Alright, after two days, I’ve finally found time to taste Saint Arnold’s Divine Reserve #9 – Imperial Pumpkin Stout. So time to walk through my thoughts as I enjoy it for the first time.
Upon opening the bottle, I take a good waft from the bottle neck to get a strong scent of gingerbread and a slight hint of pumpkin. There is also a hint of alcohol, but it’s not prevalent. I used a standard pint glass, my Shiner Commemorator glass, for my tasting. There’s no way I’d waste a solid beer like this straight out of the bottle, eliminating the smells.
The pour comes out black with a slight caramel tint. The beer appears very lightly carbonated as there isn’t much of a head on it. What head there is comes as a dark tan. The smell here is definitely of alcohol, but there is a background of pumpkin spice. That 11% is definitely noticeable.
At initial contact, I can definite taste a bitter dark chocolate from the malt. Most of that flavor is nearer the front of the tongue. The middle taste moves to the side and back of the tongue, definitely bitter. My first few tastes, the bitter was overwhelming. I think this is due to drinking it before it either reached the right temperature or not letting it mellow enough.
The bitter taste finishes with a sweeter, yet still bitter, pumpkin pie taste in the finish. The aftertaste is more of a pumpkin spice than pumpkin pie. The finish is also very dry.
As I’ve worked through the 12 oz. bottle, it’s definitely improved in taste, so on my second tasting I think I’ll let it mellow out a bit more and warm up a little bit before enjoying it.
The end product has been delicious. I’m not a huge stout fan, but it’s been pretty good. It’s a shame I haven’t been able to get any of the previous DR beers. Several have claimed this to be the best yet from Saint A’s, so hopefully they continue the streak of ever improving but still great beers.