Saint Arnold Pumpkinator (2011)
Happy Halloween! To celebrate, I’m reviewing Saint Arnold’s re-release of Divine Reserve #9 (and setting my ringtone to Grim Grinning Ghosts, of course). I last drank this Imperial Pumpkin Stout about 5 months ago; the original bottle of Divine Reserve #9 had been aged 19 months. Now it’s been about two years since this one hit the shelves for a very brief time, and Saint Arnold has blessed us with a single batch of Pumpkinator for Halloween and the holidays.
Since I do still have a couple of bottles of Divine Reserve #9, this will be a side-by-side tasting of the two year old brew and a brand new fresh Pumpkinator. I’m really excited about this one; Divine Reserve #9 has been one of my absolute favorite beers and Pumpkinator should just reinforce that. Since it’s new, let’s start with Pumpkinator!
Black beer with tan head. Strong scent of cinnamon and other spices. Taste is very similar; it’s somewhat like a liquified pumpkin pie. Also some coffee flavors to bring some bitterness. Very full body; fitting for the beer. The taste lingers on the palate for a while.
Divine Reserve #9 (aged approximately 2 years):
Very low carbonation, no head to speak of. A lighter scent, but similar to the fresh Pumpkinator. Flavors are much more subdued than the fresh Pumpkinator and have started to fade away. Still a full body with lingering tastes. This is still a very good beer, but may be past its prime now.
I still like the original Divine Reserve #9; it tastes very good. But two years later, it’s aged past its best point in my opinion. I think I liked it best at around one year after release. The fresh Pumpkinator is definitely similar to the fresh Divine Reserve #9, as it should be because these are the same recipe. Unfortunately, Pumpkinator sold out nearly as fast as the original did. At this point it will be difficult to find bottles. I do know, for those of you in and around Houston, that The Ginger Man in Houston will be serving cask conditioned Pumpkinator on Halloween starting at 2:00 pm. I highly recommend going if you have the chance.
My hope is that Saint Arnold saw the demand for Pumpkinator this year and is planning to brew more than one batch for next year. It’s a very good beer not only for Halloween but also Thanksgiving and Christmas!