Pumpkineater - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

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PumpkineaterPumpkineater

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BA SCORE
87
very good

172 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 172
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 21
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: lumikuuro on 10-08-2009

A high gravity pumpkin ale brewed with barley, fresh roasted pumpkin, hops, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, water and yeast, it is one of the local seasonal favorites. This beer is produced in very limited quantities each fall as part of the John Mitchell series.

19 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 172 | Reviews: 62
Photo of korguy123
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy burnt copper pour with a two finger, sort lived light tan head. Lacing is sticky.

Pumpkin right up front, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and brown sugar. There is a slight fig aroma.

Pumpkin and cinnamon. Not over the top spices like some, this focuses on the pumpkin than the pie tastes. Nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla and some digestive cookie notes resembling pie crust.

Light to medium body, good carbonation.

Photo of jrenihan
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is dark amber in colour, reddish, with a small-moderately sized off-white head. Head dissipates relatively quickly.

Lots of pumpkin in the nose. Expected pumpkin-pie like spices are prominent as well, cloves, nutmeg. On the sweet side. Certainly has a pumpkin pie aroma.

Taste has pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. Spices are prominent, but there is a good pumpkin base. Malty. Nice flavour, quite yummy.

Medium bodied, quite malty. Carbonation is a bit high, but pretty good.

Overall, a very well done pumpkin ale. Definitely a good one if you are into the style.

Photo of Digimaika2
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(3.5) A: Rich dark amber coloured with a healthy foam head that swiftly recedes to a ring. Satisfactory lacing down the glass.

(4.0) S: Caramel, butterscotch, gingerbread, pumpkin, nutmeg, dark fruits including ripe plum, and orange peel. Mmm. Enticing. Smells like every type of fall/winter season baked good together in aroma form.

(3.5) T: Similar to aroma with lots of spices and butterscotch-like malt coming through. I’m also a little surprised at the level of hoppyness in this with quite a fruity flavour. Good but I feel something isn’t quite balanced (maybe too hop forward or an off spice mixture) or perhaps the cross-country trip might’ve done it or maybe I'm just going crazy.

(3.0) M: Lighter bodied with a lower carbonation. Thinner and less oily/chewy than expected. Good bittering components from the spice come through.

(3.5) D: Aroma was full of varying flavours with some complexity but the taste didn’t quite match that level in my opinion. Would love to try more from this brewer and will be scanning the shelves for their other offerings.

Photo of biegaman
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pumpkineater looks like it's already eaten a few - this beer looks like semi-digested pumpkin and all the colour and clarity you'd imagine that to have. And if that image doesn't sound very appetizing, then good, I've done my job because what's in the glass certainly doesn't look overly tantalizing. Giving off little highlighting, it looks muddied. It's also pathetically flat; not even an upright pour could produce lasting bubbles.

You'd have to use a microscopic amount of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and anise for the aroma to smell like anything other than those spices. Indeed, this is a spicy, savory amalgamation of all the above (no one ingredient stands out above the others) that conjures thoughts of ginger cookies and pumpkin pie. It also manages a distinct gourd-y note, like fresh-cut butternut or acorn squash (it's also brewed with real pumpkin).

While there is a bit of cinnamon heart taste, I feel as though I'll be flossing strings of pumpkin flesh from my teeth instead of cinnamon bark. Surprisingly, maple-y squash flavour holds its own. That's not to say, mind you, that the chai-like profile of clove and nutmeg aren't appreciated - they certainly are. Even the anise is present in small quantity (provided you know to look for it). Quite a nice balance. I suppose it's a draw then.

While I wouldn't tinker with the spices, I would up the malts. Refreshingly, for a higher gravity beer there is little (if any) alcohol noticed. However, the other side of that coin is that it also drinks much thinner than a beer of its strength should. The flavour suffers most; it all but dissipates within seconds of swallowing and only a brief memento of the chai note is retained. More biscuity, toasty maltiness would help prop the beer up.

Any knocks that I might have about Howe Sound Pumpkineater have little effect on my overall enjoyment of it. Although a wee thin, it's still a fully loaded pumpkin ale that finds balance - and that's not an easy thing to do. Now, whether it's worth the price tag ultimately depends on how much you care for pumpkin ales; it will suit casual pumpkin ale drinkers but it might not suit their budget. I don't regret splurging on it one bit.

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1L Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 11$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige coloured head. There is a lot of carbonation and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes but then it was gone completely.

Smell - Malts, cloves, all spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and pumpkin. There is also some all-spice, clove, and a bit of a smokey/peat like flavour. It ends with a malty spicy aftertaste.

Overall - Good not great.. I will say that it is fairly drinkable. Given the size of the bottle, this is a good thing. It's a decent seasonal beer.. It's no pumpking though.

Photo of BigBry
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1L, stoppered bottle.

Pours a deep amber-orange color, slightly tan head a bit. Thick sheet of lace, foam lasts the entire glass.
Smell has lots of the noted spices, clove and nutmeg for sure.
Taste has a good malt base with some pumpkin elements coming through. The pumpkie pie spices are in the flavor, but not so overpowering that they take over too much. Cinnamon becomes more dominant as it starts to warm up. Alchol is pretty well hidden, but also gets a bit more boozy as it warms. Rich, full bodied flavor and mouthfeel. Low carbonation keeps it creamy and smooth.
Overall, one of the better Pumpkin Ales out there.

Photo of BGDrock
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: great look - deep red mahogany, raspberry juice colouring; fine, thick head on the pour, but it diminished in a few minutes to non-existence

Aroma: scent is like fresh pumpkin pie with some sweetness and even brings to mind flaky pastry

Taste & Mouthfeel: spice flavours are great, blending so well that one particular spice doesn't stand out - it's just a unified medley; warming and comforting, almost like there's some heat to it, no doubt aided by the alcohol content which is faintly noticeable; medium body and silky texture, but the low carbonation is damaging to overall enjoyment; toffee and syrupy sweetness matches the spice in a good way, but the way it lingers in the finish and the affect over time makes it a little overbearing

Overall: on all accounts this ale is a hit at first glance - look, smell, and taste - but falters as time goes on; increased carbonation and managing the sweetness would go a long way to making it a great beer

Photo of Mit
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange colour with a decent lasting head.

Smell was somewhat muted as I had a stuffed nose...I was getting some sweetness from the malts and higher abv. but that's about it. Very faint pumpkin odour...

Sweeter tasting as we can expect from the higher abv....pumpkin...pumpkin spice....reminiscent of a pie of more savoury pumpkin pie with a slight warming finish.

It's thicker but not as thick as you would expect an 8%er....kinda dangerous actually....

overall this is a slightly different path than some of the other Pumpkin ales and it's not unwelcome. Very nice to have a pumpkin warmer on a chilly fall day.

Photo of papat444
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rutager for this one.

Poured from a 1L bottle and split with my wife.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber-orange body which affects the color of the head a bit. Thick sheeting coats glass as i swirl it and very good retention.

Smell: Chunky pumpkin pie , low carbonation.(the gelatinous part), nutmeg, sweet spices. Rich and pleasing.

Taste: Has that meaty pumpkin flavor, bit of cinnamon in the finish that grows a bit as it warms. Rich, authentic flavor. Well spiced without feeling like a whole spice bottle was dumped in.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, silky, low carbonation, real pleasant.

Overall: A winner and my favorite pumpkin ale so far!

Photo of liamt07
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from wordemupg, 1L into a tulip. 2011 bottling.

Browned orange with an offwhite head. Good retention, OK lacing. Nose of cloves, cinnamon, banana and pumpkin flesh. Some caramel and brown sugar like sweetness. Taste has cinnamon, banana, clove and pumpkin again, with alcohol interwoven. Sweetish finish, and some bitterness. Medium body, carbonation was a tad high initially. A good pumpkin ale, but not on Pumpking level.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium somewhat cloudy orange-copper amber with a half finger medium white head. Light aroma of pumpkin with light sweet malt and light spicing. Flavor of roasted pumpkin, light sweet malt and some spices. Somewhat dry and a touch sour finish. The flavor is not as robust as other pumpkin ales, but pleasant. The finish takes away somewhat from an overall positive impression

Photo of maclean25
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this 1L bottle at a liquor store in northern BC.

It pours a creamy, light brown head. The body is cloudy and has a copper colour. In the smell, I detect caramel, sweet fruit salad and yeast.

The taste is very similar to pumpkin pie. The spices dominate the flavour: nutmeg and cinnamon. I recognize some clove taste. I also get some ginger and molasses, but those are not listed in the ingredients. Definitely more spice than pumpkin. It is balanced well with hops, it has medium (maybe low) carbonation and a medium body.

Overall, I liked it a lot, though it is the first pumpkin beer I've had. I already went back to get more and recommended it to others. I couldn't help but compare it Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Lattee which I always found had an awkward balance between the pumpkin spices and espresso. This beer, by contrast, has an excellent balance between the pumpkin spices and the beer.

Photo of Converge
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1L swing-top bottle poured into a 20oz nonic.

A - Just over two finger of carbonated tan head. The beer has sort of a medium amber-copper hue with some reddish hints as well. No real head retention beyond the first minute, and no lacing at all.

S - Pumpkin pie, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a generous amount of clove. I'm certain can smell coriander and as well as a lot of banana. A touch of booze and... chocolate?...

T - Pumpkin spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, as predicted. Not much sweetness. Banana and unripe orange can easily be made out. A little actual pumpkin flavor here and there. Slight warmth from the alcohol in the finish. Some light earthy hops linger in the finish too. Robust malt character overall. Some sugary caramel malt appears as well, but doesn't do much to sweeten this ale up.

M - Low-to-mid carbonation, light-to-medium body. Pretty straight forward here.

D - I'm beginning to think these pumpkin ales aren't all they're cracked up to be. This one was decent, but I probably won't be buying it again. Pretty good flavor, but the unripe fruit gave this one sort of a tart feel to it.

Photo of Dawkfan
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Towering 4 finger white head consisting of very tiny bubbles. Retention is good for a high abv pumpkin ale, lacing is below average though. The color is a slightly hazed copper orange.

S- Pumpkin and light biscuit malt aroma, the spices are here but muted somewhat. If you leave your nose in it long enough it does start to smell like pumpkin pie.

T- Really sweet upfront. Not getting much pumpkin until midway through, it's met at the end with the traditional spices and booziness. Doesn't really shine until after it's left the mouth.

M- Medium body, light carbonation. Seems a little flat to me.

O- I enjoyed the warmth this gave off, really suiting for the time of year.

Photo of tonyf55
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 1L pop-top bottle into a pint glass

Visual (4): Foggy orangish amber color, medium clarity. Off-white head which was very active early (2 finger head) but dissolved to a think film. Little visible carbonation, weak lacing.

Aroma (3.5): Light spices, hints of nutmeg. No real pumpkin scent. Smells malty, almost toasted. Alcoholic undertones at the end of the scent.

Taste (3.5): Initial sweet flavor, that blends into a light bitterness at the end that sits in the palette. Alcohol is evident, typical of an imperial ale. Flavors are not overpowering but rather soft. Nutmeg, clove present, but pumpkin flavors seem to be hidden.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Light to medium body, with a rather light watery texture. Lively on the tounge, with a lasting back of mouth moderate to heavy alcoholic feel.

Overall (3.5): A very drinkable imperial ale, but any pumpkin flavor seems to get lost behind alcohol tastes and mouthfeel. I enjoy seasonals and this spiced beer does offer something a little different.

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle half pint at Bar Volo takeover. About an average pumpkin beer. Attractive orange colour, with little head. A good spicing, ginger, cardomon, cinammon, white pepper. Decent drinkability. Spicy nose, average mouthfeel, appropriate understated carbonation.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at St Augustine's in Vancouver.

A: 1/4" white head over amber liquid with very good clarity.

S: Slight smell of pumpkin, hops, cinnamon and other spice.

T: Hops, ginger, cinnamon and other spice up front which transitions to yeast, wheat and pumpkin.

M: Thin viscosity which a high level of carbonation. Some drying from the alcohol.

O: Very drinkable and complex pumpkin ale.

Photo of ChrisCage
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Orange in color with copper hues lingering about. There is a big bold head that is three fingers thick and eggshell in color. Very nice retention, eventually settling down to a thick layer over the brew itself. The carbonation is very mild looking as it slowly rises to the top. There is also modest clumpy lacing on the side of the glass. Very decent looking overall!

S- There is a distinct sweet, malty pumpkin aroma. This is followed by some mild spiciness (cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon)....pie spices! I didn't notice any real hop bitterness on the finish, but there is a slight boozy aroma....I guess being 8%, it's a little hard to hide.

T- The pumpkin flavor is there, but doesn't overpower and isn't as sweet as the aroma lets on. The spices are present as well, but again, aren't overpowering. Everything is nicely balanced out between the sweetness of the malt and a clean tasting bitter finish. Also of note, the alcoholic presence is modest on the palate, which is a good thing!

M- I found this to be medium in body and very creamy....it's almost like a micro-carbonated beer, and I think this characteristic does wonders for the style! The flavors, in my opinion are very much allowed to shine!

O- This is a very fine pumpkin beer and I highly recommend it! It's smooth, flavorful but doesn't make you feel like you loaded your mouth with candy, and well balanced. I feel that this exemplifies what a fall seasonal is all about!

Photo of elricorico
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear brown orange in colour with a very healthy beige head that sticks around for a while.

Smells like pumpkin pie, I even swear that I smell some whipped cream on top. Smells delicious.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the smell, though it is pretty good. Rich pumpkin pie flavours, solid amounts of spice and sweetness. There is a slight medicinal harshness right on the front of the tongue that detracts slightly from the overall effect.

Body is fairly full, with plenty of carbonation. Seems to work pretty well.

Good beer, comes in a 1L bottle that is more than enough though. I'm satisfied before the bottle is finished.

Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another of those homebrew-friendly 1L swing-tops...and with that weird 'imported into the USA' mention on the label, for something domestically produced.

This beer pours a rather hazy, medium orange brick amber colour, with two fat fingers of densely foamy, and yet somewhat bubbly tan head, which leaves some random cirrus cloud-like lace around the glass as it lazily recedes.

It smells mildly of pumpkin pie spices - cloves, ginger, and cinnamon (hearts) - brown sugar, vegetal gourd flesh (pumpkin, and perhaps some of its squash cohorts), bready, crackery caramel malt, and an underlying twinge of metallic booze. The taste is sweet bready caramel malt, a blend of fall seasonal spices - clove and nutmeg, mostly - well-meshed pumpkin, squash, and even zucchini, and a pleasantly integrated, if a tad edgy at times, warming alcohol.

The carbonation is moderate, manifesting in but a plainly supportive frothiness, the body quite full and coddling (like there was a whole metric whack of pumpkin pulp in it), and actually fairly smooth, with a slight whipped dessert creaminess. It finishes more or less sweet, the spiced caramel malt most prevalent.

A sort of balanced, spicy, malty, chai tea-esque, and duly warming autumn-worthy beery tipple, one also good for a place where Indian Summer skipped September altogether, preferring instead to show itself in November, of all times. Whatever, it's still pumpkin season, and this offering does a bang-up job of reminding me of the fact.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to H1N1 for this one.
Poured from 1L swing top bottle in to Duvel tulip glass.

A - Dark amber colour with one finger of bubbly white head that quickly disappeared.

S - Pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg. Standard nose for a pumpkin ale but not overly spiced, which many are.

T - Pumpkin, cloves & nutmeg are the predominant flavours. Some cinnamon is here as well but not as pronounced as it is in many pumpkin ales. I don't specifically taste the star anise but I am not sure I would know that taste if I found it anyway. A nice peppery taste is present in the finish.

M - Medium body, nice chew, lightly carbonated.

D - Nicely balanced pumpkin beer. Not overly spiced like many pumpkin beers tend to be. This was was very well balanced (pumpkin and spiced). One of the better pumpkin ales I have tried.

Photo of SirChugsAlot
2.61/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark copper color with a white cloud of head that fades to a thin layer across the top with a touch of lacing.

Smells of spices toasted malts and sweetness

Taste is BLAH!!! too over-spiced for me. I was hoping more from this beer, but it's like a homebrew gone mad with spices. it's a very complex flavor that is hard to put a finger on all the flavors.. this beer is a mess

mouth is light and not hard to drink.. except for the taste, a little over-carbonated... i would not tell my friends to try this one

Photo of IronDjinn
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 1L brown flip-top bottle. Pours out a hazed burnished copper/amber, fluffy off-white head with great retention.

Light caramel malt on the nose, but the primary notes are that of nutmeg and cinnamon. Mild ginger notes in the background.

Flavour is quite bold for a pumpkin ale, no wonder this is labelled as imperial. Rich full malt presence, some caramelized sugar soon kicks in, however the spices steal the show very quickly. The star anise seems to be the most prominent of them all by the finish. Some light herbal hops tend to creep out in the aftertaste once it warms a great deal.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth, light carbonation.

A good solid offering from this brewery for a seasonal, on par with their Xmas release. One of the better Pumpkin ales available in these parts and a welcome addition.

Photo of wordemupg
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1L bottle poured into tulip sept26 2010

A slightly hazy deep amber with some bubbles popping up too a large beige head that has good retention but leaves no lace

S lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, and a little licorice with some booze

T a little sweet with some clove and pumpkin on top of what I smell with a little heat but the booze is fairly well managed

M a little flat and some bite to it, leaves a little grit in your mouth not bad but nothing special

D a little strong and the big ass bottles take some commitment but I managed without to many issues

not a bad beer and well suited for the season, I can't think of many pumpkin beers this strong but when the weather cools off it would be most welcome

Photo of andrenaline
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Keeping the tradition alive with Howe Sound tastings on both my 100th, and now 200th review!

A - Pours a hazy tangerine colour with the slightest reddish hue, thumb of light big bubbled head, mild retention (< 1 minute), and no real lacing. Body shows a bit of carbonation, but pretty subtle.

S - Scent is rather bready, some sweet pumpkin and complemented by spices. It's nice to smell a pumpkin beer that isn't over the top in the spices, this one retains the beer aspect, which is nice.

T - The spices come through in the flavour with nutmeg and cinnamon dominating. The star anise is uniquely noticeable on the finish, and the higher ABV is nicely hidden. Pumpkin is also noticeable and is on par with the spices. A bit of a bready malt lingers, but again, everything is nicely balanced with nothing overpowering.

M - Probably the only weak point on this offering. Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side and could use a bit more carbonation.

D - Overall, another tasty offering by Howe Sound. Was very excited to find this in Calgary, and am glad I picked up a bottle. In fact, I grabbed another bottle for Thanksgiving to share with the family! Really looking forward to enjoying this one again over the holidays! Much better balance between the spices and beer, and highly recommended to any pumpkin ale fan!

Pumpkineater from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 172 ratings.