Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout - Rock Art Brewery

Not Rated.
Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout

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198 Ratings
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Ratings: 198
Reviews: 88
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 17
Gots: 15 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 09-11-2009

"A big stout brewed in the colonial fashion with large amounts of pumpkins and spruce tips added to the kettle for flavor and bittering qualities. The pumpkins compliment the malt flavors, and were used to add sugars to the mash. What ever you do, do not think this is going to taste like pumpkin pie. 50 IBUs."
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 | Reviews: 88
Reviews by HiroProtagonist:
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rock Art Pumpkin Stout pours a dark garnet-brown color and sits in the glass stout black. The nose is very inviting...classic and well-developed roasty-molasses malt aromas rise from the glass, along with the slightest hint of pumpkin gourdiness and some pleasant complimentary fruit-like esters. The taste is full and balanced with interesting subtleties. Flavors of roasted choco-dark malts combined with some mellow aged raisen-y fruit sharpness and well-integrated hints of pumpkin...especially in the lingering finish. Ideal mouthfeel and nice drinkability round out this well-crafted and tasty seasonal stout!

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an interesting beer.
In a snifter the beer was a the color of a black cherry. It had a medium-sized tan head that dissipated fairly quickly, leaving a little bit of lace.
Pine aroma primarily, some roasted malt.
Mostly a pine taste, but there was some espresso there, and I'm sure I detected some pumpkin spice, even though I wasn't supposed to.
This was a rich, filling stout, perfect for fall.

Photo of tigg924
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: high carbonation, 1/4 head, garnett brown, clear

Smell: toasted malt, nutmeg, little pumpkin

Taste: burnt malt, expresso, pine, and a bit of pumpkin towards the end.

Mouthfeel: medium high carbonation, medium heavy body, biting, and slightly bitter.

Drinkability: This works well if you are expecting an imperial stout in the Victory storm king vien. This does not work if you are expecting anything resembling pumpkin. The pumpkin is very muted. This is a sipper, but not a personal favorite of mine. I may have this again due to uniqueness, but one per sitting at most.

Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout opens with a malty, slightly spicy aroma that has little, if any, pumpkin notes. Instead, the aromas begin with light stout notes, including chocolate malt, dark and milk chocolate, touches of coffee and cream, and add to that a light sprinkling of spruce (which comes across as a hoppy pine note), and even gentler touches of anise. Some brown sugars also rise to the surface. As a whole, the aromas are light, and tend to fade quickly, but are still enticing.

On the tongue, the beer begins with a huge dose of pine and spruce, making at least that part of the beer's name immediately apparent. The spruce adds a good hint of bitter resin and oil to the mixture, coming across much like what the aroma of a pine tree would taste like if distilled: heavy on sap, lemon, and anise. Beneath that is a decent stout, including coffee, chocolate malt, and ash. Hints of pumpkin add welcome sugary, earthy flavors to the palate, slightly tempering the bitter oils and coffees. Hops bring extra bitterness, as well as lemons and grapefruit zest. But the spruce tips definitely remain throughout the mouthful as the dominant flavor, and even dominate the aftertaste, which lingers in sprucy oils and fading hints of coffee and chocolate malt for quite some time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is certainly interesting beer, though I'm not sure if I would have ever guessed that pumpkin had been added had it not been so noted on the label. Instead, the spruce dominates with its oily, anise-like presence, and while the flavor is intriguing and nicely nuanced, it does tend to overly color the flavor profile, and does not let the other flavors come through as much as they should. The beer is still worth drinking, but as the label notes, one should "not think this is going to taste like pumpkin pie," and should expect instead a more Christmas-y flavor than a Thanksgiving one.

Photo of alleykatking
4.42/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. Many thanks go out to chefmonty for this bottle in the Halloween BIF this year.

A- Poured a black color which was deep in color even when held to the light. One and a half finger brown head has great retention. Nice thick streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- This has a intertesting smell. This of course is not a typical pumpkin beer. Chocoalte malts and light roasted malts come in from the start and stay till the end. The alcohol is very apparent from the middle onward. The spruce tips are very much there in the ending and that really threw me for a loop.

T- Bitter chocolate in the front of the beer. This really comes through the beer for the most part. A light spruce flavor in the middle gets covered up by a coffee ground ending before the spruce has a final bold burst at the tailend of the beer.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Bitter chocolate and light spruce left on the palate. Spruce and light alcohol left in the aftertaste with a hint of pumpkin. Alcohol is lightly drying on the palate. The flavors are well balanced and very clean tasting. The flavors are bold and in your face at times.

D- The beer is great tasting. The drinkability on this might vary depending on if you like the spruce tips or not. I personally had no problem drinking my pint of this and wanted more but I split this bottle with a friend. The ABV I think is well hidden. A delight to drink overall interesting take on a pumpkin stout.

Photo of puboflyons
4.53/5  rDev +28%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle that is stamped July 19. Not sure if that means expires in July 2019. Sampled on September 8, 2013.

The pour is black as night with a huge, lingering soft tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is dark malt and spruce grove forward with a much more muted pumpkin spice note. It's there but you have to seek it out. Some chocolate. No alcohol note. Very enticing aroma.

The body is bold and creamy.

The taste is mildly sweet up front with a piney dressing. Yet it is not overly hopped. Moderately bitter and dry finish. Pumpkins are in the background. Warming and smoother as it goes along.

I'm not sure why it gets low BA ratings. Probably because the pumpkin is not in your face. But this is still a topnotch beer.

Photo of philbe311
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A finger and a half worth of tightly packed slightly creamy medium khaki colored head with a bit of a batter-like top... Modest retention gives ay to a full but slightly lopsided veil of lacing... The color is a deep dark brown... Only a couple of stray carbonation bubbles can be seen rising on the sides of the glass towards the top...

S - Fairly subdued... The spruce notes are rather muted... Some notes of molasses... Very lightly roasted malts... The pumpkin is quite subtle and buried beneath the surface... Very faint chocolate notes...

T - The spruce tips assert themselves on the palette and provide a surprising bitterness... Some lightly roasted malts... Very faint coffee notes...

M - Medium bodied... A bit thin... A light bit of sharp carbonation... A slightly awkward finish that tends to linger for a while...

D - While I didn't expect a blast of pumpkin, as many have said, it is almost completely absent... The spruce tips provide a unique flavor which prove to be a bit challenging... The mouthfeel really detracts from this one overall... Far from a drain pour, but not one I would neither recommend nor purchase again...

Photo of Docer
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired in a trade from Ranbot... thanks man, this beer looks really good.

- Dark porter-like brown... semi-cloudy, big light mocha head down to a mess of lace-maker.

- Nice semi-sweet and bitter malt backbone.... certainly a bit of molassesness to it, some spice... light woodiness.... sweet perfume almost.... bitter hopping for sure. Not much pumpkin in smell at all.

- Light and sweet malt... wonderful perfume spruce... floral and fragrant.. plus a nice hop bite... bitterness and pine. Malt is light... caramel, sweet brown sugar sits in the back.... not so much pumpkin though... but that's ok... it is just fine the way it is...

- Great bitter hopping leaves the mouth a touch dry and chewy... light bodied brew with a bold flavor and bite.

*kind of noticed after the fact that this is a stout! Not really to me, more a strong ale... but that's ok!

- Overall this is a great and very unique brew... easy to drink, and leaves some fantastic aftertastes in the mouth.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 8.0% ABV, 50 IBU, no date.

Thanks to Thorpe429 for another pumpkin beer!

A - Clear on the pour and totally black in the glass, this stout is topped by a bold, three-finger head. Fantastic retention and some thick lace make it a sexy looking stout.

S - It predominantly smells of roasted malts with subtleties of coffee and dark chocolate which makes this much more of a stout than anything else. Spruce is almost absent from the nose while pumpkin is missing all together. Aroma is a bit thin for a double.

T - Rich roasted malt mirrors the aroma with a hefty helping of dark chocolate and low coffee notes. The spruce is much stronger in the flavor but I still don't get any pumpkin in this.

M - Rich and full-bodied, it's a bit thicker than the aroma makes it out to be. It's very smooth but the light spruce seems to aid in bringing out this light solvent alcohol finish. There's a low bitterness that seems to be a roasted malt and hop combo.

D - Another pumpkin stout let-down to be brutally honest. I picked up no pumpkin in this at all. It should have been one or the other in the brew, not both additions. As a spruce stout it's good, but it's called Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout. Reasonably drinkable for a strong stout.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with an amber glow.

S - Spruce, roasted malts and a touch of maple syrup. Not getting pumpkin at all but a nice nose.

T - Spruce, roasted malts and maple. Decent sweetness overall with some bitterness present as well to provide balance. No pumpkin comes through at all.

M - Medium body, light carbonation.

Photo of jonB
4.05/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an opaque brown with a mocha head that dissipates somewhat quickly. The smell is sweet malts with hints of brown sugar and piney hops. The taste has plenty of malt, which gives it a full mouthfeel and finishes with subtle hoppiness. It finishes dry and even with no hint of alcohol. A very well balanced beer that is great to sip. Not at all what you would expect with pumpkin in the name, but a very nice surprise.

Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber.
A) Pours with a nice, creamy, tan head. Slowly settles. Opaque but not entirely black. Great stickly lacing.
S) Bready. Hints of alcohol. Subtle piney and floral notes more from hops than the "spruce". Roasted coffee. Light chocolate notes.
T) Smokey. Chocolate. Quite bitter. Alcohol is masked well. The pumpkin is missing. The spruce is also lacking.
M) Full bodied. Dry. Chewy.
D) A nice stout. Well crafted. I'd have another. A bitter disappointed with the ill-represented label "pumpkin" and "spruce".

Photo of Doshkin
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a - very dark almost black amber. decent head that dissipated quickly

s - some spicy, hoppy smells. not too strong

t - fair amount of hops for what i expected. bitter. no pumpkin taste at all. this was kind of a weak, hoppy stout

m - bubbly, smooth, spiced

o - this is not very "extreme", as claimed very blatantly across the label. i guess the one good thing about it is that it masks the 8% pretty well. i didn't find this beer particularly impressive in any way. i won't buy it again. would not pick it as a beer to hang out and relax with, and i definitely not drink more than a bottle of it. too bad a got a big bottle to come to these realizations : P

Photo of smakawhat
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at Rock Art Brewery into a taster shaker pint glass.

A dark brownish red body, pretty dark, presented with a faint tan collar. Looks inviting.

Nose is quite diverse. Cola soda. Beech nut and nutmeg. THere's a little bit of faint spicy toffee in the background. This smells very strange, and nothing like a pumpkin beer.

Taste seems to match the nose quite correctly. No sense of dense pumpkin body, lots of burnt charcoal without any sweet grainy tastes. Finishes with hop pine and a twiggy woody character no doubt because of spruce tips added I am guessing. Finish is wet and also a little burning.

Interesting beer, probably like it because it doesn't taste like a regular pumpkin beer, but not really drawn to wanting this again.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.36/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"This ain't for no mama's boy or daddy's girl."

Pours a dark brown color with a perfect sized tan head, fades really slowly and leaves a cap for a good portion of the time, as it empties my glass, a good amount of sticky lacing is left behind.

Smell is mostly dark roasted malt with a decent hop bitterness to it, very piney.

Taste is predominately roasted malt with a strong piney bitterness, the hop bitterness is rather unique, no doubt a result of using spruce tips (quite interesting!), this has to be one of the hoppiest stouts I've had the pleasure of trying, not picking up any pumpkin at all though which is slightly disappointing but I won't hold it against it, afterall it's not a straight "pumpkin" beer, carbonation is more along the lines of a porter though.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this beer, although I bought it thinking it was an imperial pumpkin beer, not noticing the spruce stout part underneath, haha. At $4 a bomber, I think I'll be revisiting this beer often.

Photo of mountdew1
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a oversized goblet. Color was a nice opaque almost black, with just a hint of lacing for a dirty white head. Aroma seemed more of molasses and brown sugar with just a bit of earthy pumpkin. Absolutely nothing from the spruce. Flavor alternated between burnt sugary sweet, and piney twang from the spruce. The spruce definitely developed in the mouth over time. Not a bad flavor, but a bit of strange feel in the mouth. Coated well, but the spruce just tingled the tongue funny. Not a bad beer, but didn't pick up many pumpkin notes. Stood stronger if not sold as a pumpkin stout.

Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black with a finger of fluffy tan head.

Smell: Roasted malt, spruce dark chocolate, slight alcohol burn.

Taste: Nice roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, coffee,

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy.

Drinkability: I went into this expecting a heavy emphasis on the pumpkin, however (if I had read the bottle) I got a really solid Imperial Stout. Definitely will pick up again...especially at $4.50 a bomber.

Photo of oline73
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours almost black but it is a reddish brown when held up to the light. There is just under a finger of off white head that goes away completely.

Smell: Roasty with some pine and a hint of sweet, dark fruit.

Taste: I don't think all the flavors work together in this beer. There is a strong bitterness that comes from the roast and some pine as well. There is a slight hint of citrus peel in this one too. I'm missing the pumpkin. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very mild carbonation and a finish that is a bit slick.

Overall: I wasn't in love with this beer. I don't think everything worked together and didn't really taste pumpkin.

Photo of zoso1967
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a nice medium tan head. When held up to a light, a decent amount of color shows up in the form of rosewood like hues around the edges. The center swallows up all the light just like a good stout should. This beer has great head retention, and leaves nice lace.

The spruce shows through in the aroma, and while it is not the dominate player, it is the first thing I recognize. I would say the most prominent smell is that of coffee from the roasted malt. There is also a bit of chocolate and a nice rich malty sweetness.

The flavor is not quite like anything I have tried before. I guess this is not surprising since I am not sure how many other pumpkin and spruce stouts there are out there. First off, it has great stouty character to it. It is very roasty with a real burnt coffee character and some rich chocolate. The spruce is not as noticeable as in the aroma, but it is definitely there. The pumpkin is pretty buried, but it does seem like there is a little something something that is augmenting the malt bill. There is a good amount of bitterness in this brew, and some piney hops that accent the spruce tips.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between medium and full and is smooth and satisfying. This drinks a lot like an oatmeal stout, and the finish is pretty darn dry and a touch astringent, but still quite enjoyable.

I am really digging this beer and it's going down quickly. This is a really satisfying stout and not as out there as the name would make you think. I really didn't get any pumpkin, but who cares? This bad boy was delicious.

Photo of claspada
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aromas are all stout; coffee and chocolate are the biggest elements, then at the background there is a slight herbal note from either the spruce tips or hops, can't really tell to be honest.

The tastes are also very American stout. Once again coffee and cocoa are the biggest characteristics in the flavor, in addition on the palate the spruce/ herbal flavors make a small appearance, however the pumpkin isn't noticeable at all. Which is quite disappointing

This is a decent offering from Rock Art, not a bad stout at all, but false advertising if you ask me because there is no Pumpkin, unless I am just desiring the spice characteristics of the typical Pumpkin ale. This is no Cape Ann Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout, that is a great beer worth searching out for if you want a dark Pumpkin beer. This didn't work as well as I hoped. The beer was good, just didn't live up to my expectations.

Photo of Casey10
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer at a nice price point. Most of the flavors are in the background but they are there the pine spruce tips the pumpkin.

This is not like your typical pumpkin beer though very tasty a must try if you want something with a different type of stout style.

At $3.99 for a 22 oz bottle it is priced fairly exspecially when measured against other stouts and most may have none like this.

I rated the drinkability high as this is a smooth easy sipper and it would be easy to have another.


Photo of stoutluvr420
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- dark, nice head, but not much of it
S- toasty malt, slight pine, earthy
T- chocolate-caramel, slightly resinous, touch of chocolate, slight squashy eathiness in the long finish
M- medium to heavy, not too creamy
D- decent, finished bomber with no problem

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a clay colored head. Hard pour sprung a sticky foam cone. Decent retention.

Faint aroma. Dry Ovaltine powder with some old pine needles. As it warms it sorta smells like menthol cigarette butts.

This beer tastes fairly similar to when I mix chocolate whey protein with dark roast iced coffee. Not as strong as that concoction but the same flavor. Mocha I guess. Has a roast malt flavor without any actual roastiness. Dull mint in back which I'm guessing is from the spruce tips.

The bottle warns the buyer to not expect pumpkin pie and the bottle spoke truthfully. It's a colonial take on using pumpkin in beer where the gourd is utilized for it's sugars rather than dousing a beer with pie spices and extracts. Nifty idea and a solid beer.

Photo of rpstevens
3.57/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Portsmouth tulip. The beer pours a deep brown-to-black with a thick, foamy light khaki head. As the head fades there is an adequate amount of oily, bubbly lacing left behind.

The nose on this beer is very interesting. The spruce characteristic is much more prominent than expected, the first whiff from the glass reminds me of a tree farm. Beyond the spruce there is a healthy amount of bitter chocolate, coffee and graham cracker sweetness (normal stout stuff). The pumpkin is an underlying smell that adds to the other components without overpowering them.

The taste is a bit more muddled than the nose. The spruce is not as pleasant, it overpowers the other flavors and is a bit intrusive. The coffee and bitter chocolate notes come in bursts, but the pumpkin takes a definite back seat (it's almost non-existent). The finish is nice and hoppy, which is unexpected. Once the hops hit the tongue it's easy to see how they were hidden in the nose by all the spruce and pumpkin.

The beer is well carbonated, full bodied and has a nice dry (almost bitter) finish. The spruce is a bit overpowering, but the beer is definitely drinkable and interesting. Definitely glad I gave it a try.

Photo of rfgetz
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lightly chalky near black with minimal cap of brown head. Scent is a mix of roasted dark malts, chocolate and pine resin. Taste brings lots of chocolate to the front, spruce and pine resin and seasonal spice in the rear, lingering sweetness at the end. Medium bodied, chalky and grainy on the palate. Odd combination of flavors doesn't overpower and is good enough for a 12oz serving or so, just wish there was some pumpkin in there.

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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout from Rock Art Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.