Author Archives: ratemypumpkins

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery – La Parcela (2015)

After having one contender in the pumpkin sour beer category this season, I had to find an admirable adversary for our first beer to hit the ring. Who better than La Parcela, a sour to have appeared on @ratemypumpkins drinking calendar only in our debut season. Pouring a cloudy marigold, this sour is not messing around with it’s pungent sour aroma dabbed with cinnamon and pumpkin. The pumpkin is quickly swallowed and dried out by the powerful Brett and oak barrel aging, but not drowned completely in this smooth ale that allows subtle cinnamon through before warming and releasing rich cacao, a touch of hops, and then giving into a succinct, dry finish.

If Boulevard gave us Sour Pumpkin Beer 101, then Jolly Pumpkin is handing out the PhD. This sour may claim a few years off your life with it’s tartness, but don’t worry, they’re the bad ones anyway. 86/100


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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Uinta Brewing – Oak Jacked (2015)

Rarely does a barrel-aged pumpkin not choose a flavor to devote themselves to entirely. Some lean to favor the liquor of their particular barrel, whilst some prefer to amp up all their ingredients in order to combat the coming onslaught of whiskey or rum. This dark ruby hued ale gives off a tricky aroma of heavy cloves and heavier nutmeg, leaving this drink wary of a possible spice bomb attack. Mercifully, this ale has taken on calming characteristics of sweet oak from it’s barrel, balancing out what could’ve been a mouthful of bitter powder. Complete with adequate pumpkin, this ale is sweeter than the perfume it gives off, but earthy enough that it lends itself to be a tasty dessert Oktoberfest brew. Smooth spicing, pumpkin meat, and oak all twist together into a dry finish.

If campfire could produce nectar with crunchy, fallen leaves, it wouldn’t be too far off from this beauty. 89/100


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Posted by on October 10, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Weyerbacher Brewing – Imperial Pumpkin Ale (2015)

I feel the need, the need for tweed. This 8% Imperial Pumpkin Ale might as well be pumpkified liquid tweed for my purposes. Pouring a thick scarlet-amber, this ale has a musk of cardamom, pumpkin, cloves, and cinnamon. Not one of those flavors is lost in a complex warm whirlwind of cloves, nutmeg, gooey butterscotch malt, cardamom, and copious heaps of sweet, toasted pumpkin. By all means, this is a late night sipper, with a lovely secret of simcoe hops and alcohol burn in the finish.

Complex, surly, oddly gentle – perfect pumpkin to pair with Daddy Issues. 93/100


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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Coronado Brewing – Punk’In Drublic (2015)

Up first, Michael’s take on Punk’in Drublic:

Aroma of Jolly Rancher and SweeTarts. Dark amber hue. Aggressively sweet flavor approaching offensive. Artificial caramel flavor overload. Slaps you in the face with brown sugar. No trace of actual pumpkin flavor or fall spices beyond a trace of cloves. Slightly and unpleasantly syrupy texture. Unfortunately long finish thanks to high sugar and alcohol content. Exhausting on the palette.

In short, epitomizes everything that is stereotypically bad about pumpkin beer. 38/100

Up next, Adam’s take on Punk’in Drublic:

Aroma: Sweet! Like grandma’s candy dish.
Appearance: Reddish-brown hue, low on fizz, like a Scotch post a few rocks.
Taste: Huge and hoppy. Devoid of the “coin” taste that most IPAs give.
Mouthfeel: Scotch honey, lies on the tongue like a good Sazerac, evaporates quickly, hint of cask ale.
Pumpkin: A very sharp, direct sweetness. Not a cloying, sugary sweetness, but more like a Sambuca is sweet.
Ingredients: Anise, maple vinegar, the cinnamon cuts through the most where the pumpkin spices are concerned.
As pumpkin beers go, an intense experience; a beer that is not likely to induce indifference. The closest I’ve ever come to liking a pumpkin beer, and look forward to seeing if my second encounter tips the scales even farther to the positive.
Score: 86/100

And now, my take:

After 37 separate pumpkin brews, it would suffice to say that a “sick of” illness could set in. Along comes Coronado with it’s cordial solution – Punk’in Drublic. Now, I’ve been “punk’in drublic” on enough occasions to know my own behavior, and overtly sweet is usually not my dominant trait of choice. However, this amaretto colored ale gives a cloying (the dreaded “C” word”) aroma of sweet pumpkins mingled with cinnamon and syrupy honey on the nose as it’s modus operandi. This ale packs a saccharine Haymaker and wallops with a wall of sweet that eventually allows cloves and a heavy-handed all-spice through the phalanx of brown sugar and honey. Before the biscuity malt fades into West Coast hoppy finish, you have just enough time to realize that you never actually tasted the promised pumpkin.

This ale makes me feel like the attic child of the Banks family who doesn’t receive their favorite cordial flavor from Mary Poppins. 75/100


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Posted by on October 8, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Ballast Point Brewing – Pumpkin Down (2015)

Up first, Adam’s guest review of Pumpkin Down:

Aroma: Very light, nothing pungent. Medicinal (stirring memories of Robitussin from childhood).

Appearance: Pours like a flat cola. Very few bubbles. Light, caramel color.

Taste: Very strong front taste, hints of pumpkin pie spice in the middle, back a bit metallic, but doesn’t linger – increasing bitterness with each sip

Mouthfeel: Akin to the appearance, a lot like a flat cola. Doesn’t really commit to one kind of feeling. Slightly like a mouthwash.

Pumpkin: None of the usual sweetness. Spicy and bitter.

Ingredients: A little bit of ginger as well, black pepper, honey, cardamom, slightly plumy.


Full disclosure, I am not one drawn to pumpkin beer in general. I appreciate that this beer is not sweet, but it does not turn me into a believer, either.

Score (100): 78

Up second, Michael’s guest review of Pumpkin Down:

Vanilla, caramel aroma that is sweeter than its taste. Reddish-brown hue. Mostly well-balanced flavor. Not a sugar bomb. Not a spice overload. Not watery in taste, but slightly so in texture. Mouthfeel lacks desired richness. Limited real pumpkin flavor. Fall spices of cinnamon and cloves come to the fore. Medium length finish of the same fall spices.

In short, a solid pumpkin beer that is far from offensive and mostly balanced and tasty. But “tasty” never changed the world and this critic wants his mind blown. 82/100

And now, my take:

When you’re known for show-stopping IPAs, what’s the next world to conquer? The murky, no-brewer’s land of pumpkin beer, where some fear to tred and others just plain give zero effs and don’t bother to think twice about not going to. Ballast Point, with no need to prove their quality, take a winning approach of using a tried and true recipe for Piper Down, a caramel and toffee based Scottish Ale, and add brazen roasted pumpkin to it creating a nuanced new addition to the pumpkin ale line-up. Pouring a subtle cognac hue with no retention, a swirl of caramel, slight cinnamon, and pipe-like smokiness. This malt-forward style hits with ribbons of caramel, layers of toffee, and a toasted pumpkin in an au natural vegetal state. What starts as a solid savory ale slowly sweetens with warmth and releases a noticeable clove edge making this light-bodied pumpkin into something I would gladly pair with my Thanksgiving vegetables.

A Scottish Ale that already had impressive credentials and merely added a second masters degree with pumpkin because there’s no better time to one-up yourself than when you have nothing to prove. 87/100


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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


Horny Goat Brewing Co. – Hornycopia Pumpkin Ale (2015)

Up first, guest reviewer Christopher Filipowicz’s take on:

There’s so much to say about so little with this one. After the acrid nose wafted over me, like a punch to the nose, the smell that lingered was not unlike that of an overly sweet/spiced sweet potato dish in which the sweet potato is not tasted. Speaking of taste, we have come to the moment of truth. When I brought the beer to my lips, I felt a turn in my stomach like when you’re going over a hill in your car and it grabs you. I felt bound to my noble duty of tasting the beer the slutty goat/wench was not subtly trying to get me to taste, so I obeyed this mockery of Pan and let it in. Well, there was an overwhelming amount of what one could say was cinnamon, and sugar, which might trick the drinker into thinking there is pumpkin in this beer. I can plainly and very truthfully state that there is as much pumpkin in this beer as there is in an apple, or a car tire, or any other manner of things that are not pumpkin. After the rancidly sweet taste leaves my mouth, there is a somewhat mineral water aftertaste. It’s as if all the substance of the beer is gone and it’s just the dregs of the carbonation and water that were a part of the beer. It was a quite unsettling experience. I will give them 10 points for the creative slutty goat lady and 2 for the fact that I didn’t vomit. 12/100

Up next, returning guest reviewing favorite, Tim Veilleux, with his own take on Horny Goat Brewing Co.’s Hornycopia Pumpkin Ale:

Pours a thin-looking, nearly headless, clear amber. The smell is mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. Kind of like a spice cookie, but with an off-putting sweetness, like grandma dropped a whole box of Splenda into the batter. The taste is an astringent, unpleasant sack of burnt spice, covering up any theoretical pumpkin. Leaves behind the feeling of a cinnamon challenge-esque tongue residue.

This is the 7th Grade Home Economics version of a pumpkin beer. It’s not out and out bad, but you smile and drink it, patting your C student kid on the head and telling them what a shining star they are. Which is extra weird, since the bottle tries to ply you with sexy goat. Goats chew tin cans to get the tasty glue taste from the label, so they might not be my go-to for beer recommendations in the future. 77/100


And now, for my take:

Look, if you don’t want to brew a pumpkin beer, please don’t brew one. No one is forcing you down that avenue at knifepoint. AND, if you don’t brew yet another mediocre at best pumpkin beer, think about how much you are making life a slightly kinder place by withholding the thoughtless swill that you zested a dirty pumpkin into and then bottled for the Fall season. Our current recent offender, Horny Goat, has brewed an ale that for all extenuating purposes, seems passable. It pours a pleasant tangerine-like orange, and smells faintly of caramel with dashes of nutmeg and cinnamon. That’s where the pleasantries end. For a fleeting moment, this ale tastes of burnt nutmeg, meek cinnamon, and caramel malt, but only for a flash of time. It transforms into what essentially tastes like soda water with some corn syrup stirred into it. Almost all taste vanishes, but the phantom presence of beer in your mouth leaves you confused and distraught. Wasn’t there just beer here? It’s like hearing someone insult you, but you can’t decipher the words. You know it happened, but how upset should you be?

If somehow cheese had ended up in this Wisconsin beer, I would’ve been more impressed than this poor excuse for a soda stream that someone dyed with Manic Panic. 52/100

Sink pour #3 of the pumpkin beer season. I drew a picture with some helpful recipe suggestions.


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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Wicked Weed Brewing – Pompoen (2015)

Charlie Brown had the Little Red-Haired Girl, Roger Rabbit had his Jessica Rabbit, and that leaves the rest of in our quest for our own life-altering ginger. I found mine, and he’s Dutch. Pompoen, a sour red ale aged in rum barrels for over a year at the Funkatorium, is a trump card of a heartbreaker. Pouring a glowing scarlet, it releases a potent sour nose of Brett coupled with a smoky, charred ginger. The funk it delivers as promised happens like flash mob dance party at the onset, but warms and opens up into sweet, boozy notes of candied pumpkins, jaunty sugar cane from the rum barrel, and a playful heat from ginger. Further warming releases more of the rum, but never more than just a light sweater over that deep-souled funk.

Everything you knew about pumpkin ales is WRONG. This red-head will turn your square life on it’s side with tart noisy funk, and will burn you w/it’s ginger…but will leave you wanting more. 95/100


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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Long Trail Brewing Co. – Pumpkin Ale (2015)

Do you have those friends that text you normal enough questions, but the iniquity of your level of annoyance at having to engage in conversation back with them is disproportionately higher than it should be? It’s because they’re nice, but boring. Admit it. This pumpkin sixer, sadly, is that friend. It pours a tawny brown, and has a spice-laden aroma that highlights at different moments anywhere from cloves to nutmeg to cinnamon, all with a sweet brown sugar foundation. With such a delicious fragrance, the shock of how mediocre the ale’s taste is hits harder than it would normally. Fighting against the heavy-handed spicing (cloves and ginger, I’m looking in your general direction) are genuine moments of earthy barley and tasty pumpkin, but not enough to stave off the death by spice rack. Confusing the ale completely is the bitter finish after a semi-present sweet malt.

For such a meager ale, it wants to be a little of everything. The Poser of the Pumpkins: not emotional enough to be angst, not spicy enough to put out…anything worthy of note, that is. 73/100

Nic’s thoughts from a past year: As a safe, middle of the road pumpkin, it’s perfectly drinkable. But sometimes you just want a pumpkin that feels like riding a dinosaur in a thunderstorm. This is not that beer. 72/100


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Posted by on October 4, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Alaskan Brewing Co. – Pumpkin Ale

Up first, Fletch’s guest review of Alaskan Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale:

Sometimes friends and circumstances allow me to try beers that I wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. That’s how Alaskan Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale came to me. It pours a wonderful golden brown into my glass, with some effervescence clinging to the side. One sip immediately tells you that this has real pumpkin, pretenders need not apply. While this ale has a bit of a lighter body, it’s perfect for the pumpkin to maintain a great balance with the accompaniment of nutmeg and clove spices, and a cinnamon creaminess that lingers on my palate.

This pumpkin ale is certainly one of the most enjoyable beers that I’ve had recently. It ranks with some my favorite pumpkin brews, holding its own in the pumpkin battle royale. If I lived in Alaska, I would definitely relax with this after a long day with the salmon fleet. 91/100


And now, Alex’s take:

Though my personal connection to Alaska reaches it’s zenith with the time I ugly cried in my bathroom upon hearing the news of Captain Phil’s of “Deadliest Catch” games passing, I can only assume that a state forced to endless winter would choose to illuminate their own lives by brewing delicious beer. Having also brewed a scrumptious pumpkin porter, Alaskan Brewing has turned their eye to the oft forgotten plain jane, the brown ale, to add pumpkin to. This pumpkin ale pours the color of liquid chestnuts and gives off the undeniable aroma of pumpkins with a dash of peat. The smoke is lying in wait until first sip where a body of Vienna malt has it’s head dunked under ale by Alaska’s own alder-smoked malt which all but suffocates sweet pumpkin and brown sugar. The trigger-happy sweet smoke gradually does dissipate and smooths itself out by unveiling clever spicing of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Ever been to a cookout hosted by a newbie grillmaster? Sometimes you just need to soothe their initial panic so that they let their delicious ingredients speak for themselves and not stifle them with too heavy a hand. 83/100


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Posted by on October 3, 2015 in 2015 Reviews


Redhook Brewery – Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter (2015)

Not all New England states were created equal. New Hampshire has always been on the brawnier, rugged side of things, with it’s glorious White Mountains and beards before they were a thing. With little to no shock value, Redhook has put out a pumpkin porter that strips away every frilly pre-conceived notion that one may have of pumpkin beers, and brewed a robust porter that pours like liquid coal, and gives off so much smoke in the nose that you look to see if it is actually smoldering. As thick as it pours, it is highly carbonated with a malt-forward edge of toasted maple dripping smoothly over cedar grit. Though the smoke on this porter is prominent the entire time, mild pumpkin puree does pop by once for a visit, leaving light nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon, to overstay their welcome without their pumpkin host.

This earthy pumpkin pours like spiked campfire coffee sweetened with tomorrow morning’s syrup. Chewy, earthy, may put hair on your chest – proper hiking fuel. 80/100

Nic’s thoughts from a past year: Sweet pumpkin + spices are there upfront, + complimented by malty sweetness. Coffee notes in finish. Surprisingly robust. 80/100


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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in 2015 Reviews