No Thanksgiving feast would be complete without a delicious helping of pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. It’s a nice finish to one of my favorite holidays and is also the unofficial end of fall. Gone are the leaves, pumpkins, and burnt orange colors often associated with autumn in New England, and in come the holiday lights, Christmas trees, and worst of all, the snow. What better way to commemorate the season by popping open something that has caught on like wildfire in recent years, pumpkin beers. When I had my first pumpkin beer, there were only a handful on the shelves, with Dogfish’s being the best one. Now, the shelves are littered with over spiced, artificial offerings. Allagash takes a different approach with the season and keeps in unique. They create a sour, pumpkin ale aged in a Koelschip and released around Halloween appropriately called Ghoulship. Will this beer haunt me to the last sip, or will it be kinder than Casper? Time to run the numbers…
Appearance: Transparent pumpkin orange with zero head and no lacing along the glass as I drank. Ghoulschip is a little cloudy but nothing that’s abnormal for a barrel aged sour.
Smell: White wine, champagne, sour, oak and must. I can’t seem to identify the pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, or molasses in here. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing; with pumpkin brews I find the subtler they are the better.
Taste: First sip bring out the sourness of this beer – lemon and granny smith apples are the culprits at the beginning of this brew. At the mid palate, it seems as if this beer thicken ups, and that’s were you get a very faint squash/pumpkin flavor from it. If I didn’t know this beer was brewed with pumpkin seeds and pumpkins, then I would not have even picked up on it at all. I was looking for it, and even with my tongue on watch, I barely got any of those flavors. I know that with age, the fruit in some of lambics and wild ales fades over time, but this this guy was fresh – bottled two months ago. The finish has an oak presence with some mustiness going on too and is actually very similar to Resurgam. The conclusion of the beer after gives way to some roastyness (like you would find in a pumpkin seed, not a stout) and is again, faintly present in the brew after you finish your sip.
The more time you spend with this beer, the more of those fall flavors come out. The ABV on Ghoulschip is 6.9% and is well hidden. The carbonation of the beer is fine and as mentioned before, the mouthfeel starts of thin and seems to get a little more robust as you drink.
Overall: I like this beer from Allagash, and have to say it is a well done, very subtle pumpkin beer. The sour flavors are the mainstays, which honestly was to be expected, but they still found away to incorporate typical fall, New England flavors. I have to give it an A-. A nice beer to celebrate Thanksgiving with. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!