Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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1,871 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,871
Hads: 7,085
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 33.92%
Wants: 494
Gots: 1,913 | FT: 31
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
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Reviews: 1,871 | Hads: 7,085
Photo of MeowTom
2.05/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Very pretty beer, pours an almost unnaturally clear golden orange. It almost always scares me when I see beers this clear, because that means a lot of filtering has done and some stage and filtering means flavors are being taken out.

S- Pumpkin, earthy, and all the spices that go into a pumpkin pie. It's nice.

T- WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?! Am I really that out of touch with what other people are reviewing on this? It taste like a cheap candy version of a pumpkin pie. I don't think I can finish this. This has to be one of the worst tasting beers I have ever had and for the pumpkin style it does not reflect what I know to be a over all pretty decent style.

M- Medium body, and light on the carbonation. For such a high alcohol content I don't feel it much in the mouthfeel or flavor for that mater.

O- This beer has some nice things going for it, but the most important part of all, that being taste, it failed epically at. This is the first beer I have dumped and will forever remember how bad it was.

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Photo of stonermouse
2.06/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured into a Sam Adams glass (even though the label actually has instructions on appropriate glassware).

Pours a fairly mundane amber color. I tried to read a little orange into the color (it is a pumpkin beer, after all), but not much there. The head was decent, but fizzled out quickly.

Smell led me to believe this was going to be a fairly mild seasonal brew. Some spiciness to it. Certainly smelled like autumn.

Now, I sip. My thought process as I was taking the first swig went something like this: "Hmm, pretty clean, a little sweet, a little spic...wait, what the hell?" The flavor on the back of the palette was just bizarre. Every sip starts out nice and mellow, and then you're walloped with a flavor like you just took a huge chomp out of a Vanilla/Nutmeg/Cinnamon Yankee Candle. The flavors tasted completely unnatural, almost chemical.

Each sip leaves a tingly, spiced flavor in the back of your throat, but it thankfully goes away quickly.

I wanted to like this so badly. I wanted to fall in love with a fall beer that was reminiscent of the smells and flavors of the season. This sucker is reminiscent of autumn, only if fall was fabricated by Hallmark. Nothing natural about it. It should come with silver glitter floating inside to complete the effect. Poured about 6 bucks of beer down the drain, after sharing with three other people.

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Photo of dopperpod
2.08/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

This is the first review I have written on here after being a member for a bit over a year. I have indulged quite a few beers that were listed here, as well as the 2008 and 2009 batches of Pumking. I thought they were excellent, and savored every drop.

I don't need colorful adjectives or descriptive words to say that the 2010 vintage is absolute crap compared to what Southern Tier previously put out. Whatever they changed was for the worst. The only redeeming fact is that the ABV has increased, but that doesn't mean anything if you can't enjoy your beer.

In my excitement for this year's Pumking, and in an effort to reduce the chances of my local distributor running out of Pumking early like they did last year, I purchased two cases. I paid $190 and all I got was this lousy remembrance of a good beer.

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Photo of beals
2.1/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Let me establish that:
1) I enjoy malty beers
2) I enjoy spiced ales, including many pumpkin ales
3) I love pumpkin pie
4) I'm a huge fan of Southern Tier.

Overall: I poured this beer out. Yes, you read that correctly. I hadn't poured out a craft beer in... honestly, I can't recall when. I truly gave this beer several chances at different temperatures to redeem itself, but in the end, I couldn't do it.

Appearance: Good-looking beer, dark in color, like a porter. Thin dark-tan head.

Smell: My fear was that the pumpkin spice would be intense in

Taste: It all started out so well. Smooth but spicy, warming alcohol, and then--WHAM!--a wall of something both intense and unpalatable. There's something pumpkin-y/squashy in there, which is good, but the overwhelming taste is of biscuit (pie crust?) soaked for a few days in warm water. I let it sit and tried several times, but with no change, I finally decided I couldn't punish myself further by choking it down. I'm hoping that I just got a bad batch (sounds like @XsoreXsubjectX might have, as well).

Mouthfeel: Malt body is full, but not overly chewy. Proper level of carbonation for an imperial-style beer.

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Photo of BigMike
2.14/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

So I originally reviewed PumKing October 2009. It was my first pumpkin beer and I really really liked it. In fact I gave it a score of an A (4.25). But something strange happed this year. I bought a bottle and tonight excidedly cracked it open only to find a beer nearly undrinkable. Unable to identify the flavors and aromas I was experiencing I looked to some other ba reviews until someone hit the nail on the head. Jelly Belly buttered popcorn jelly bean. That's it. No pumpkin anywhere. A tiny tiny amount of some cinnamon and nutmeg but the butter flavor dominates in a terrible way.
How can a beer change so much in from year to year? Is it my tastebuds? Whatever it is I don't think I can finish this bottle. This is a major disappointment.

****Original review****

From a bomber into a duvel tulip.

Pours a golden orange with rust colored highlights. A hard pour produced a good inch and a half of thin lacey white head.

Smell WOW!! This is one of the best smelling beers ever. Pumpkin,nutmeg,cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar. Amazing aroma. Close your eyes and you are having pumpkin pie on thanksgiving.

Taste is awesome. This is my first pumpkin beer and so far i like the style a lot. Flavor is straight up pumpkin pie. Cinnamon, nutmeg brown sugar.

Smooth creamy luscious mouthfeel. Very light and fresh. Light on the carbonation.

Drinkability is off the charts. The 9% abv. is next to invisible.
As my first Pumpkin Ale this one is a winner.

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Photo of nsmartell
2.15/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Enjoyed from the comfort of my own living room. From a 650 ml bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice orange/copper with a thin head.

Smell: Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! You can really smell the spice. You will really enjoy the smell if you like pumpkin pie.

Taste: Very spicy. I was 50-50 on pumpkin beers, but this is just too spicy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but too much aftertaste.

Drinkability: Just too spicy for me.

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Photo of Joerwat
2.16/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Sadly I was not impressed, despite all of the good recommendations. Strong caramel maltiness on the nose, a bit of pumpkin, and the usual accouterments of spices: nutmeg, ginger cinnamon, etc; overly sweet. I got more spices on my tongue when I took some sips, the caramel malt and the pumpkin don't go well together, and I think the hops add a strange off note. The pumpkin finishes quickly, leaving the spices and that sickly sweet taste I got so strongly on the nose, and the odd hop off taste.

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Photo of buzzedup
2.2/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

What did they do to my pumking?..

I know our pallets change over time but this is not the taste remember at all.
I am really upset that I grabbed a case and so happy excited and wow no need to buy bombers this year it comes in 12 oz bottles for a change.

I even cracked one open at a party I had at the house this weekend and was so excited to have friends try this beer as they were not I to the style at all but I promised this was something different. Wellll it was not and this years batch taste like a spice mess like all the other pumkin beers I have tried in the past. No more gram cracker crust backbone flavor that I fell in love with.i am so confused why southern tier would change such a staple of a classic seasons oral beer so disappointed

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Photo of Nesued
2.21/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

650ml bottle.

Appearance - Golden in color, medium to light carbonation, clear. Moderate head that resolves to a thin ring.

Smell - Spicey "Fall/pumkin pie" aroma. Lots of nose but a medicinal, almost "fake" nose as well. Seems to be trying to be too much over the top. Looses a bit at the end.

Taste - Wow, sweet, sweet, and sweet. Not from malt body, more from just candi sugar. Way out of balance. Tasted better as it warmed.

Mouthfeel - Thin and lacking. At least for me. I've had other fall offerings in this style that were more balanced.

Drinkability - I've had several Southern Tier offerings and for my taste, they seem way out of balance. Far too sweet is this one. I'm not sure how I can use this beer. Dessert? After-dinner? Hard to find a place, other than as a novelty. Needs more balance, in my opinion.

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Photo of badun
2.22/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

The short version: This beer was so bad that I poured over half of it down the drain. And I'm so cheap that I almost never do that!

The longer version: I expected something similar to Dogfish Head's Punkin, but this most closely resembled an absolutely horrid Michelob vanilla oak that I tried last year. All I tasted in the Pumkin was a very chemical vanilla taste. Maybe a touch of spice and some alcohol, but every sip was overwhelmed by the vanilla. And I love vanilla! But not in this beer. I very rarely regret a beer purchase, but this impulse buy was literally money down the drain.

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Photo of vikingmike
2.24/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I really, really wanted to like this beer. Since I first joined Beeradvocate, this has been high on my "need to try" list. I'm usually a huge fan of the bigger beers Southern Tier has to offer, and the reviews for this one were enticing ("Like biting into a pumpkin pie", "thanksgiving in a glass", etc).

I know you're supposed to rate a beer in line with its style, but since this is the first "imperial pumpkin ale" I've had, I have no precedent for it. I predict this review will be my biggest deviation from the average score of a beer, but I'm being completely honest with it.

(Drank out of Duvel Tulip)

Appearance: Surprisingly light and pale. I expected more of a rich, copper colour. A very thin head completely dissipated within minutes

Smell: Absolutely nauseating. Like being trapped in a compact car with 100 Vanilla air fresheners and 50 "Autumn baking scents" air fresheners (Not high quality air fresheners you'd buy at a quaint boutique, I'm talking air fresheners manufactured in a Bangladeshi sweatshop). No pumpkin whatsoever. There is nothing....literally NOTHING natural about this aroma.

Taste: It's almost like there is a hint of pumpkin trying to express itself here, but it's being completely overpowered by the permeating stench described above, almost like a timid, meek guy trying to have his voice heard at a Jersey Shore-esque house party. Two seconds post-swallow there are some noticeable hops, which offer a welcome but brief reprieve from the olfactory assault.

Mouthfeel: Thin and light. The fact that it isn't thicker makes the beer seem that much more artificial.

Drinkability: I'm a cheap bastard and will never drain pour a beer. Sometimes I will use a bad beer for cooking, but for the life of me I cannot think of a dish that this vile beer would lend itself to. It took me 4 hours to finish this. I wanted to share it with my girlfriend, who was a big fan of Creme Brulee and Choklat, but after one sip she gagged and pushed the bottle back to me.

I love Southern Tier, I love most of their offerings, and I love pumpkin beers, but this beer is flat out awful.

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Photo of brewpig
2.26/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

first let me say that i LOVE hop forward beers and stoudts.

that being said, and given the time of year and the pretty decent reviews on this beer, i thought i would give it a try w/no reservations.

now i dont know if its just me or if i need to become more acquainted w/'flavored' beers but the was not a pleseant experience. the overwhelming pumpkin and spice made this un-drinkable for me...i wanted to like this beer before i ever tasted it but could not even finish the 12 oz glass.

i will say that the young lady who was sitting next to me loved it and proceeded to finish the entire bottle.

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Photo of scootpolute
2.27/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

P: 22 + ozs bomber bottle poured into a tulip glass...

A: Rich, dark orange in color with a creamy white head; ample residual lacing, too.

S: Smells of sweet, squashy pumpkin pie with powdery and pronounced savory spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, and notes of vanilla, custard and grainy pie crust.

T: Pumpkin and pronounced seasonal spices...BUT...vomit-like unbalance...not very good at all...Hops take a back seat, but provide some spice and underlying bitterness. Strong spicy character (nutmeg?) dominates and embeds itself in the palate, and lingers well into and past the finish. Too overwhelming and unbalanced...

M: Medium balance, OK carbination...

This could be a great Pumpkin Ale, if they put a leash on the spices and cleaned up the finish. Just too much, it was hard to finish :~(

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.3/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours an amber/orange color with a little over a finger of head in my 25 oz. snifter. Smell is mainly spices and pumpkin pie. Upon first sip I feel like I am chewing on a ball of nutmeg. This is very unique and unfortunately rather gross for my palate. I suppose if it was reviewed to style this would be a high score, but in the grand scheme of things it is just not a drinkable beer. There is an extremely unpleasant aftertaste that almost made me want to vomit....it didn't taste that bad actually going down though, just in the aftertaste. I had to drain pour this, it is not for me.

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Photo of jpiper
2.3/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

On tap at Buckeye Beer Engine. I'm not much of a fan of pumpkin ales, but at least they're generally drinkable. This one lacked balance, in my book. Too much malty sweetness with not enough backbone for my tastes Aroma was nice, though. This was a 3-4 sipper. Couldn't make it through the rest of the pour.

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Photo of amphion1065
2.3/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottling date appears to be "09/06/11." Reviewed from notes.

Pours a fairly clear, orange shade of gold. A half-finger white head recedes very quickly. Moderate lacing.

The aroma is dominated by a bready, biscuit malt quality. I suppose it roughly approximates a pie crust, but there's enough residual sweetness to balance those aromas. Some cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg. I can perceive a bit of vanilla in the mix. Actual pumpkin is noticeably absent, but that's not totally surprising.

Like the aroma, the taste is largely one of bread. Just straight biscuit malt, slightly bitter and mineral. Unlike last year's version, I can definitely detect some alcohol. Caramel and some spices, mostly nutmeg. Some soapy astringency in the back end. The worst part, though, is the extreme buttery character throughout the taste. There are actually some very interesting, floral components at work here, but that butter totally ruins it.

Mouthfeel is on the overcarbonated side, and on the thin side. Again, compared to last year's version this is sorely lacking.

It may be evident from my review, but I really enjoyed 2010 Pumking. Though I suppose my palate may have changed in the intervening months, this year's batch is really not a very enjoyable beer to drink. The tantalizing mixture of sweetness and spices that defined past vintages is totally lost here. A big disappointment for me.

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Photo of SMADMS
2.32/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had my first bottle of this the other night and what a disappointment. I really enjoy most ST offerings

A-- nice amber/copper color

S-- very surprising NUTTY aroma. slight sweetness of the pumpkin pie spices but the nuttiness overwhelms.

T-- tastes like it smells very nutty. Slight sweetness from the spices.

M/D - fairly clean mouthfeel but the nut is still there till the end. Had to try this one once as I do enjoy ST and havent been able to get this one in the past. Wont pick it up again

Really disappointed wanted to like this one. I really enjoy pumpkin beers at this time of year .

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Photo of beerswamie
2.32/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Have been wanting to try this after seeing that it was one of the top pumpkin brews, it finally made it to the shelves in my area so I immediately picked up a bomber.

On opening I took a whiff and was kind of put off, it did not smell pumpkin pieish to me.

It poured a beautiful golden orange with a nice head that quickly dissipated.

On my first taste I was like wow there is something different about this compared to all the pumkin ales i have had, I can't place it but this stuff left a very funky after taste in my mouth. Truthfully I struggled to finish the bottle.

In ending i don't know where the hype comes from on this stuff but Schlafly's Imperial Pumpkin Ale blows this stuff away.

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Photo of phichifiji00
2.32/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Golden/Amber/Pumpkin color, pours minimal white head that quickly fades. No lacing.

Smell: Smells like the Hershey's Pumpkin Kisses, malty, none of the typical pumpkin pie spices are present.

Taste: Exactly like it smells, just like Hershey's pumpkin kisses without any chocolate. No pumpkin pie spices at all. Very buttery. Very disappointing considering all the hype.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, good carbonation, creamy, buttery.

Overall: Very disappointing. Officially the worst pumpkin beer I've ever had. Even if I weren't expecting pumpkin pie spices, still a very disappointing beer.

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Photo of belzo35
2.33/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Very orange appearance with not much head and a little white lacing

S - Smells like pumpkin pie crust, can definitely smell the caramel malts, and some cinnamon vanilla, and alcohol... the smell was decent at first then it became almost sickening later on

T - Caramel Malts, again with the pie crust, somewhat bitter for some reason, the alcohol was kind of the elephant in the room, and there was a little vanilla on the finish

M - Nicely carbonated and an average mouthfeel

D - Honestly to me it wasn't very drinkable

I am glad i split it with a friend it would've been hard to finish... I felt like I was drinking on my mother's favorite Yankee candle... though I can see why people may like this beer and find it interesting I'm much happier with Akron's Pumpkin Ales at my disposal

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Photo of Tilley4
2.33/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Finally... I get to try the great Pumking....

Poured into a Schlafly tulip...

A burnt orange pour with a slow forming but persistent head...

Graham cracker crust aromas with a spicy cinnamon or nutmeg aroma present as well... Hmmm... Something about this one misses the mark... My favorite is Schlaflys offering and this isn't even in the same ballpark... Perhaps its the lack of pumpkin pie character that others seems to be raving about.. I'm not getting that here... Sorta pumpkin like I guess but not like I was hoping...

Man, I'm on a roll for off kilter brews tonight... This is wacky... Like chewing a cinnamon stick while sucking on a bitter aspirin... No sweet maltiness... No warm autumn spices... No pumpkin pie here...

Another drain pour for me... Bitterly disappointed here... Waited to try this for years... Won't be a second one if this is what I can expect...

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Photo of stubens
2.34/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Let me preface this with the fact that I did not really enjoy this beer at all, but I'm probably not their target drinker.

I had this beer on-tap.

A: The beer was a beautiful golden orange color.

S: You can smell the pumpkin, spices and sweetness from the beer emanating from the glass as you raise it to your nose.

T: The sweetness just punched me in the face as I sipped it. There was more pumpkin coming through than the spices you normally identify with pumpkin pie. It was unbalanced and not very enjoyable for me.

M: Medium bodied beer.

O: I didn't enjoy this beer at all. The pumpkin and the sweetness were up front and center with this beer, which is obviously what they were shooting for. I enjoy many fruit beers, but the pumpkin was just so overpowering for me that it turned me off.

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Photo of tayner
2.35/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle

pours a clear, crisp, clean copper color with a white head that was fairly stickly, lots of carbonation bubbles.

smell is odd, and for me not in a good way. it has a strange wet sock and dirty leather shoe smell. I can smell pumpkin as well, a slick, raw, rotten pumpkin smell, not at all pleasing and it really turns me off. where is the cinnamon, nutmeg? nope, just raw, rotten pumpkin and wet socks.

taste follows smell, slick, rotten raw pumpkin. after swallowing i can feel the heat/warmth from the 9%, but it is only an afterthought. Did they even cook the pumpkin first? did someone forget to add the spices? this was not at all pleasant for me.

Mouthfeel is fine, good level of carbonation, light but not watery feeling.

I cant give this a good drinkability... although the alcohol is well hidden, and the carbonation is fine, but after about 6 ounces of TRYING to like it I had to pour the rest, my gag reflex got the best of me on this one... now i need to go brush my teeth, or wash the flavor away with a really hoppy IPA.

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Photo of mactrail
2.35/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Such a wierd nose. There is a powerful aroma of candy, I'm thinking Kandy Korn, which I find totally revolting. But hey, it's Halloween.

Lots of sticky malt. The hops seem wildly inappropriate. A harsh bitterness on top of a sugary, sweet spice base. Not pleasing contrasts like a good sweet and sour duck. I can only think of pumpkin pie made with aspartame-- the artificial sweetner that gave Tab that nice bitter taste. Here it ain't nice.

This is my second tasting and it only gets worse. My apologies to those who liked it. I give Southern Tier credit for listing ingredients-- very good for educating us drinkers-- I mean consumers.

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Photo of innersanctum
2.36/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Ever have a piece of cake where the cake is great, but the icing is so sweet and overpowering that it ruins the cake? Of course you have, and this was precisely my reaction to Pumking.

Appearance is a nice golden brown ale with some head, and the smell really is exceptional because it transcends a spicy pumpkin pie. In fact the smell was so impressive that I never thought that beer could be used as such a transformer to convey an aroma. However, if you're looking to smell something that resembles 'beer' then you'll need to find a different beverage.

But that taste, wow, it can be broken into two distinct parts. First, there is a hoppy IPA, with citrus and a dry mouthfeel. But the IPA is quickly overwhelmed by a very heavy sweet and spicey pumpkin finish. If you'd like to drink your desert on Thanksgiving then I'd highly recommend Pumking.

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Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,871 ratings.