Beer Batter Breakfast

Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale

I'm finally getting around to the time of year where the beers I've been wanting to make pancakes out of are in season. Not to say the beers I've tried this with so far haven't been great, but nothing sounds more intriguing than pumpkin beer pancakes. Pumpkin pancakes are good. Beer pancakes are good. Pumpkin beer is good. Where can this possibly go wrong?

I have quite a few big pumpkin beers lined up, so I'm starting on the low end. Blue Moon's turned out to be quite the disappointment, so we needed to level up a bit. Having seen a FB post about it being in stock, I was quite curious about the Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale from Kentucky Ale (whom I'd never even heard of), so I picked up a 4-pack of the 10% ABV ale.
I really like the label/caps, too
As the crate describes it, the ale is a "barrel-aged ale richly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice". It also mentions the "sweetness of caramel and vanilla" that comes out of the bourbon barrels. I had my first taste of it a few weeks ago when I brought these home, and as a beer it's quite delightful. It's not too pumpkin-y (which, in my book, is a negative, but for most is a good thing), and you can definitely taste both the bourbon notes and the 10% that comes along with it. A lot more vanilla than most pumpkin beers thanks to the barrel aging process.


I was pretty excited to get started with this beer, as it's the first pumpkin ale that shows some promise. I was surprised, though, by how light in color it was (as I'd only had it straight from the bottle so far). Maybe that's just me, but I expect darker out of barrel aged beers.
Especially the batter. Doesn't look like anything's in there
Something downright magical happened in batter form, though. It seems as if the batter tamed both the caramel and vanilla notes of the bourbon as well as the kick of the alcohol, and really cleared room for the spices to come through, which created this delightful, lightly pumpkin'd, seasonally spiced flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. The usual.


I was expecting something wonderful and I wasn't disappointed. The first few bites were tentative, and maybe that's just me again, but I didn't get a good kick of flavor until I'd settled into them a bit, but when it hit, oh boy was it great. The bite of the alcohol content had completely vanished, as did most of the barrel notes, but the spices came through beautifully, and there was just enough pumpkin to make you think about it. This is really encouraging for when I start trying some bigger pumpkin ales.

The Ternary Scale:

Pancakes: 2 - fuck yeah, these were great. Go find this beer and make these pancakes, especially if you don't like too much pumpkin in your pumpkin ale.
Syrup: 0 - no way. It just ruined everything by blowing things up and washing out a lot of the flavor.
Boo, syrup. Boo.