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Old 10-26-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
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Default Pumpkin Ales

One of the things I like best about fall is drinking some yummy Pumpkin Ales! It's the only thing that makes putting up with all the annoying "leaf peepers" remotely bearable.

I've tried a number of Pumpkin Ales this year some new and some old favorites. I thought I'd share my thoughts on the ones I've tried and would love to hear others thoughts on the Pumpkin Ales they've tried.

Shipyard Pumpkin - after last year's pumpkin ale taste test this was my favorite. Definitely on the sweet side and pumpkin pie spice flavors are pretty prominent.

Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale - DH puts out so many delicious beers and their Punkin' Ale is no exception. Pumpkin pie spices are there but not overpowering. There's also a nice maltiness to this beer and the 7% ABV is a nice bonus. The flavor profile of this beer is tipped toward sweetness but not overwhelmingly which makes it very drinkable.

Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale - this is a pumpkin ale I would expect out of a company run by Molsen/Coors. This beer completely lacked pumpkin pie spice or even pumpkin flavor. If you took the label off the bottle I would have had no idea that this was supposed to be a pumpkin ale. This beer generally lacked flavor and was seriously boring!! As a side note I recently tried some Blue Moon Peanutbutter beer and that was . . . well interesting. At least you could taste the peanuts.

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale - this beer was my personal favorite of the four. The flavor profile of this beer was much closer to being "balanced" (not too sweet and not too bitter). You could DEFINITELY taste pumpkin in this beer and the pumpkin pie spices were much more subtle. It was very drinkable especially for a pumpkin ale. This beer was also overwhelmingly prefered by my friends who also tried the other beers.

I'm hoping to get my hands on some Weyerbacher Pumpkin Ale before fall is over as I hear good things about it.

So what's your favorite Pumpkin Ale and why?
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

I wait all year for October to come around, and the pumpkin beer to start flowing.

My favorites:

(1) Southern Tier Pumking - First time I've had this one. In 6 years of trying every pumpkin ale I could find, this is the first time I've found a beer to overthrow the reigning champ (Post Road). Damn shame it's so hard to find. Smooth, creamy, sweet and spicy. I generally hate sweet beer, but this was perfection in a glass for me. 10% ABV if I remember right.
(2) Post Road Pumpkin Ale - First pumpkin ale I ever had, and until Pumking came along, it was my favorite. It's become much easier to find in the last 5 or 6 yrs, and that's a good thing. Strong on the spices, and not sweet, exactly what I'm looking for.
(2) Buffalo bill Pumpkin Ale - Very similar to Post Road. Haven't had them side-by-side, but they're close enough I can't choose a favorite between the two. Couldn't find this one this year.
(4) Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Something a little different. Little more body to this beer, still prominent on the spices though, also not the easiest one to find.

I agree with your tasting notes for the beers you listed. I generally prefer stronger pumpkin pie spice flavors in my pumpkin beer, the ones you mentioned are a little too subtle for me (except the Shipyard, as you noted).

For a surprise, try Budweiser's Jack. I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised. Not a top ranking pumpkin beer, but very nice considering the source. I like it more than Blue Moon Pumpkin.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Ofallon and Schlafly are my two favorite. Both from Missouri!
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Weyerbacher Pumpkin Ale is my favorite. I prefer it much more than the Dogfish Head. I need to try some more varieties though.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

One of my favorite Pumpkin Ales is the Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, 150lbs of pumpkin per batch along with the traditional spices. Its pretty epic imo
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

I just found this blog post about Pumpkin Ales. Thought it might be interesting to read another opinion about a few of the beers mentioned in this thread:

http://drinkcraftbeer.com/editorial/...-tasteoff.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poronico View Post
One of my favorite Pumpkin Ales is the Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, 150lbs of pumpkin per batch along with the traditional spices. Its pretty epic imo
That sounds like a lot of pumpkin although I don't know how big the batches are. I've seen quite a range of fermenting tanks in my day. The Sam Adams Brewery in Boston has tanks about 68 barrels in size and the Coors brewery in Golden, CO has fermenting tanks over 1400 barrels in size.

Also, it looks like Elysian is in WA so I'm not sure I'd ever see that beer out here on the other coast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark C View Post
I agree with your tasting notes for the beers you listed. I generally prefer stronger pumpkin pie spice flavors in my pumpkin beer, the ones you mentioned are a little too subtle for me (except the Shipyard, as you noted).
I enjoy the Pumpkin Ales where you can taste the pumpkin pie spices but sometimes brewers do go over the top with it. The Shipyard IMO is a nice level of spice. I would say though overall I prefer a more subtle pumpkin pie spice flavor with a stronger note of actual pumpkin which is why the Smuttynose is at the top of my list. It's not overly sweet either which is another place brewers can go wrong with this style IMO.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyC View Post
I just found this blog post about Pumpkin Ales. Thought it might be interesting to read another opinion about a few of the beers mentioned in this thread:

http://drinkcraftbeer.com/editorial/...-tasteoff.html



That sounds like a lot of pumpkin although I don't know how big the batches are. I've seen quite a range of fermenting tanks in my day. The Sam Adams Brewery in Boston has tanks about 68 barrels in size and the Coors brewery in Golden, CO has fermenting tanks over 1400 barrels in size.

Also, it looks like Elysian is in WA so I'm not sure I'd ever see that beer out here on the other coast.
From what I understand it works out to about 7lbs per barrel. One of the local shops has it here, its quite good.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poronico View Post
From what I understand it works out to about 7lbs per barrel. One of the local shops has it here, its quite good.
That's a good amount of pumpkin. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled to see if it made it out to this coast.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Southern Tier is sooo good. I love it when you finish the sip and start tasting the crust.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyC View Post
I just found this blog post about Pumpkin Ales. Thought it might be interesting to read another opinion about a few of the beers mentioned in this thread:

http://drinkcraftbeer.com/editorial/...-tasteoff.html
That's a good read. I think their notes are spot on also. Reading the note about Pumking reminded me, the prominent flavor was definitely gingerbread, and I definitely enjoyed that. In fact, I enjoyed all 22 oz in a single sitting by myself, so no need to heed DCB's advice on sharing it with 6 people, that's just foolish!
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

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Old 10-28-2009, 08:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Dogfish and Weyerbacher....it's a nice change of pace beer but sometimes it can get cloyingly sweet.
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Ive had Dogfish, Weyerbacher, and Post Road this year. Personally weyerbacher was a little too winey for me this year. dogfish didnt disappoint and the Post Road, which I think is brewed by Brooklyn brewery under a different name was good also.
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

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Ofallon and Schlafly are my two favorite. Both from Missouri!

You can't go wrong with anything Schlafly for that matter!
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale, brewed in Mooresville, NC by Carolina Beer Company
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Old 10-31-2009, 02:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Picked up 2 bombers of Pumking by Southern Tier Brewery. Was suprised to find it in the local shop, so I grabbed 2. Will drink it while watching the baseball game. Also got a bomber of Fullers ESB and a bottle of Chimay Blue.

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Old 11-01-2009, 07:11 AM   #17
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

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Picked up 2 bombers of Pumking by Southern Tier Brewery. Was suprised to find it in the local shop, so I grabbed 2. Will drink it while watching the baseball game. Also got a bomber of Fullers ESB and a bottle of Chimay Blue.

I'm jealous, I've been striking out everywhere I go for the last month. Same story everywhere 'we only got two cases, sold out the first day'. Enjoy 'em!
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:13 PM   #18
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Spot near me has southern tier. I dont know if they have the pumking but I know they have their winter brew in.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:23 PM   #19
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

I had the Dogfish Punkin Ale on Saturday for the 1st time and I really enjoyed it. Need to go out and get some more. Loved the spice to it.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:44 PM   #20
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Default Re: Pumpkin Ales

Had the PumKing on saturday. It was really good, but at $8 something for a bomber, I won't be drinking too many.
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