Elysian Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout
As we leave Halloween, the number of pumpkins, the frequency of pumpkin sightings, and the appropriateness of pumpkin beers seems to rise exponentially. Since it is definitely the season now for pumpkins, I have no shame in consuming large numbers of pumpkin beers in search of that perfect balance of pumpkin and beer flavors.
With Elysian Brewing’s Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout, I think I got a little bit closer to identifying a favorite. I hope that my affinity for this darker style in the ale family hasn’t biased my review, but I don’t want to spill the proverbial pumpkin seeds just yet.
Elysian summarizes this beer as having a medium to full body. They say it clocks in with a 6.5% ABV at 20 IBUs. Interestingly, they finish it with both hops and cinnamon.
Using my standard approach and scoring with the BJCP Scoresheet, here is my review.
The beer poured with a strong, distinct note of chocolate. To be more specific, I’d say it’s a dark chocolate, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say they used actual chocolate in the brew. Dark o’ the Moon also had mild coffee aromas that supported very nicely the in-your-face chocolate. With a subtle pumpkin note coming through in the end, I was reminded that this is indeed a pumpkin beer. The cinnamon presence was very low but still noticeable. I didn’t pick up any significant fruity esters, alcohol aroma, or hop aroma. (11/12)
This beer was so brown it appeared black in the glass. Not a single photon was able to find its way through this highly opaque, extremely non-translucent brew. The head poured thick, rocky, and dark tan, but dissipated more quickly than I would have liked—a very minor and petty detraction. (2/3)
The most prominent, even somewhat dominating, flavor was from the roast grain. As with the aroma, a strong, dark chocolate characteristic presented next and took an easy second place in terms of prominence. While I detected a very mild presence of pumpkin, it was still available to the palate as a complementary flavor. The hops show edup as a mild earthy flavor in the finish, but there was no significant hop bitterness. Despite its use in the last part of the boil, cinnamon did not make an appearance in the flavor that I could identify. (17/20)
After drinking Elysian’s Night Owl, I was not surprised at just how smooth Dark o’ the Moon was. Like its amber sibling, Dark provided s silky sensation on the palate that is right up there with super-rich chocolate or a cream pie. Its body was so full, so thick, and so heavy, I felt like I’d eaten a couple pieces of pumpkin pie after finishing only half a 22oz bottle. The carbonation is very finely bubbled, just like Night Owl, and, also like Night Owl, I think this contributed to its smoothness. (5/5)
This is an extremely tasty stout that has all the roastiness and chocolateyness I would expect from examples of this dark style. The roasted grains and chocolate notes seemed to overpower the pumpkin and spice flavors, but the beer’s mouthfeel helped make up for this shortcoming. (9/10)
With a total score of 44/50, this is as high in the Excellent scores as a beer can get. The one element that keeps me from scoring one of these pumpkin beers in the Outstanding range is the pumpkin presentation. I’m not looking for a pumpkin pie in a bottle, but I want to know that the squash is present and forcing you to account for it.
That all being said, Dark o’ the Moon is the best pumpkin beer I’ve tried so far. It’s another one I need to add to my beer cellar to try again in a couple months.