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King Don's Original Pumpkin Ale - Catawba Valley Brewing Company

King Don's Original Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
89
very good

38 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 13.02%


Brewed by:
Catawba Valley Brewing Company visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-06-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 24 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Axnjxn
Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

on draft at beer study in chapel hill, into a snifter.

pours a very dark orange with a typical inch thick head. smell is of a lot of cloves and nutmeg...extreme amount of spice on the aroma. the taste is also filled with spicinees, but its lacking the typical super sweetness that you usually find in pumpkin beers. this definitely helps and is a big plus...you still know you're drinking a beer! light body though, but this is lower in ABV so expected.

overall one of the better pumpkin beers I've had. recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2013 20:35:49 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: The orange colored liquid wears a nice crown of foam that drapes a few strands of lace

Smell: Pumpkin pie spices galore

Taste: Pumpkin pie spices dominate the flavor profile, too; this is one of those pumpkin beers that is all about the spicing so it is hard to taste any pumpkin in the mix

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I like a bit more balance in my pumpkin beers but this is a very nice example of the spice-forward aspects of the style

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2012 20:18:43 | More by brentk56
Photo of cwguy5
cwguy5

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this growler from Brawley's Beverage in Charlotte, NC. Poured into a Unibroue Becker style glass.

A - medium-dark reddish brown color; slightly hazy; white head consists mostly of a ring around the glass and faded to nothing; no lacing that i noticed
S - clove and nutmeg, light vegetable
T - right off the bat you taste clove, cinnamon and nutmeg; the nutmeg tastes very fresh and is almost a bit peppery; not dry by any means but not as sweet as i expected; honey and toffee in the finish; would have liked a slightly maltier backbone maybe
M - light-ish carbonation; body is medium and slightly coating; linger consists of pumpkin spices - mostly nutmeg
D - very drinkable as it is light and crisp despite a medium body and slightly coating mouthfeel; spices are pronounced but not too heavy; sweetness level is in the right area - not cloying like some pumpkin beers; would seek out again for fall sessions

Serving type: growler

09-13-2011 03:58:30 | More by cwguy5
Photo of GehenHerzog
GehenHerzog

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on Tap at Vintner Wine Market in Charlotte and also out of a growler from Bruisin' Ales in Asheville. The quality control seems to be very good as they seemed to be close to identical at both.

A - Dark brown color, reddish-orange when held to light. Thin off white head

S - The spices really come out in the smell. Cinnamon and clove. Not a whole lot of pumpkin smell.

T - If you like pumpkin, this is a must try. Tastes like a pumpkin pie. Cinnamon and pumpkin spice are very noticeable. Sweet and spicy.

M - Good carbonation, mouthfull is medium-full.

D - Phenomenal. What every pumpkin beer should strive for. When I had the growler, I was disappointed when I finished it during the tailgate.

This is my favorite pumpkin beer and it's not even close. I wish it was bottled because my refrigerator would be stocked with it during the fall. Fortunately, growlers are readily available. My tailgate beer of choice during football season.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2010 04:52:54 | More by GehenHerzog
Photo of aventinus829
aventinus829

North Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this wonderful brew on tap at Growler's Pourhouse in Charlotte, NC. It is quite good!

A: Reddish-brown
S: Lots of festive spices. Nutmeg and cinnamon even.
T: Awesome. Not so much pumpkin as a really good blend of fall spices.
D: Very, very drinkable.

Note: They line your glass with an interesting blend of sugars and cinnamon if you get this beer at Growler's. Quite a treat!

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2010 02:59:35 | More by aventinus829
Photo of mbrown26
mbrown26

North Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What every pumpkin beer should live up to. If you don't like pumpkin or pumpkin pie, this probably won't be your thing, but if you like a good pumpkin beer, this should be right up your alley.

I could see for some people that there wouldn't be enough body, but for me it was perfect. I felt like I was drinking a beer that had a pumpkin flavor instead of the other way around.

The smell had the characteristic of roasted hops, pumpkin and nutmeg and the color was a nice brownish orange.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2010 08:51:16 | More by mbrown26
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep brownish copper with a thin white head that quickly reduced to a wispy veil and left spotty lace.

S-Nice aroma of a freshly made, caramel coated gingerbread. Nice, pleasant aroma of real pumpkin spices.

T-Strong pumpkin pie spices come off a bit too harshly. Caramel malt needs more beef to counteract the spice punch....good but more than I prefer.

M-Medium bodied, fairly sharp with good lingering spicy bitterness.

D-Good but...see above. I think with a bit of tweaking this would be outstanding.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2010 16:24:48 | More by Deuane
Photo of Swellcox
Swellcox

Illinois

4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've enjoyed this wonderful Fall beer on tap and in a bottle.

A - rich dark color, reddish-brown in a glass, nice thick head

S - a spicey, but not sweet, pumpkin aroma

T - smooth on the tongue, very palatable, smooth malty sweetness, nice aftertaste with lots of spices

M - enough natural carbonation to lighten this thick beer

D - outstanding!!! What every Pumpkin beer should strive to be.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2009 22:59:49 | More by Swellcox
Photo of ckeegan04
ckeegan04

Texas

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep orange color tinged with brown. Very thin wispy white head that quickly fades but leaves moderate lacing on the glass.

S - Wow, it smells just like my wifes gingerbread. Lots of clove, allspice, and cinnamon in the nose. DOnt pick up a whole lot of pumpkin, but I'm not sure pumpkin really has the strongest smell.

T - Strong taste of pumpkin pie spices including allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. A little light breadiness to it as well provides a nice backing.

M/D - A little thin on the feel but it goes down real easy. Good carbonation level and one of the better pumpkin ales I have tried.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2008 03:32:27 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Brewgrass festival in Asheville, North Carolina. Consumed on 09/20/2008 and reviewed from notes taken at the time.

What can I really say about this pout, it was a damn pumpkin! Rich orange color was an absolute treat to look at. Some light haze and cloudiness to it, enough to make it look a bit thicker then I thought it would. A nice one inch head of white and fizzy foam came up over the top and settled down nicely into the glass leaving a good amount of side glass lace to mix around with the carbonation that could be seen streaking up.

The aroma was about as rich in pumpkin spice as you could possibly get. Huge notes of spices that just come whiffing up to the surface. This was an enormously good smelling beer. I swear if you could bottle the fall season, it would come close to this I am sure. The flavor was more of the same, rich in every sense of the word. Huge notes here of all spice, pumpkin, and hints of earthy grains. Tingling the tongue as it went down it was like a piece of pumpkin pie, which is about all that can be said. Delicately light Mouthfeel was well carbonated and not too thin or anything that would be anything less then wonderful. Easy to sip as the flavor was far too rich to be putting this one down in too great of numbers.

Overall though this has to be one of the best pumpkin ales I have ever had, hands down. Rich and decadent, smooth and deliciously. Probably the best beer that Catawba makes, well next to Coconut. Go find this one this fall season for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

09-23-2008 23:44:19 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of 65dos
65dos

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is by far the best Pumpkin ale I have ever tasted personally.

a: really rich in color. Deep orange.
s: can I say pumpkin pie meets carbonation?
t: The rich pumpkin pie flavor of this beer made me consider putting whip cream a top the beer.
m: Very smoothly flows across the palette.
d: all fall.

Give this a try next October if you are in the region.

Serving type: on-tap

06-08-2008 20:21:12 | More by 65dos
Photo of blackie
blackie

Virginia

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: gorgeous color...deep orange-red-brown, lacks much head and doesn't retain well what it has...the only fault here

s: Decent malt presence, and I have to say it smells really good, but the spice seems quite out of proportion to the squash. Moderate-high sweetness and very gently hopped. I really want to like this a lot, because the spice is excellent, but it certainly needs more pumpkin.

m: medium carbonation, full medium body

t: Pretty much the same as the aroma, but I get even less depth here. Cleans up pretty well, with spices lingering.

d: enjoyable

Serving type: on-tap

10-15-2007 04:37:07 | More by blackie
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours orange with a fairly thin head that fades all too quickly. Pumpkin pie spices and sweet malt dominate the nose. No real pumpkin detectable in the aromas. Still, the spice blend is quite pleasant with cinammon, nutmeg, and allspice. The taste is somewhat sugary and grainy with more of the pumpkin pie spice. The pumpkin makes an appearance as a slickness, but not much flavorwise. Creamy mouthfeel, and overall pretty enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

10-01-2007 02:37:00 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clearish, reddish-brown body with a thin, off-white head.

Smell: A fragrant aroma filled with inviting toasted spices, but pretty meak when it comes to the actual pumpkins.

Taste: Mild pumpkin flavor that's lightly sweet. The addition of fresh spices adds a measure of earthy spiciness. Slight hint of lemon near the sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's one of those pumpkin ales that lays emphasis on spices and not pumpkin flavor. Still, though, it is a pleasant Autumntime brew.

Serving type: on-tap

09-24-2007 21:46:09 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of ncvbc
ncvbc

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour was a dark orangish amber with a thin head that was gone quickly. Not much of a looker but it gets better...

Smell is great. Spices abound, cinnamon being the most obvious. A true pumpkin pie essence in this one.

Taste is even better than the smell. Cinnamon, nutmeg, hazelnut, pumpkin, a spot of brown sugar. Very bold considering the low ABV. I am surprised at how much flavor this one packs. It's more on the spice side and less on the pumpkin, though.

Mouthfeel is somewhat bland following this tasty brew. A little thin and light though not to a serious extent.

Overall I would say I enjoyed this greatly. Quite the drinkable beer we have here. I don't believe I've tried it in the past unless it was just a sample at Barley's. Either way, you should try it if you have the chance!

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2007 06:18:54 | More by ncvbc
Photo of Enola
Enola

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint on-tap at Barley's in Spindale.

It doesn't get any more pumkin like than this beer. Catawba Valley has nailed this one. The beer is a nice orange and the head is fair. The smell is like a nice pumkin pie. The taste is obviously pumkins and there is a hint of spices. The mouthfeel is smooth. This is a beer that would be very good with Thanksgiving supper. I would certainly drink this again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2006 00:20:45 | More by Enola
Photo of wcudwight
wcudwight

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Color is a brownish orange with some amber. Small tan head that left before the party was over. Spotty lacing.
Smell was full of brown sugar and some spices. And finally a pumpkin beer that actually smells like pumpkin.
The flavor was like a pumpkin pie. Spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg being the most prominate. Again there was some pumpkin flavors that I've found to be rare in pumpkin ales.
Mouthfeel was a bit flat and boring but not so much as to harm the beer.
Overall it's a good beer that could easily be sessioned.
Recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2006 04:54:06 | More by wcudwight
Photo of AlexJ
AlexJ

North Carolina

3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich rad amber in color with a frothy tan head that dissapears very quickly, leaving the beer looking rather flat and lifeless.

The nose has all the requisite spice, lightly sweet brown sugar malt and no real discernable pumpkin character. One thing about pumpkin brew is very deceiving, the spice almost always smells good and often masks any shortcomings or mistakes.

The flavor is decent but very predictable. Lots of spice, a decent malt back, but where's the pumpkin? Not bad at all, but kind of blah.

Body is thin, flat, and definately contributes to the snooze factor.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2006 22:30:24 | More by AlexJ
Photo of Graebner
Graebner

Germany

4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes collected at the 2006 Southern Brewer's Festival:

Pours a red/amber with no head.

Loaded with smells: cinnamon, pumpkin, pumpkin pie, butmeg, lemon, and more. An olfactory feast.

Tastes wheaty, but in a unique way. Difficult to describe. Nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon, lemongrass, and cream. Very good.

Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Lots of flavor, slightly lighter than I like. Not bad.

Very drinkable, smooth, wouldnt sour after a session.

Serving type: on-tap

08-28-2006 00:53:01 | More by Graebner
Photo of mntlover
mntlover

Tennessee

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours hazy dark amber with a off wihte head laces well. Aroma heavy on spice, nutmeg, light on cinammon and pumpkin flavored malt. Taste is strong on spices nutmeg cinammon flavors are lifted thru out by good carbonation finishes with cinnamon and light hops in aftertaste. All of this is on decent malt background flavored with pumpkin. Mouthfeel is a solid medium a great pumpkin brew. Drinkability is good almost like Cottonwoods maybe touch more spice here. Worth trying, if you like pumpkin beers you should find some today.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2004 20:53:32 | More by mntlover
Photo of finepaws
finepaws

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this as a sample on tap at Flying Saucer. Had a suspicion it had something to do with Don Richardson, so I tried it. Seems everyone loves Don's old recipe, so I had to taste for myself. Poured a clear reddish brown. Small white head. Smelled very spicey. Allspice and cardamon maybe. The taste was definetly spices. Not much pumpkin flavor. Kind of watery feeling on the mouth. It was drinkable, but not for me. I really like pumpkin ales, but prefer more pumpkin, and less spice. Wish it hadn't of been built up so much.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2004 01:58:39 | More by finepaws
Photo of homersimpson
homersimpson

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear and copper with a very light head.
Heavy nose of nutmeg and spice.
Long smooth medium body.
Heavy nutmeg and malt hit you immediately, a bit of pumpkin, then it moves to a lingering cinnamon sweetness.
This is the original recipe from Don Richardson who started the Cottonwood Brewery, and now supports the boys up at Catawba Valley.

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2004 23:15:22 | More by homersimpson
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer was hazy dark orange with a good head. The aromas were of roasted caramelized pumpkin and spices. The flavor is caramel and allspice. Aftertaste is dry allspice. The body is a little light.

Notes from SMA Holiday Beer and Bluegrass Festival:
"Brewed with select spices to produce a smooth festive beer."

It is my understanding that this is Don Richardson's recipe he used to brew at Cottonwood. In fact Don was standing at the tap serving the beer when I walked up.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2003 02:50:24 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of gueuzegeek
gueuzegeek

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now, granted, I only had a small sample at the World beer festival, but, that was enough to see the nice rich deep amber color. I could not get a good read on the head from my sample, however, MAN what an absolutely fragrant brew!! Totally rich with all the spices of a pumpkin pie. This is one tasty brew as well, the pumpkin pie aroma carries straight through to the taste!! A wonderfully rich spicy taste. This brew is one to savor!!

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2003 22:05:29 | More by gueuzegeek
King Don's Original Pumpkin Ale from Catawba Valley Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.