This is beer #2 in my series of reviews on the pumpkin beers. In this review we take a closer look at a pumpkin beer that is new this year, Warlock by Southern Tier. Most of you will already be familiar with Southern Tier’s Pumpking, which happens to be one of the most popular pumpkin beers. I’ve had Pumpking before and I would compare it to drinking pumpkin pie in a glass. If you like pumpkin pie, you’ll be pretty impressed on the first drink, but unless you like pumpkin pie a lot you’ll probably tire of it before you get to the end of the 22 oz bomber. Let’s see how Warlock compares to Pumpking.
- Brewery: Southern Tier (NY)
- Style: Imperial Stout w/ pumpkins
- ABV: 8.6%
- Rating: 5.5
- Price: $8.99 per 22 oz bomber (Savor Growl)
Warlock is an Imperial Stout (think dark roasted malts, chocolate and roasted coffee flavors, and high abv) made with pumpkin meat in the malt bill and similar spices to those used in Pumpking.
As you see in the picture above Warlock is black and completely opaque with about 2 fingers of beige head. The smell is more stout than pumpkin beer. I’m picking up the chocolate and coffee flavors coming from the dark roasted malts, the pumpkin smell is pretty hard to pick up. If I didn’t know pumpkin was used I would probably overlook it completely. Let’s see if that theme continues in the taste. Initially the chocolate malts have the upper hand but they give way to the pumpkin and spices as it hits the back of the tongue. The alcohol finally emerges at the finish, but it is pretty well masked for the strength of the beer. The added spices and a moderate bitterness from the roasted malts linger on the palate for a while. It has a full bodied, one might say chewy, mouthfeel.
Interestingly in the time it took me to finish half of the glass my perception of this beer changed quite a bit. The pumpkin character becomes more assertive as the beer warms. The doughy pie crust flavors that you find in Pumpking are becoming discernible, and the stout characteristics have faded into the background. On finishing the pint I feel that I’ve satisfied my appetite for pumpkin pie, but I have another 6-7 ounces left in the bottle. I’m starting to feel mild effects of the 8.6% ABV in my head. I should sleep well tonight.
Warlock has a split personality totally appropriate for Halloween. It shows up to the party dressed as an interesting Stout-Pumpkin hybrid and slowly morphs into a pumpkin pie beer. If you like pumpkin pie and chocolate, and can find someone to share this beer with you, I think you’ll enjoy it. If you are drinking it solo, like this hard working beer reviewer, you may find 22 oz a bridge too far.
Rating = 6*
Rating scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.
*Based on finishing the whole bottle. I would move up to 7 if I had stopped at one glass.