Brewery: Birrificio Baladin
When Halloween comes around it is always fun to see the pumpkin beers slowly start popping up. The sweet, spicy brews are usually great as the leaves and temperatures are slowly dropping. What I wanted to see though was how a pumpkin beer could age. So last year I bought a few bottles of Zucca, and I stored them in a fridge for a year until I opened them up for this tasting. I wanted to see how the spices would react to being stored for a year and just what flavours would form during the process. It seemed to work well for the majority of the bottles (we will get to the problem later).
The sample that I tried was dark amber in colour but clear. A nice easy head formed when decanted yet carbonation seemed to be quite low. This may have diminished during the year of aging though. The aroma delivered on the spices, with some lovely nutmeg and cinnamon clearly evident. A sweet fruit note was also there along with some malt to form a delicate but attractive aroma. These carried straight through into the taste, with the pumpkin now becoming much more to the forefront. The spices kicked in at the end of every sip, warming the palate and leaving a lovely zing in the mouth. There was also a hint of apricot and caramel in the taste. The aftertaste was relatively short but left the mouth refreshing and juicy.
I really enjoyed this and it seemed to me that the year of aging didn’t affect the beer too much. I did talk to a few guests at the end of the tasting though, and they found their experience to be completely different. The aromas and taste they found were distinctly different from what I described. I think that maybe one of the bottles was affected by the cork in the bottle, just like it can happen with wine. It was unfortunate and nothing I knew about until the end of the tasting, but it always something to bear in mind. Would I try this again? Yes I absolutely could, but a whole bottle is just too much. This would be perfect shared with a few friends on a chilling autumn evening. I will leave it to you though to decide if you want to age it or not!