I just love pumpkin beers my friends, and I have loved them for a long time, since way back when. I’ve been drinking them for at least 20 years now, and maybe longer. Historically, though, they’ve pretty much been basically the same-a variation on an orange-amber colored brew with some chewy caramel malt up front followed by perhaps some stringy, meaty, fleshy pumpkin flavor and of course, pumpkin pie spices.
Several years ago, a few brewers started carking out imperial pumpkin ales, which were slightly darker in color and bigger in alcohol content and spiciness. More recently still, somebody (and I’m not sure which brewer it was) got the brilliant idea to combine pumpkin beer with stout. There are pumpkin porters, too, and I was drooling to try one. A problem, though. For some reason, they just never showed up here in Georgia. Why was that? I didn’t know.
Finally, and thankfully, though, the Dark Pumpkin drought ended when I picked up a bottle of Southern Tier Warlock at Total Wine. Southern Tier Warlock is an imperial stout brewed with pumpkin, and is part of their “Blackwater Series” of stronger beers. Other beers in this series include Plum Noir, Crème Brulee, and Chokolat.
Here’s what Southern Tier says about Warlock, from the label:
Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own & also to counterpoint our imperial ale, Pumpking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this imperial stout into a goblet.
Southern Tier does not give details on what they make Warlock out of, other than to say “ale yeast, two types of hops, four types of malts, pumpkins’. The bottle adds they use natural flavor. Warlock is new for 2013 and has an alcohol content of 8.6% by volume (the same as Pumking). I paid $8.99 for a 22 ounce bottle.
Southern Tier Warlock pours to a jet black color with a minimal creamy tan head formation and an absolutely luscious nose of burnt caramel and brown sugar. Taking a sip, the beer has a silky smooth, slightly oily mouthfeel to it that complements the flavor parade to come perfectly. There’s just so much going on here: burnt caramel, buttered toast, dark chocolate, licorice, brown sugar, meaty-fleshy pumpkin, vanilla, and coffee with cream. The beer finishes roasty and with warming alcohol.
Not a spicy beer, but one that does accent the pumpkin and dark malts together quite nicely. I’ll be after more of this delicious beer, it’s not a replacement for Pumking, but as the brewery says, it does make a fine companion beer to it. I’d give this a full 5 stars except for the high price; even then, I’ll only take it down a half notch.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.