Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
PumkingPumking

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,831 Reviews
THE BROS
81
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,831
Hads: 6,943
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 17.12%
Wants: 475
Gots: 1,796 | FT: 32
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 08-26-2007

19 Degrees Plato
8.8 Degrees L
2-row Pale Malt
Caramel Malt
Pureed Pumpkin

Kettle Hops: Magnum
Aroma Hops: Sterling
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pumking Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,831 | Hads: 6,943
Photo of JuMa44
1/5  rDev -75.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Terrible overpriced garbage, save your money buy weyerbacher imperial pumpkin or Elysian Nightowl or smuttynose pumpkin instead this stuff is terrible and an insult to pumpkin beers. (182 characters)

Photo of liane8585
1/5  rDev -75.2%

Terrible. I love love love pumpkin beers and this one was recommended to me at a specialty beer store because I told him I like Elysian's NightOwl. This is nothing like that. I would drink NightOwl over this any day or actually I would drink the pumpkin beer from the local craft brewery a few miles from us. This tastes nothing like pumpkin and had such a strong disgusting smell and taste but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. My husband thought it was hazelnut. Whatever it was, it was terrible. (505 characters)

Photo of Jack_Frost79
1/5  rDev -75.2%

I had previously replied to a forum stating that Red Dog was the worst beer I had ever had. I stand corrected. This is awful. The vanilla was overpowering. Words cannot explain how bad this is. It is an embarrassment. I poured most of this beer down the drain and I have never, ever done that. (295 characters)

Photo of kevinv
1.03/5  rDev -74.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I wanted to give this one another try. After unintentionally skipping over this one during the '09 season, I bought into the hype in '10 and mistakenly purchased 8 of these bombers without having tasted it before. 9 times out of 10 it always seems to be the first name out of a beer lovers mouth when discussing pumpkin beers, so it's got to be good....right?

2010 vintage.

A - Pours a clear, bright orange. Only a tiny film of white bubbles. Little to no lacing - spotty at best.

S - Smells like a sweet pumpkin candy. Some cinnamon and vanilla come through, but there's an overwhelming butterscotch scent. Just like I remember from my first experience with this one. Not inviting at all.

T - Revolting artificial and candy-like pumpkin and butterscotch. Seriously unpleasant. If I closed my eyes, I'd imagine that I'm drinking a glass of artificial pumpkin flavoring liquid.

M - Very watery. Lacks any "oomph" or body to it. Moderate carbonation.

D - Completely abhorrent.

This one's going down the drain, again. I'm glad other people like this stuff so that I can easily send out the couple remaining bottles as extras. (1,132 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
1.03/5  rDev -74.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bomber into a glass. Shared by dabecassis. I'm beginning to fear whatever Dabe shares at this point.

A: The clear, brilliant orange of butterscotch and candy corn.

S: Butterscotch and candy corn.

T: Butterscotch, and candy corn.

M: The vapid sweetness of butterscotch and candy corn.

D: No. We had this side by side with an actual GOOD pumpkin ale (from Kern River). The difference was like night and day. This tastes like some cheap, awful, alcoholic candy. Drinking beer from Southern Tier's Diabeetus imprint feels like a battle. And this is another victory for them. (585 characters)

Photo of xare
1.06/5  rDev -73.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Poured as an orange colored liquid with a thin white filmy head - didn't impress me very much, if at all.

Smell was cloyingly sweet - lots of pumpkin spices and some sort of "candy" aroma. Didn't have a good feeling about this one.

Taste was extremely cloyingly sweet - no pumpkin taste, more like a huge ball of sugar with a tiny drop of pumpkin spice on the top was served in liquid form. So many clashing flavors - at one point, it tasted like cotton candy. Began gagging at the taste.

Mouthfeel was awful for this sort of beer. Felt cottony somehow. Just too light and ephemeral - had no body to it. Just a lot of sweetness and nothing else.

Drinkability is obviously low. Five other guys passed on having any more of this beer - and so we had to pour the rest of the bomber down the drain. The bomber was still more than 75% full. That isn't a good sign. (863 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
1.09/5  rDev -73%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

For the record: I AM a Pumpkin Ale fan...

A - Very nice off-white foam head. Brew is delicious clean, crisp golden orange color. Medium viscosity.

S - WHOA! Smells like a cookie.... Lots of sugary cloves. Some overwhelming spice too. The worst smelling Pumpkin Ale I've ever had... Smells like pumpkin puke.

T - Horrible!!! Very rough and not too rounded... Lots of heat hidden by over-powering spice...

M - Slightly too much carbonation. Very bitter too. Lingers in a bad way; it doesn't finish clean.

O - VERY DISAPPOINTING! Up until this brew, I really enjoyed ST... Not too sure I'll be hunting their others, after this one... Drain pour. (650 characters)

Photo of suncrust
1.24/5  rDev -69.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Alright, so I've given this beer a go multiple times over the last 3 years, and I still just don't understand. I can tolerate pumpkin beers, but this one just isn't for me.

22oz bomber poured to a tulip.

A: Flat, dull orangey color. Light, frothy, but thin, almost non-existent head. Colors are promising and reminiscent of autumn leaves.

A: Pie crust with some corn and deep vanilla scents hit my nose. Very off-putting smell. Artificial sugars, cereal, & marshmallow. Butterscotch notes. Popcorn jellybeans? Vanilla frosting? Yuck.

T: Alcohol and popcorn meld with a creamy, and overly rich vanilla. Way too sweet. Condensed milk and sugary overwhelm my tongue like Cap'n Crunch milk and vanilla frosting. Candy corn, buttery thickness dominates the finish. Hard to choke down, strong vanilla, more butter, corn syrup…. Each bottle has always been this same mess, lacking drinkability and spice.

MF: Feels like I'm drinking coconut milk or something. Hard to swallow, buttery and a cloying sweetness.

O: I don't understand how this is considered one of the best pumpkin beers out there. Pretty disgusting, and a drain pour 3 years running. I'm done trying to give this one a chance.

Skip it. (1,203 characters)

Photo of mbo34
1.28/5  rDev -68.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I feel obliged to review this beer because it was such a disappointment. I really can't believe all the good reviews this beer is receiving.
Not much pumpkin to it and a jumbled mess of other flavors. It left an astringency on the back of my throat that I couldn't shake. This has to be one of the most overrated beers ever. (325 characters)

Photo of MasterCraft
1.32/5  rDev -67.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I'm a fan of Southern Tier, and kept hearing great things about Pumking, really wanted to like this one...

Bomber poured into a tulip

A-Low carbonation, modest head, quite a nice shade of orange

S-Pumpkin pie, store bought vanilla frosting, sweet corn, marshmallow. Not a good start.

T-Yikes, way too sweet. Lots of vanilla, more corn, no spice to be found. Reminds me of cake vodka (also a regrettable experience)

M-Not horrible, but hard to appreciate due to the taste. Rather thick

O-Gross. Not sure how I see this come up so often in discussion of "best pumpkin ale". Rarely will I pour a beer down the sink, but I couldn't finish a third of the bomber. Would expect better from Southern Tier. (704 characters)

Photo of mckajd03
1.32/5  rDev -67.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I'm assuming this rating will come out to be one of the lowest of the group, so let me start with a disclaimer: I have loved all other Southern Tier beers, and bought this both b/c it was rated so high and I'm trying to work through all the ST brews. This is the first one that hasn't been excellent.

With that said, this is the worst beer I've had in a while. The only redeeming quality is the appearance. If you've ever eaten a buttered popcorn flavored Jelly Belly, then you now know what to expect in both the nose and the tastejk. And it's not like it's in the background or anything. I can't find any pumpkin in the nose- only butter. There's a slight hint of spice and pumpkin on the back of the palate, but it's crushed by the rancid popcorn taste. I almost gagged. Perhaps I got a bad bottle, but I don't think I'm the only one who wonders where ST went wrong here. (875 characters)

Photo of barneysdad
1.38/5  rDev -65.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I missed my chance to try this last year. After all the hoopla and with much anticipation I scored 2 bottles this week. What a disappointment! Thank goodness I didn't buy an overpriced case of this goo. As pumpkin ales go, this is the worst by far of the dozen or so that I've tried. Looks great, smells sweet, tastes like liquefied caramel corn and not at all like pumpkin. No way this deserves an Excellent rating, in my opinion. If Grandma's pumpkin pie tasted like this, I'd lose my Thanksgiving dinner.

I've had several other Southern Tier brews - all very good. Just adds to the surprising let down. (606 characters)

Photo of VWBuggirl
1.38/5  rDev -65.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Unfortunately, this beer was everything I don't want in a pumpkin beer.

It was sickeningly sweet, overly thick, and tasted like a pumpkin pie instead of a beer brewed with pumpkin. I was worried when I took a sniff and it smelled like dessert time on Thanksgiving... I was not pleased when it tasted like pie and had such a heavy thickness to it either. Give the Dogfish punkin a shot for a great example of the style. (420 characters)

Photo of decimator
1.38/5  rDev -65.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

650ml bottle poured into a pint glass. ABV 8.6%.

A - Poured a clear golden orange with a thin vanishing head. No lacing.

S - Sweet pumpkin. There's something slightly unpleasant in the background that I can't quite pin point.

T - Oh this tastes god awful. Very light sweetness upfront followed by a vile sourness with an even worst medicinal boozy finish.

M - Average carbonation, astringent, dry, slight alcohol burn, the awful aftertaste lingers too long.

O - Drainpour. Just couldn't drink this one. (507 characters)

Photo of EricHeff
1.39/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

My wife and I tried this beer on tap along side another pumpkin ale (we are both big pumpkin beer fans). Unfortunately this beer tasted nothing like a pumpkin beer. Infact it was pretty horrible.
I even questioned if the bartender poured us the right beer until I read some other reviews on here.
It poured a yellow-ish orange color and had basically no head on it. Smelling it side by side with another pumpkin beer gave us the hint before we tried it that there wasn't going to be much "pumpkin" flavor in this. As for the taste, well its hard to describe. It was sugary had a bad bitter after taste and over powering spice that I just cant place. Nutmeg maybe?
Maybe it was a bad batch or something because we could barely finish the beer it was so bad. I will defiantly be avoiding this beer in the future. (812 characters)

Photo of David-Schapira
1.48/5  rDev -63.3%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Every year the ABV drops, they brew more and more and of course the price goes up... Boooo Southern Tier, once great beer is lost in the shuffle with the hundreds of other pumpkin beers (186 characters)

Photo of TheBeerMaster1
1.5/5  rDev -62.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Definitely wasn't feeling it at all. I haven't liked the Pumking for years, but for whatever reason it was actually decent for me last year. I dont know if that means the recipe was different or the bottle conditioning on this one was too young or what. It had a nice caramel malty taste but oh man, the plethora of cinnamon reminded me of that God awful Shipyard brew. I never drain pour, but this almost made me do it. No thanks (430 characters)

Photo of BeerTwigs
1.56/5  rDev -61.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

My wonderful Girlfriend purchased a bomber of the Pumking right at the end of August, I let it sit in the fridge for several weeks as I slowly worked my way into the season with some lighter pumkin ales and oktoberfests.

I finally decided to crack into this Labor day weekend and boy was I disappointed. The appearance is ok, the color is as expected. What really threw me for a loop was the strong aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon. Not only did the smell let me down, the first taste did as well. This may have been the hardest 22oz I have ever fought through. It was terribly sweet and impossible to choke donw. I really expected more for this as I usually love Pumkin Pie... oh well. On to the next brew... (707 characters)

Photo of Rukasu
1.68/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

What a horrendous beer.

Appearance is fine, a nice golden brown, a bit reddish. Solid white head.

Smell is awful. Opening a bottle is akin to walking into a Yankee Candle store in October. The smell is almost artificial it's so strong. Like an overpowering mix of graham cracker, butter popcorn Jelly Belly's and allspice.

If the smell was bad, the taste is only worse. Take everything in the scent notes and add lemon citrus notes plus the potent 8.6% alcohol and you have a recipe for disaster. The taste lingers and lingers. I truly, truly suffered through a bomber of this. My wife had about two sips and nearly gagged.

I've never been a fan of "pumpkin" beers, since there is never any pumpkin/squash taste and only "pie spice", but was told that this was one of the better ones. How wrong my friends were. This just reaffirms my belief that "pumpkin beer" is a complete waste of brewers' time and effort, but it's such a moneymaker that they can't refuse to make it.

Do yourself a favor and steer clear of this abomination of beer. (1,043 characters)

Photo of jdubjacket
1.68/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

I haven't reviewed a beer in months, but felt compelled to post a review about this beer.

I love a good pumpkin ale, since I had my first one in 2002. When ST made it to Georgia, I was stoked about finally being able to get Pumking. Having said that, I have not been as disappointed by a beer than this.

I could tell as soon as I got a whiff of this that it was going to be a disappointment. Smells way too sweet to be pumpkin ale. While some cinnamon is to be expected, the sweetness seemed almost artificial - like candy or heavy syrup. Finished ok...subtle pumpkin flavor, with pie crust with too much brown sugar. Reminded of the overly sweet Creme Brulee.

Couldn't finish about 6 ounces... wound up pouring this down the drain.

I don't know why this beer is rated so high. I think this is a terrible example of pumpkin ale. Shipyard Pumpkin Ale may actually be better than this... (890 characters)

Photo of XsoreXsubjectX
1.7/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Look, I know there are problems in the world bigger than shitty beer, but today, I feel like writing about shitty beer, damned be the bigger picture.

If you're short on time, just read this:

if your one of those people put-off by the thought of a beer that tastes like the soaking milk from a children's sugary breakfast cereal, don't drink it. If you want Cap'n Crunch-flavored beer, this Bud's for you.

For those for time to waste, here's the rest:
There's bad beer, and then there are just noxious flavors, flavors which perturb and revolt, painful flavors, culinary shrapnel. Whatever the holy hell this thing is, it's in the later camp.

Appearance: quite lovely, and promising. Autumnal oranges and browns, a frothy and bulbous off-white head, setting the tone.

Smell: the first sign that something is really, really up. As in a "this is just kind of unnatural" kind of scent. Notes of corn, sugar, malt, cinnamon, maple, nutmeg, and fermentation.

Taste: milk from a bowl of Cap'n Crunch cereal, soaked 20 minutes, plus marshmallow-coated beer-vomit. One of those tastes that never stops being shocking, sip after sip. A pumpkin flavor undergirds the whole operation, but it is trampled and distorted by an embarrassment of sugar and corn. Still, this is the most pumpkin-pie-y of the beers of the Pumpkin Ale set that I've ever tried, but this proves to me that sheer massiveness of taste does not do this genera any favors. Previously, I've had a hard time getting on board the pumpkin ale train because of weakness of flavor, but today, I've experienced the precise opposite, which has indirectly made more desirable the weaker pumpkin ales. I needed to wash this out of my mouth, and decided on toothpaste.

Mouthfeel: quite nice. Chewy, sparkly, full. A nice rip of carbonation between satiny smoothness. Good enough for a great beer, but the taste bars any enjoyment here.

Overall: As I said before, it smacks eerily of the milk used to soak children's breakfast cereal. I must state here that, though I am certifiably a hop-head, I adore sweeter, heavy beers, and I chose this hoping for a little spiced magic. Instead, this is really the worst beer I've tried in recent memory, and I'm surprised at its poor performance considering the excellent reputation of the brewery. It is a brewery which has done me right many times, but I have to say that this is just brutally unpleasant.

Things I would rather consume than this beer:

- alligator semen
- shotglass of Cool Water cologne
- smirnoff ice "green apple crisp" 32oz
- a gallon of Sunny Delight
- a gallon of Orbtiz, the questionably tapioca-infused soft drink
- a full-to-the-brim gallon of bum wine (see: Nighttrain, Cisco, Wild Irish Rose, Boone's Farm, etc)
- a half-cup of olive oil
- 12 PBR's
- mexican drinking water

Oof. (2,810 characters)

Photo of doppelmeup
1.7/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

My excitement in trying this beer is only matched by my disappointment with how it tasted.

I have had many pumpkin ales, but this one really tastes nasty, and has a yuck aroma as well. Here is my review.

A: Starts off nice, with a pretty half inch white head on top of a golden, pumpkin (what else!) color. Almost like a jack-o-lantern in a glass. Unfortunately, that was only good thing about this beer, IMO.

S: It wants to smell like pumpkin pie; but fails. Instead, I get a soggy breakfast cereal- maybe Golden Grahams? What happened to aromas of pumpkin pie spice? The smell is very off-putting, but I've got a bomber so I'll continue.

T: Yuk. Strident bitterness, from the alcohol, maybe? More cheap breakfast cereal. This is possibly the worst pumpkin ale I've ever had, and I've tried most of them. I don't even think I'll make it through one glass, let alone the entire bomber.

M: Decent. Slightly prickly from the carbonation. Warming in the mouth, but that funky cereal remnant aftertaste remains.

D: This is just terrible. A waste of $7. if you really want a nice pumpkin ale, stick with Cottonwood. It is by far the best one out there. (1,153 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
1.7/5  rDev -57.8%

From notes on 10/17/13

I was looking forward to this one. The beer has a lot of flavor, but it has way to much cinnamon. I also taste sweet corn, which is kind of weird. The way people talk it up, I'm slightly disappointed. The longer I drank this the worse it got. Almost to the point of not being able to drink it. It just seemed to taste more and more like sweet corn dipped in a lot of cinnamon. The DOB of the beer was 8/28/13, so it was fairly new. I’m not sure if we just got a bad batch or not, but the 2 of us drinking this would agree this is by far the worse pumpkin beer we've ever had. (601 characters)

Photo of crossovert
1.72/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

650ml bottle. 2011 edition.

It pours a nice orange color but the head is fizzy and dissipates qickly with no lacing.

The smell is terrible. Smells like spice scented artificial vanilla frosting. Ew.

Flavor is sugary. It just isnt great. The pumkin is fine but it is over-spiced and over-sweet. Candy corn mixed with pumpkin pie comes to mind. Hilarious that this is considered the pinnacle of this style. The hops also just really dont work here. (449 characters)

Photo of cmadd
1.72/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Poured a darker pumpkin orange with less than a finger of head and not much lacing.

S: Nutmeg, cinnamon, and butter; Good God, a mess of diacetyl.

T: Although the alcohol is well-hidden the mess continues. There is so much diacetyl and residual sugars that I can't help but imagine this was a disastrous fermentation that they realized could sell as pumpkin ale. I can't handle this. Somewhere in here there might be a few spices, but I can't get to them.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

O: Totally undrinkable. I pride myself in finding something enjoyable in just about every beer, but I found myself unable to finish this. It's not even the cloying sweetness, I can enjoy Choklat from time to time, it's the diacetyl that was truly aversive. I hope for Southern Tier's sake that I had a bad bottle. (816 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,831 ratings.