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Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

873 Reviews
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Shipyard Pumpkinhead AleShipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Maine, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-04-2001

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Reviews: 873 | Ratings: 2,616
Photo of Sammy
3.27/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An average beer for its style, light orange with carbonation bubbles. Some creamy white lace falls in with the drinking. Clove, some pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger. Half a bottle was drinkable, not more. Warming aftertaste. Complex though subdued aroma.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.63/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear light orange with a 1/2 inch fizzy off-white head that fades to nothing No lacing on this one. Smell is of malt/grain, slight pumpkin, and some subdued spice aromas. Taste is of an adjunct lager with some minor pumpkin pie spices thrown in. Not very balanced overall. This beer has a high level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is not a very good beer but I had to try it for myself to see if all the negative reviews were warranted. They were.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: clear golden with amber hues, single finger head and no lace.

S: this one almost smells more like a saison. they get the spiciness but no the pimpkin-ness.

T: some pumpkin and malt. Little else. A little watery.

M: light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: dont think this is an F beer. It is a safe pumpkin ale. It is no where near the best but its drinkable and meant for a more broad category of beer drinkers.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.99/5  rDev +38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I guess the mob has spoken on this one and thus everyone will review accordingly. The beer is thin and light, so what? Its got plenty of flavor. Anyway, on to the review.

Pours light orange, almost yellow. I would prefer it to be darker and slightly more pumpkin in color but its very clear and has some decent foam. Retention and lacing are lacking so it averages out to be alright.

Aroma is very pumpkin pie-like. Cinnamon, clove, possibly corriander. Very inviting. Its hard to judge the aroma fairly after looking at the beer as its easy to assume that a light looking beer will not have any flavor or smell. No hops, no alcohol.

Taste is equally enjoyable. Heavy on all that aforementioned pie spices, though not much actual pumpkin flavor. Again, no alcohol and ho hops. Slight bitterness though.

Body is light, medium carbonation, very smooth and goes down easy. I would guess this would be good for the non craft beer drinker that likes pumpkin pie. A step up from Jacks for sure.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

enough already people, this isnt that bad! as the latest thread on the forum is out to set right. listen up! it pours a soda looking way carbonated pale orange color with a decent white head. no respectable BA can give the appearance less than a 3, its just not below average in appearance, it isnt. the smell is a little heavy on the cinnamon, fine, but it too cant be scored worse than a 3. im giving it a 3.5 because i pick up some nice malty sweetness that i like in the fall, and some vanilla and earthy squashy notes that i think blend well together. in any event, worse than a 3 in unfair to the style because this smells like a pumpkin ale stright up. as for the taste, its an evolution in the mouth. the cinnamon and spice hit up front is strong, maybe off putting for some, but i think its a nice aggressive move. the good news for all is that it fades fast into a very very authentic squashy flavor, real pumpkin is used in this beer, no doubt about that. if you dont like pumpkin, why buy a pumpkin ale? everyone likes southern tier pumpking because its authentically squashy, well, so is this one. a little bitter maybe yeah, but its real vegetable in there. its not meant to be a can of pumpkin pie filling people. the feel cant be scored worse than a 3 either, its maybe a bit overcarbonated, i agree with that, but the body is a decent medium and the finish turns dry after a few seconds without all the lingering sweetness of so many pumpkin brews. this isnt the best pumpkin beer on earth i understand that, but it is pretty decent. having this brew scored in the 60's is offensive to me, and to the pumpkin ale style. get it together BA!

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Photo of metter98
3.37/5  rDev +17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that gradually died down, leaving only a ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are sweet aromas of pumpkin spices in the nose with nutmeg standing out in particular.
T: The taste is quite sweet and very similar to the smell—it almost takes like eating pumpkin pie filling, but with only traces of pumpkin flavors.
M: It feels light-bodied and a bit thin and watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is definitely very easy to drink. I’m not sure if I could drink this all night with the sweetness and spices but it definitely would pair well with an autumn dish at dinner.

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Photo of Knapp85
1.87/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer poured out as a fizzy looking golden color. Shouldn't this be more of a copped color? Anyway, there's no head after a few seconds. The smell of the beer is spicy, that's about all. The taste is spicy but very light. The mouthfeel is like club soda. Overall I really don't like this pumpkin ale. It's very bland and boring from start to finish. Be smart and look elsewhere for a pumpkin ale over this one.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.05/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pumpkin beers always sound like a bad idea, but they usually turn out tasty. Looks a basic golden with orange hues and a bit cloudy. Moderately carbonated and not much head retention or lacing. Smells softly sweet and spicy. Tastes lightly of barley malt and pumpkin pie. Spices of allspice, nutmeg, cinamon, and pepper follows closely. A soft and safe beer. No flavors dominate. Body falls a bit short of firm. Aftertaste is mildly spicy, but fades quickly. A little too soft for my liking, but an ok beer.

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Photo of brentk56
2.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Golden color with a quickly dissipating, though large head; some lacing.

Smell: A cross between pumpkin pie and orange juice

Taste: Relatively flat taste with a bit of clove and nutmeg that doesn't really capture the spices all that well; the buttery flavor is a little strange on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light mouthfeel with decent carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad but not memorable

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Photo of largadeer
2.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a pristine amber with a thin white cap that settles to nothing within 60 seconds. Looks filtered to death.

Smell: Pumpkin pie spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Brown sugar. Malt? No. Hops? Nope.

Taste & mouthfeel: Spices and cloying sweetness, all held together with a butterscotch slickness. Thin yet difficult to drink due to abusive amounts of spices and weird artificial sweetness. This is truly terrible.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, a single from the local Whole Foods in a far-flung Denver suburb. Decidedly amateur, yet still complex Jack Pumpkinhead character rendered on the label.

This beer pours a hazy, very pale golden yellow colour, with two fingers of weakly foamy, mostly bubbly off-white head, which leaves very little beyond a few remote islet specks of lace around the glass as things quickly fade away.

It smells of metallic, somewhat acrid pumpkin mash, a building earthy cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness, some middling wheat and caramel maltiness, and weakly perceptible leafy, weedy hops. The taste is rather heady spice up front - still pushed through an aluminum filter - nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and ginger all taking a turn - while a softly bready, somewhat crackery caramel malt ups the ante a bit, but not that much - I'm just not getting the oomph that I expect from the style.

The carbonation is a bit fizzy and frothy, but to no great end, the body very much on the light side, weight-wise, and smooth in the vein of wet cardboard. It finishes a bit on the sweet side, the breadiness rearing up yet, amongst the lingering, watery and flinty gourd-adjacent spiciness.

Not as bad as all this probably sounds, but still not up to the measure of your typical craft-brewed pumpkin ale - perhaps another blithe gateway offering, and for that, I cede a passing grade, but not any sort of suggestion for a repeat engagement.

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Photo of Thorpe429
1.39/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Reviewed from notes.

First, a quest. Why oh why oh why does this brewery continue to make a pumpkin beer? This is absolutely disgusting and awful, with one of the only worse pumpkin beers being by none other than...Shipyard. Second, why do people like this? There's nothing redeeming about it. Sure, it pours an inoffensive orangish color. Other than that, bleh. Rotten pumpkin that they've attempted to cover up with a crapton of spicing. Not sure, but this might make it worse. Disgusting spicy feel covering up the putrid rot that lies underneath. Unbelievably undrinkable, making nearly anything else seem like the epitome of craft beer excellence.

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Photo of zeff80
3.32/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured out a clear golden orange color with a white, bubbly, one-finger head. It left no lace.

S - It smlled of pumpkin, spices and some grains.

T - It was very sweet and pumpkin-tasting. There was also some light caramel malt.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light-bodied brew.

D - This was pretty good. I'm starting to like the style.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
2.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bought a batch of random Pumpkin Ales and this turned out to be one of the worst ones. From appearance to taste to mouthfeel it feels like it is just lacking. It also tastes very fake, as if a pumpkin spice package was tossed into a batch of crappy beer and it was bottled. There are much better pumpkin ales out there and I would def. pass on this one.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.95/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and branded twist-off pressure cpa acquired as part of a 6 pack at me local HEB grocery and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average given its current 68 rating. Best enjoyed before May 2014. "Ale with natural flavor added." 4.5% ABV according to my bottle (2013 vintage). Reviewed as a pumpkin beer because the name implies it's a pumpkin beer.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of off-white colour. Pathetically thin. No creaminess or frothiness at all. Head retention is poor - about 20-30 seconds. Zero lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, and I can't generate any by tilting the glass either.

Body colour is an extremely clear/highly translucent yellow-copper. You can read text through this easily it's so clear. No yeast particles are visible. Vibrance is average.

It's within style conventions for a pumpkin beer, though those conventions are admittedly rather loose. It's not great-looking, but there are no egregious flaws. Not unique or special. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Pumpkin gourd, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, gingerbread, and crusty vaguely pie-redolent notes. Caramel. Light cinnamon. It brings the pumpkin, which is more than I can say about many pumpkin beer aromas. I'm hoping the flavour profile delivers on the promise of the aroma.

No yeast character or hops are detectable, nor is any alcohol or off-notes.

The pumpkin could easily be from artificial extract/"natural" flavors, but I find it pleasant enough. A pleasant and appealing if simple aroma of average strength.

T:/Mf Somewhat artificial pumpkin is prominent enough here, accomplishing what many other pumpkin ales cannot. Some amber malts and caramalt. Cinnamon and nutmeg come through, but I can't find the ginger and allspice from the aroma. Not quite as crusty or bready as I'd hoped, but it has a decent body to it.

No hop profile comes through, nor does any alcohol or yeast. There are no off-notes aside from the obvious artificiality of the pumpkin flavours. Quite clean.

Overall, it's painfully simple but still an enjoyable enough pumpkin beer. No complexity, subtlety, intricacy, or nuance here. A cohesive beer, but not a gestalt one. The build is a bit light for a pumpkin beer if you're used to the stout approach to a pumpkin ale, but it's a nice departure from the massive heavy pumpkin beers put out by other breweries.

Smooth and wet. Nicely soft. Unrefreshing. Well-carbonated. Has a light somewhat weak presence on the palate. Very approachable. A biteen thin. Lightly crisp. Suits the flavour profile pretty decently.

Not oily, astringent, rough, harsh, gushed, boozy, or hot.

Dr: Pretty drinkable for the admittedly low ABV. I'll have no trouble killing this 6 pack. An enjoyable simple pumpkin ale from Shipyard. It'd make a good introduction to pumpkin beers for newcomers to the style, and I could see it finding success as a stepping stone beer into craft. I wouldn't get it again, but it's fairly priced for its quality.

Perhaps the most average pumpkin beer out there, this is a good mid-rating beer around which other pumpkin beer ratings can be calibrated.


Shipyard recommends you pair this with lamb. Please for the love of God do not do that.

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Photo of oberon
2.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Well I made many trips here this past week because it was in the same town where I had my honeymoon.This one sells like crazy,why?Anyways pours an incredably light color for a pumpkin ale with almost no head,aroma is crazy spicey-cinnamon and allspice and nutmeg.Taste hits hard with the spice when first hits your taste buds,way to much nutmeg and cinnamon after a few it mellows a little but definently not a top notch pumpkin ale.

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Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper colored body with a small, white head and good clarity. Doesn't leave much lace.

S - Sweet malt with some pumpkin and cinnamon. Not much else going on.

T - Sweet, light malt with some grainy notes. Ginger and cola-like spices. Mild malt and spice mingle and fade away in the finish.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Somewhat bland, but drinkable. I don't think much of Shipyard or pumpkin ales in general and therefore was not expecting much from this beer. Despite those two strikes, this wasn't that bad. It doesn't have many positives in the way of flavor and character, but it avoids the overspiced cloying sweetness that plagues some other pumpkin ales. I won't be buying more of this, but it is drinkable.

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Photo of jlindros
3.3/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at TGI Fridays.

Comes with a very light almost non-existant fizzy head, clear darker orange nectar colored beer.

Nose has some pumpkin, toasted pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, spices, brown sugar, candy syrup, caramel, light malts, and i think DME.

Taste is some pumpkin, pumpkin extract flavor and syrup rather than fresh stuff, spices are there but less than I remember from the bottle, light toasty malt, touch bready as well, syrupy with quite a bit of sweetness and candy flavors, its a bit of a mess with all the syrups, candy flavors, and pumpkin as well as spices, malts are in the background and so are the very light spicy hops. Finishes sweet and syrupy, with lots of candy and some pumpkin.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carbonation.

Overall not as bad as I remember it from the bottle but not great either, its a bit of a mess with all the sweet additions, and some pumpkin.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Gold bullion with absolutely no hint of orange that I can see. I don't know how it's possible to brew a pumpkin ale and have it be anything other than orange. Points need to be taken off for that alone. The yellowed bone crown is nothing special either. It's small, short-lived and unsticky. No surprise then that no lace ends up on the glass. Not a good start.

I like the nose because it smells a lot like pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream. At least that's the impression that enters my brain each time I sniff. It's a bit weak though, and doesn't earn the next highest score as a result.

I wondered how well a pumpkin ale that uses a wheat beer as its base would turn out. And the answer is... not very well. Pumpkin ales need to be brewed with caramel malty amber ales (or something along those lines) in order to work. In this case, the grainy wheatiness comes through and impinges on my enjoyment of the other flavors.

It might have worked if those 'other flavors' were more prominent and more pumpkin pie-like. This is one of those cases in which the aroma and the flavor don't really match up. SBC says that Pumpkinhead contains 'hints of cinnamon and nutmeg'. I'll go along with that. Strong statements rather than hints of spice would have made for a better beer however.

The mouthfeel is no more impressive than the flavor. It's too thin by half and comes scarily close to being aqueous on the finish. Actually, it is aqueous on the finish. A lack of bubbles doesn't help. This beer just isn't big enough to be a credible fall seasonal. Who wants to drink light beer when there's a chill in the air and frost on the pumpkin?

I've never been impressed by Shipyard (with the exception of Old Thumper) and this beer does nothing to change my mind. I love the Legend of Sleepy Hollow-like Pumpkinhead dude on the label, but the bottle's contents leave quite a bit to be desired.

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Photo of Kegatron
2.96/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear paler gold with several fingers of rich slightly off-white looking head. This retains with a thin creaminess that hangs some sudsy swathes of lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of ripe fruit, butter and sweetness with more of a spicy and green feel crammed along the back. The fruit from the yeast is VERY strong here.

The taste is mellow green pumpkin, green crisp hops and sweetness. A smattering of light pumpkin spices are scattered throughout. The greenness of the pumpkin and hops do shine through here. The finish is dry and lightly bitter. The mouthfeel is lighter to medium bodied, with a firm prickle up front and then more of a smooth foaminess across the back.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had this and my overall impression is a bit of a mixed bag.
The flavor and feel are on the lighter side for the style but that can be a good if you know, you’re into that or are looking for a more accessible example of a Pumpkin Ale to introduce someone to. My big gripe with this overall though is with the Ringwood yeast here. Especially in the nose, where it is nauseatingly prevalent. It’s just not my cup of tea, especially in this style. I do like seeing this in cans though, so points for that. I picked up a sixer, so I’ll end up giving this another try.

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Photo of mikesgroove
1.3/5  rDev -54.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Why I did this to myself I will never know. Had an autumn seasonal tasting session and this rounded it out. Poured a clear light orange, big white fizzy head faded almost immediatly, like in 2 secs. No lace, very thin looking overall. Smell was musky, pumpkin spice, almost a moldy smell to it, and very very strong. Overpowering musky dank smell. The taste followed the smell. Too strong, and I mean strong sour taste, actually made me wince. Super strong pumpkin spice flavor, almost like an extract. Huge fizzy carbonation. I did not think this would be as bad as it was, I normally like spiced/seasonal brews, this one just overpowered me.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.9/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

($1.29 at Total Wine in Kennesaw, GA)

Appearance: Pours a clear coppery body with a bubbly, small white head.

Smell: I'm shaking and swirling here, but all I can coax out of it is a light wheatiness and hints of allspice and nutmeg.

Taste: Not much pumpkin flavor at all, but the spices are there, mainly allspice and nutmeg. Light lemony taste. Hint of graham crackers. Not much in the way of hops or malt. Finishes crisp, watery, and spritzy.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, but the moderate carbonation makes it feel just a tad bit fuller.

Drinkability: I'd say I would prefer it with more pumpkin flavor, but really I would prefer it with ANY pumpkin flavor.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.92/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I like that Shipyard has chosen to brew a more subtle pumpkin ale, as so many others are just over the top with malt and spice that they lose drinkability. In addition, I think that the buttery diacetyl side of the Ringwood yeast really works well with the cinnamon/pumpkin. It has a beautiful, clear orange and gold body with a fluffy white head. The retention and lacing are average. The nose is bright with pumpkin and soft cinnamon spice. In the mouth it's medium bodied and smooth with a moderate carbonation that gently bristles. The flavor offers just as much in delicate, grainy malt and yeasty fruitiness and butter as it does in pumpkin and spice. A firm bitterness resides at its base, and it finishes dry with a rousing swirl of lingering cinnamon. Nicely balanced. Very drinkable.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a golden color with a finger of white head.

S: A very intense aroma of spices, most of which is in the form of cinnamon and nutmeg. There is a touch of vanilla extract in the background as well. Just a slight touch of pepper and straw on the finish.

T: The flavor is a bit watery, but otherwise similar to the aroma. Cinnamon and nutmeg with a touch of vanilla. Faint bread flavors with some straw and grassy hop notes. Sort of light, overall.

M: Light bodied with medium to high carbonation.

O: Really not a terrible beer, but it just had something off about it that I made me not care to have it again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light orange/gold color with a very thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is heavy with spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) and light malts with very little hops.

T: The taste is spicy and sweet but still very light with flavors of cinnamon & nutmeg. The light character is light and there’s almost no hops presence. The after-taste is slightly sweet. When I first tried this beer, I thought it was pretty good, but that was when I first started drinking beers not made by Bud, Miller or Coors. Now that I’ve tried a great many craft brews, I realize that this is pretty much a macro with some spices added.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not very filling, not much of a kick, not the best representation of style, I could drink a few, but there are several others that I would pick within the style.

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Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
67 out of 100 based on 873 ratings.