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Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Wachusett Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
83
good

84 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 84
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 5
Gots: 7 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: silentjay on 08-16-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Faina
2/5  rDev -45.1%

Faina, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of CTJman
2.5/5  rDev -31.3%

CTJman, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of zoolzoo
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours copper / amber, foamy white head dissipates into a wispy cap.

S: Fleshy pumpkin, sharp alcohol tinge, underlying spice, brown sugar.

T/M: Fleshy pumpkin from the nose, contrasted by a muted assortment of fall spices. Candi sugar does add sweetness, although this aspect seems to be apart from the rest of the beer. Not "creamy" enough in body or taste to support this level of sweetness. Maybe some more spice or something? Think sugar coated pumpkin flesh, vodka like alcohol finish with a lingering astringency. Not bad, not anywhere near the best.

O: A decent beer, but there are better pumpkin offerings on the shelves right now.

zoolzoo, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of ColdOneKev
3/5  rDev -17.6%

ColdOneKev, Aug 17, 2013
Photo of OriolesFan1008
3/5  rDev -17.6%

OriolesFan1008, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of Lawnboy33
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Lawnboy33, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Lawl3ss
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Lawl3ss, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of Nichols33
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Nichols33, Jun 22, 2014
Photo of kindbill
3/5  rDev -17.6%

kindbill, Sep 15, 2012
Photo of uustal
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an orange/amber with a slight pearl white head. Aroma full of fall spices, led by cinnamon and nutmeg. The flavor follows. Somewhat harsh cinnamon and nutmeg spice to start. Hints of graham cracker and the slightest pumpkin puree flavor, but you really have to search for it. Not too pleasant alcohol shines through as it warms. This beer was overpowered by the spice in my opinion. Secondary flavors were better done, but too hidden.

uustal, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

jondeelee, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of Massbmx
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Massbmx, Oct 29, 2012
Photo of Johncnh
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Johncnh, Sep 16, 2013
Photo of shehateme
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

shehateme, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of JAFoley
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

A - Clear rich amber body with off-white head. Ok retention and some lacing.

S - All the spices you'd expect for a pumpkin ale. Smells like nostalgia!

T - Dry start, floral. Cherries and caramel then tons of cinnamon and spices rush in. Aftertaste is molasses with slight medicine flavor.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Sticky syrupy

O - Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the pumpkin beers. I'd much prefer a pumpkin ale that's more subtle, and this definitely isn't. This is quite heavy on the flavorings but that's the point I guess.
I did enjoy this, if only for one pint. Definitely a better alternative to Shipyard Pumpkinhead which seems to be a standard around here. I'd certainly recommend this to those who enjoy the pumpkin beers. Personally, not for me.

JAFoley, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of rudzud
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of this at Julio's. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a crystal clear ruddy amber hue with a fizzy two finger head that fades to leave nice haloing.

S - Nice fresh roasted pumpkin notes upon pour! light sweetness and pumpkin pie spices.

T - What a let down! Average pumpkin notes (canned) but WAY too boozey. I know this is an 8% but cmon, stuff is way too hot.

M - The heat is in the mouthfeel too, but the heavier carbonation lifts something that would normally be heavy up off the tongue. Ehh.

O - Overall, disappointed. Stuff had such promise but just fell flat for me. Huge let down.

rudzud, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of cbeer88
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A new local pumpkin beer - yay! 22oz bomber poured into 20oz imperial nonic glass.

Appearance: Good pour into the glass provides a nice two to three fingers of head, but the head doesn't last long. A bit of lace. Dark amber/orange color - not bad - it looks like a pumpkin ale should.

Smell: Cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel malt, and a bit of a pumpkin-y odor - kind of like pumpkin seeds. Decent.

Taste: Very spicy flavor. Both spicy in that it tastes like cinnamon, nutmeg, etc, and spicy in that it has a bit of a sharp bite. Very boozy taste - I would have guessed this to be higher than 8%. Really sweet caramel malt blends with the spices, much like you'd expect from an imperial pumpkin.

Mouthfeel: Sweet and sticky mouthfeel on a heavy bodied beer. The carb level is good.

Drinkability: Fairly high. While this guy has a definite hot taste that I'm not fully digging, once the palette has adjusted to the alcohol kick he goes down smooth and easy.

Overall: I kept going back and forth as I drank the beer. Is this a 3? Or is it a 4? I'll settle at 3.5. Solid attempt at an imperial pumpkin, a style that was rare 2 years ago and now seems to be getting increasingly more popular. I'd like to try this on draft, but with so many pumpkin options nowadays I probably won't pick up another bottle this year. If they can tweak this guy to tone the heat down next year, I think they have a definite winner on their hands.

cbeer88, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of BostonHops
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
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)

BostonHops, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of perrymarcus
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

perrymarcus, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of cbutova
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

cbutova, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of Brad007
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another imperial pumpkin ale to sample. I could probably compare 3-4 of these at this point.

Pours a mild orange color with a thin head into my glass. It's brewed with pumpkin puree so that probably explains the appropriate color.

Pumpkin puree, spice and candi sugar are are accounted for in the nose. I detect a touch of pie crust too.

Overall flavor suffers from the high alcohol content. Acrid. Not very pleasant, even if the flavors are accounted for.

Ditto on mouthfeel. I feel betrayed.

Steer clear or at least let it get a bit of age before you sample it. Pumking and Smashed Pumpkin do it so much better.

Brad007, Sep 29, 2012
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.

BeerAdvocate, May 02, 2012
Photo of Larrydoherty
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Larrydoherty, Oct 14, 2012
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.

Kegatron, Oct 22, 2012
Photo of Sailracer
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Sailracer, Feb 10, 2013
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Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Wachusett Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.