Coast IPA and suddenly this dark bottle with a freakish little pumpkin practically canoodles into my hand. I’d swear that pumpkin had just done something vile to an owl (don’t they all?).
Fearing for my safety, I poured the Warlock and within a few sips I was forced to consider the reordering of my Top 5 Good Gourd Brews. Southern Tier’s Pumking had a stranglehold on the top spot until the owl-defiling Warlock entered the picture. Rich, silky, robust and well balanced with complexity and just a bit of whimsy. Could be the Acela Express gateway brew to pumpkin ales AND the final pumpkin ale destination at the same time.
Oh, and who mentioned England Dan & John Ford Coley?
Now I stopped……..
Owl-defiling? Hmmm, ok, I’ll give it a shot.
Yep – real owls too, not the Nerf™ ones.
And so it is