The journey for the perfect pumpkin ale continues with the barrel-aged Anderson Valley Pinchy Jeek Barl. This is the first barrel aged pumpkin ale that I’ve had and one of the few that I have seen in bottles. It’s aged in Wild Turkey barrels for six months which strikes me a standard amount of time to barrel age something. But it turns out that the amount of time it takes to barrel age something differs widely between breweries. I recently attended a barrel aged beer festival (post coming) and the aging times were all over the map. There were 65 barrel aged beers on tap and the aging times raged from 60 days to five years. There was one that was aged for exactly 98 days which I found oddly specific. I’m sure there’s a reason, but 98 days seems random.
So, what does Pinchy Jeek Barl mean? I had absolutely no freakin’ idea so I did some digging and came up empty. Normally I wouldn’t care so much about a name, but this one is just so odd that there MUST be a story behind it. I reached out to the folks at Anderson Valley Brewing Company and they shed some light on this mystery. It turns out that Pinchy Jeek is Boontling for Stingy Jack. The funny part about that response is that it raised more questions than we had to begin with. I’ll do my best to answer these questions. First off, Boontling is a local dialect spoken in Boonville, California. It’s basically a dead language, but it has some historical significance and Anderson Valley Brewing Company is located in Boonville. Stingy Jack is the guy behind the Jack o’ Lantern. Apparently Stingy Jack was a drunk who made a deal with the devil and all hell broke loose. See, I told you there had to be a story.
Anderson Valley Pinchy Jeek Barl
Style: Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale
Malts: Pale Two-Row, Maris Otter, Munich, Crystal 120L, Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Puree
Availability: Seasonal (August – November) 22 oz bottles and Draft
MSRP: $9.99 – 22 oz bottle
Brewer: Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Boonville, CA
Beers consumed for review: 1 – 22 oz bottle
Nose: The barrel aged notes outweighed the pumpkin notes on the nose. The aroma was that of bourbon, oak and vanilla ice cream. Yes, vanilla ice cream. The aroma was sweet with creamy texture. There were mild notes of pumpkin pie spice, but they were very mild.
Appearance: It poured a deep, brownish-amber in color and was a bit hazy. The foamy, tan head started off thick, but thinned out pretty quickly.
Flavor: This is not your average pumpkin ale, but it’s not your average barrel aged ale either. Notes of vanilla, bourbon and oak were present upfront and really dominated the flavor profile.
The Anderson Valley Pinchy Jeek Barl had a boozy character to it, but that is expected from a barrel aged ale. It was boozy, but it wasn’t overpowering. In fact, I found this to be easy drinking for a barrel aged ale and the 8.5% ABV isn’t going to blow you away.
The mouthfeel was very creamy and the finish offered a lingering caramel sweetness. I found myself looking for the pumpkin notes and finding very little. Dana (The Wife) picked out pumpkin pie notes right away, but I tasted more bourbon, oak and vanilla.
Overall Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed the Anderson Valley Pinchy Jeek Barl. In fact, I loved it. The pumpkin notes were minor, but I’m OK with that. The profile was definitely on the sweeter side, so if you like sweeter beers, this one is for you. If you go in looking for a ton of pumpkin notes, you may be disappointed. I was far from disappointed and I’ll be tracking down a few more bottles of the Anderson Valley Pinchy Jeek Barl before they go away for the winter.