Overview for the Pumpkin Ale

The Pumpkin Ale is usually released as a fall seasonal and is brewed with pumpkin meat, puree, or flavoring. The beer is typically spiced with autumnal seasonings such as allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg. Its bitterness is typically mild with the spices leading the palate. A malty backbone can have a sticky feel.

Style Expectations

An amber to copper, spiced beer that often has a moderately rich body and slightly warming finish suggesting a good accompaniment for the cool fall season, and often evocative of Thanksgiving traditions.

Appearance

Generally medium amber to coppery-brown (lighter versions are more common). Usually clear, although darker versions may be virtually opaque. Some chill haze is acceptable. Generally has a well-formed head that is often off-white to tan. Some versions with squashes will take on an unusual hue for beer, with orange-like hints.

Aroma

A wide range of aromatics is possible, although many examples are reminiscent of pumpkin pie, candied yams, or similar harvest or (US) Thanksgiving themed dishes. Any combination of aromatics that suggests the fall season is welcome. The base beer style often has a malty profile that supports the balanced presentation of the aromatics from spices and possibly other special ingredients. Additional fermentables (e.g., brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) may lend their own unique aromatics. Hop aromatics are often absent, subdued, or slightly spicy. Alcohol aromatics may be found in some examples, but this character should be restrained. The overall aroma should be balanced and harmonious, and is often fairly complex and inviting.

Flavor

Many interpretations are possible; allow for brewer creativity as long as the resulting product is balanced and provides some spice (and optionally, sugar and vegetable) presentation. Spices associated with the fall season are typical (as mentioned in the Aroma section). The spices and optional fermentables should be supportive and blend well with the base beer style. Rich, malty and/or sweet malt-based flavors are common, and may include caramel, toasty, biscuity, or nutty flavors (toasted bread crust or cooked pie crust flavors are welcome). May include distinctive flavors from specific fermentables (molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc.), although these elements are not required. Flavor derived from squash-based vegetables are often elusive. The wide range of special ingredients should be supportive and balanced, not so prominent as to overshadow the base beer. Bitterness and hop flavor are generally restrained so as to not interfere with the spices and special ingredients. Generally finishes rather full and satisfying, and often has some alcohol flavor. Roasted malt characteristics are typically absent.

Mouthfeel

A wide range of interpretations is possible. Body is generally medium to full, and a certain malty and/or vegetable-based chewiness is often present. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation is typical. Many examples will show some well-aged, warming alcohol content, but without being overly hot. The beers do not have to be overly strong to show some warming effects.

Reviews

Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin

Pumpkin Ale  •  New Belgium Brewing Company

Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin is a Pumpkin Ale by New Belgium Brewing Company that blasts pumpkin and cinnamon with spicy hot peppers. Read More

Johnny B. Gourd

Pumpkin Ale  •  Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Company

Johnny B. Gourd is a Pumpkin Ale by Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Company that boozily blends heaps of coconut with pumpkin and spices. Read More

Imperial Pumpking

Pumpkin Ale  •  Southern Tier Brewing Co.

Imperial Pumpking, a Pumpkin Ale by Southern Tier Brewing Company blends fragrant spices, floral hops, pumpkin, and pie crust. Read More

Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Ale  •  Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Weyerbacher Brewing Co. dominates the nose and palate with an autumnal medley of spices, hops, and booze. Read More

Punkin Ale

Pumpkin Ale  •  Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Punkin Ale is a Pumpkin Ale by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery that smacks the palate with booze, hops, pumpkin, and spices. Read More

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Ale  •  Elysian Brewing Company

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale by Elysian Brewing Company treats with a taste of pumpkin mash, spices, pie crust, and gently hopped. Read More

Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Ale  •  Brooklyn Brewery

Post Road Pumpkin Ale is a Pumpkin Ale by Brooklyn Brewery that has a terrific aroma but its palate is surprisingly light on pumpkin. Read More

Pumpkinhead

Pumpkin Ale  •  Shipyard Brewing Co.

Pumpkinhead is a Pumpkin Ale by Shipyard Brewing Co. that blends pumpkin and floral hops with bready malt. Read More

Pumpkick

Pumpkin Ale  •  New Belgium Brewing Company

Pumpkick is a Pumpkin Ale brewed by New Belgium Brewing Company that blends pumpkin juice with spices, cranberries, and lemongrass. Read More

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