Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Wachusett Brewing Company

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Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
84
good

45 Reviews
THE BROS
80
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 45
Hads: 88
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 6.72%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 45 | Hads: 88
Photo of zoolzoo
2.66/5  rDev -28.5%
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. (645 characters)

Photo of uustal
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
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. (440 characters)

Photo of JAFoley
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

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. (783 characters)

Photo of jondeelee
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
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. (1,741 characters)

Photo of rudzud
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
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. (615 characters)

Photo of cbeer88
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
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. (1,423 characters)

Photo of cbutova
3.46/5  rDev -7%
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. (1,017 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
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) (861 characters)

Photo of perrymarcus
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
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. (758 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
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. (542 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
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. (1,252 characters)

Photo of far333
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (466 characters)

Photo of mavbrew
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep brown color with amber/orange highlights coming through when held up to the light. The head is a finger thick and off-white in color.

S: Not as powerful of a scent as other pumpkin beers. However, this has an actual pumpkin scent (unlike some that are only spiced) and the spices come through following the pumpkin. Wish it had a bit of a stronger scent.

T: The taste is not as pumpkin like as I would've expected. It has a sweet (almost sugary) taste up front which leads to a slight pumpkin flavor with hints of vanilla and finishes with the spices, that remain for a while after.

M: Light to medium bodied with lots of tingly carbonation. The feel is sweetly spiced and tingly.

D: I wanted to like this more, I've searched for it since I saw it was released. It's good, but for some reason I had high hopes for it, but to me it's just slightly better than average. On to the next one. (908 characters)

Photo of BennyL1
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (702 characters)

Photo of stickynotes
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of Brad007
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (619 characters)

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (826 characters)

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bottle. Freshness date stamped on label.
It pours a deep orange-hued amber with an instantly fading off-white head. Too bad about that!
Smells of dried malt, pumpkin spices, vanilla and citrusy hops vie for attention. A light whiff of white rummy perfume slides in and remains.
The flavors reflect the aromas, although in a mixed order. Rum and citrusy hops roll in a lightly sweet caramel maltiness. A little maple syrup sweetness is noticed. The pumpkin pie flavor is a bit muted beneath the citrusy bite. A person with Tourette’s might blurt out, "Rummy Prunes!" A faint taste of limes is in the finish. The velvety body is full and nearly oily. Slick stuff!
Good to see more New England brewers embracing this old and noble brewing ingredient. (761 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.64/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (434 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (893 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (838 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
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? (817 characters)

Photo of danmcg62
3.69/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (801 characters)

Photo of skibumma70
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (684 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.72/5  rDev 0%
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. (749 characters)

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Wachusett Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Wachusett Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.