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Highballer Pumpkin Ale - Grand River Brewing

Highballer Pumpkin AleHighballer Pumpkin Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

72 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 8.36%


Brewed by:
Grand River Brewing visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Pumpkins for the Highballer Pumpkin Ale are all grown by our owner Bob Hannenberg in his Garden.

(Beer added by: Viggo on 09-29-2007)
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Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 41 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DaveBar
DaveBar

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Outstanding all around

LCBO for $3.90 less $0.70 missing a label

500ml bottle at 8deg C

A- amber, opens well and pours high

S- Spicey goodness

T- Very good. Enjoyable for the season. Super well blended

M- Nice and tart with crispness to spare

O- Enjoyable. Will buy a few for the winter and spring.

Pretty good little Pumpkin Beer

Food Pairings

You better believe this pairs with... Roast Turkey

With those root veggies and gravy this wonderful beer will match well. Try a coffee desert.
Enjoy

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 23:27:43 | More by DaveBar
Photo of mick303
mick303

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500mL bottle that was bottled 9 days ago, had this after Nightmare on Mill St as a comparison. This was noticeably lighter, an amber brown colour, large visible carbonation and a lot of creamy white head, and really solid lacing. 4

S – ginger, sweet pumpkin, caramel, cinnamon, resembles fresh baked pumpkin pie in a good way. Some pleasant biscuit malt, the pumpkin is sweet and appetizing. Awesome. 4.25

T – a gingery lemony start, with the fresh pumpkin coming across. Pleasant lightness of body, some malt comes through and compliments well, nutty for sure, the pumpkin is there but not as intensely as Mill St. This is a smooth session ale, with light spices, more hops (grassy and fruit, apple, some citrus) and a much sweeter profile. Finish is crisp, malty with a pumpkin twist. Refreshing. 4

M – mild, sweet profile with a full feel, quite sessionable with appropriate carbonation and a balanced profile, leading to a smooth crisp finish. 3.75

Of the two, this one despite the marginally higher ABV seems to be playing it safer spices and making a really tasty pumpkin session ale that I could and would drink all evening (fall?) long. I admire some of the boldness in Nightmare, and theyre both quality beers, this seems to be more of a malty session pumpkin ale. Great flavor without being dominated by pumpkin, and worth trying. 4

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2013 03:25:42 | More by mick303
Photo of drinkininthewood
drinkininthewood

Ontario (Canada)

4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ive had this beer every year since its introduction ( i still have the bottles to prove it! ) and it never disappoints. So glad to have growlers back from GRB also.

Served from a 500ml bottle in to a Snifter. Bottle Aug 27th 2013

A- Clear bronze color with a fluffy white head of foam that diminishes fast with some lace.

S- The smell is rich with aromas of Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie mix, caramel sweetness with aromas of fresh baked shortbread cookies and pumpkin spice muffins.

T- Rich and creamy. Liquified pumpkin pie with whip cream is the best way to describe it. Nice malty brew with the perfect amount of spices and incredibly well balanced. The nose translates into the palate very well. As you tilt the glass towards your lips the aroma enters your nose and as you sip the aroma and flavors meet with perfect execution.

M- Smooth, medium bodied with soft carbonation that works wonders for the beer.

D- this is hands down one of the most ( if not the most ) drinkable pumpkin beers in Ontario.

Overall Highballer Pumpkin ale has always been good but as the years go on GRB is continuing to perfect this brew. For someone like me who likes more spice and a nice malty chew to a pumpkin ale this is as good as it gets i believe. So fresh and delicious. A few growler fills for thanksgiving are in order for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2013 02:04:31 | More by drinkininthewood
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

500 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; bottled on August 23rd (if I am properly deciphering the smeared code that was stamped on the label). This is one of a very small group of pumpkin ales that I have never heard anything overtly bad about, and thus I've been seeking it out for close to two years now. Finding this fresh bottle in a small town LCBO was a nice surprise. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a bright, crystal-clear orange-amber colour, generating a little less than one finger's worth of dense, smooth, off-white head. It fades quickly, leaving nothing more behind than a thin cap and collar. Some strands of lace cling to the sides after each sip. The aroma is lovely, and (unsurprisingly) rather reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Spicy notes of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and a bit of ginger are easily detectable, with the underlying malts offering up vibes of buttery pie crust and graham crackers. Not a lot of pumpkin/squash on the nose, but my mouth is watering anyway.

The bite of the taste backs up the bark of the aroma - this is a yummy ale that is a pleasure to drink. A nice, malty backbone of pie crusts and doughy biscuits underlies the central 'pumpkin pie' flavours, providing the perfect counterbalance to the aforementioned spicy notes of cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg. The finish is full-on pumpkin pie filling, with some mild cinnamon and earthy bitterness closing things up. Rather light-bodied, with moderate carbonation that provides a somewhat crisp mouthfeel. Real easy to toss back.

Final Grade: 4.1, an excellent A-. Grand River's Highballer Pumpkin Ale is a sessionable pumpkin ale done properly, and one of the few examples of this style that I'd be willing to drink repeatedly before the season is over. While it doesn't skimp on the spices, it also doesn't go completely overboard into 'potpourri' territory, which is one of my pet peeves with this style (and spiced beers in general). Instead, the spice aspects are balanced beautifully with the malts, causing this ale to come closer to liquid pumpkin pie than perhaps any other I've had the opportunity to try. Great stuff from a great brewery - the perfect pairing for Thanksgiving dinner.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 18:57:16 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of Kremlock
Kremlock

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on September 14th 2012, drank on October 21st 2012.

A: Dark copper in colour. Pours a 1/4 inch head that collapses to a ring around the glace.

S: Smells like unspiced pumpkin, a bit of caramel followed hint of vanilla

T: Taste is opposite of the smell, more spices less pumpking. Spices are spicy cinnamon, pure vanilla bean and ripe pumpkin. There is a nice bitterness that starts and follows through all the way.

M: well carbonated, smooth feel on the palate. Nice dry finish.

O: Carbonation is high enough to cut into the flavours of the pumpkin. Spices and hops are well balance and the finish is nice and dry. I much prefer dry and bitter pumpkin ales vs the more maltier and sweeter ones.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 23:33:45 | More by Kremlock
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into tulip 10/10/12 thanks liamt07 for the bottle

A hazy orange amber with a few bubbles and suspended particles, a noisy thumbs width of foam falls fast and leaves no lace

S ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a little pumpkin puree, some bread and toffee with just a little earthy hops in the background

T much of the same really, not over the top with the spices like many pumpkin beers I've had in the past,

M a little thin with prickly bubbles leaving a tingle on the tongue, ginger and pumpkin linger faintly on the finish

O this one worked for me, not heavily spiced and pretty mellow all-around, still beer unlike many pumpkin beers I've had that are almost unrecognizable from all the spicing

Its to bad this didn't show up before my Thanksgiving dinner because it would've been a great beverage choice with my turkey, ham and pie. yup that's right bitches I got turkey AND a ham, living the dream, living the dream

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2012 18:39:41 | More by wordemupg
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 4$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a lot of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, cloves, all spice, pumpkin

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

Overall - Not the best seasonal beer by any means, but a solid effort from this brewer nonetheless. I won't be shelling out another 4$ for more but I'm glad I gave it a shot.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2012 23:57:28 | More by spinrsx
Photo of slitherySOB
slitherySOB

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark golden amber colour with a fingers worth of head that disipates quickly but leaves lacing. Smells like pumpkin pie. Pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet malts. Tastes like it smells. LIquefied pumpkin pie. Mouthfeel is smooth and low carbonated with a great overall balance. A delicious beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2012 19:22:00 | More by slitherySOB
Photo of jrenihan
jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Sept 4, 2012.

Beer is a slightly hazy copper colour. Smallish off-white head. Fades fairly quickly to a film.

Nice smell. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin. Some bready malt and grassy hops.

Taste is good, and very similar to the nose, though not quite as nice. Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Spices are very prominent. Grassy hops there as well. Well balanced. Has the characteristic Grand River flavour that I cannot quite describe, but I expect has to do with the water.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Overall, pretty tasty!

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2012 00:11:47 | More by jrenihan
Photo of SebD
SebD

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice deep golden/amber color to it. It has a thin white head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of pumpkin and spices (cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon).

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some pumpkin but not as dominant as the aroma, some cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and some malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 21:53:43 | More by SebD
Photo of bryehn
bryehn

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on Sept. 14 (5 days ago).

Pours a clear golden-copper colour with a small but frothy white head. Solid, long-lasting collar, but little lace.

Smells of ripe pumpkin, honey sweetened toasted malts and grasses. Very warm and inviting.

The taste is also pumpkin forward. There is a lovely light and fruity ale underneath with a sweet caramel tone. Grassy, floral hops bring earthy and tart characteristics, as well as a mild orange pekoe tea flavour. Subtle spiciness present throughout that comes forward in the finish.

Full-bodied with low carbonation. Dry cracker character on the tongue. Pepper and allspice in the aftertaste.

Quickly became one of my favourite pumpkin ales after a couple days. The pumpkin shines, rather than the spice and it’s extremely smooth drinking. Great with (or in) a stew, crusty bread, roasted meats and, of course, pumpkin pie.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 19:46:24 | More by bryehn
Photo of heebes
heebes

Ontario (Canada)

4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottled on Sep 4th 2012.
5.2% abv.

Pours a rich dark orange with half a finger of light tan foamy head. Nose is brisk with lots of pumpkin, spices, cinnamon, faint hops. taste is majorly pumpkin, cloves, spices and cinnamon, some good barley malt caramel backing, very fresh and full tasting. Good body, peppery mouthfeel, smooth.

Overall a well rounded pumpkin ale from Grand River, spot on this year.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2012 15:15:45 | More by heebes
Photo of cmadd
cmadd

Ontario (Canada)

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Half a finger of white head. Disappears quickly, leaves no lacing. Clear amber leaning to yellow.

S: Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice with some earthiness. Grassy pilsner hops in the background.

T: Sweet cinnamon, squashy pumpkin and hard water earthiness holds the finish. This earthiness really dominates the beer and is very characteristic of Grand River. Almost no hops, what is there is very light and grassy. In the late finish the sweet pumpkin comes back; nice touch.

M: Light carbonation. Very nice.

O: Pretty decent, but nothing particularly remarkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 05:48:32 | More by cmadd
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the LCBO, 500ml into a tulip. Bottled on October 19, 2011 - 3 days old.

Pours a reddish orange with a straight white head of about a finger of head, decent retention and good lace. Nice spicy nose, allspice and cinnamon dominate with only a moderate hint of pumpkin. More pumpkin spicing than actual pumpkin itself, but some bready qualities do exist here, large amounts of pumpkin pie crust. Taste has less spicing, but still reflects the nose and takes the breadiness down a couple notches. Mouthfeel is almost watery, fairly light with spice into the finish. A pretty good pumpkin ale, and could've been much better I think if it reflected it's nose a bit better. 4/4/4/3/35

Rereview: Bottle from the LCBO, 500ml bottle into a tulip. Bottled September 4, 2012, reviewd the 30th of the same month.

Orangey brown, just offwhite head. Decent retention and lace. Lots of cinnamon and cloves on the nose, a bit of pumpkin and sweet malt character. Taste has more pumpkin flesh, cloves, cinnamon and a bit of allspice. Sweet and mildly drying finish. Heavier medium body and lower carbonation. Quite a nice pumpkin ale, good body and some flavours that come through real nicely. 4/4/4/45/45

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 04:41:10 | More by liamt07
Photo of peensteen
peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper/amber colour, one finger of white head, no lace. Smell is spicy with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, gram crackers, mineral presence, malt and pumpkin pie. Taste is spicy up front, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, good bitterness, mildly hoppy, biscuity malt, spicy finish and aftertaste. Medium carbonation, medium feel, decent mouthfeel. This is quite enjoyable, subtle but still full flavoured, will probably grab a few more of these this season.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 18:35:50 | More by peensteen
Photo of Stocean1
Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a one finger head into a big wine glass - nice orange amber colour - little lacing and poor retention. Lots to note for the smell. Banana, pumpkin with bubblebum up front. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. Taste follows the nose but not nearly as strong as the smell led me to expect. Light body with little carbonation. Slightly bitter and very easy drinking. Overall, this is a fine brew although I would have loved the taste and mouthfeel to be a little bolder.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2011 21:55:38 | More by Stocean1
Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
Reinheitsgebot71

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A small off white head reminiscent of milk foam tops medium amber semi opaque body. The retention is low and leaves some ok lacing.

S: Strong pumpkin up front followed by curious fruity scents of unripe mango, chayote and grapefruit rind. Some cinnamon and cardamom spices hide behind roasted pumpkin seeds and dried apple. There is a faint hint of shortbread.

T: A strong amber malt spine supports assertive pumpkin and cinnamon flavours. The rest of the profile is made up of sweet bready tastes; gram cracker and shortbread. There is next to no showing of hops. The carbonation is medium low and the beer coast the mouth somewhat.

A good effort if a little one dimensional.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2011 19:17:53 | More by Reinheitsgebot71
Photo of ThatWineGuy
ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed October 13th and dropped on me by biegaman, thanks; it got lost at the back of the fridge until now. On opening, there is a hazy, featureless orange hue under a one finger beige head that appears that it will stick around (alas it didn't, at least not for long). There is a tangerine fruity smell at first that gives way to cinammon-spicy odour that generally pleases. Big flavour in the mouth with cinammon, nutmeg, allspice, pleasant low bitterness and hops, refreshing cleansing mouth and a malt that weighs in on the lingering finish. Medium to light body for the style, not overpowering, rightfully labelled a pumpkin ale and although not the best I've tried, it certainly has potential as a sessional for that time of year. Decent brewery in my experience, not a bad pumpkin ale either.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 01:52:50 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of mrnobody
mrnobody

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a Grand River pint glass.

A: Pours a clear amber with a thin white head that quickly disappears. No lacing.

S: Smells of nutmeg, pumpkin and brown sugar.

T: Not particularly sweet tasting. One can taste some of the spices but they're not overwhelming. There is a bit of hop bitterness in the finish.

M: The mouthfeel is light to medium with medium carbonation.

D: The drinkability is pretty good for a pumpkin beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2010 20:09:37 | More by mrnobody
Photo of hopsolutely
hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 2010 Highballer knocks it out of the park.

Have enjoyed bottle, draught and cask versions and they are all well balanced and nicely spiced. Would highly recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys pumpkin ales.

Much prefer the 2010 release to that of 2009, and strangely enough am already looking forward to 2011...

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2010 23:18:17 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Highballer, like nearly all other pumpkin ales, is orange in colour. Its tone, however, is a little square, without any highlights and only when held directly against the overcast autumn sky does it, by contrast, appear at all luminous. Its complexion is crystal-clear as a lager. Its carbonation is too weak even to support the beer's slinky, soapy outline.

The aroma get's my approval - it is well perfumed, but not overly perfumed. Spices are appreciated but can't be pin pointed, which is good because all I care to be able to do is acknowledge (but not catalog) them. The savoriness wafts gracefully beneath the nose along with a good portion of caramelly sweet, biscuity, nougat-y malts.

I've drank enough Grand River to recognize a certain 'house character' of theirs, I speak of a distinguishing maltiness that is chunky and enthusiastically bready. That particular brand of maltiness is perfectly suited for pumpkin ales because it almost starts to emulate the doughy taste of pie crusts. And add a lovely graham cracker flavour to boot. Yum.

But the mouthfeel is a tremendous let down. It reveals not even a trace of savoriness or spiciness, not a trickle of caramel sweetness, not any of the doughy maltiness. I was optimistic things would improve with warmth but the glass is reaching room temperature with little changes to note. I hate to use the 'W' word but, frankly, this is watery.

Session ales don't have to be watery or weak in flavour, Grand River has proven that with a regular lineup of exceptionally brewed mild and lower alcohol beers. Unfortunately few of the brewery's seasonals, this included, have lived up to that standard of flavour and character. Highballer Pumpkin Ale is a nice beer, just fine for a fall-time pint or several, but (at least in bottle) it's far too feeble to earn the high marks.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2010 16:15:14 | More by biegaman
Photo of kwjd
kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright orange colour with white head that dissipates without much lacing. Smells of pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, some hops and bready malt. Flavour has a nice level of sweetness, but not incredibly sweet like some pumpkin beers. Very well balanced. Medium bodied carbonation. A very nice pumpkin beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 22:10:06 | More by kwjd
Photo of Mit
Mit

Ontario (Canada)

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

s-Pours a nice dark amber with minimal head.

a-pumpkin, banana, spices(nutmeg, clove)

t-Earthy, spicey, pumpkin flavours coming through. Aftertaste reminded me of a nice pumpkin dessert bread.

m-solid, not watery in the least.

d-very drinkable, could have a few of these.

Had a Great Lakes Pumpkin earlier in the day and found this to be very comparable.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2010 04:48:28 | More by Mit
Photo of MrHall
MrHall

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml purchase at the brewery - bottled on Dec. 28. I've had this for about a months, and probably waited a little too long to drink it.

pours a clear orange/light amber, small white head that disappears fast with very little lacing (I wonder if that's due to the freshness.)

smells well, like a pumkin ale, nutmeg, cloves cinnamon,

taste is pretty balanced. an early sweet and spicy, followed by the mild hoppy finish.

I actually find the carbonated too light (again, freshness?)

As such, you could probably drink this till the cows come home.

even though I'm drinking it out of season, still probably my favourite Ontario pumpkin ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2010 23:55:00 | More by MrHall
Photo of GodOfBeer
GodOfBeer

Ontario (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle from the LCBO. Pours a deep slightly hazed orange, thin white head that fades away, absolutely no lacing...

Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, all the good stuff pumpkin beer should smell like.

Not too strong on the spices, more lagerish than anything. Grassy, bready, somewhat buttery and finishes with cinnamon spices and slightly hoppy bitter finish. Not much body, seems kind of watery but still pretty good.

Overall decent but for a pumpkin beer, but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2009 00:11:55 | More by GodOfBeer
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Highballer Pumpkin Ale from Grand River Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.