Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,830 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,830
Hads: 6,936
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 17.12%
Wants: 472
Gots: 1,776 | 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
Reviews: 1,830 | Hads: 6,936
Photo of halfP1NT
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This review is from my notes from last September.

This beer pours a perfectly clear amber with tiny bubbles rising from the center. A big, thick, white foamy head sits on top.

The smell is intense; the spiciest smell I've ever smelled in a pumpkin ale! It smells like real pumpkin pie. Cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

Taste just like overspiced pumpkin pie. Nutmeg and spice flavors are very pungent. This beer blew my mind with its complex flavor, but quickly became very cloying. I slowly enjoyed my first glass and would have a lot of trouble having more than one of these.

The mouthfeel seemed a bit thin on this beer. A creamier, velvety consistency would've nice with the complex spice flavors. This beer has a medium amount of carbonation, enough to keep it from getting syrupy.

This beer would've been good with dessert. It is certainly unusual and worth a try if you like pumpkin ales. (896 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.84/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You knew it was only a matter of time before someone came out with an IMPERIAL pumpkine ale.

This beer poured a clear orange body with an almost non existant head.

Nose is INSANE. Strong shortbread, sweetbread and pumpkin. Very dark sugar, not a whole lot of pumpkin pie spice. There's just enough Pumkin pie spice to give it some mild notes, but sooo perfectly in balance. The thing this is, this is the most in you face pumpkin smell I've ever smelled anything like this. It's like Pumking times 50. damn!!!

Taste is full to medium bodied with an immediate strong pumpkin flavor. Not a pumpkin pie spice strong mind you, this is all natural pumpkin meat flovor. Very sweet with loads of pure sugar snap pumpkin. Honestly, that's it. PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN!!!! There's some very mild pumpkin pie spice. Some touches of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, but it's like licking pure natural pumpkin. Wow!!!!

Holy fucking shit. I had this beer on tap with a sugar/cinnamon spice rim and thought it was great, but just sitting back and enjoying the base of this beer, wow!!! This is hands down the best pumpkin beer ever brewed. This is amazing. it's like drinking a beer brewed from pure pumpkin (1,197 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, fall 2008 version, sampled 9/24/08. Brewed to 19 plato with two-row, crystal, and pureed pumpkin; bittered with magnum and finished with sterling. It pours a crystal-clear copper, with medium carbonation, and a finger of tan head that attempts to lace the glass. Lots and lots of pumpkin in the nose, along with spices and toasted graham cracker. The aroma refuses to quit. Fairly similar flavor, with notes of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon complementing the pumpkin rather than overwhelming it. There's a breath of alcohol at the start, but this airs out over time. In addition, there is a light sweetness, and some late hop bitterness that is a touch high, but necessary for proper aging. Not too heavy on the palate, with decent carbonation and a nice finish. This is a pretty delicious brew, delivering probably the most authentic pumpkin pie flavor of any in the style, going so far as to include the graham cracker crust. It also seems engineered for aging - what with the higher-than-average alcohol and bitterness. I'm quite confident the flavor will mature and improve over a year or two, by which time this will be a divine autumn beverage. (1,164 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampling a 6 month old bottle cellar aged and cellar temp poured into a snifter. the beer pours a slightly cloudy peach color with some ruby highlights. A fizzy and creamy eggshell white head foams up 3.5 cm with a slightly aggressive pour. Great lattice develops as the head fades.
Aroma is grainy and sweet with some spices as well, but no label indication of spices added. A general pumpkin scent is very strong and is somewhere between floral, nutty, and sweet brown sugar. Closer to nutty I would say, guess general pumpkin scent works, not pumpkin pie, just pumpkin.
First sip reveals an average to lite body with almost no carbonation. Very silky smooth texture that effortlessly rolls across my palate.
Flavor is some sweet caramel and pumpkin flavor. No hops or booze here. I get the nutty pumpkin hits throughout and onto the finish with again a general spiciness that may be cinnamon or allspice? Again not on label, could just be my mind adding it to the pumpkin flavor.
Pumpkin lingers a bit and the beer generally finishes clean and smooth.
The beer is easy to drink with no booze hitting at all. Not your typical pumpkin pie in a bottle beer either.
One drawback is the 22 oz bottle size. I find that towards the end the general sweetness is becoming too cloying and makes the beer a little less enjoyable for drinking. (1,334 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled through the efforts of Bentk56 and Secret Bunny 09 BIF.

Clear amber colored beer with a small off-white head that doesn't last. Slight chill haze.

Very nutty smell with a caramel candy and pumpkin pie spice aroma. You can smell the pumpkin too but that isn't the only scent. Pretty close to Pumpkin Pie in a glass.

The taste starts out sweet nutty and spicy. Long lasting caramel aftertaste with an emphasis on the vanilla. Strong hazelnut flavor to this one. Doesn't change much as you drink it, pretty much pumpkin pie in a glass.

Mouthfeel is OK.

This is OK but not really something I would look forward to drinking two glasses of a night. Sweet taste starts to get old after a while. That plus I'm not too fond of hazelnut flavor anything except hazelnuts. Same as Coffee should be coffee flavored! (815 characters)

Photo of ritzkiss
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I know it's not Halloween or Thanksgiving but thanks to Bobsy I get to try this little treat tonight. Cheers to Rob!

22oz pours a rosy orange that glints almost pinkish in the light. Little head that quickly disappears, leaving faint lacing.

Smell is intense. Nutty hazelnut mixed with pumpkin and nutmeg galore, hints of cinnamon - like a nutty pumpkin pie.

Taste is pumpkin right up front followed by a bucket of nutmeg. There's a slight breadiness to it that reminds you that this really is a beer, a slight nuttiness (hazelnut again), cinnamon, some warming alcohol in the finish.

I don't know if this is really my thing. Definitely a sipper and I feel it needs to be paired with something to offset the monster flavors: cheese, dessert, something. Just a little too spicy and pumpkin-y without the basic tenants of beer being there to balance it out. That said, if it were Halloween or Thanksgiving I might seek this out again to give it another chance. (963 characters)

Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle traded to me by rockstarnati, who is an awesome trader.

A: Poured a light orange hue which was only slightly opaque under a short 1/2 finger off-white head that didn't hold very long.

S: Whoa! Whomever described this as a Yankee "Pumpkin Pie" candle in a bottle was spot on. I smelled that candle. Lovely aromas of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.

T: What an ingenius idea to use the bready characteristics of the malt to create a flavor that tastes *exactly* like a graham cracker crust. Also, PUMPKIN!! Wow, it's all right there. I've not had another beer that carried quite so accurate and comparable a flavor as this does to pumpkin pie.

M: I was expecting a cloyingly sweet concoction only appropriate for dessert. Not so here. It certainly isn't cloyingly sweet, and I love that. There is definitely a slight dryness in the finish and an absence of the cloying sweetness that permeates some of the other pumpkin beers in the world. Is is still firmly a beer. Love it.

D: Dangerously drinkable. The alcohol is so well hidden and the taste is so spot on that one could easily get into trouble. This beer has risen to being well within my top ten "most delicious" list. Love me a pumpkin ale. If you're also a fan of the style, there simply is no substitute that will take you back to the family Thanksgiving dessert tradition like Pumking does. (1,385 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now this is a pumpkin beer. If you want to know what this tastes like, let me put it to you like this: Yankee Candles Pumpkin Spice candle in a beer form. The minute you pop the top you are hit with an abundance of pumpkin and spice of which I've never seen in a pumpkin beer. This is extremely well done. I think the only thing that this would need would be some kind of sweetener to balance out the taste a little bit. The spice is abundant and dominating. At 9% you're going to feel this one a bit as well. This would be absolutely wonderful to drink outdoors sitting around a campfire. My new favorite pumpkin beer without a doubt. I'll surely be drinking a few more of these. Well done Southern Tier. (705 characters)

Photo of NoahSYGG
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good pumpkin beer, with the title of it being "too much" this beer is a nutmeg bomb. It smells like straight pumpkin spices and ginger bread. At 10% or so, this is the perfect beer to sit around the fire with on a nice october night. It must be served ice cold, or it gets a little "boozy" It is sweet and a little syrupy but overall satisfying. (355 characters)

Photo of Beertracker
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Pumking pours up with good effervescence that creates an inviting lacy, cream colored head that nicely crowns the orangish amber-deep copper body. Great head retention for a spiced beer. The vast aroma carries lots of spices (allspice, annatto, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, marjoram, vanilla) encompassed by an enticing caramel (burnt sugar), honeydew (musk melon) fruitiness, graham cracker, sweet maltiness. Alcohol is well intigrated. The flavor is sweet at first then the spices & hops come into play to balance things out. There's really a lot going on here with something new with each sip. There's an interesting nuttiness (annatto, hazelnut?) that adds to the overall complexity. This medium-full bodied SHV beer is quite creamy & surprisingly well-balanced for its spicing & strength. Definitely one of the better Pumpkin Ales that I've ever had. Enjoy this "pumpkin pie in a glass" by itself or paired with some ripened Camembert or French Neufchâtel (Farmer's cheese) with fresh harvest fruit. Here's to the Great Pumking!

CHEERS! Beertracker (1,063 characters)

Photo of BearsSox
4.77/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer several times on tap, and have been aging a case for a while, with the occasional breakdown of will and cracking open of a 22 oz. bomber.

Appearance - a luscious, hazy orange color that practically defines the fall season, creamy head, a beautiful beer

Smell - overpowering: pumpkin pie, cinnamon, brown sugar, candied figs, nutmeg, graham cracker, a slight earthy aroma buried ibehind it all

Taste - wow. a pumpkin beer that tastes like pumpkin pie, not merely a suggestion of pumpkin aroma with sugar and spice wafting through it. it's hard to believe it's liquid.

Mouthfeel - clearly a bigger beer, with a mouthfeel that shares many characteristics with a beer like Franziskaner's Hefe, although the carbonation here is lower (almost not evident). slight grainy texture, but covered by creaminess

Drinkability - more please.

One of the best beers I've had. Period. (894 characters)

Photo of woodske1
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I'm sorry but appearance usually means nothing to me...but this one appears great. It looks like pumpkin juice.

It also tastes like pumpkin...but not an over sugared pumpkin pie which many pumpkin beer taste like.

Only negative is you cannot drink more than one or two of these. (282 characters)

Photo of cvfish
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - This beer poured very orange (not amber or golden orange, but real orange) that produced a good white frothy head that laced the sides nicely

S - The aroma of pumpkins is dominate, but cinnamon, clove, and brown sugar do make an appearance

T - Again, pumpkin is really big, but all the spices on the nose do make an appearance, and the grain qualities of the ale do peak their head a little

M - A little thin on the mouth, not bad, light carbonation, very smooth

D - This offering by Southern Tier has really impressed me, again, as a seasonal treat beer, this was awesome and really allowed the pumpkin to shine (620 characters)

Photo of Voonder
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper color, very clear, one finger off-white head. Smell - absolutely amasing! Pumpkin, ginger bread, clove, carrot pie. Very good! Taste - same great stuff - pumpkins, carrot pie, ginger bread, a bit sugary, alcohol hidden very well. It's like eating carrot pie. Well balanced, very smooth, great stuff. Drinakble.
Thanks bobsy for this amasing stuff!!
I loved it! (374 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 JohnQVegas
2.8/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Pours amber with a thin off-white head. Aroma is nutmeg, cinnamon, bit of vanilla and pumpkin.

Taste is ... wow. Taste starts off with a bit of pumpkin and sweet caramel malt, with the nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin just blowing up as the taste progresses. Finish is very odd, bitter spices and very vegetal/medicinal.

Carbonation is fairly crisp, with a medium body.

May try to age a bottle or two to try in a month or so, but right now, the lingering finish kind of throws off the whole beer. The spices just overwhelm the beer. And this is from a fan of Pumpkin beers, too. (591 characters)

Photo of JordanChabot
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Alright I've seen sailboats in bottles...but how do you fit a 12 pound pumpkin in a bottle???
Southern Tier knows....

This has to be one of the most original beers I have had to date. Southern Tier has done it yet again in their series of large bottle masterpieces.
The beer pours a bright orange liquid and quickly builds an inch off white head. The aroma is rich with sweet vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
(It is truly unfair Southern Tier doesn't dabble in the air freshener business, this is the perfect autumn scent)
The taste is unlike any pumpkin beer. It is liquid pumpkin pie. This is not a subtle imaginary taste, oh no, and the 9% ABV??? undetectable. (Be Careful) The rich creamy vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and incredibly prominent pumpkin flavor make this truly a dessert beer for a king. Hence the name... (819 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle in a deal with Morphoenix - probably should have reviewed this back in October, but here goes. Out of a pint glass...

A - Thin, quick-dissipating white foam that leaves some spotty lacing. Transparent pumpkin color (go figure!) with plenty of visible carbonation.

S - Pumpkin pie, graham cracker, spices (mostly cinnamon & clove), brown sugar and maple syrup. The smell comes alive as the brew warms up.

T - Starts off with sweet malt and maple and all the associated pumpkin pie flavors. The finish is a little bit more beer-like with a tiny touch of hop bitterness. It's not cloyingly sweet like the Creme Brulee - I don't feel like I'm going into diabetic coma from drinking this.

M - A little thin and watery, especially for a 9% brew. Carbonation is reasonable and gives a nice tingle that complements the spicy characteristics of the brew. There's a sticky aftertaste which suits the flavor quite nicely.

D - Very easy to drink this one - my wife and I polished off the bomber quite quickly. No major drawbacks - good carbonation, not overly sweet, can't taste the 9%, etc. and a pleasant enough flavor to make me want more. I'd really like to try this one fresh next October.

Definitely the best of the pumpkin beers I've had (although that's not saying a lot with some of the competitors).

N.B. I find it amusing the Southern Tier notes that this is an "Imperial" Pumpkin Ale - maybe it's time for a new category? (1,445 characters)

Photo of iconoklaztor
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to my santa for this brew! Cheers!

Pours a very nice orange with very little head. The smells of pumpkin and brown sugar become apparent. Sounds great but what does it taste like? Just the same thing. Its great! Not to crazy but just the right amount of sweet, pumpkiny goodness. I really enjoy this. I wonder how this would be aged.

Cheers! (351 characters)

Photo of hellbilly
4.84/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

finally scored one of these from moelikebeer! many thanks.

pours a hazy coppery amber with a small creamy white head. drippy rings of lace form as the beer retreats.

the aroma packs a mean punch of real cooked pumpkin... i'm talkin' relevent, real deal holyfield, MF pumpkin!... earthy cinnamon, wood, caramel, vanilla, flowers and real effen fresh ground nutmeg.

the palate is surprisingly NOT sweet. holy mother of gambrinus!...it contains the MOST real pumpkin flavor i've had outside of eating a pumpkin... earthy gourd sweetness, vanilla woodiness, caramel/brown sugar/highly toasted almost burnt sugar, buttery short dough, a touch of umami and a floral hoppy finish with tons of cinnamon and spice.

smooth texture and soft carbonation make it luscious on the tongue. medium to full body which is not thick or syrupy... highly enjoyable. dare i say, sessionable?10/4/10/5/19/4.8 (892 characters)

Photo of bobsy
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice, the pumking is a wonderful halloween orange with a creamy off-white head that left some decent lace. The aroma is stunning and sublime, conjuring images of freshly baked pumpkin pie, with a huge serving of cream. The crust is warm, sweet and nutty, and the pumpkin is perfectly spiced. If only the real deal smelled this good all the time! The first flavour to hit the tongue is hazelnut and vanilla, paired with brown sugar - in short, the piecrust. It lingers for a beautiful moment before heading to the roof of the mouth to bide its time and reassert itself in the finish. Its replaced by a moderately bittersweet spiciness in alcohol kick, which serves as a precursor to the pumpkin filling itself. For an imperial, the carbonation and body are exactly as I would expect. Moderate, almost sticky, with a palate cleansing stream of bubbles.

The whole package is sweet, and dessert-like, but not so much that it detracts from an excellently brewed beer. The aroma is a revelation to me, and it seems to have a lot in common with Rogue's Hazelnut Nectar. The real wonder is that it actually delivers in the taste, and I would take this over the traditional Thanksgiving dessert in an instant. (1,218 characters)

Photo of tmoneyba
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from River's Bend.

Poured clear copper color with a large off-white frothy head that was mostly lasting with good lacing.

Solid doughy pumpkin pie and small alcohol aroma.

Medium to full body with a creamy texture.

Heavy balanced carrot cake flavor with a medium spice sweet finish of long duration.

Standout seasonal beer and one of top rated beers for style. (372 characters)

Photo of Drewcifer
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured out golden orange with a very slight white head that dissipates quite fast.

I pleasant, balanced aroma of pumpkin, spices and crust. Smells just like a cold slice of pumpkin pie.

Wonderful taste of pumpkin pie - all the spices, pumpkin, crust. You can taste the malts, but little else besides the pumpkin components of it.

The mouthfeel loses a little bit. I felt the carbonation was a bit off, and the overall feel was hard to place - maybe slightly creamy, but not in a good way.

It's a nice beer and all, but strictly a seasonal treat in my opinion. It's not something I would drink more than one bottle in a sitting, and not to often. Great treat, but not a daily drinker. (687 characters)

Photo of joerodiii
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The beer looks nice for a pumpkin...a nice amber/orange color. Not much head, but I poured slowly, dividing between two Chimay chalices.

The smell was overwhelmingly hazelnut, mixed with nutmeg and a bit of cinnamon.

Unfortunately, the hazelnut dominated the flavor, as well. Aside from thay, the beer was ok. Sweet, but not cloying, moderate spice flavor. I didn't taste any pumpkin.

Mouthfeel was good...decent body...right amount of carbonation.

This beer was not very drinkable. The nuttiness didn't work for me. That combined with the sweetness was a bit much. I shared this bottle (22oz bomber) with one friend. I found myself wishing that I had shared with 2 or 3. (675 characters)

Photo of Risser09
4.74/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bottled poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with orange highlights. The head is white and is 1/2" tall. Good retention with little lace to show.

Smell: Wow. This is stellar. It smells like fresh gingerbread. Pumpkin, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Very unique and awesome.

Taste: Equally intense with the gingerbread. This is an incredible flavor. Pumpkin, cinnamon and clove are buried in there somewhere. Perfectly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, chewy and a total lack of 9% alcohol noticability. Heavily bodied.

Drinkability: This is an incredible beer. I've never had anything like it. I think anyone could enjoy this beer, regardless of palate maturity. A fun approach for a fall beer that I could drink early and often. (784 characters)

Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,830 ratings.