Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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1,811 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,811
Hads: 6,861
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 8.68%
Wants: 459
Gots: 1,683 | 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
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Reviews: 1,811 | Hads: 6,861
Photo of Adamdc
2.42/5  rDev -40%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

After reading all the great reviews of this beer I was looking forward to trying it. Well...it was a bit of a letdown for me. This beer poured beautifully but from then on it was a little too 'over-the-top' for me. In both the aroma and the taste, the spices were way too strong. I wasn't sure if I was having a beer or drinking some kind of pumpkin pie smoothie. The cinnamon and the allspice and the clove were just so overpowering that, despite it's $9 price tag, I had to make it a drain pour. (497 characters)

Photo of Popsinc
2.43/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was really looking forward to this one but I found myself very disappointed. Looks fine but the smell is off. Why is the nose giving me hints of sweet corn on my pumpkin beer? It's just not right.

The taste was artificial and seemed sweetened with something that I couldn't put my finger on. Very unpleasant for my palate. I found the finish drying and chalky and I was left with a sharp, off taste at the back of my mouth. One glass was more than enough.

My favorite previous to Pumking was St. Ambroise Pumkin Ale and in a roundabout way, Pumking has given me a new appreciation for the St. Ambroise version which has nice nutmeg & cinnamon notes and a subtle hint of pumpkin.

Not was I was expecting. I doubt I'll have another. (735 characters)

Photo of emihole
2.45/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

I love pumpkin ales and look forward to the season every year but this tasted like I was drinking pumpkin potpourri extract. I couldn't even get halfway through the bottle and poured the rest down the drain, which I have a very hard time doing. I was majorly disappointed. (272 characters)

Photo of NEdward
2.45/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

A: orange, slightly hazy

S: a pumpkin pie

T: a pumpkin pie and a nondescript beer

M: carbonated, unrestrained granulated sweetness, greasy finish

O: I don't understand why people look forward to the novelty of drinking the simulacrum of a seasonal dish rather than eating the real thing. I suspect having 9 months to forget how regrettable it actually is has something to do with it, but also the willingness of folks to buy into the idea of a beer representing picturesque pumpkin pickings and redolent autumnal vistas that it can't possibly deliver on shouldn't be discounted either. (590 characters)

Photo of steelerguy
2.46/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Light gold color, much like a pale ale. Nice head that fades entirely too quickly to just a thin covering, but does leave some nice lacing.

S - The spice is a bit overwhelming on the nose, lots of nutmeg, like you think you have a glass of eggnog with too much nutmeg on top in front of you.

T - The smell translates right into the taste but is even stronger and completely overwhelming. There is actually a bit of pumpkin taste which is nice, but the nutmeg and tastes like vanilla just completely kill your pallet. Doesn't even taste like beer. This is a great example on how to NOT do a pumpkin beer. It should be subtle, not hit you over the head.

M - A little thin for a pumpkin ale, but pretty good.

D - Not really there, this is a heavy handed beer that beats you over the head to let you know it is a pumpkin beer. (830 characters)

Photo of jasonjlewis
2.47/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark orange color with little head and retention. However the orange is pumpkin orange and the color is awesome.

The nose is like pumpkin pie. I smell allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, pumkin, and vanilla extract. I like the intensity of the smell, but I'd like less vanilla extract.

I can appreciate the pumkin spice in the beer. But there are two major problems, too much spice (mainly vanilla extract) and I find too much hop balance as I'm getting a somewhat lingering citrusy bitterness. The hop complaint isn't a super huge complaint, but still valid. I aslo feel that the pumpkin flavoring of the beer just isn't very good.

This beer has a somewhat sticky mouthfeel. I'd like a bigger malt body to go with the pumpkin spice.

Somehow, this beer just doesn't do it for me. THere is too much vanilla extract and the spices don't mend well for me.

I really was looking forward to this beer and I thank seanpacheffddefa (sp?) for the sample. (950 characters)

Photo of thecarster1
2.48/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

a- bottle poured into a pint, two fingers worth of head, orange amber coloring.

s- pumpkin pie, very strong spice, a bit of vanilla.

t- spicy, straight pumpkin pie candle - not in a wonderful way, it's a too much. it's just like i'm drinking a candle.

m- medium bodied.

d- i can't explain how disappointed i am that i didn't like this. i waited forever to try this and gotta say that i wasn't a fan at all. i just couldn't shake the sense that i was drinking a candle. sad. (477 characters)

Photo of JDV
2.48/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bonus bottle from my want list courtesy of demitriustown. Thanks!
Pours clear and light orange with a huge white head. Smell is big, rich and actual meaty pumpkin like more so than the actual spices which are present but in milder doses than usual. Taste and body are both dull and odd to me. The alcohol is hidden pretty well, but I was not a fan of this beer at all, and am coming to find I don't care for much of anything this brewer makes. Obviously many love it, but I have many other pumpkin beers I prefer. (513 characters)

Photo of htomsirveaux
2.48/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle tried 24 Nov 2008.

Poured in shaker pint glass. Small tight yellow white head. Medium carbonation. Pumpkin orange color. Smells like pumpkin ice cream and pie crust. Starts with some pumpkin flavor, lots of buttered popcorn, nutmeg. Quite sweet, caramel. Flavor combination is not very appealing. Slight bitterness in aftertaste. Alcohol is warming in the finish. Med light body.

Not very good, even for a pumpkin beer. Would not get this again. (461 characters)

Photo of boogyman
2.49/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Pours a nice orange color with a finger of head that goes away leaving bubbles on the edges of the liquid.

S- Cinnamon nutmeg and pumpkin is mostly what I get on the nose. Smells very sweet, almost too much so.

T- Tastes of pure pumpkin and the spices take over the palate. Unlike other pumpkin beers this one has a lot less beer taste and is a lot more pungent on the spices like sweet cinnamon and pumpkin. I am starting to not like the super sickly sweet cinnamon taste of this beer. It just is too much pumpkin

M- I feel like I could be chewing this like it was actually pumpkin pie. Goes down fairly smooth carbonation is fairly subtle.

D- I only want one of these and I don't think I will be getting another. It is just too strong on the spices and sweetness. If you like sweet pumpkin pie, you will love this beer. If you like ale in its traditional fashion, you probably wont like this very much. Go get one and try it and decide for yourself. (958 characters)

Photo of MaltyGoodness
2.49/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

22oz. bottle - the final fall seasonal left in the fridge

Pours a clear orange-amber with a dense white head that thins. Nice lacing around the glass.

Aroma is quite amazing - it smells like a fresh baked pumpkin bread or cookies. Has a really rich spiced bready smell with a nice blend of spices. I can just sit and smell this thing all night.

It tastes like it smells, except that it seems about 10 times as intense. It does have a fresh baked pumpkin bread taste, but the loaf weighs about 50 pounds and smashes your teeth in. The first taste is nice, and then this sucker becomes instantly cloying. Too sweet and just way too much in general. Sharp, spicy aftertaste.

Full body, plenty of CO2.

After a few discriminating sips, this sucker found the bottom of the drain. What started out as an olfactory delight, turned out to be the most extreme example of what I generally dislike about most pumpkin beers. (916 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
2.49/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Is there a better day of the year for pumpkin ales than Halloween? If so, I can't think of it. 2011 batch, poured into a tulip.

Pour a medium orange color with a slight hint of copper. Clear and clean. One-finger white head fades fast, leaving a few little dabs of lacing. Only a few small bubbles rising slowly up through the beer.

Smells much more of woody spices and pie crust than pumpkin. I actually don't pick up any pumpkin in the smell, which is discouraging. Heaps of nutmeg, some other spices, and an odd toffee-like sweetness. Not my favorite. Where's the pumpkin?

Taste really isn't much better. There's some pumpkin, but it tastes raw and tight rather than rich and smooth. A strange bitter note needles through. The nutmeggy spice is there again, in abundance. The whole feels rather unbalanced. I don't know how much of this I can drink.

Mouthfeel is okay. Pretty thin, moderate carbonation. Finish is long. Meh.

One of the worse pumpkin beers I've had. Not much pumpkin flavor at all, and what's there isn't great. More like a spiced pie crust beer. Weird and not all that good. Unlikely I'll finish this bomber. I find it surprising that's it's rated so highly by so many people. (1,201 characters)

Photo of TheHammer
2.49/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Alright Souther Tier, here is your 2nd chance.

Appearance: Poured with a thumb of head that didn't retain to well, but it did leave a little bit of lace behind. The body is a mix between lager yellow and pumpkin orange, but it tends a bit more towards the yellow.

Smell: Abundant pumpkin smell, with plenty of spice. Smells like the sweetest pumpkin pie you can find right out of the oven. The pumpkin, done well however there doesn't seem to be much beer being revealed.

Taste: Oh god why?! Starts with a lightly spiced bread taste that immediately turns into an awful concoction of malt, hops, pumpkin, spice, sugar and drain water that pauses for a brief moment to give one last kick of the same, save only earthy hops are a bit more dominant.

Mouthfeel: Man, this stuff seems to curdle in your mouth, as it leaves your mouth feeling like it's covered in butter gone bad, which isn't helped by the awful aftertaste of which no one flavor wants to step up to the plate, making it an awful mess. Odd transistorizing, and it went flat pretty quick. I honestly can't think of anything redeeming to say.

Drinkability: Yeah...getting this stuff down is a struggle, and while it's light bodied and sits down well, I wouldn't even want to drink this seasonally. It got drain poured at the 3/4 done mark.

Final Thoughts: Well, after two lackluster brews, southern tier continues to disappoint me. It's a shame too, as it started out so nicely. Now one thing I did notice is this one seems to be 7.9% so maybe I got last year's batch. I doubt it, but I wouldn't put it past the LCBO. Either way, this one is a pass, the so called best pumpkin ale, I did not find to be even remotely nice once it touched my lips. One more strike and Southern Tier strikes out for me. (1,765 characters)

Photo of SWMeyer4141
2.5/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Been seeing alot of Threads lately talking about Pumkin Ales, Marzens, and Octoberfest beers. All that talks made me want to have one. I pulled out and chilled a 2010 Pumpking.

Poured into a claret.

Appearance-Dark orange body with some haze. The head barely even got to a centimeter. Light head around the outside of the glass that dissipated immediately. Big carbonation bubbles on the outside of the glass. Decent lacing remains.

Smell-Pumpkin Pie filling. Whenever you make a pumpkin pie and use the canned pie mix and you open the can is the same aroma you get with this beer. Some booze is mixed in as well.

Taste-Bready malts with alot of clove, pepper and pumpkin spices. Some light hops. Alcohol is REALLY coming through and has that burn on the way down. Kind of messy in my opinion. The components are there, but not really too my liking.

Mouthfeel-Medium bodied, kind of watery. Some alcohol burn. Carbonation is high.

Overall-Something might be wrong here. I've heard good things about this beer, and was looking forward to it, but it was just messy. Is it not good because it's a year old? did I get a bad bottle? Not sure, but I don't think I can finish this bomber. Very dissipointed. (1,207 characters)

Photo of prg1976
2.53/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear deep amber color. Not much head. No lacing.

Smells sugary sweet like a batch of cookies. Not much spice, not even much pumpkin smell.

Tastes just like it smells, like a pumpkin cookie dipped in milk. There's a creamy taste to go with the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is strange. The sweetness and the creamy/buttery flavor are a bit overpowering.

I'm not going to be able to drink the whole 22. It's way too sugary sweet.

There are way better pumpkin beers out there. This one is like a candy bar that happens to have 9% abv. (541 characters)

Photo of Givemebeer
2.53/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Bottle poured into my snifter.

A: a light coppery orange not much head retention or lacing

S: the smell is amazing, overwhelming smell of spices and pumpkin

T: spices, pumpkin, and buttery

M: medium bodied

O: doesn't live up to the hype to me. I like my pumpkin beers meatier and not quite as sweet. This is very good though and makes for a wonderful dessert beer. (369 characters)

Photo of travisnd
2.53/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I have to say I was a bit disappointed after reading all the hype of this pumpkin ale. I bought 3 bottles and have 2 left but the best way I could describe this beer is that it was like drinking liquid potpourri. The beer did pour nice and had a pumpkin smell. At first I could taste pumpkin pie but once the beer warmed up, the taste went south. Im interested to see if the other 2 bottles I have react the same. (413 characters)

Photo of jjanega08
2.54/5  rDev -37%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A= pours a nice amber orange color with a nice two finger head. Really creamy looking and rocky looking. Not bad.
S= really sort of gross pumkin smell not impressed with the smell at all. Sort of powdery smelling if that makes any sense. There's some all spice in and vanilla chia sort of odors.
T= really sort of punkin pie like. Interesting but not bad. Really sort of average. Its got that odd sort of chia taste as well. Not that into it but its not that bad either. Really mediocre. I'm sure ill get sick of it soon though.
M= average to gross. Sort of feels like water.
D= I'm already getting sick of it after about halfway through. Not that drinkable. Let me down. (671 characters)

Photo of TheCondor
2.55/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I was really excited about this beer, so much so that I drove it all the way down to Arkansas with me so I could take it to a friends house who isn't really a beer person. I wanted to give him something unique...little did I know how unique this beer would actually be. Poured from the bottle into two different pint glasses.

Appearance - Looks fine, pours a nice orange/amber color with a decent head that sticks around for some time and leaves a little lacing. Not too bad of an appearance, certaily fits the unique profile of this style.

Smell - Pumpkins, spices, cloves, and a bit of a buttery scent. Pretty tasty

Taste - Here's where the beer took a remarkable turn downward. Tasted like chemically-treated pumpkins and bitter metallic. It was absolutely awful. There was a hint of pumpkin in there, but was overpowered by artificial sweetness and some sort of metallic funk.

Mouthfeel - The metallic/chemcial nastiness lingers long after you take the drink. Terrible.

Overall - Who knows, maybe I got a bad bottle. I don't think so, I bought this at a very reputable joint and drank it well before the expiration date. Not exposed to high temps, did not get cold and hot multiple times. I don't know. But this was one of the worst beers I have ever had the displeasure of drinking. My buddy and I both drain poured most of our glasses, which I do not do very often. I'll never buy it again, I would like to try it again to make sure I didn't get a bad bottle though, (1,477 characters)

Photo of Tomdee74
2.58/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

i have tried a few of these this year and some i think have been better than others but overall i think it stinx this year... last year i went crazy over pumking... this year i thought maybe a bad bottle but i've had more and i've come to the conclusion that this beer basically stinks this year... seems to be way overrated and too pricey.. did my palate really change that much or is it different this year... and why am i reading such glorious reviews of this???

Forget the ASTMD really... last year was a huge smell of pumpkin pie.. great buttery sweet taste.. a real treat.. this year i've drainpoured it a couple of times after a couple of sips... i was so heartbroken this year i didn't want to stop trying it after the first couple of disasters... but now it's been too many and i guess i have to let go... all the magic is gone, the great pumking is just a shadow of a memory!! : ( (891 characters)

Photo of BDLbrewster
2.59/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2009 Pours a bright orange amber color with a medium head and clumpy lacing as the head fades.

The nose is full of nutmeg and canned pumpkin pie filling. There is a moderate amount of alcohol and a heavy cream smell there as well.

The taste is full of fresh pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and booze. Sweet pumpkin, spicy nutmeg and allspice. Cloying pumpkin, the malts never gets a chance here. It's almost like grandma spilled her vodka and tonic on some pumpkin pie... But in an almost good way.

Heavy carbonation, sugary and sticky. Heavy side of medium bodied and wet in the mouth.

Overall, this will be a hard one to finish, I have had several and usually mix with Boulevard Wheat to thin out the cloying flavors. OK, but not as good as last year. (758 characters)

Photo of theBubba
2.61/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a nice rich amber with a head that went south in about 10 seconds.

Smelled GREAT in the glass (but Target or Walmarts holiday candles can smell great too.)

The Pumking smells very good but is over hopped and over spiced for my taste, and ends with a kind of cloyingly bitter sweet sensation in the mouth as you get further into the 22 oz. bottle. It's more a novelty then a serious beer. One was more than enough. (422 characters)

Photo of NeuroticNectar
2.64/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The first time I had this beer was on a chilly October night in 2008. Clear skies, leaves crunching underfoot and a crackling fire surrounded by good friends. What should have been the perfect atmosphere for a Pumpkin Ale.

I hated it.

At the urging of a few friends (who spend the entire fall scouring store shelves, stockpiling this beer) I gave it another try.

The color and aroma were immediately pleasing, but I was concerned with the quick dispersal of the head and lack of quality lacing.

The flavor, just as it was three years ago, is nearly unpalatable. It is almost as if they added pound after pound after pound of candy corn and Cinnabon into the fermenter. The sweetness is overbearing. It actually made me nauseous.

The mouth feel is unappealing and the moldy-cinnamon-bread aftertaste lingers for an eternity. It lacks a cleanliness to the finish and tastes disturbingly home-brew-ish. (No offense to the home brewer, as I am one!)

The rest will either be dumped or used for some kind of cooking. Maybe a brine? (1,036 characters)

Photo of MetalHopHead6
2.65/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Southern Tier Pumking poured light orangy amber with a fleeting two-finger head. It left a crystal clear glass with no lace. The color was too light for an autumn ale.

The best autumn/pumpkin ales are ales first with a touch of spice. Pumking is spice first and last, with no ale of which to speak. The smell and taste were like everything that goes into a pumpkin pie, other than the pumpkin, dominated by nutmeg flavor and cheap whipped cream. The feel dries the tongue, similar to what one would expect after licking nutmeg powder. It's more unfinishable than drinkable.

I was very excited to find Southern Tier Pumking on the shelves of the local bottle shop, but I'm more excited to see it gone. (703 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
2.65/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

I was looking forward to this beer after reading some positive reviews. Upon opening it was promising. The beer appeared rather nice. A nice orange color with a small head that disappeared rather quickly. The smell was pure pumpkin pie. It really did have that smell. Perhaps too much, but it was pleasant. Taste was where this beer let me down. To my palate it was a bit of a mess. While there was a pumpkin taste, it seemed to be overpowered by a soapy taste and feel. I am not sure whether I was unfortunate enough to have a bad bottle or not, but I was quite let down by this.

Usually I find Southern Tier beers quite good, and I hope that this was a bottle issue rather than this beer. I may give it another shot and re-review. (734 characters)

Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,811 ratings.