Beer reviews, beer places, beer science.

Beer Battle: Southern Tier Pumking vs. Uinta Oak Jacked Pumpkin

I was devastated when my 18 month old daughter decided to roll my bottle of Southern Tier Pumking down a small flight the stairs.  I questioned whether my racing to the scene of the crime was more to check on my daughter potentially wading in sharp glass or lament over the alcohol abuse of a 22 ounce beer.  And for those who question whether or not the bottle was full… yes… yes it was.  Of course a broken bottle can hold no beer, so that’s why in the picture the bottle appeared empty.  I posted a photo entitled “Smashing Pumking“, seen here:

Smashed Pumpkin
Smashing Pumking

So I was obligated to buy another Southern Tier Pumking.  I visited my local Consumer’s Beverages store to procure another bottle.  Then I decided it would be a good idea to match this beer up against another pumpkin beer (because to be honest there is now an entire shelf full of various pumpkin and autumn beers from every corner of the United States).  I randomly chose one that looked interesting enough: Uinta Brewing Company’s Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin.  Here is a picture of the pumpkin beers I selected:

IMG_5871A lot of people have been posting about the arrival of pumpkin-flavored beers as of late.  In beer circles, the arrival of pumpkin beer likely garners a reaction similar to hearing Christmas music on the radio for the first time.  “Oh no, not already, it’s too early!”, is often the cry.  Furthermore, a lot of people just straight up don’t like pumpkin beers (myself included).  But given the recently popularity of root beer “beers”, I don’t think anyone should be embarrassed for liking a pumpkin beer!  My wife even said “Nobody likes a pumpkin beer.  Just get a latte or a muffin”.  I can always count on her to put a larger issue in perspective.  Like when she said “Iron Maiden is just a bunch of men running around in tights with fire”.  Genius on one hand, blasphemous on the other.  But I digress…

Here is a pour of both beers:

Southern Tier Brewing Company: Pumking
ABV: 8.6%
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Rating: #11 in style


Uinta Brewing Company: Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin
ABV: 10.31%
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Rating: #16 in style
Pumking on the left, Jacked on the right.

Pumking poured a deep copper / gold color while Jacked poured a ruby brown.  The aroma for both beers is not surprisingly: pumpkin.  However, I will add that Pumking aroma is more volatile than that of Jacked, and reaches the nose faster and stronger.  Both beers smack of pumpkin flavor, but in very different ways.  Pumking is that of a strong pumpkin jello shot, a bit sweet, but the flavor is loaded with alcohol as you progress.  Jacked is like eating a slice of pumpkin pie soaked in wet oak chips.  Pumking earns points on drinkability, while Jacked earns points for full-bodied flavor with added sweetness to balance the very high ABV.  Did you notice the ABV on Jacked?  10.31 is quite clever indeed, Uinta.

I’m still not sure if I really would chose a pumpkin beer over pretty much any other beer in the store (maybe even a Root Beer thing).  I tolerate them but I’m glad they are only out for a couple months before disappearing.  But pumpkin beers must have marketing appeal because there are just so many of them in the store!  For me, there are countless ales I would rather drink than either of these beers.  As my former music instructor would say “There is no such thing as a wrong note, just a bad choice”.  So my decision basically boiled down to which choice was more interesting.  And for that reason…

The winner of this beer battle is: Uinta Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin!  The barrel aging added a dimension that made the pumpkin flavor a little more smashable.  And at the end of a bottle of Jacked, the alcohol ends up smashing you and the pumpkin flavor right in the face.

Until next year, my pumpkin annoyances.


Did you know a pumpkin is classified as a fruit?  In fact, it’s a berry.

About Buffalo Beer Biochemist

Born and raised in Western New York. Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Professor of Microbiology and Chemistry. And lover of beer.

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