Flat12 Flat Jack Pumpkin
Flat 12 Bierwerks
Style: Pumpkin Ale
3.2 / 5.0
Look: 3.0 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 3.0 | Feel: 2.5 | Overall: 3.2
Brewery at a glance: Flat12 may have been one of the first Indianapolis based breweries I had the pleasure of trying when craft beer was slowly making its way to Fort Wayne. I distinctly remember going to the Dash In and noticing that they had this oddball brew advertised as being a “Glazed Ham” Porter. I remember thinking “I like ham. I think I like porter. Let’s give this a shot”. This was probably as early as 2008 or 2009 and unique and interesting beer styles really weren’t as common as they are now. In fact, I distinctly remember telling everyone how crazy it was that they mimicked the taste of ham in a beer. Now, I kind of feel like this is so common that ham flavored beer almost seems tame compared to the nuttiness that is out there.
Now that I’ve walked down ham memory lane, I remember also being won over by Flat12 when they made an appearance at Brew Haven in 2010. While the specifics of what I had that day are long gone, I do remember talking beer with a few of their brewers and getting really excited by the idea that they would soon offer their product in Fort Wayne in the coming months. Before too long, I found myself buying several six packs of their excellent Pogue’s Run Porter and looking forward to all of their unique seasonals, such as their Lacto-Matic Milk Stout and Cucumber Kolsch.
I still haven’t had a chance to visit their brewery and definitely would like to remedy that soon. Any Fort Waynians want to join me for the short trek to Indy to have a few pints at Flat12? Aly? Road trip soon?
Look: Pours a very yellow color with lots of white foam that is rather erratic and fizzles down quickly. The carbonation is subdued and provides just a smidge of bubbles in the glass. The color looks lighter and less opaque than most pumpkin beers I’ve had which usually pour a deep auburn color or burnt orange. Flat Jack does have lots of white lacing on the glass when sipped but this lacing disappears after every sip which is kind of strange. For the record, I poured it into a Spiegelau Stout Glass since they don’t make a Pumpkin Ale specific glass.
Smell: This is the first pumpkin beer that actually smells like the inside of a pumpkin. It has a strong earthy smell with cloves dominating the spice profile. There are faint hints of cinnamon and all spice. Flat Jack almost smells sour at first sniff, but is quickly masked by the strong smell of pumpkin meat.
Taste: Very light flavor at first sip and doesn’t hit as strong as other pumpkin brews. It settles into a very spicy, peppery flavor that provides the beer a very earthy clove backbone. From there it progresses into a bitter hop flavor that eventually brings you back to its sharp all spice finish. There is little to no flavors of sweet cinnamon (the strong cinnamon flavor is there but isn’t sweet like most pumpkin brews). The earthy pumpkin smell carries over in taste and mostly shows itself during the bitter portion of the taste profile.
Feel: Very light feel but clove flavor gives it a stronger body at the end. The carbonation is present but very controlled. Once warmed slightly, the brew loses all feeling of carbonation and settles into masking its flavors behind a watery consistency.
Overall: While I think that this beer does have a lot to offer, I honestly wasn’t completely won over by its unique presentation of a pumpkin ale. The peppery flavor and strong clove aftertaste were something I had a little bit of trouble enjoying as much as Aly did. Had I not been drinking a lot of pumpkin brew this month, I may have even considered giving this brew a higher score based on solely on its unique flavor profile.
If you were looking to recommend a pumpkin brew to someone, I probably wouldn’t have them start with this one but, rather, I would suggest this to a seasoned pumpkin beer fan who may want something a little more unique. In closing, I should mention that I’ve been a fan of Flat12’s other offerings and would suggest that anyone who wants to get a better sense of what this Indiana brewery has to offer to start with one of their flagship styles first such as the aforementioned Pogue’s Run Porter or their Walkabout Pale Ale.
Have you had this brew? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.