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genericeric

Hardywood Rum Barrel Pumpkin - Rum-Barrel Aged Belgian-Style Farmhouse Pale Ale

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Selling in large format at Costco for ~11$, most other retailers for ~$14, Hardywood has pushed a large volume offering of Rum Barrel Pumpkin this fall.  I enjoy Hardywood's Farmhouse Pumpkin, their Cuvee Peach, Virginia Blackberry, etc that are sold in larger sizes at Costco.  And I will tell you, it is rare that I meet a beer that I simply cannot drink.  But I took three drinks of the rum barrel and couldn't do a fourth.  The rum flavor was so strong as to drown out any other taste, the result being it tasted like a watered down rum that wanted to be something else but couldn't quite make it.  At 12+% ABV, I was hoping for a richer, smoother pumpkin flavor with an aged rum complexity. 

Nope.

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I do not like pumpkin beers, so cannot vouch for this, but my husband, who does like pumpkin beers, says that the rum barrel aged Pumking (Southern Tier) is quite delicious. 

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17 hours ago, saf said:

I do not like pumpkin beers, so cannot vouch for this, but my husband, who does like pumpkin beers, says that the rum barrel aged Pumking (Southern Tier) is quite delicious. 

I enjoyed the Pumking Nitro, which recently has been available in the singles section of Total Wine

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Something has slipped re: Hardywood's barrel program.  Their Gingerbread stouts the last two years (Kentucky Christmas Morning used to be one of my favorite winter beers) have been borderline undrinkable to me.  Anything they put in a rum barrel seems to come out just disgustingly rum forward.  I'm not sure if it was their rapid expansion or what, but its unfortunate.

I share your praise of their farmhouse pumpkin though - its a nicely restrained version of the style.

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Thank you all *so much* for your honest evaluation of this beer. Would you four mind detailing what it is that you don't like about the barrel program (or, if you don't know the specifics, what you perceive you don't like?) Often, it's a mistaken taste that makes one wretch, that the brewery can correct once they know what the flavor is - that would be the *best-case* scenario here, as it might be something "off" in the barrel system - Hardywood can learn from this and not repeat it next year, should it be the case - I'll be seeking out this beer to try.

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5 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Thank you all *so much* for your honest evaluation of this beer. Would you four mind detailing what it is that you don't like about the barrel program (or, if you don't know the specifics, what you perceive you don't like?) Often, it's a mistaken taste that makes one wretch, that the brewery can correct once they know what the flavor is - that would be the *best-case* scenario here, as it might be something "off" in the barrel system - Hardywood can learn from this and not repeat it next year, should it be the case - I'll be seeking out this beer to try.

From my perspective, barrel aging should compliment the existing product, adding depth and complexity.  In this year's rum barrel pumpkin, the rum flavor completely overwhelms the pumpkin, and the farmhouse ale is light enough that the body doesn't support it.  The result is a strong rum flavor that tastes almost fake, while also having no finish.

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7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Thank you all *so much* for your honest evaluation of this beer. Would you four mind detailing what it is that you don't like about the barrel program (or, if you don't know the specifics, what you perceive you don't like?) Often, it's a mistaken taste that makes one wretch, that the brewery can correct once they know what the flavor is - that would be the *best-case* scenario here, as it might be something "off" in the barrel system - Hardywood can learn from this and not repeat it next year, should it be the case - I'll be seeking out this beer to try.

Agree with genericeric - the use of bourbon / rum / whatever spirit of the day is barrels in beer should be to integrate the flavors of the barrel (vanilla, etc) and the spirit with those of the beer.  A good example would be a beer called Sperryville from Aslin (a non-adjunct based stout they bottled awhile back).  Its an imperial stout aged in rye barrels.  The rye barrel perfectly compliments the 18% (I believe) stout - making the the whole significantly greater than the sum of its parts.

I'm not sure if the issue with Hardywood's barrel program is that the barrels they're using aren't good or if they're not letting them sit long enough / sit too long...but whatever it is, their barrel aged beers (with rum in particular seemingly being a challenge for them) lack any of the above balance.

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