Tag Archive: Downton

Downton: Pumpkin Ale (England: Spice/Vegetable/Herb: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy ripe banana to gold. Some sediment. Large mounded ice cream float looking off white head.

Nose: Pumpkin. Earthy hops. Cinnamon and coriander. Low but present bitterness.

Body: Earthy bitterness. Slightly peppery. Some pumpkin comes out if held. Greenery. Soft soil. Orange zest. Slight brown sugar.

Finish: Peppery. Earthy. Moderate bitterness. Paprika. Soil.

Conclusion: This is a fairly earthy beer, almost soil like at times. Not something I would generally associate with a pumpkin ale, but there you go. While pumpkin isn’t a super fragile flavour, it isn’t exactly a dominant one either. And here it really seems to suffer against the earthy bitter weight that this brings.

It is odd that the pumpkin gets such short shrift in the body as the aroma manages to push those notes very well – they just get lost very easily when you start sipping the beer itself. If you hold the beer on your tongue for a while it does start time come out, but basically you have to seriously dig to get the element to be anything but the lightest of notes.

So, as a pumpkin beer this is definitely a fail – but how does it do just as a beer in itself? Fairly dull; It is a soil dominated, earthy bitter – which, let’s face it, is a style that is hard to do in an interesting fashion – not impossible, just hard.

This is a bit dull, a bit leaden, a bit too much earth and too little pumpkin. As both a beer in itself and a pumpkin beer it is a let down. Avoid.

Background: This beer was kind gift from my work college Matt – Many thanks. He informed me that he had it for a while before giving me it, however looking at it the best before date is still way in the future so it should be ok. Then again,as a pumpkin ale I’m guessing this came out Halloween last year, so damn that must be a long best before date. I did wonder if this was the same recipe as their other Dial’s Pumpkin Beer but it did seem to taste very different despite the same abv. Anyway, in some act of insanity I bought the Afterbirth+ DLC for Binding Of Isaac in the latest steam sale. This was drunk after I finally managed to stop playing that stupidly addictive game. Why did I do it? WHYYYY? Anyway, drunk while listening to some Rob Zombie to keep in with the macabre atmosphere of playing that game!

Downton: Dial’s Pumpkin Ale (England: Spice/Herb/Vegetable Ale: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Light golden brown. Thin white dusting over it.

Nose: Slightly musty, possibly pumpkin but at this point it’s probably psychosomatic. Light ginger.

Body: Ginger, dry malt. Pumpkin. Dried apricot. Lightly spicy.

Finish: Dry dust and light fruit sweetness. Light bitterness. Definite dried apricot and pumpkin. Ends very dry.

Conclusion: Now half way through drinking this I realized I had managed to forget what pumpkin tastes like. Thankfully I remembered by the end otherwise this could have been a somewhat embarrassing review. The beer did help a bit, what with it being the main flavour and all that.

I’ve heard a lot of pumpkin ales bring it in way too sweet.  Now this is a sweet beer, but more in a dried apricot way, and with a good chunk of dry malt in the finish to balance.  Definitely this calls more to the unsweetened basic pumpkin style, though without bringing any of the flavours in massively heavily.

The beer actually feels slightly ginger spiced, which reminds me of a very mild version of the spanked monkey IPA. Overall it’s pretty drinkable, and a little different from usual. At least different for the UK, I hear the USA has way more of these.  It’s not fantastic, and could do with more weight to the flavour, but not bad and quite nicely ginger and pumpkin fresh.

Background: I’ve always like the idea of a pumpkin ale, but you don’t see them much in these parts. Thus I was chuffed to see this on tap. Downton seem to be a brewery that delight at using odd ingredients for beers so it seems like a good match for their skills.

Downton: New Forest Ale (England: Bitter: 3.8% ABV)

Visual: Light chestnut brown with a small chestnut frothy head.

Nose: Hops, peanuts – crushed and ground. Sine slight cooked chicken. Slight malt and liquorish.

Body: Nuts, malt, ovaltine and sour cherry. Blackcherry. Good milky chocolate on a big gulp. Slightly sweet.

Finish: Malt chocolate drink, bitter and charring. Liquorish. Lemon freshness and sour fruits.

Conclusion: Reminds me somewhat of Pauls homebrew with its mix of sharpness and bitter, it takes a moment to grow on you, though the chocolate balancing out the back gives its most accomplished moments

It’s a big mouthful drink if you want to get the best of the flavour. Not bad, but the finish doesn’t balance up quite right – the main body works pretty decent though on a good swirl round the mouth.

So its ok, but the finish lets it down.

Downton: Apple Blossom Ale (England: Golden Ale: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Pale banana yellow with a medium creamy head.

Nose: Light apple, hops and mild cider. Banana custard and pastries. Slight floral elements.

Body: Light sourness, apple cider. Slight golden syrup. Custard.

Finish: Apples and pear (Not rhyming slang). Dry touch, light hops.

Conclusion: Summer in a glass. Apples, cider, sourness and almost cider like notes. Wonderful easy drinking ale. A fine thirst quencher. This would go wonderful to drink in the countryside, in a patch of shade near a working cider press.

A beer set just for a specific time, but works very well for that.

Downton: Chocolate Orange Delight (England: Porter: 5.8% ABV)

Visual: Dark red and black with a creamy head

Nose: Whisky wort, chocolate orange, ovaltine milk chocolate

Body: Heavy orange liquor, slight coffee and hops, very creamy and not harsh

Finish: Bitterness finally sets in but still slightly sweet to the end.

Conclusion: Better than you would expect. An enjoyable if not overly complex beer. A one trick beverage done well. Manages to be sweet and liquor orange without becoming sickly

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