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Great Pumpkin Ale - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Great Pumpkin AleGreat Pumpkin Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

334 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 334
Reviews: 125
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.52%
Wants: 59
Gots: 35 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  4.40% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: sponberg on 10-09-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 334 | Reviews: 125
Reviews by Chincino:
Photo of Chincino
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer last night. It was poured into a goblet and poured to be a medium orange/amber color with an off white head.

The aroma consisted of spices-seemingly nutmeg and cinnamon. I could definitely detect some pumpkin in the aroma, but it was not overpowering like in some other pumpkin beers I have tried.

The taste was crisp, light-medium bodied, and this beer was easy to drink.

In my opinion, a good pumpkin ale.

Cheers!

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass the beer was rust colored with a small light tan head. Nice color.

The aroma was a nice balance between the pumpkin and the spice.

Cinnamon and nutmeg up front, followed by the pumpkin and malt.

This was a very smooth beer. Unlike a lot of pumpkin beers, the spice wasn't overwhelming, and the pumpkin came through nicely.

Photo of sponberg
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very deep reddish amber with a thin, vanilla colored head.

An aroma like sniffing a malt pile with a pumpkin pie baking in the background. Perfect flavor balance between the malt (toasty/caramelly), pumpkin (very round, orange, no sign of Ernest Borgnine being carved into it), and spices (hints of cinnamon, clove, maybe allspice, nutmeg, mace?) - a rare Pumpkin Ale in which the spices don't overpower the pumpkin doesn't overpower the malt, and the bitterness & sweetness remain in balance. Every brewpub that makes a pumpkin ale needs to try this one - the balance & flavor are dead-on. Leaves a very pleasant, lingering taste in the mouth. A great fall seasonal.

Photo of Jason
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brightly glowing copper brown with a solid head retention. Seamless aroma of spices, pumpkin and malt. The flavour pulls the palate into a tug of war between the spices (nutmeg and cinnamon most notably) and the malt … the pumpkin is neutral yet noticeable. The hops referee the war and dub the war as a tie between the malt and spices.

Very drinkable and my top pumpkin ale as of yet.

Photo of tigg924
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: one inch head, orange-gold in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: nutmeg, pumpkin, and pumpkin spice

Taste: sweet caramel and bready start followed by pumpkin spice in the middle that continues to the end. There are slight hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: sweet and spicy with slight bitterness at the end, moderate-high carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability: This one falls in the middle of the pumpkin beers I have had this season. Above average, but I have had better. I would be really curious to have this on tap. Subtle, I would reach for others first, but would not pass this over if offered to me.

Photo of wattoclone
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

So much flavor for a low ABV beer with lots of malty pumpkin and hints of aromatic spice. The finish is a bit tart but not in an offensive way. One of the better pumpkin beers that goes well with or without food.

Photo of destinyjolea
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Yuuuummmmy

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer's color is a thick medium-dark shade of burnt orange, and it's distinctive in that there's a lighter color in the depth while it's darker on the edges. A dusty-looking orange-tinted cap barely less than one finger high leaves pretty good spotting.
This beer shows off the pumpkin in both aroma and flavor. Lots of flesh without any of the off vegetal undertones some end up with couples with light kitchen spicing that's neither too subtle nor too strong. It rests on a dryer sort of malts base, though there's some doughiness, with just a hint of sweetness balancing some leafy hop. This beer does manage some depth while keeping the focus on the pumpkin.
It's crisp with a medium body that, while showcasing that crispness, shows a bit of heft. A nice lush smoothness plays all the way through.

Photo of sloejams
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After having quite a few of these already, my friend (and former CBC employee) suggested I give one of their other fines beers a try. I don't get to Boston much these days and it's rare when it lines up to be when the CBC has the Great Pumpkin flowing.

"Try the Half Wit, it's great"

"Ok get me one of those--- er, no another Great Pumpkin it is!"

We get 2 pumpkin beers when any regularity here in Los Angeles. Neither are any good. Great Pumpkin is outstanding. It doesn't hit you with the overwhelming pumpkin pie type flavoring like many others do. I was told the brewer Will insists on using real pumpkins and not the canned stuff most others do. And the flavor comes through.

At 4.2% it's quite sessionable. Love it.

Photo of BetterDarker
4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Foamy white head, almost looked like thin layer of whipped cream on my pumpkin pie dessert. Clear orange amber color with small amount of bubbles rising to the top with nice lacing.

Aroma is of expected spices and pumpkin. Surprised at how noticeable the actual pumpkin smell is. Fantastic.

Flavor is by far the best pumpkin beer I've had this year. Very smooth and well balanced. Fall spices are present but not over powering with a solid pumpkin and slight hop presence at the end

Crisp, dry finish with a medium in body. Good carbonation.

Very drinkable, I hope my homebrew comes close to this, because if it does, it's going to be a great November.

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was looking forward to this after reading all the reviews. What a let down. Looked "lighter" than I anticpated, not a very good hue of orange. Carbonation was ok. Very little pumpkin taste, a little spice. Overall, I found it to be on the verge of a weak ale, almost watered down. I just saw my growler review from last year and am wondering, "what happened?"

Photo of Kegatron
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a couple fingers of foamy slightly off-white head. This retains with a thin fizzy layer that stays a touch richer on the edges and leaves back some very faint lace. The aroma smells of fresh and juicy pumpkin flesh, which seems to just jump out of the glass. Notes of herbal hops and some slight veggie character hangs on the edges, while sweet and sugary malt flavors sits along the back. The pumpkin spics are a bit more on the subdued side but I’m enjoying that aspect of this, as it keeps the overall focus of the nose on that pumpkin character.

The taste follows the aroma with a bright pumpkin flavor that has a real sweet juiciness to it. Almost like a piece of ripe cantaloupe and there is maybe a touch of a roasted edge to the flavor as well. Hops add an earthy and citric bitterness to this but it’s not overly assertive, instead adding some needed crispness to this. Doughy sugars sit along the back the profile and while offering up some balance here, mostly works with the sweetness of the pumpkin to help pop that flavor a little more. The spice is tad more forceful than it was in the nose but seems like the perfect amount is scattered throughout the taste here and finishes this with a festive feeling smack. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp on the tongue before moving out onto the palate with more of a softer foamy creaminess. The combination of crisp and smoothness to the carbonation just fits the flavors here perfectly.

I really have to offer up kudos here to the CBC and Mercury Brewing Company for getting this right in bottle form. This is very close to what you would find on tap at the brewpub (I just had some at the Great Pumpkin Fest this past weekend) and this had got to be one of thee mostly authentic tasting and easy drinking pumpkin beers out there. I love that this is in bottles and look forward to grabbing some each fall when we are up in New England.

Photo of Kinsman
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly hazy copper colored orange. Creamy white head caps it off nicely.

Aroma has the spice thing going on with notes of nutmeg and allspice. Pumpkin adds a vegetable/gourdy note to it. Malty bread character rounds it all out. Palate lines up with with these notes as well, with only the spice being a bit more noticeable.

Mouthfeel is rather light and crisp. Overall, not a bad pumpkin beer but nothing really special either. Maybe I'm just pumpkined-out for the year.

Photo of Treyliff
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pumpkin Ale Review #50
22oz bottle, dated 9/11/14, poured into snifter

A- pours a bright copper/amber color with a creamy white head that retains nicely, eventually settling to a small film floating on top

S- notable spiciness up front on the nose, with a big emphasis on cinnamon, reminiscent of cinnamon flavored gum. Marzen-like malty sweetness with notes of dried leaves, nutmeg. toasted bread crust and pumpkin

T- malty base with hints of caramel and bread crust. The spices kick in mid-palate with cinnamon leading the way, just as in the aroma. Hints of nutmeg and clove kick in, before eventually finishing dry with a flavor of Big Red chewing gum

M- light-medium body with moderate biting carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a crisp finish

O- an approachable, low ABV pumpkin ale. However, there isn't anything that makes it stand above the middle of the road pumpkin beer

Photo of u2carew
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber
A) Pours with a finger thick head that settles slightly. Clear rust colored body. Sticky lacing on the drink down.
S) Autumn spices. Steamed pumpkin.
T) Pleasant spice flavors from start to finish. A balanced pumpkin flavor throughout that is complimented perfectly by the added spices. A lingering pumpkin and nutmeg in the aftertaste.
M) Crisp. Clean. Light bodied.
O) A delicious pumpkin ale. One of the best! I will be finishing this bomber and savoring every drop.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.18/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this in a spur of the moment trade with Ericwo... Thanks Eric!! Pours a pale orange with an off white head... good retention with little lacing.

Nose shows a lighter spicing than many pumpkin beers... I am thankful. Light cinnamon and possibly some nutmeg or mace... a bit of real "pumpkin" in the aroma... fairly light across the board.

Flavor mirrors the aroma with a little toasty maltiness thrown in to the mix.. Flavors are light... even a little watery.. mouthfeel is a bit thin accentuated by a hefty carbonation level.

Not my thing..

4/3.5/3/3/3

Photo of PEBKAC
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pleasantly subtle. That's the easiest way to explain things.

A very spirited orange amber color, with minimal head. The free-flowing carbonation is easy to follow through its spotless body.

Whatever mix of spices they used, it brings your salivary glands right up to season, & seats them directly in front. A wavering hint of vanilla comfortably eases your nose to the glass, but amazingly, (nearly)none of that overbearing clove & ginger spice other brews go overboard with. Just a tad, more of the second then the first, if that. Maybe allspice instead of clove, as it's easier to be gentle with it. The sugar pumpkins get gently fluffed in more cinnamon & nutmeg then anything else. As a base, just the natural sweetness of the pumpkins themselves, coming out as pie crust dosed with powdered sugar.

The taste is nearly identical. Really no need to reiterate, it tastes just like everything you'd expect coming of the top, with even less hostility, if at all possible.

The mouthfeel, particularly the carbonation, lets you individualize everything. The beer is light in all aspects, but being so gentle, you really taste everything.

Maybe it depends on the person, but I felt immense satisfaction from letting my senses drive & dictate everything, without feeling the need to pull over, stop everything, & concentrate on any one aspect. Enjoying this beer(& the subsequent refills), was all too easy. :)

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

not a bad pumpkin ale from the cbc. pours a clear amber/orange colour with a tiny head that leaves little lacing. the smell is basic but good, consisting mainly of spices, pumpkin, malt and some hops. the flavour is consistent with the smell. pumpkin flavour is forceful but not overbearing. the cinnamon and other spices are a nice compliment and the malt and hops balance out nicely. at times this one, like many other cbc beers, can seem a bit thin, but no real complaints overall. i can't say that this one rivals a pumpkin brew like dfh's punkin ale, but it's certainly enjoyable and i'd be happy to sample it again sometime.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Review adapted from notes taken 9/18/11

Note: Batch 01, Bottled Sept 2011

Appearance: A beautiful dark orange - pretty clear, fizzy, white head that leaves a nice ring

Smell: Great, quite literally smells like a pumpkin - the usual suspects for spices (e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, clove) - vanilla, too - nicely balanced spice profile - but the impressive thing here is the pumpkin flesh aroma

Taste: A lot of pumpkin - note that this is not a pumpkin pie beer, but a straight-up pumpkin beer - pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds - squashy, vegetal, in the best way possible - nicely spiced - spicy, but not aggressive - perhaps a little tart - caramel and lightly toasted malts in the background

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth, but could be smoother, medium body

Overall: Yeah, it's great

This is a great pumpkin beer. It's decidedly not imperial and decidedly balanced. I would love to see this in six-packs. It's easy drinking, and full of fleshy pumpkin goodness.

Photo of carln26
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great pour from the growler on this beer. A bright copper to orange color with a medium head. Good lace retention for a “fruit” beer. Wonderful aroma dominated by the cinnamon and nutmeg spice, but still delivering some of the fresh pumpkin that goes into this brew. The taste has the same spices up front with a good bit of pumpkin and some of the malt on the finish. My only concern with this beer is just a hint of an alcohol bite I’ve not experienced with other pumpkin ales, but I love the body and mouth feel of it, and enjoy drinking the beer. Truly one of the best beers of this style.

Photo of mountdew1
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a pale golden amber, with a dirty white foamy head. No cling, and the head only lasted a few minutes, but ended up leaving a thin layer. Constant streams of carbonation rose from all over the bottom. Aroma was a fruity floral with just a hint of gourd. Flavor was more spicy and peppery than what I normally think of for a pumpkin beer, but it did finish off with a subtle pumpkin note. Pumpkin definitely developed as it breathed. Felt good in the mouth. Not overly chewy or sticky, and slightly carbonated. Overall it was a nice twist on a pumpkin. Not overly flavored in any direction, not artificial, not to much like a pie.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into crooked stave tulip. Purchased at Julio's for $2.99 on sale!
Pours an orange with slight amber/burnt hue. Some off white bubbly foam. Nice mild crisp spice and slight veg/pumpkin aromas. Very mild...
Taste is a crisp mild ale, with good spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and then the pumpkin. It actually tastes like pumpkin flesh, very nice. Its a super easy drinker, well balanced, and the spice character is not so overwhelming...worth a try; just wish the abv was bumped a bit higher.

Photo of ShanePB
3.01/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First ever bottling of this beer, sent to me in the Secret Halloween BIF from Carl, thanks! 22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Semi-hazy orange golden copper body, with a slightly off-white head made up of tight little bubbles. Fairly quick dissipation leaving behind a thin cap and absolutely no lace at all. Typical for the style, as I rarely see any pumpkin ales leave anything behind.

S: Pumpkin flesh, allspice and nutmeg with an overall extremely watery character to it. All the flavors smell diluted. Touches of cinnamon towards the end, but aside from the actual pumpkin flesh, there isn't much from the spice side here.

T: Again, pumpkin flesh along with slight cinnamon notes, clove and hints of bready pie crust. It's not big in flavor but tries to showcase actual pumpkin flavor, almost to a fault. Pumpkin itself doesn't impart much flavor into the beer, but if that's what they were going for than so be it. The flavors are still very diluted on the palate as they were in the aroma, watery and dull.

M: Quite thin and watery on the palate with lots of tiny bubbles all over. After looking at the low ABV on the bottle, 4.4%, I can understand the thinner body but to me this takes away too much from the overall experience.

I was extremely excited to try this beer, but this left a whole lot to be desired for a pumpkin ale. I'm not looking for something overly sweet, spicy and sugary but I am looking for some flavor. This was way too light on everything, albeit was extremely easy drinking. A lot of fine tuning needs to be done to make this stand-out among all the other beers in the style.

Photo of oline73
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a clear amber with a ton of off white head. Smells a bit sweet with some spice and an almond like note. Taste is a bit spicy with mild pumpkin. Hints of apple juice. The carbonation detracts from the flavor.

Photo of ridedammit
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I should attempt to review this every fall, since there are always going to be slight differences in flavor and other characteristics. Of course, I enjoyed this years batch as much as my previous 2. I have had this at CBC itself and also at Cambridge Common. I prefer the CBC draught mainly because they serve it at a better temperature. Cambrodge Common tends to cool their beers too much.

Anyway on to the review. The color is a lovely dark amber/orange, and the smell is a nice malt with overtures of spice. I enjoy the fact that Will and company use the spice but don't make you feel as if you are drinking a pie. Taste continues the malt and spice combo. the hop is hidden behind the malty sweetness, which is good since I think too much hop would kill the flavor (think grapefuit-pumpkin pie). A very drinkable fall beer.

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Great Pumpkin Ale from Cambridge Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 334 ratings.