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Pumpkin Ale - BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse

Not Rated.
Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
86
very good

38 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse visit their website
Arizona, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
A spicy finish balances the sweet start of this seasonal favorite. Orange in color with the delicious taste and aroma of pumpkin pie!

(Beer added by: AtLagerHeads on 11-03-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%

On tap at the Allen, Texas location.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of cinnamon notes, as well as some nutmeg and pumpkin. The flavor is a bit different. I get the pumpkin notes once again, but the clove character also really comes through. There is also a good bit of cinnamon in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. My main complaint is that like all beers from BJ's, the beer was served way too cold and also in a frozen glass. It needed to warm up for about 10 minutes before the flavors begin to come out.

Mora2000, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%

Sampled BJ's Tucson, AZ
This beer arrives fresh from the tap with a wispy, tan colored head that does not quite cover the beer. The beer is a hazy, brownish, amber color (actually it looks quite a bit like darkish honey color). This smells lightly sweet and of caramel up front. The spices then kick in. Noticeable notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and a touch of ginger, perhaps there is a touch of allspice as well, but maybe not. I would guess that real pumpkin was used in this as there is a sort of fleshy squash-like not to it that is subtle and only noticeable at times.

The taste is quite dry and even has a tartness to it. The fact that it is dry and tart really down plays the spices, which is nice, but it loses the holiday beer balance of sweetness that one might expect in this type of beer. A spicy note of ginger is definitely noticeable here and in the finish is a note that reminds me of pumpkin flesh (a touch vegetal leaning, and definitely squash like). The nutmeg character is here as well, but it takes on a different character because of the lack of sweetness; actual it adds a sort of savory character to the beer. Even though not sweet, the body has a heft to it that is nice. It sticks a bit to the palate even after the beer has left my mouth. The typical pumpkin pie spices are actually noticeable in the finish, again though they give a savory character to this beer rather than the typical sweet pie spice note one is used to. The finish is quite spicy from them though.

At first I was quite disappointed by this brew, but the spices are subtle enough and the tart character really drives an interesting flavor profile that I was not expecting from this brew. As the beer warms the spices in the finish start to add some sweetness; this accentuates the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. My food arrives, and as I suspected this pairs quite well with food (in the general sense). The food even tends to bring out a soft sweetness in this beer.

Gueuzedude, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Gavage
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%

Appearance: hazy dark copper in color with a 1" head that slowly falls. Some spotty lacing developed.

Smell: expected pumpkin and spice aromas are very weak and barely detectable.

Taste: mild malt levels, caramel, pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a light bitterness. Not offensive or fake tasting like some others in the style.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp at the start while finishing smoother than expected. Brief pumpkin spice aftertaste is pleasant.

Drinkability: decent. Good for a pint or two, but this can grow tiring after a while.

Gavage, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of twiggamortis420
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Pleasantly surprised...this beer is pretty damn good.

Brought to me in an American ghetto pint glass (what? like 14 oz when filled to the brim?). It's a reddish-copper color and has great clarity. Not much head to speak of, but the glass is cold and they filled it way up.

Smells good! Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sweet cream and real maple syrup. Nose is fresh and clean. Not much hops or malt that jump right out at 'cha.

Taste falls on the pumpkin pie end of the spectrum of pun'kin beers. Also get some baked red apples. Spices are quite prevalent, but it is not necessarily "spicy tasting". Has more of a sweet pumpkin pie flavor with perhaps some whipped cream on top. Low carbonation is a good thing. It is a bit thin, however.

Quite enjoyable, but not as complex as it could be. A solid effort, and easy to drink as well.

twiggamortis420, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of Floydster
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%

64 ounce growler purchased from the West Covina location a few nights ago for twelve dollars, drank an hour later after a short stint in the fridge, reviewed from notes, poured into a flute glass

A-Medium brown with some orange highlights, one inch off white head that is rather creamy, stays around for a few minutes, some retention, no lacing
S-Pumpkin that is more like the pie than the flavor itself, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet malt, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, sweetness, and light bread
T-Starts off more bready than expected with most of the spices coming in the finish, gets sweeter and more rounded as time goes on, like the way the nutmeg complements the brown sugar, not overly sweet while bringing that dessert-like taste upfront, by the end it is more reliant on malt but the spice is definitely there, the pumpkin flavor never fades and that was the best part about its taste
M-Mildly spicy, sweet, malty, and chewy mouthfeel, medium bodied but on the thicker side for its style, nice level of carbonation, taste lingers with pumpkin pie flavor
D-Could have drank the whole growler in one night but left forty or so ounces for my dad, couple pints go down pretty easy, light on the stomach, alcohol is hidden and it is smooth

I was looking forward to trying this after I missed last years, not the absolute best pumpkin ale I have had but easily accessible and quite inexpensive, wish this was around more often because it is definitely one of BJs' better brews, flavor was impressive, will drink again if it is there next time I go for dinner, recommended

Floydster, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%

Pours a nice amber. Smell is robust and lovely. Big pumpkin spice flavor with cinnamon and nutmeg seeming evident. Taste is very thin, muted and watery, but the pumpkin flavor that shows is still nice. Very pumpkin pie like in the flavor that is there. Drinkable, nice attempt, that would be great with a big more boldness.

JDV, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of Phelps
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%

No doubt buoyed by its super-creative name, this beer took home silver at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, beating out 35 other entries in the "Field Beer or Pumpkin Beer" category.

Made with pumpkin puree, BJ's Pumpkin Ale is orange like some sort of orange-colored fruit. It's got perfect clarity. Half a finger of airy, khaki-colored head fizzles away after just a few seconds, and the bubbles rising from below can do nothing to keep it around.

Subtle, sweet, smooth aroma. An amber ale base gives this beer sweet, malty notes of baked bread with a bit of nuttiness. Roast pumpkin is nearly as strong as the backup spices: nutmeg, clove, allspice.

The usual spice suspects -- cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice -- made their way into the boil for this brew alongside pumpkin puree. The resulting initial flavor, however, is all fresh pumpkin, with just hints of clove and lightly toasted bread. The swallow brings a bright burst of pumpkin rind, brown sugar and cinnamon, with lingering spice esters. It also delivers a sharp, tangy flavor that grips the tongue through the finish and is a little distracting. Osborne says brewers add clove and caraway to increase the savory aspects of the beer and avoid a cider quality, but it seems they haven't completely eradicated it. The finish would be clean otherwise. The brew's medium body is like fleece -- soft but not heavy, and perfectly viscous.

Judges at the GABF are fond of beers that stick to fundamentals. For pumpkin ales, what's required is that the adjunct fruit and spices don't overpower the underlying beer. It's easy to see why Pumpkin Ale won -- the drinkable brew shines through and balances the pumpkin and spice, and in that regard it's stylistically sound.

Phelps, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of magictrokini
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%

BJ's La Jolla. Pours clear auburn with a short white head and poor lacing. Beautiful spicy pumpkin and gingerbread aroma, lots of nutmeg. Crisp, yet sweet taste of spice and grain. The pumpkin flavor was very nice, not overly indulgent or veggie. Dry finish.

magictrokini, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of babaracas
2.98/5  rDev -22.4%

Came out in a pils glass (??) a clear dark orange, tinted red. Zero head. Smell: like an unhopped amber, with a little pie spice. Taste: just a little toasted, caramel, not really any pumpkin but a ton of pie spices. Mouthfeel: lighter bodied, slightly gritty dryness midsip when the spices hit. Not impressed.

babaracas, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%

An orange amber body with a small off-white head creates decent lace effect throughout the glass. The aroma is slightly spicy and gives hints nutmeg and allspice, but the nose is not all that big on this brew. Pleasantly spicy flavor but not especially pumpkin pie like. The feel is smooth and it does finish very nicely making this a decently drinkable ale.

AtLagerHeads, Nov 03, 2003
Photo of Hellpop65
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Hellpop65, Nov 04, 2012
Photo of mikeg67
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

On tap at BJ’s in Houston (Brewed by St Arnolds). Pours amber with a white, short lived, foamy head and soda like carbonation. Aroma is of pumpkin, spices and caramel malt. Full, smooth body. Taste is similar to aroma. Short, smooth finish. Good brew.

mikeg67, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of abex44
4/5  rDev +4.2%

abex44, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of MiScusi
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%

On tap at the Rancho Cucamonga, CA location. Served in a pint glass, pours a nice rich clear burnt orange color with not head, no lacing left. Smelled of spices and nutmeg, but not really pumpkin-y to me. The taste was again a blend of nutmeg and cinnamon, and maybe some other spices. Wasn't too bad, but again sort of tasted like a spiced scented candle would in my imagination. I couldn't nor wouldn't want to drink a 2nd pint of this very often, but it's not too bad for 1 round.

MiScusi, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of vcoggins
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

vcoggins, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of zbooks
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

zbooks, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of cfh64
4/5  rDev +4.2%

cfh64, Feb 07, 2013
Photo of watermelonman
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%

This arrived as a nice deep orange with a small head that lasted well. It's leaving a minor amount of lace behind.

While cold, the smell was very weak. It seemed to have promise, but as the beer warmed the smell started to let out some off flavors alongside the pumpkin. The taste was much better, delivering malt, bits of spice, and pumpkin in a smooth way. Hop content is subdued. The mouthfeel is smooth, while drinkability is pretty good too.

watermelonman, Nov 12, 2005
Photo of theboozecruise
3.38/5  rDev -12%

Had this one on tap at the Baton Rouge, LA location.

It had the look of a pumpkin ale, brownish with a hint of orange... not much head but that's to be expected at a restaurant on tap.

This one smells like pumpkin pie... cinnamon, sugary, nutmeg, all the spices you'd associate with the real thing. The taste was more of the same, but a little watered down. Not overpowering at all.

I haven't had too many pumpkin ales, and this one is probably in the middle of the spectrum. Worth a try, but not worth seeking out.

theboozecruise, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of BrewMaster
3.38/5  rDev -12%

Served on tap at BJ's in San Mateo on Nov 6, 2005. The color is ruby to tawny brown with a thin ringed head on top. The aroma is sweet with a holidy spice nose consisting of close and cinnamon. The flavor is full of spices including nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. The malt profile is very thin and more watery than anything. Some light caramel before the faint bready ending. The feel is light to medium bodied. The spices seem to add a bit more texture than this beer could otherwise claim. The beer was very well carbonated from the tap. Overall this was an enjoyable beer but nothing great. It went well with the pizza we were eating but that's about it.

BrewMaster, Nov 21, 2005
Photo of SoCaliC8
4/5  rDev +4.2%

SoCaliC8, Jan 17, 2014
Photo of Onslow
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

quite spicy upfront ... sunset golden orange in colour .. head is average... wonderfully smooth... the nicest pumpkin ale around .. has a delicious little sweetness to it... i really don't like pumpkin beers but this was good... had the day of the flat-tire incident and the day the Dynamo won the MLS cup for the 2nd time in a row!!...

..if you like spiced beers, give this a try!

Onslow, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of MSL94
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

MSL94, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of IceAce
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

Foreword: Let me just say this first...I don't like pumpkins. The only thing I dislike more than the annual Halloween tradition of cutting and scooping four of these orange gourds (for my wife & kids to carve) is the act of choking down a piece of my Mother-in-Law's pie on Thanksgiving Day. That said...here we go.


Appearance: Deep, deep orange topped with two fingers of whipped-cream looking foam. What appears to be an over-abundance of CO² springs forth in a never-ending stream from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma: Remeniscent of the smell of Aunt Rose's kitchen as we arrived on Thanksgiving morning. Although I never ate the pie...the smell was pure heaven.

Taste: No bones about it...we have tuned our taste buds in to the Pumpkin Channel...All Pumpkin, All the Time. Very little spicing and I'm grateful for this omission as it could only detract from the wonderful taste of this seasonal brew.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth with a finish much drier than anticipated. I only wish the real McCoy trasted ½ this good.

Drinkability: Rich...so rich that two pints is one too many...but I certainly can't blame the beer or the brewmaster for that, now can I?


Epilogue: You may be asking yourself, how can a beer with all 4.0 & 4.5 ratings (from this reviewer) deserve a 3.0 in drinkability? Well, no matter how good the first pint may be, it doesn't deserve much better if ½ the second pint goes down the drain. I highly recommend this tasty offering...

IceAce, Nov 04, 2004
Photo of Spineypanda
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%

I have to say that it has been hard for me to find a pumpkin ale that I really enjoyed. I have tried three this season and have enjoyed them, but they just haven't hit the spot.

BJ's Pumpkin Ale has definitely done that, it tastes exactly what I wanted it to taste like, smelled like it, and looked like it too :).

It has a nice orange gold color to it, and smells of apple pie spices. The taste is great! The spices and pumpkin are strong, but not too overwhelming since thats what I look for.

Nice and thick feeling and would be great with thanksgiving dinner.

Spineypanda, Oct 16, 2009
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Pumpkin Ale from BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
86 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.