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Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Pumpkinhead AleShipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

828 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 828
Hads: 2,459
rAvg: 2.86
pDev: 26.57%
Wants: 34
Gots: 398 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-04-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (52) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 828 | Hads: 2,459
Photo of illpass78
3.39/5  rDev +18.5%

Had a 14 oz.er on draft at Hadlock Field, home of the Portland Sea Dogs, in Portland, Maine.

Appearance: Pours a reasonably clear goldish color with a one-inch head that is gone after not too long.

Aroma: This beer doesn't really pummel you with pumpkin. It smells like a standard pale ale with some very faint spice and a bit of a pumpkin-syrup type smell.

Taste: Sort of tastes like an unremarkable pale or golden ale that had a gourd soaking in it for a while. It's sort of more of a squash taste than a pumpkin taste. It's not cloying, but it's also not super exciting. Finishes kind of flat.

Mouthfeel: It's a little light for a fall-themed beer.

Overall: This beer is immensely popular but rarely receives critical praise. I can see why. It's approachable and easy on the palate, but also lacks the depth and flavor I'd like from a fall seasonal (pumpkins or not). Maybe I enjoyed this less than I would have under more ideal conditions, since I had it on a baking-hot, humid September day. Still, Shipyard undeniably has better executed offerings than this. (1,069 characters)

Photo of AyeMito
3.27/5  rDev +14.3%

Not too much going on with this one. It is light and toned down with a slight pumpkin flavor and hardly any other elements. I got a little pumpkin, maybe a little apple and possibly a little nutmeg. Most likely I will not buy any of these. (239 characters)

Photo of Kyleetrotter
3.5/5  rDev +22.4%

Probably the lightest bodied pumpkin beer I've ever had. I get a clove and nutmeg taste and a little pumpkin in the aftertaste. Don't go out of your way to find this, but it's by no means terrible. (198 characters)

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
2.99/5  rDev +4.5%

Pumpkinhead is not the best pumpkin ale, although for me, and I'm sure many others, it was the first introduction to the style I had. The appearance is a thin orange with a little head. The smell is sweet with hints of clove and sweet pumpkin spices like nutmeg. The taste is very sweet for a pumpkin with a lot of sugar in the beginning and middle. As far as the pumpkin itself it is a little thin and what is there is a tad synthetic, but still tasty. Overall, not bad. (472 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got a chance to try this though it is not something I would ever buy. Golden color, decent head. Aroma was a lot of honey which surprised me, I didn't taste pumpkin either it was almost strictly honey. I wonder if this would taste better or worse if it had been fresh but either way it's probably still average. (311 characters)

Photo of Chilly444
4.03/5  rDev +40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Although this one lacks in character is really is my favorite fall beer. Its things like drinkability and personal preference that can go easily unnoticed. While this could certainly use some work, the pumpkin/nutmeg flavor really does come through in excellent fashion. If you drink it from the Keg (preferrably right from the source in Portland) you will notice the flavor (while light and airy on the toungue) really packs a deep punch in the body of this beer. My favorite beers tend to be stouts, my favorite so far being the Breakfast Beer from Founders Brew, and the Dogfish Head Miles Davis Bitches Brew. So that being said I can understand why people who are used to loving a deep flavor, lacing, and body would most likely hate this sweet bubbly ale. I would advise you to give it an honest try. This stuff is an all day ale thats perfect for pairing with fall food/deserts. It is certainly a friendly beer both for your mouth and wallet. If you guys don't decide to drink it then thats fine....just means more cases for me. (1,034 characters)

Photo of ChrisNYCLIDC
4.71/5  rDev +64.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite pumpkin/fall seasonal beer. I know it can be a bit sweet for some and the pumpkin flavor tastes a bit synthetic not exactly fresh, but I find it the most addictive to drink. Not a super dark or heavy ale taste for fall seasonal. A pumpkin beer that I dont get sick trying to drink more than one at once. Definitely a bit girly with the cinnamon/sugar rim, but the taste I've grown to associate with fall. (424 characters)

Photo of Kiwano
2.06/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a bottle into a glass.

A - Straw yellow. Frothy head at first that went away.

S - Smells like a cheap beer with a bit of cloves or some type of similar spice.

T - Sweet with a thin pumpkin or squash taste except it tastes artificial and there isn't much else there in the mix to support it.

M - thin and watery with some tight carbonation

O - disapointed in the lightness and artificial aspect of the pumpkin nature of this beer. (445 characters)

Photo of Labeorphile
1.77/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. A friend at work gave this to me and was really excited to get his hands on it because it was one of his favorite beers. So I was excited to give it a go. Oh, dear.

It poured a light, cloudy gold color with a big fluffy white head. Not a great start. Looked strange.

The aroma was definitely pumpkin related spices but also very metallic and to be honest almost smelled like coca cola.

The taste was about the same, lots of nutmeg and pumpkin with some graham cracker and more cola.

The mouth was very thin and watery, and again felt like I was drinking a new Pumpkin Coke rather than a pumpkin ale. Whatever Shipyard was trying to do here, they swung and missed. But hey, at least they impressed the IT guy at work. (760 characters)

Photo of Das_Reh
2.3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I should have had my phone... should have looked up reviews for this before buying it... but 'tis the season and I wanted to try a pumpkin beer.

Poured from a 12 oz twist-off bottle into a pint shaker.

A = much lighter than I thought... a light golden yellow with crystal clear clarity. There is a 1.5 finger head and, surprisingly, good lacing.

S = Smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, gingerbread, with a faint pumpkin note in the background

T = Lots of nutmeg and cinnamon, and a faint artificial pumpkin flavor. Low hop bitterness, on the sweet end of the spectrum. The strong cinnamon character is off-putting and the pumpkin flavor is week.

M = Thin and slick, easier to drink than water. It desperately needs some body.

O = I was going to try Innis and Gunn's Scottish ale, but was scared away by the clear bottle. Saw this and though it would be a decent seasonal to try. Thoroughly disappointed, will not buy again. At least I have a Founder's Breakfast Stout and Jai Alai to look forward to next.

NOTE: 15 minutes after drinking this I'm rewarded with heartburn... (1,072 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.95/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (3,584 characters)

Photo of Jackofallbrews
2.43/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Made with 2-row English pale, malted wheat and light Munich malt, as well as Hallertau and Willamette hops. Uses an English ale strain. I don't find any note of which spices are in the beer, so will have to trust my senses!

Aroma: Lots of ginger in the nose, followed by strong cinnamon. Some fruity esters combine with the spices to make this smell like apple pie! Possibly some vanilla. No hop aromas.

Appearance: Light gold in color. Fine white head that fades quickly to edges of glass and then gone. Perfectly clear.

Flavor: Hints of cinnamon and ginger up front, followed by a mellow sweetness. Ends with a somewhat flat and bland finish, though crisp. Very light mouthfeel. No hop flavors. A bit of apple ester here as it warms up.

Overall: A pretty weak beer. Little body and flavor here to work with, overwhelmed by the spices. Eventually poured out the last of it to make way for another beer. (908 characters)

Photo of bgillespie
2.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light golden color that is very clear. Very small white head that dissipates very quickly.

Smell: Normal pumpkin beer smell, nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin, etc.

Taste: A decent amount of pumpkin flavor, but it taste artificial and not like real pumpkin.

Mouthfeel: Very light, similar to a light a beer with a lot of carbonation. Doesn't feel like an ale.

Overall: I give in an ok overall, definitely not special, but it is drinkable. Worth it to try it, but I won't go out of my way for it. (532 characters)

Photo of youngs11
3.09/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Light golden appearance with visible carbonation. Quarter inch cap forms and shows decent retention. Just a few spots of lacing.

The seasonal spices are really apparent in the smell, especially nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet and malty aroma. Not much else.

The taste is a little thin. Hints of the spices are apparent, and there is just a little bitterness on the front end. Finishes rather smoothly with a mostly malty backbone. Not a lot going on, tastes almost as subdued as it smells.

Medium-bodied, about average carbonation.

Overall this beer is incredibly bland. It does not taste bad, but there is just nothing exciting or unique going on. I'm no Pumpkin expert, but I will get something different next time. (753 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.49/5  rDev +22%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass. Wow, the reviews on this one don't seem too good. I guess I'll just have to see for myself!

Appearance: medium golden hue with a light haze and a moderate effervescence. Head is a thick finger of pillowy ivory foam. Not bad at all!

Smell: sweet and pumpkiny with plenty of typical pumpkin spice character: nutmeg, cinnamon, maybe a little cardamom, and the like. It's almost cloying, but that's kind of the nature of the style.

Taste: lightly malty with a decent pumpkin flavor and a more subdued pumpkin spice element. There's a hint of sourness as well. I'm not sure what all the fuss is about -- this is a pretty middle-of-the-road pumpkin ale. It's quite decent if you like the style.

Mouthfeel: light body with an interesting-enough carbonation. Not great, but passable.

Overall: a completely serviceable pumpkin ale. Not the best thing in the world, sure, but drinkable enough on a chilly October night. (954 characters)

Photo of hitman44
3.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

This beer is an okay pumpkin beer. It is a one and done type beer for guys but for girls I can see them loving this because of how sweet it is. To me it taste like a pumpkin pie without the beer aftertaste.


A-Nice amber color

SM- Very sweet

T- To sweet for me and I love sweets

M- your average beer

O- 3/5 (326 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
1.8/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I CAN't believe that a) I have never reviewed this before and b) they bothered to put it in a CAN. The CANQuest (TM) CANtinues on its merry way.

From the CAN: "'It comes alive once a year!'"

As always, I enjoyed the auditory aspect of a big Crack! and subsequent to that, an inverted Glug. I got a creamy, fluffy two fingers of bone-white from the pour and then I sat quietly as it slowly subsided. Color was a hazy, light orangish-yellow (SRM = 4). Nose had a lightly spiced presence but it was odd, like they may not have gotten it precisely right. Mouthfeel was thin and watery and the taste was extremely light, especially for this style, in which spices are supposed to dominate. Finish was mildly spicy and I found myself suppressing a bored yawn. Rubbish! (764 characters)

Photo of LordVodka
2.79/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I really wanted to like this beer!!! But I can't say that I do lol.

I bought it as I really wanted a nice pumpkin ale and the cards at total wine said this was a 93 idk who gave it that but they should be court martialed lol.

Appearance: Beer poors much lighter then I expected resembles a Budweiser.

Retention: Pretty much no head retention to speak of it bubbles up and dissipates just as fast.

Lacing: No visible lacing on glass wall, like I said the head came and went in a furious pace.

Taste: Definitely a little pumpkin in here, main issue I have is that it is overly sweet. Needs a higher alcohol content to cover up this flavor, and it could use a touch more spice. After taste however is pleasant leave a nice pumpkin pie taste on the tongue.

Overall: I wouldn't really recommend this beer, it falls short of the mark for pumpkin ales. (851 characters)

Photo of CAS56
3.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Here's the thing - by itself it's not a great beer. But on tap with a cinnamon sugar rim on the glass it's actually pretty nice. I don't pretend to be an expert but I like what I like, and this I liked - better than a lot of other beer I've had lately (like Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA yuck!) (291 characters)

Photo of BeerWithMike
2.97/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on 10/12/13. Chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner glass.

The "Best if used before' date is "March, 2014". Pours a golden yellow in color that has a 3-finger foamy white head. Some spotted lacing is seen. Lots of carbonation. This "Malt Beverage with Pumpkin Spice Added" aroma is of mostly of cinnamon and nutmeg. No 'pumpkin pie' smell was actually detected. Actually the taste wasn't that bad but a bit watered down. Could of had more pumpkin taste though. (503 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
2.91/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a Shipyard pint glass

A - It is a golden color with pale yellow highlights. The head disappeared like that of a flat beer.

S - The aroma is of pumpkin and pumpkin spices. It smells like pumpkin pie.

T - It tastes like an adjunct with some pumpkin spice in it.

M - Watery and thin.

O - I had to try this beer because of its notoriety as a bad pumpkin beer. The smell is decent. It looks like an attempt that BMC would throw out there. I am glad I tried it. (491 characters)

Photo of Chefkoli
2.03/5  rDev -29%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Poured from bottle into pint glass:

A: Yellow-orange haze

S: Hits the nose like sour flat generic cola

T: Hits the buds with huge spice notes. Cinnamon and cloves the most prevalent. Finishes with more of that cola taste

M: Light and fizzy

O: I was looking forward to trying a new pumpkin beer..this was not one of my favorites. (334 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.06/5  rDev +7%
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. (1,424 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
2.97/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale has a thick, fizzy, white head, which goes right away, no lacing, and a yellow-orange, clear, fairly bubbly appearance. The aroma is strong- spiced candle, candle wax, pumpkin pulp, sugar, and cinnamon bread. Taste is of all these elements, with a slight bitterness and even more pronounced candle wax and pulp. Mouthfeel is light, watery, and waxy, and Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale finishes wet, sweet, sugary, vegetable, and somewhat gross. Overall, I’m not too happy with it.

RJT (507 characters)

Photo of BigMarty1980
2.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Was surprised by the lighter coloring of this Pumpkin Ale. Coloring reminded me of a
Sunkist soda diluted with white cream.

S- Initial smell was pumpkin followed by cinnamon & some nutmeg. But sadly, that disappears quickly.

T- First taste after pouring into a pint glass is of a cold piece of pumpkin pie the day after Thanksgiving. After that its more like a pumpkiny soda

M- Very thin & not much body

O- Was my first crack @ this Shipyard seasonal. I wouldn't make it a point to get it again but if I was offered one I'd gladly accept. (549 characters)

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
67 out of 100 based on 828 ratings.