This is another one of those Flying Monkeys beers that I really, really wanted to like but really didn't. These Flying Monkeys boxed beers are probably the most confusing beers in the world for me, since so many knowledgeable, passionate beer folks seem to love them and I absolutely cannot even drink them.
I thought this year's ST Pumpking was a little sweeter, more pie crust, sugar syrup, and vanilla than pumpkins and spice. Still quite nice and worth buying. Sulphates might be adding to the more muted pumpkin character, but it's hard to say. It's certainly more vanilla forward.
As for the Paranormal, I've tried so hard to like it twice with no luck. My comments from trying it on tap were "Very poor. Spiced to death, alright aroma, but just tastes like eating pumpkin pie spice. Dry ginger, clove bitterness, just bad." I think the chalky mouthfeel combined with the kind of bitterness you get from eating too much dry spices (cinnamon rather than hops) is what kills it for me. Toss your old spice cabinet into sugar syrup, kind of vibe.
Anyway, I know that very few will agree with me since I'm in that weird subsection of the world that really likes Southern Tier's over-sweet beers (Pumpkin, Choklat) but cannot deal with Flying Monkeys versions. Again I'm left scratching my head trying to figure out why on these beers I depart from most others so strongly. Where in most cases when I dislike a beer another person likes, I can usually see why, these just baffle me beyond comprehension.