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Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,954 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,954
Reviews: 1,755
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 17.24%
Wants: 405
Gots: 1,140 | FT: 29
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:
19 Degrees Plato
8.8 Degrees L
2-row Pale Malt
Caramel Malt
Pureed Pumpkin

Kettle Hops: Magnum
Aroma Hops: Sterling

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 08-26-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,954 | Reviews: 1,755 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottfrie
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Big thanks to SneezyAchew for this one.

A: Dare I say this pours a pumpkin shade of amber? Big white head on this one quickly fades into a thin film that left decent streaks of lacing down the glass.
S: Holly poop this smells of pumpkin pie! Big notes of nutmeg, then clove, then allspice. Very warm and spicy smelling. I don't see how this smell could be improved.
T: Great flavor, but not as great as the smell. Tastes pretty close to pumpkin pie except sweeter. Tons of nutmeg.
M: Medium body, very slick and sugary, not a ton of carbonation. Alcohol is masked very well.
D: Much better than the two other pumpkin beers I've had (from DFH and some other horrible one). Great to try but I wouldn't want to have more than one of these every few days. Thanks again Michael for the great brew!

scottfrie, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of strangemusic
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trying a few fall seasonals, some pumpkin in nature... not going to refuse a Southern Tier limited release!

The pour is apricot -orange, much like the outside of a pumpkin rind to be honest.

The smell is eye-opening: it's JUST LIKE the sweet, buttery crust of a pumpkin pie. There's lots of spices wafting up, cinnamon, sugar, lemon, honey, graham cracker, nutmeg, clove and of course the smell of freshly picked pumpkin flesh. Wow.

Tastewise things are still impressive, if not quite as scarily matched to the flavour of the real thing. It's NOT artificial-tasting to me... but it's also not "pumpkin pie in a glass." I have a hard time believing that a beer can promise that without tasting too artificial, and I'm glad that ST did not opt for the latter route. It's focused on being a good-tasting beer with pumpkin elements rather than a straight up pumpkin replica, and I like that.

Much of the flavour carries on from the aroma and is joined by an effervescent, tart tang from hops. Sweet biscuit flavours and citrus are mingling with the nutmeg and pumpkin, but it's not sickly-sweet (like some of ST's other Imperial offerings.) Aftertaste is lemony/gingery, nutmeg, and butterscotch.

The mouthfeel is soft, and on the heavyish side of medium. Drinkability, especially given the high ABV, is the really spooky part of this beer!

strangemusic, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of beveragesampler
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

first, one should note that i am not fan of most pumpkin brews.

pours deep copper in color with two fingers white head. good retention with nice lacing. smell is spicy, cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of pumpkin pie (with whipped cream). 9% ABV taste is exceptional, my first thought was thanksgiving pumpkin pie. well ballanced with hints of the cinnamon and notes of nutmeg. slight creamy carmel malt character, butterschtch, vanilla and a very mild sweetness. slightly oilly at the back end, from the magnum and sterling hops. this is a very complex brew. the more i drink it, i seem to pick out more characteristics. i find this brew to be highly enjoyable. i look foward to comparing all other pumpkin brews to this beer. I will continue to follow the Souther Tier Brewing Co. closely as they (in my opinion) have mastered there craft!


beveragesampler, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of aepb1
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Copper with a very small white head

S- Wow malty pumpkin sweet

T- Just like nose, malty and warming, great nutty taste too, very interesting combination

M- Medium, the nuttiness is in the mouthfeel

D- Very interesting take, I really enjoy it and it's probably one of my favorite pumpkin ales this season!

aepb1, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of bmillen22
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle a few weeks back at Whole Foods. I saved it for the perfect chilly night in October.
Poured the bomber into my DFH glass.

A- tried to pour it heavy, but it didn't creat the greatest head. The head did stick around a little and then created a nice lacing.

S- smelled like a pit of pumpkin and then kind of fruity.

T- Wonderful flavor. Like always, tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass. I taste a little bit of alcohol burn right at the end, but it fits well. Perfect for the season.

M & D- Mouthfeel is a little cream, but not too thick. Drinkability is great. The bomber is a perfect amount. I could drink one a week Oct- Nov.

bmillen22, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of Wisconsuds
1.93/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Really excited to try this 9% abv pumpkin beer from Southern Tier Brewing out of NY. Fall season, cool weather, pumpkin beer - what's not to like?!

Poured into my Chimay goblet, per 22oz bottle directions. A vibrant orange hue filled the glass, leaving a fingernails worth of light tan foam. Dissipated soon after.

The smell, obviously, brought strong hints of cinnamon, spice, and sweet pumpkin notes. Could almost smell the healthy quantities of sugar poured in. A bread-y, fresh pumpkin-baked smell invades your nose. Very pleasant.

Upon first taste, I could tell this is not what I signed up for. An unbalanced, artificial tasting mess. Harsh spice notes, and a dry, lingering finish really put me off. A sugary, clovey abomination. Very UNpleasant.

Medium bodied, carbonation is middle-road as well. As others have said, the alcohol is masked well at 9%

Not gonna lie here, drain-poured half the bottle. I'm no pumpkin beer conniousseur, but I've had my fair share, and this was by far the most unpleasant. Really not understanding all the positive reviews.

Wisconsuds, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of Popsinc
2.38/5  rDev -41.4%
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.

Popsinc, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of DoctorDog
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

A- Copper/orange appearance, and brilliantly clear. Pours with ~1+ fingers of off white/light tan head, which fades gradually into a thin cap.

S- Pumpkin pie spices (nutmeg, allspice and the like) Feint hints of pumpkin, and sweet, biscuity malts.

T- Sweet, bready malts and spices. Bitterness moderately low. Alcohol is surprisingly well concealed.

M- Moderate carbonation, and medium feel. Goes down smoothly.

D- Very good. Surprisingly drinkable considering the fairly hefty ABV.

Future outlook: A solid beer worthy of giving another shot next time around.

DoctorDog, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of jamiesessions
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The number one rated pumpkin beer according to BA is poused into a goblet for my sensory appreciation. A light orange colour fills the glass, and is topped with a khaki coloured head atop. Smells like a pumpkin pie, but there's something else here that I don't usually detect with pumpkin beers. The usual suspects are there with the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, etc. but there's another presence I can't place my finger on, but it puts it above and beyond any others I've had of this style. The taste is simply sublime, with that mystery flavour coming into play even more so in the taste, and the 9% alcohol is barely noticeable. The mouthfeel is pleasant though not overwhelmingly so, and the drinkability is superb. A sure classic for the fall season

jamiesessions, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
1.02/5  rDev -74.9%
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.

Arbitrator, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of MrHall
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first I was a little shocked by some of the negative remarks on this thread. Really? The "worst beer ever"? And then I recalled thanksgiving and that a lot of my guests opted out of pumpkin pie. So I realize this isn't for everyone....


The smell, my god, the smell! Those of you who have ever = baked pumpkin pie from scratch (ie - roasting a pumpkin, pureeing, adding spices, will recognize the smell immediately as when you add the spices and then afterward, pull the pie out of the oven!

How many beers can actually claim that they can MIMIC the steps and senses of cooking???

In terms of style, lets be honest, pumpkin ales' goals are to mirror pumpkin pie - (trust me, we would not like ANY pumpkin ales without the ginger, nuteg, cinnamon, and cloves.)

And no other (NONE!) have come close to pumpkin pie as this beer has.

MrHall, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of Portertime
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have heard good things about Southern Tier Brewery. Pumking, cool name. Pours a bright, translucent orange color with a quick fizzing white head and some fine lacing on the glass. Enjoyed this one at the optimal temperature suggested on the bottle, 40 degrees and in my prized Duvel goblet for the optimal experience. Smell was very autumn inspiring with a mixture of ginger snaps and eggnog yeilding a big, complex nose. The taste is similar to the smell with that ginger snap foward taste and a bitter finish from the hops on the sides of the tonuge. I do not detect much pumpkin because most of it is masked by the spices and hop bitterness but it is rather tame and semi-drinkable despite the high 9% ABV. Not a bad imperial.

Portertime, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of cpanossian
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a pretty clear pumpkin orange color with a healthy 1-2 finger white head. Leaves a lot of abstract lacing along the glass. Aroma - very strong biscuits or pie crust. Taste is like a sweet biscuit with pumpkin flavors and nutmeg type spices mixed in. Mouthfeel is kind of thick and syrupy - not very carbonated. Would recommend this as a desert beer to compliment some carrot cake or spice cake or (!) pumpkin pie.

cpanossian, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of hophead247
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange amber with a thick off-white head. Good lacing left on the glass. Smells like fresh pumpkin pie. Sweet bready malts with nutmeg and ginger spice. Nice pumpkin flavor in this beer, but not too much...done quite nicely. The smell is definitely better than the taste in my opinion. Nice mouthfeel...not too thick. Very drinkable for 9%, but I'd probably only drink 1 in a sitting so to not get sick of that pumpkin flavor...

hophead247, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of heebes
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of the Halloween seasonals at the LCBO.
650 ml bottle

Pours a clear light orange. Thick head that leaves behind lots of foamy lacing.
Smells of pumpkin, brown sugar, spices. The strongest smelling pumpkin ale I've experienced.
The taste is surprisingly light, very true to taste of pumpkins. Not overly spices like some variety, this one comes the closest to pumpkin pie! Delicious sip yields the pumpkin taste and slight spices which soon fades into a lingering yeast aftertase. Light and foamy mouthfeel. Just picked this guy up off the shelves, should have let it cool a bit more but overall this is a high note for the fall/october beer releases. Drinkability is high, but one bomber is plenty.

heebes, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of HopNuggets
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured 22oz bomber into Chimay goblet.

A - Poured a hazy brilliant orange with about a 3/4 finger head that dissipated quickly to a spotty covering.

S - Very sweet upfront pumpkin pie filling with bisquity crust. Very spicey with huge hints of brown sugar, subtle cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of clove.

T - Brown sugar sweetness up front followed quickly by a huge pumpkin presence. Hops are quite noticeable in the finish. Bisquity yeast to smooth out the hops a bit but doesn't balance them. Very spicy aftertaste and a noticeable dose of alcohol heat.

M - Medium body with quite a bit of carbonation jumping on the tongue. A bit hot and a slight coating is left around the palate that the taste lingers on with.

D - A bomber is probably pushing it with this one. The spices really give you that heat burn feeling in the chest that another sip helps to tone down. It's a bit hot but I think if you can grab one to cellar it will be great for next year.

HopNuggets, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of lavellen
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Holy Alcohol Batman! This is my second or thrid year in a row getting the King. I've been on a quest for my favorite pumpkin beer and this has fallen down considerably. Really bitey from the alcohol. Really really Almond-esque and the nutty characters weren't accentuated by any spices. Overall this is not very drinkable unless it's time to get pumpkin drunk. The carbonation and appearance were both fine.

lavellen, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of vikingmike
2.28/5  rDev -43.8%
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.

vikingmike, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of TLJ
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Southern Tier Imperial Pumking pours a lovely deep amber colour with some lacing and light carbonation. The smell is exactly the same as a pumpkin pie coming out of the oven; it's not so much a question of the spices associated with Autumn, I detected an actual baked pumpkin aroma.

The taste has a strong and lingering hop character and the malt taste is also very present, although there is certainly the sense that one is biting into a delicious piece of pie, pastry, filling and all. The texture of this beer is light, caramel-like and creamy; generally a delicious brew though perhaps I wouldn't want it all year long.

TLJ, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright orange colour with thick head and nice rings of lacing. Smells of lots of pumpkin with some hops and caramel. Flavour has a nice bitterness to it, with some of the syrupy sweetness I expect from some of the Southern Tier beers... though it works much better in this one than in some of their IIPA's. Thick syurpy mouthfeel. Quite a nice pumpkin beer, different than many others that I've had in that is less on spice and bigger on the pumpkin.

kwjd, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of afksports
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love pumpkin pie. Seriously. And this beer does it big. In my mind, it's really this vs. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin. I'm drinking it presently.

That said, its appearance isn't all that - a standard pumpkin ale look with a finger width head that has a peachy hue. The beer seems a little bit light, and slightly hazy/yeasty. The smell is exceptional though. Strong burnt caramel, pumpkin, malt aromas waft up. I want to dive in.

Taste is the same, burnt caramel and almost... kettle corn? There's pumpkin spices present and even a bite of hops midway through. By halfway down the pint, there's a definite hint of alcohol. Something's in there too that's also in ST's Choklat, and I'm going to try to figure it out in a future review. While the alcohol is consistent with the abv, it lowers the taste and drinkability just a tad. It's still highly drinkable, and feels great on its way through.

This isn't one for the spice-only crowd. It's big and sweet. That said - it's right up my alley.

UPDATE: Thanks, ktrillionaire. The commonality between this and Choklat is a syrupy taste.

afksports, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of beersensei305
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The most pumpkin-y pumpkin beer out there. As it was poured in a chalice, the color is a light orange color, a little cloudy almos no head. The smell is just like a sweet pumpin pie... nutmeg, pumpkin, and sugar. This beer is too sweet for my taste to have more than one ever once in a while. But I did enjoy every drop!

beersensei305, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of gargamel01
1.88/5  rDev -53.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance -orange to clear with little to no head poured into a chalice.

Smell-like a slice of pumpkin pie as soon as i opened the bottle the aroma of nutmeg,cinnamon and of course pumpkin, exactly what a pumpkin ale should smell like.

Taste-If you took moms pumpkin pie and put it in a bottle with a little carbonation. The flavors were clear and present, every bite I mean sip took me to thanksgiving dinner. The flavors high the high alchohol content.

Mouthfeel- Smooth thick and creamy like a dollop of whip cream was added slight burn from the 9% on the back end.

Drinkability-Yes yes yes I would definetly drink again. The longer it sat the better the flavor got southern tier never ceases to amaze me!

gargamel01, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - It pours a blazing golden-orange hue, capped with wisps of ecru lace.

S - Candy corn and pumpkin puree melted and melded. Truly, it is just as described.

T - Holy unholy confectionery goodness!!! This stuff is totally insane; it is a pumpkin beer unlike any other. The flavor is decadently rich, in keeping with ST's general M.O., but beyond that it exploits and infuses unusually decadent aspects of the seasonal gourd-madness such as the heavy suggestion of the requisite halloween accompaniment known as candy corn. There is a heavy caramel and a good deal of vanilla, and the whole thing comes off as quite candy-like. It is a good thing, I think... Then again, maybe not.

M - Syrupy, like all of the ST desert beers.

D - This is phenomenally delicious as a desert beer, but the confectionery flavors are so rich and saturating in nature that I can not tolerate a second glass.

ktrillionaire, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of superdedooperboy
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22-ounce brown glass bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a strikingly clear, bright amber with a small head of off-white foam that recedes rather quickly, leaving behind only light splotches of lace on the walls of the glass as it empties.

The nose is where Pumking really shines. Honestly, I'd be hard-pressed to say that I've ever taken a whiff of a beer that smelled quite so lovely. Like the smell of homemade pumpkin pie baking in the oven, there's a mingling of cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of clove and allspice, but what really brings things together is a wonderful vanillin character that begs one to consider this to have been barrel-aged, while at the same time it mixes with the spices and a hint of rich caramel and toasted pumpkin that nothing but freshly baked pumpkin pie--perhaps pumpkin cookies--comes to mind. Absolutely splendid. This aroma should be thrown into a Fall candle.

Medium-bodied with a moderate carbonation; the flavors are very rounded and harken back to the aroma, though nothing can quite compare to the nose on this autumnal delight. A touch of sweet caramel opens things up, moving forward quickly with a melting of vanilla and pumpkin pie spices. Toasty around the edges, mixing with the spice and hop bitterness to create an overall dryness and flavor profile that lingers well into the finish.

Overall this is one of the best pumpkin ales around, hands-down. Alcohol content is a bit high and creeps up, but for the wonderful, unique mix of aroma and flavor in this one, nothing can deny this king his throne.

superdedooperboy, Oct 15, 2010
Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 5,954 ratings.