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Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Pumpkinhead AleShipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,022 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,022
Reviews: 787
rAvg: 2.95
pDev: 27.8%
Wants: 20
Gots: 169 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co. visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-04-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,022 | Reviews: 787 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of happygnome
2.1/5  rDev -28.8%

a: golden amber color with about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving no lacing the head is made of of a lot of big bubbles, its kinda strange, reminds me more of an alco-pop
s: faint hints of pumpkiny spices nutmeg and cinnamon
t: very similar to the aroma, subtle hints of pumpking flavoring with even more subtle hints of nutmeg and cinnamon
m: light bodied beer with a lot of big bubble carbonation very much like an alo-pop

overall i was dissapointed by this brew will not buy again

happygnome, Aug 29, 2007
Photo of jdubjacket
1.5/5  rDev -49.2%

This is one of the worst beers I have ever had. I love pumpkin ales - my favorite is Cottonwood Spiced Pumpkin Ale - so I thought I would pick this up to see how it compares. There is absolutely no comparison. I poured this beer out. It feels like this beer was brewed and some artificial flavor was added to it after the fact. It's a very contrived taste that leaves alot to be desired. It starts off very strong and finishes very watery. There is very little pumpkin taste here - it tastes more like liquid potpourri. If you're really interested in getting a good pumpkin ale, save your money for Cottonwood Spiced Pumpkin Ale - if you can find it, or Post Road Pumpkin Ale. Both are much better.

In summary, avoid this abomination at all costs. You'll be glad you did.

jdubjacket, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
3.03/5  rDev +2.7%

12 oz. bottle,

A: Golden amber, with a small white head, which degrades quickly, not a looker.

S: Pumpkin spices, some cinnamon and nutmeg, though faint.

T: Tastes like light pumpkin pie spices, much of the same as in the smell, some true pumpkin taste coming through in the end though.

M: Light, smooth, kind of watery, would have liked a little more robustness.

D: A good beer, not something I would seek out, a nice change of pace in the summer, though a bit out of season, will try again with a fresher batch this October.

Halcyondays, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of stevecee2003
2.23/5  rDev -24.4%

One of the weirdest beers i have ever tried.

Tastes like a watered down lager, with cinnamin spices added to make it taste like what we THINK of as pumpkin pie. Not the actual pumpkin miind you, but the spice added to pumpkin pie.

Man, I hate to say it about any beer. But this is ONE beer to avoid at all costs. Maybe Shipyard has other worthwhile beers. OK, maybe. But this is not one of them.

stevecee2003, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of Viggo
2.93/5  rDev -0.7%

Thanks to Kyoko and Chris for hooking me up with this one.

Pours a clear golden/yellow, thin white head, spots of lace, nothing special here. Smell is actually really nice for a pumpkin ale, sweet, nice caramel, spices, pumpkin pie right here. Taste is brown sugar, spices, very light, doesn't live up to the aroma. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, pretty thin. Thanks guys!

Viggo, Mar 26, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
1.25/5  rDev -57.6%

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.

mikesgroove, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.03/5  rDev +36.6%

2006 batch review: Because I really enjoyed the couple of the 2005 bottles I tried, I decided to go full hog and get two six packs of the 2006 batch. This year's batch wasn't as good so I decided I had to re-review to be fair to the other pumpkin ales out there. Color seemed a bit lighter this year and the balance of pumpkin and spice didn't seem quite right. However, Shipyard's approach is different compared to many of the other pumpkin ale offerings (this is a wheat based pumpkin ale) and is a very good pumpkin ale to drink, especially when you want something lighter.

2005 batch review: After trying several different pumpkin ales I had come to the conclusion that the variety was more of a novelty and wasn't a style that paired well with most foods until I tried this one. Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale is a very drinkable ale. Its flavor is similar to a Hefeweizen with just the right balance of pumpkin spice. The pumpkin and spice flavors are not overpowering like most pumpkin ales. I would recommend this ale for anyone who previously gave up on this style.

rohrbachsfan, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of Chaz
3.65/5  rDev +23.7%

Pours a slightly hazy copper-orange in color. Pale tan head fades fairly quickly and offers only a slight residual lacing. Spices are all over the nose, but so are both palt malt and the vegetal qulaity you'd expect from a pumpkin ale. Not surprisingly, the Ringwood yeast is susbsumed by the spices and pumpkin, both in the aroma and on the palate. Mildy sweet and definitely a malty offering, the spices offer an acceptable degree of counterbalance to the sweetness, although there's no real hop bitterness to speak of.

Smooth and mild on the palate, with moderate carbonation. Slightly tangy, as per the pumpkin in the mash, with no real off flavors and apart from an earthy 'gourdiness' to the aromatic aspect, nothing objectionable at all. Pumpkinhead is a readily drinkable rendition of this seasonal brew, and I recall it being the most easy-drinking Pumpkin brew available when I lived in Boston (the others being from Concorde and Post Road). Now that it's available a little bit further afield its drinkability holds up, but there are others which seem a bit tastier also - what a difference ten years makes, eh? But put in a blind, side-by-side taste test with the well-known Buffalo Bill's offering and a casual drinker might easily mistake one for the other, yet as a pumpkin pie fan myself I think there's a bit more o' the gourd in this one. Something I never quite put together in reviewing spiced brews and pumpkin ales in particular is their very distinct yet not overpowering "cola-like" quality, a good quality I rather enjoy in a spiced, semi-sweet brew.

Chaz, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of Phatz
3.65/5  rDev +23.7%

Shipyard is not a brewery I hold high expectations for. This beer is pleasantly surprising in it's large amount of spicing; if you enjoy that in this seasons beer.

Appearance: Pours very clear with a touch of orange and a white head that fades fast. No notable lacing.

Smell: Extremely cinnamon with the buttery hints of diacetyl and Ringwood Yeast just holding that cinnamon sugar spice up on a big pedestal in the aroma arena. It is a pit perfume in it boldness in the nose but I was pleasantly surprised since Shipyard is usually so reserved.

Taste: Again this beer is led by spices not malt or hops. It is not much like 'beer' as my wife would say. Cinnamon cinnamon cinnamon and nutmeg and maybe allspice, in a light body that seems like mostly water with some hints of malts. It is a spiced punch more than beer but hey ... it was pleasant IMO.

Mouthfeel: Sudsy and light in the mouth with some spice but not enough follow through. It seems to wimp out at the end.

Drinkability: This is a light easy beer. If you light the light body heavy spices I presume you would find it quite sessionable. If you are bored by the beer I suspect you would find it annoying. It seems like a love hate beer. Try one before buying a case.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of beeragent
3.9/5  rDev +32.2%

12oz. bottle, with a freshness date of Dec. 2006. Poured a nice light orange, with a 1/2 inch head, that quickly faded, leaving little to no lacing. The aroma is strong cinnamon, with a hint of other spices in the background. The mouthfeel is light. The taste is mostly cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and a slight pumpkin taste. This is a very easy beer to drink. Not as good as Buffalo Bill's, but definitely a good pumpkin ale. We dont get too many pumpkin ales in South Texas, so we take what we can get. This may not rank too high with most beer drinkers, but I guess that just depends on the drinker. Worth trying IMHO.

beeragent, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
3.85/5  rDev +30.5%

Poured a crystal clear bright golden color with moderate white puffy head.
Smell is a somewhat restrained mixture of pumpkin spices, cinnnamon and cloves.
Taste also is notable for for cinnamon and pumpkin spoces.
Just another pumpkin ale. Nothing exciting.

tgbljb, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of lehows
3.15/5  rDev +6.8%

This pours a light orange/amber color with a fizzy almost soda-like head that disipates to nothing. Not much lacing going on here. The nose is full of spice, somewhat artificial smelling and a mild malt backing. Maybe I had high expectations but this really doesn't taste much like beer to me, but its not horrible. Its an easy drinking beer that I could session but there are much better pumpkin beers out there.

lehows, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of techdiver
4.15/5  rDev +40.7%

Pours a clear pale amber with a pretty impressive head, displays good carbonation. Not much of a pumpkin smell; a good sign? Some spice on the nose. Taste is really quite good, very smooth and well-balanced. Many of the pumpkin ales I've tried were wretched. This one is good enough to rate up there with Punkin' Ale (DFH), and Smuttynose.

techdiver, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of HoustonTX
1.68/5  rDev -43.1%

Drank on Thanksgiving. Kind of wishing that I had chosen something else, and added something better to the fridge immediately after smelling this. It had a really artificial spice smell. The body was light and the head was non existent. The orange color was sickly pale and lacking in any color depth. Light malt and artificial spices in the nose. Taste is not much better. It has a small-toasty malt backbone. Along, with only cinnamon in the spice category. What is there of the cinnamon is weak. Sour and bitter notes also swing up. Not pleasant at all.

I would avoid this one folks.

HoustonTX, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of GooberMcNutly
2.63/5  rDev -10.8%

On tap. The lightest colored pumpkin beer I have ever seen. Light straw color with very low head. Initial aroma is of ginger and allspice, no pumpkin aroma evident. Thin mouthfeel and high bitterness overrides the spice character. Again, more a pie-spice beer than a pumpkin beer.

GooberMcNutly, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +33.2%

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.

NeroFiddled, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.65/5  rDev -10.2%

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.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of oldirtycaffrey
4.05/5  rDev +37.3%

Really tasty beer! Appearance is light orange with virtually no head & no lacing. Very light bodied. The smell is really nice. Hints of cinamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, and spice. The taste follows the smell, very cinamon-y with a smooth aftertaste. There is a good amount of carbonation in this beer, but it is smooth and easy to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

oldirtycaffrey, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
2.1/5  rDev -28.8%

Medium dark lager yellow color with a smallish head that disappears rather quickly.
Aroma is a little soapy with pumpkin pie spices...like from a can.
Flavor is pure pumpkin pie spice powder without the pumpkin meat. Just spice sprinkled over a malt beverage.
There are much more complex and genuine tasting pumpkin beers out there.

IntriqKen, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of JohnnyM2002
2.7/5  rDev -8.5%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at around 45 degrees.

A - Unimpressive amber/brown with little-to-no head; no retention is evident from the little white that sprouted up.

S - A little spice comes out with a sweet backdrop. Nothing else to report...

T - Flavor is more pleasing than the aroma lets off. More of a pale ale with hints of malty, pumpkin spice.

M - Little carbonation and a light body...felt better as it neared room temperature.

D - Overall, I'm glad I tried it - just for the sake of drinking another pumpkin ale on Halloween - but I wouldn't be in any rush to pick up another one. I'm not a big fan of Shipyard as a whole, but this doesn't slander my opinion of them any further. If you can pick one up, grab it, but don't make any special trips.

JohnnyM2002, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of jlmjl
3.1/5  rDev +5.1%

The pumpkinhead says it all. Actually a pretty neat label. Its the New York Mets Orange and Blue.

A - Rough looking beer

S - Smells like spice, only a little pumpkin smell

T - This is not a great beer. You clearly know that your drinking a pumpkin beer, but beyond that, not sure.... to its credit, it is sweet (if thats good) a very slight bite towards the end

M - This in my opinion is where this beer fails miserably. Goes flat almost by the time you pour it into the class. Really flat , Light, 'wet' . It shows very little quality put into the product in my opinion.

D - Bought a case, drank many of them, Ill finish the case, semi enjoy them etc .... for $27 a case - rip off. It can pass as a bad macro's attempt at the pumpkin market ... but still lacking the quality suprisingly of a macro ... is Shipyard a macro ???? not again with this one... Oh - I can drink two three at a time not a problem , but not the first grab out of the fridge

jlmjl, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of AChamberlain
2.9/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a freshness date January 2007.

A: Slight orange color. Thin white head fizzed away quickly.

S: Aroma of spices but not much pumpkin.

T: Spice and pumpkin flavor, but mostly spice. Sour in the swallow.

M: Light to medium bodied.

D: Pretty drinkable, but not much reason to drink it except for its drinkability.

AChamberlain, Nov 01, 2006
Photo of loving44
1.85/5  rDev -37.3%

Poured light gold amber with a fizzy white fizzy head. The head faded quickly into a slick ring around the glass. Looks almost flat already. No head forms when I swirled the glass and no lacing.

Smell: Sickly sweet, waxy pumpkin, no hops, tootsie pop?. hay, crayon... some spice. Not horrible... better than the average macro smell, but I expected more from this.

Taste: Sweet pumpkin-squash type flavor with hints of pumpkin pie spice. Grass, Hay, Corn, almost no hop bitterness. I think this is way too sweet.

Mouthfeel is flat and oily, really watered down. The beer loses it's carbonation really quickly to the point where it becomes almost undrinkable. I poured the last two inches or so down the drain.

I remember this being pretty tasty a couple years ago, I don;t know what happened. If you're going to try this one this fall, make sure it's ice cold and drink it straight from the bottle.

P.S. : My girlfriend thought it was tasty stuff!

loving44, Nov 01, 2006
Photo of whynot44
3.13/5  rDev +6.1%

Light copper/pumpkin colored with a modest and quick disappearing white head.

The aroma is mild pumpkin pie spices with hints of malt.

The taste is mainly pumpkin pie spices, although milder than some pumpkin brews, not overpowering but not overly satisfying either. Light bodied, actually a bit watery. Finishes slightly dry, with spices, hints of pumpkin and maybe even a trace of hops.

Overall, not a bad beer, and possibly a good "beginner's" pumpkin ale. It's not strong enough to be offensive if you have a limited tolerance for pumpkin pie spices in your beer, but could benefit from a bit more substance. Kind of a "Pumpkin Lite".

whynot44, Oct 27, 2006
Photo of flexabull
3/5  rDev +1.7%

Pours a golden clear color, with a faint head that quickly died.

A hint of spice and pumpkin on the nose. It's pleasant, a bit like pumpkin pie.

Taste is a lot like a pumpkin pie, but without the whipped cream. Not many other beer flavors going on. I like other pumpkin beers better, especially when they have some beer qualities like malt and hop flavors.

This is drinkable, but far from great.

flexabull, Oct 26, 2006
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
69 out of 100 based on 2,022 ratings.