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Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Wachusett Brewing Company

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Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
83
good

87 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 87
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.09%
Wants: 5
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wachusett Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: silentjay on 08-16-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 87 | Reviews: 45
Reviews by kindbill:
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #58 (November 2011):

LOOK: Clear amber

SMELL: Pumpkin, cinnamon, esters, spice, tropical fruit, bread, cake batter

TASTE: Spice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin, caramel, grainy, bread crust, alcohol, ripe fruit

We love the amped-up style here—a whole lot of flavor with each sip—however, a tad more malt to help balance out the heavy-handed spicing is in order. And with its big alcohol and flavor profile, it becomes more versatile when it comes to pairings; don't just save this one for dessert.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.99/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tulip glass the beer was a copper color with a small tan head. There was no lace.

Aroma of pumpkin and candy. A hint of spice.

The taste followed form. Mostly pumpkin, some cotton candy. Minimal spice, nutmeg and cinnamon.

A nice change of pace for a pumpkin beer. Usually these are more spice forward, and I appreciate the mostly pumpkin flavor. Sweet and pumpkin, not too spicy. I liked it.

Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, orange-brown in color, clear, low carbonation

Smell: cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, toasted malt, alcohol, and clove

Taste: bread, Belgian spices, Spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, cardamom, and clove

Mouthfeel: sweet a with a bitterness in the middle, moderate to high carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability: An interesting an unique take on the style. After a couple moments it hit me, this is a Dubbel meeting a pumpkin ale. I would look for this again if not just due to its uniqueness. A solid fall treat that now becomes the fall seasonal I look forward to the second most.

Photo of jondeelee
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wachusett's Imperial Pumpkin Ale begins with, naturally, a strong pumpkin aroma. But this is not the pumpkin aroma that often spills from Imperial Pumpkin ales, coming across as deliciously baked and bespiced pumpkin pies. No, in this case the aroma smells distinctly of raw pumpkin, as if one had been cut open and you were smelling the fresh interior. There are distinct spices blended with this raw pumpkin aroma, including nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and allspice. Mixed in with these, as if a somewhat weak Imperial Stout had been poured into this raw pumpkin, are light coffees, molasses, and brown sugar. The result is compelling, though in my opinion tending slightly too much toward pumpkin and spice.

On the tongue, the first flavors are of spiced pumpkin pie, the spices coming across more weakly on the tongue than they did on the nose, but nutmeg and clove still distinct. A lingering raw pumpkin flavor does somewhat mar this, giving the beer a stale and too-earthy quality. In subsequent sips the Imperial part is more noticeable, bringing in creamed coffees, brown sugars, hints of anise, and some darker fruit esters, such as fig. However, the raw pumpkin bite overpowers many of these more subtle flavors, making me wish that the pumpkin:beer ratio had been skewed more heavily in favor of the latter. Mouthfeel is a viscous medium, seeming to cling to the tongue like pumpkin gut, and carbonation is medium-high.

Overall, while there are good flavors in here, the wrong ones take center stage, and at least one of them--the raw pumpkin--should be cut back greatly. The overall sensation is that of a medium-quality Imperial ale that had been doused with artificial flavors in an attempt to make it appear of higher quality.

Photo of far333
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Copper caramel colored with a beige head that sizzles down quickly. Low aroma of cinnamon. Flavors of toasted malt, cinnamon, some vegetal squashy notes, subtle nutmeg (thankfully). Also notes of brown sugar and toffee, some banana. Finishes with a peppery bite, tinged by alcohol warmth and vapors and stinging in the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is full, yet a bit slick. Could use more pumpkin and a hair more cinnamon or caramel, and the alcohol detracts a bit.

Photo of BennyL1
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a globe glass. Brand new beer for the fall from Wachusett, have some high hopes for this one.

Pours a nice dark amber with some orange hints. Good couple fingers worth of creamy head. Decent lacing.

Aromas of pumpkin, cinnamon, and some brown sugar. Some caramel malt as well. What you would want and expect from a pumpkin ale.

Some nice pumpkin in the taste. Nice hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Some toasted malt in there too. Little bit of warming booze on the end.

The brew is on the full bodied side with adequate carbonation. Feels good on a chilly night like tonight.

Good job from the brewers at Wachusett, very good pumpkin ale that can compete with most others in the style.

Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper in the glass, topped with 1 ½ fingers of rich and creamy off-white head. This maintains some frothy edges, which leave back robust sudsy lacing that dots the sides of the glass. The aroma initially smells sweet with sticky sugar but then eventually gives way to some festive spices and green pumpkin character along the back. Alcohol adds some extra sweet warmth here to the nose.

The taste has sticky candied feel to it, with a bit of a toasted graininess coming out as this warms and then some green pumpkin flavor emerging around the middle part. Spices are scattered throughout the profile, especially lingering in the finish along with a touch of dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a tight feel on the tongue but then more of a firm creaminess as this spreads out. This does have a bit of a warm and sweet booziness to it from the ABV but this smoothes out a bit as this sits.

This wasn’t too bad. The sweetness and alcohol took a bit to get used to but once the palate acclimates and things start to balance and smooth out, this turned into a decent sipper after all. Not sure I was really down for the full bottle though. This would be a good one to split.

Photo of puboflyons
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle. 2013 batch. Sampled on September 20, 2013.

It has a deep amber-orange color pour with a short-lived off-white head. It fizzles quickly. Great clarity.

The aroma definitely boasts an array of pumpkin and herbs with a moderate maltiness too. But while I can tell it is all there, it tends to be rather subtle in the end.

The body is medium with some acidity.

The taste has more of a sweeter malty character than pumpkin. But I'm not saying I can't find pumpkin spice because I can. It just doesn't seem to overwhelm as I might have expected from an Imperial. easy enough to drink hut some standard pumpkins are superior.

Photo of danmcg62
3.69/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cracking this open on my birthday for my 70th review!

A-Pours a clear amber color with a finger width head that stays around only for a moment leaving a thin lace around the glass. Looks good, but looks like your typical pumpkin ale.

S-I'm getting major spice and pumpkin right off the bat. There's a real thick, almost bready smell in there as well. A bit boozy as well. Very interesting.

T-Real thick spicy, pumpkiny, bready taste. Taste like pumpkin spice bread in a glass. Mild hop spice in the rear as well.

M-Much thicker than any other pumpkin ale I've had. Sort of boozy, can definitely feel the 8% were with others (i.e. DFH Punkin Ale) it doesn't come through as much.

O-Overall this an above average to good pumpkin ale. It's a very interesting take on the style, just not my favorite.

Photo of skibumma70
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is of sweet pumpkin, with hints of caramel and pumpking spices. The appearance is a amber / orangy/brown with head that fizzles fairly quickly. You can taste the combination of the belgian candy sugar, nutmeg and spices. It is fairly sweet, but smooth, and an easy drink. At 8%, it is fairly strong, but not overpowering. It’s a little early to be in the mood for fall beers, but on a chilly new england night as like tonight, it feels like fall, and this Imperial Pumpkin is putting me in the mood for fall beers. It’s a good effort by Wachusett, and a pretty darn good beer. I’m glad to see Wachusett expanding their horizons! It is sold in 22 oz bombers only right now.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

orange color coming forward right away. Decent amount of haziness could not hide the ample carbonation that was being exhibited throughout the glass. This all came to a head that was about two inches in height at first but settled down to just a light scattering across the top after a few minutes.

The aroma was full of cinnamon and pumpkin spice as you might have imagined. Not as heavy and sweet as some of the others I have had this fall, this was rather a lighter, with a little more emphases on the spices that lie underneath and a decent touch of a grassy hops that was laying around as well. The flavor followed suit rather nicely. Light spiciness with a hint at some soft grain and light bready malts lying under that. Not much in the way of a hop profile here, and the body was light and airy.

Photo of mountdew1
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a nice pumpkiny orange with numerous streams of bubbles rising from the bottom. Head was a thin dirty white, that left a bit of lacing and didn't cling much at all. Aroma was a pleasant pumpkin pie, a bit of spices. Perhaps reminded me a bit more of pumpkin ice cream than pie. Flavor was pretty much what it smelled like. Ended up being a bit mellow tasting than it smelled. Felt a tad starchy in the mouth. but coated well and was nicely carbonated. Overall a pretty decent pumpkin. One that definitely tastes and smells like pumpkin instead of just incorporating or using the spices.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.64/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into Hill Farmstead tulip. Pours a clear amber orange with little head and body..doesnt look crazy good. Very boozey nose, cinnamon, spice, hops as well. Taste is very malty but spiced with the aromas...but a bit more buscuity. Its pretty mild, a bit sweet, but really easy to drink. I like that its not over spiced; usually the spice makes drinking pumpkins somewhat diffcult. But this one is good, not great.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer one of last night's Imperial Pumpkin Off between Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, and ST Pumking.

Dark orange color like a glass of sweet 'taters. Orange hued head the color of Circus Peanuts. No lace or retention left by mid snifter.

Aroma has some real, actual, vegetal pumpkin aroma in addition to pumpkin spice. Nutmeg comes to the fore 1st but I can also pick up some very mild ginger spice.

Taste is, again, actual pumpkin. The candi sugar sweetness balances the earthy, vegetal pumpkin well. Nutmeg and cinnamon.

While WIP started out magnificently it became muddled and monotone quickly after warming (I had this problem recently with another Wachusett beer - White). If the beer consistently stayed as clear and purposeful as it started this could be one of the imperial pumpkin greats.

Photo of cbutova
3.46/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured right after a Pumking, let's see how it compares.

A- Dark orange-red hue into a goblet. A creamy off-white head forms to a nice size and retains fairly well. Small cloud and ring stick around leaving a few spots of lace.

S- It opens up with a bit of warmth bringing noticeable caramel malt, fruit, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Just a bit of pumpkin. Still not very strong aroma overall, kind of have to try hard.

T- Drastically different from the Pumking. It has a nice brown sugar feel atop the pumpkin ale profile, a bit fruitier as well (dark, apple). I get nice levels of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, grains, dark fruit, pumpkin and hay/straw. Some alcohol in the finish.

MF- Creamy feel to a moderately thick body. Carbonation is nice and silky at a high-end level. Some bitterness and a good warmth.

A good fall beer but it doesn't remind me of pumpkin or pumpkin desserts as much as I would expect. It feels like an Imperial "autumn" flavor profile. Would probably go great with a Thanksgiving meal.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 4/14/2012 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains pumpkin, spices, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of spices, caramel and pumpkin. Then a hearty malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The pumpkin flavor isn’t too strong which for me makes this beer better than most pumpkin beers. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, for a pumpkin beer, it’s pretty solid.

Photo of jlindros
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice fluffy 1 finger head that fades semi slowly over mostly clear but dark amber reddish orange brown color

Nose has lots of toasty pumpkin, toasty bready malts, pumpkin pie filling, light sweet syrupy candy malts.

Taste starts with candy sweetness, light syrupy malts and candi sugar, brown sugar, a light bready toasty malt, then finally the pumpkin, pumpkin pie filing and sweet nutty hazelnut like pumpkin syrup, and a bit of bitterness, light yeasty taste as well, and warming booze on the finish, it gets a bit hot on the finish even for 8%, with a little stickiness and sweet candi and syrups lingering.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied with decent carb and plenty of warming booze.

Overall decent, one of the better pumpkin beers I've had but that's not saying a lot. Too sweet and boozy overall, nice pumpkin flavor though that doesn't overpower, and not over spiced either.

Photo of BostonHops
3.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a coppery / medium amber tone while yeilding a short-lived finger of whitish lacing. not much lacing to speak of. nose is good, a bit sweeter than most pumpkin ales out there, due in large part to the candied sugar. strong notes of spice and pumpkin presence too.

the taste brings all of the above to the table, but seems to lack something. either that or the flavor profile here just isn't working for me. as others have noted, i get stronger notes of actual pumpkin than many out there, as opposed to the heavily spiced, liquefied pumpkin pie offerings. only thing is, i happen to like those.

overall, a moderately enjoyable, slightly above average pumpkin ale. and while it's certainly passable, it's no pumking. still, with a little tweaking there is potential for future batches.

(originally reviewed: 09-07-2011)

Photo of qua17
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is an imperial pumpkin ale. Some imperials are way over the the top but I think this one has a nice balance of pumpkin, spices, and alcohol.

A: It's a nice orange and pours out of the bottle and into my pint glass with a pretty nice head that stuck around for awhile. There was minimal lacing.

S: It's what you would expect from an imperial Pumpkin - there is a good mix of spices and pumpkin - but its's not over the top like a shipyard.

T: I've come to appreciate imperials for what they are - big beers and this beer does not disappoint. There is pumpkin taste to be had - but it's balanced by the spices and the alcohol which comes out strong in the finish as you would expect.

Overall: Not too shabby. My favorite imperial in southern tiers Pumking but this might just be a close second. Would highly recommend to a friend.

Photo of HosP
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First pumpkin beer of the fall! Poured 22oz bottle into snifter.

A- Pours dark orange, amber in color. Very hazy, with light coming around the edges. Thin white head on top, clings to edges and stays there.

S- Smells like a pumpkin pie. Get a real pumpkin aroma, no real spices in the nose. Reminds me of good pumpkin pie filling!

T- Taste is very similar to the nose. Smooth pumpkin flavors. Very little spice like most pumpkin beers. Some sweet candy sugar taste at the end. Still a very good pumpkin taste.

M- Medium body. A little much on the carbonation.

O- Good pumpkin beer here. I think I prefer more spices with my pumpkin flavor, but this is still solid.

Photo of jdhilt
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger cream head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Crystal clear orange/amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Light pumpkin and spicy nose and flavor is caramel malt sweetness spicy pumpkin. Higher ABV is hidden. $5.99 for a 22oz bottle from Glen Beverage Glen, NH.

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at American Craft

A: The beer pours a dark amber, almost copper, color with a finger of khaki head.

S: Tons and tons of pie spices here. Heavy on the nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, and vanilla. There is quite a bit of toasted malt and caramel to it as well. As is often the case, not much pumpkin.

T: Very heavy pie spice character on the palate as well. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and all spice are all there. Nice vanilla sweetness to go along with the caramel and toffee flavors.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Thought this was a very solid pumpkin beer. It did become a touch boozy as the glass warmed up, but it didn't really bother me.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tumbler pint, the beer is a slightly hazed, orange-copper coloring that is bright and vibrant. A slight filmy ring on the surface of the brew is all there is to show for the head. Aromas of pumpkin and vanilla sweetness, with a solid dose of cinnamon and nutmeg spicing. Flavors are more rich in pumpkin, with a dark, sweet backbone that supports a cinnamon and nutmeg spicing, as well as some vanilla bean and boozey highlights. Rich, cloying sweet aftertaste with a touch of roasting. The body is light, and at times sharp due to the spicing and the carbonation levels. The finish is crisp and dry, with a touch of sugary sweetness lingering behind. This brew started off pretty good, but limped across the finish line.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale pours a clear, copper color with a two finger creamy off white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving only a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is spicy with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Hints of squash are also present.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft on the palate, with a firm carbonated fizz. The flavor is sweet with pumpkin spices and pumpkin flavor. It begins with sweet caramel malt notes, followed by cinnamon and nutmeg. It finishes with earthy pumpkin notes and a touch of alcohol. It finishes dry with lingering spice and pumpkin flavor.

This pumpkin beer isn't as heavily spiced as others and has actual pumpkin flavor. Some alcohol notes are present, so I wonder if this is a pumpkin beer you could age for a while to mellow out the flavor?

Photo of stickynotes
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pleasing, slightly hazy auburn, a mostly white head reduces soon into a film. Nose is sweet malt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and some ginger, pumpkiny backbone. Taste starts some sweet malt, bready, pumpkin in the middle, spiced with nutmeg, some clove. Ends with a yeasty spice bite. Mouthfeel is slick, some carbonation off the back of the tongue. Overall this is a good offering. Pretty coherent, flavors work well together and make a pleasing-to-drink imperial pumpkin.

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Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Wachusett Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.