Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Imperial Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
87
very good

2,501 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,501
Reviews: 987
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.62%
Wants: 132
Gots: 312 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cbl2 on 09-17-2005

We set out to make a bold monument for The King of the Pumpkins!
This 8.0% ABV pumpkin ale is the mother of all pumpkin ales. It is heartier, spicier and more “caramelly” and “pumpkiny” than its faint brethren! We have added lots of pumpkin along with cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of cardamom and clove, giving this beer a spicy, full-bodied flavor.

This truly is an Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Perfect finisher on a cool autumn night or match it up with a slice of pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,501 | Reviews: 987
Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.51/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A brown hazy body with no real head present.
But as soon as I pour it out of the bottle, it's like I took a pumpkin pie right out of the oven. Wow this smells good. Fresh pumpkin and autumn spice aroma pleasantly remind me of thanksgiving that I love so much. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove. All individually pinpointed but together make this beer smell exactly as a beer with this name should.
And the taste matches the smell. Just as I would hope.
Mouthfeel is fantastic. Smooth with medium level carbonation, which leaves the beer feeling like it came straight from the bright tank.
Overall this is probably the best pumpkin ale I've ever had, and pumpkin ale is probably my beer style. I let this beer sit in my fridge for a two or so months, not in the mood to do a review. I look forward to next year, when I will by this beer by the case!

Photo of miclormic
2.4/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I could not disagree more with these ratings. I typically do not like pumpkin ales because they DON'T TASTE LIKE PUMPKIN! They all taste like a watery pumpkin pie,YUK.

I decided to try this one because it was an "IMPERIAL" .the only thing imperial about it is the price. PASS this one by, it fizzles.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

not my favorite pumpkin beer, but maybe its past its prime not in february. dark rusted orange color without much head at all and some cloudiness. the nose is spice forward, with cardamom being the prime mover. i love cardamom, and its use here contributes a lot, but i dont get much of the pumpkin itself in either nose or taste. it comes across as a spiced strong ale, more of a winter warmer than a pumpkin because the vegetable just is so far back. not much sweetness, and not enough body either, but its interesting layers of flavor, clove and cinnamon too. had this been fuller bodied and more pumpkin heavy, i would have loved it, but the 8% abv seemed a little exposed given its thinness, and the spices, while done well, had nothing to hang on to. something was missing.

Edit: this is leagues better on tap, with many if the issues resolved. Maybe they changed the recipe this year? Much much improved

Photo of thegodfather1076
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Presentation: Very cool looking label with nice eye-catching graphics and colors. Label gives a small description of the beer, a bit of brewery info, web info, and ABV info.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from its 12oz brown bottle into a 20oz imperial pint led to a 1 finger thin fizzy off white head atop a cloudy bright orange colored beer. Head retention was only 46sec before fading to nothing with almost no lacing produced.

Smell/Aroma: Smells heavy on nutmeg, vanilla, and clove with a nice fresh pumpkin aroma. A bit of cinnamon, caramel, and toasty biscuit can also be detected in the nose.

Flavor/Taste: Tastes is also heavy on the spices on the front end with nutmeg, clove, vanilla, and cinnamon, all being very prevalent along with a fresh pumpkin flavor. Mid point has a bit of toasted caramel and fresh pumpkin flavors detectable. Back end has a pumpkin pie flavor with pumpkin and biscuitty pie crust prevalent. Aftertaste is fresh pumpkin.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: Light bodied but still maintains a thicker creamy mouthfeel with a very slick fee the palette. Very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: A very tasty and flavor packed pumpkin ale that is a pleasure to drink. Very nicely done. Classified as a Pumpkin Ale @ 8% ABV. Consumed 11/8/2013.

Photo of KTCamm
3.39/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. 12/27

Pours dark amber with orange/red tints. Light foaming. Thin ring. Pumpkin/nutmeg nose. Sweet smelling. But a sour taste, pumpkin back. Rich and chewy, but can't escape the sour. Did I get a bad bottle? If not, this is odd. Just Ok, I had hoped for better. Will give another try next season.

Photo of Jackofallbrews
2.84/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Aroma: Rich nutmeg and cinnamon on first whiff. On deeper inhalation I get a lot of sweet sugar and some carmelized malt. Hint of fruity pear and apple as swirled. Slight earthy notes as it warms.

Appearance: Deep ruby in color. Very clear with no haze. Medium fine off-white head.

Flavor: Maltiness up front (unsurprisingly). A hit of nutmeg and cinnamon after the initial malt bomb. The finish fades to a strong cardamom flavor and astringency that stays with you. Because of this the beer ends very dry and almost puckering. There is some real pumpkin hiding in there. Also some of the fruity esters from the aroma come through as it warms up. Body is medium. Very slight alcohol warming present.

Overall: The first sip is appealing, but the finish is just so harsh that this is difficult to keep drinking. This is one that (to me) isn't worth the calories.

Photo of potion
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

this is a bottle from 2011, so it's got all those great fonts/artwork of yesteryear. ahh comic sans..

A - beer pours a hazy copper color with a decent-sized head - very light and quickly faded, leaving very little lacing. probably waited a year too long on this one, gushed when opened.

S - the usual spices I expect from a pumpkin ale, but not too heavy on the nutmeg which is good. that usually turns me off with others. cardamom and cloves stand out the most along with a strong, spicy ginger smell

T - cardamom, cloves and nutmeg again though no ginger. spicy but the alcohol is well-hidden. bitter with sort of a metallic aftertaste at this age. not much depth in malts anymore.

M - good amount of carbonation that quickly dissipates leaving a thin beer. definitely has a spicy bite.

O - so this is two years old. I had some from the same batch last year and it was probably perfect at that age. two years is too much. back then this would've been my favorite pumpkin ale, but something has seemed to change with most of the 2013 weyerbacher releases. not as flavorful, overall drop in complexity. they tasted rushed this year.

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.59/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one last year and last sampled on 11/29/13 with my friend. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and served in a pilsner glass.

Pours a hazy orange/amber in color with a 1/2-finger tan head that doesn't last long. Some spotting lacing is seen. The aroma is very pleasing and strong and is of pumpkin and spices. The taste is actually even better and is very tasty with LOTS of pumpkin and spice flavor. Perfect carbonation. No harsh or bad aftertaste either. This is one of my favorite pumpkin ales.

Photo of rangerred
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a clear, deep ruby with a tiny white head that is quick to disappear. Just a tiny bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Lots of spices in the nose; cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Almost a little too heavy on the spice as it overwhelms any other characteristic of the beer.

Huge rush of pumpkin pie spice on the taste and it is quite heavy on the cinnamon. There is almost an apple character that is probably due to the cinnamon. Alcohol is very noticeable although this fades as the beer warms. There is some vanilla and toast in the background with a very light bitterness. The mouhtfeel is quite watery, though, and doesn't really hold up to the strength of the beer.

Overall, I was a little disappointed. The mouthfeel is quite weak and I feel the beer lacks complexity. There are many better pumpkin beers out there.

Photo of Siegenthaler
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed: Dec 1, 2013

This is my first beer review on Beeradvocate.com. The occasion for my joining the ranks of online beer reviewers is a holiday beer exchange. I have a case of 25 assorted beers and plan on drinking 1 per day, following a prescribed order, celebrating BEER ADVENT (probably the first of many).

Nice bottle artwork with a smug looking, candle breathing pumpking monarch. I like the new Weyerbacher caps, I haven't had one of their brews in a while but I think this must be relatively new. I poured the beer into a standard pint glass and watched the crisp bubbles rise to top and form an unfoamy head which dissipated over the next few minutes before completely disappearing. Beautiful amber-red copper color and diamond clear appearance.

Malty nose with hints of cloves in the background getting much stronger as the beer warmed up. Holiday spice, berries, and orange come to mind after the first few cold sips. Flat mouthfeel with a pleasant lingering taste. The 8% ABV is very well concealed. Banana, nutmeg, cloves and rich pumpkin pie (with no whipped cream) on the finish... definitely a beer I enjoyed more as it warmed up and I got closer to the bottom of the glass. I am a sucker for anything with cloves.

To be honest, I'm usually not a fan of anything pumpkin... bread, pie, and especially beer. However, this was a pleasant 12 oz experience that I would like to repeat. It was a tasty transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This reminds me a lot of a delicious holiday homebrew a friend of mine made a few years back.

Photo of cjgiant
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%

Bottle dated July 24, 2014:
Pours an orange-tinged iced-tea-like brown, with a decent foamy head that fades to the edges in time. The beer is fairly clear through the darker color. The nose has a decent amount of pumpkin spice smell early. That smell seems to fade, and a raisin-bread scent is more noticeable. I also get a whiff of the alcohol in the beer.

The taste starts a little fruity - raisin or plum, but that is quickly replaced by a pumpkin bread flavor, decently spiced and perhaps soaked in bourbon or sme alcohol. The end taste comes back to the raisin flavors as the spice slowly fades. The feel is a bit alcohol-astringent, with decent carbonation.

I had rated this previously a 4, but downgrading it slightly on precise. I still like the beer, but have had better since my original review.

Photo of JayQue
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A good strong pumpkin ale. Pours a dark hazy orange color with a medium size, very bubbly off white head. The head fades fast, little lacing on the glass.

The aroma is strong and pleasant. You can smell the pumpkin spices and pumpkin as soon as the cap comes off and the bottle is set on the counter.

Good pumpkin ale flavor. The cinnamon and nutmeg are very prominent with some fresh pumpkin flavor as well.

Mouthfeel is crisp but a bit light. There is some alcohol presence. Could be a bit maltier and richer.

On the whole, a solid Pumpkin Ale. If I get another one I will age it for a while.

Photo of smchenry75
2.3/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This is a very bad beer. I have always wanted to try this and now I can say I have. I don't review often but I just felt compelled to state what a bad beer this was. It poured a nice pumpkin color with a very nice white head. The smell was very nice. I thought I was about to get into something yummy... similar to schlafly's pumpkin.... that nice pumpkin pie, caramelly sweet and chewy goodness. Then the taste. Hmmmm... Defnite pumpkin pie spice - too much for sure. And the base beer... it was as if someone made a poor representation of an amber that was too weak and thin, decided to sour it, gave up after a week and then added pumpkin pie spice. There's also an underlying nasty bitterness that is not good but at least distracts from the rest of the nastiness. Drain pour and then to the Ten Fidy that's on deck.

Photo of Omnium
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours a semi hazy amber orange color half a finger of fizzy off white head, no lacing
S - Aroma is odd, a bounty of spices, roasted pumpkin, some tart pumpkin, and some weird fatty smoked meat kinda aroma.
T - Well it doesnt taste like bacon, but this is really sour. You get some of the spice, and the better part of the pumpkin comes out later.
M - Somewhat creamy, a little chewy.
O - Good but there's odd traits here that I dont remember from other years, perhaps I had an infected bottle, but in any sense, I dont think I'll be comin back.

UPDATE: While its not sour'ed out like that last one I had, but Its kinda fallen off for me in the past few years. Mild alcohol burn, plenty of spice, more on the dry side too.

Photo of emyers
3.42/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter. No bottle date that I can see.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy orange-brown color with a one finger creamy off-white head.

Smell: As far as pure pumpkin pie spice goes, this really brings the heat. Tons of cinnamon, clove, allspice. The downside is that I really don't smell pumpkin, just the spice. A little bit of caramel and biscuity malt sneak in, but this is essentially all spice.

Taste: I have the same complaint here that I do with the aroma - all pumpkin pie spice, no actual pumpkin flavor. In fact the issue is compounded because the spice doesn't carry quite as much strength in the favor as it did in the aroma. There's a bit of caramel malt, some biscuit notes again, and some hop bitterness on the finish, but I feel like everything gets lost in the spice.

Mouthfeel: Quite a bit lighter in body than I was expecting from an 8% abv beer. Medium carbonation level.

Overall: I had pretty high expectations for this beer, and I have to say I feel pretty let down. In my opinion a pumpkin beer needs pumpkin flavor, not just spice, and this just doesn't have it. Tastes more like an amber ale with a boatload of pumpkin pie spice.

Photo of itsscience
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. in a snifter

Dark brown in appearance and turns red when held up to the light. It smells great -- like a classic pumpkin pie with ginger and clove. The beer doesn't live up to the smell, though. It has a thin, watery mouthfeel and a big spicy profile of clove, nutmeg, and ginger that overpowers the pumpkin flavor.

Photo of BWED
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Fitzwater Station, Phoenixville, PA. Poured into a tulip.

A- Dark orange amber body. The light off white head doesn't retain.

S- Lots of spice. All spice and cardamom. A little bit of a pumpkin aroma.

T- Similar to smell, but lots of spice. Just a bit of pumpkin.

M- Fairly light for this style. I guess, medium/light. Spicy in the feel, along with the finish, along with everything about this beer.

O- Spicy, but decent. It's got some good flavors.The spice is just a little overwhelming.

Photo of Gary1
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite pumpkin ale. It has a great spicy pumpkin taste with a scotch aftertaste.
When I can afford a great pumpkin ale, I buy this. Otherwise I buy Post Road, which is decent and about 20 dollars cheaper.

I also like Pump-kin, Long Trail, Saranac, UFO, Tommknocker, and Ichabod.

I really dislike Smuttynose which tastes like potpourri. I am not a fan of Blue Moon or Samuel Adams pumpkin either.

If you like hard ciders, try Woodchuck Pumpkin. It has a mild pumpkin flavor and is pleasantly smooth.

Maple Mistress is supposed to be an imperial pumpkin ale, but tastes like a maple ale. Don't know where the pumpkin is in it.

Photo of PA-hunter
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bottle into a glass.

Appearance- Deep dark orange-red with a thick foamy head. Great appearance.

Smell- Pumpkin aroma mixed with a heavy scent of cinnamon.

Taste- Still can taste a decent amount of pumpkin, the heaviness of the spice in the smell was not as apparent in the taste. Mildly bitter but not as bitter as an IPA. The alcohol content of this beer was quite apparent here, after the pumpkin taste.

Mouthfeel- Thin to moderate, alcoholy, yet still smooth.

Overall- A smooth drinking brew. The high abv sets this beer toward the top of the pumpkin ale list in that regard, and makes it an interesting pick. I think perhaps this could be improved however if it were brewed with a bit more pumpkin to cover up that fact of the high abv. When drinking it, you sure know it is 8%. I did enjoy it as my first Weyerbacher brew and would like to check out their other offerings.

Photo of KYGunner
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This has a deep sultry hue, rich and robust pumpkin brown. The head was thick, creamy, foamy and laced well.

The scent is rich with nutmeg and cinnamon, and the pumpkin is spicy. There is some strong candied sweetness in the pumpkin aroma and the scent is robust.

The flavor is pumpkin pie, sweet and full, nutmeg and cinnamon. Where this goes a touch awry is that is is quite boozy. The alcohol is strong at the front and even through the finish. That booziness tends to feel as there is an alcohol like metallic astringency.

This seemed to be a worthy rival to Schlafly but the boozy taste and feel ruined it.

Photo of taylor714914
3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

There once was a time,
Where you did shine,
But know you've gone
No longer mine.

All that remains
Is cinnamon and clove
And we all wonder
Where the pumpkin goes?

Your body so thin
You've withered away
A shadow of your past
What more can I say?

Oh dear Weyerbacher
Do this for me
Bring back the old pumkin
How it used to be!

Photo of Meeg
3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a Sam Adams glass.

Dark, almost opaque, red. No head, with mild carbonation.

Smells like pumpkin pie, with lots of nutmeg in the nose.

The tastes begins full and smooth, but thins out towards a hoppy aftertaste.

Medium-bodied, with light carbonation that matches the appearance.

I like it, but I wouldn't go out and buy another. I'm not dissatisfied, but it makes me wish for Pumking...

Photo of DrinkNewport
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Taking a whiff of this beer from the bottle gave me high hopes, but unfortunately, like so many other pumpkin beers, that was where the Imperial Pumpkin Ale peaked. It's just not that pumpkiny...or spicy, so it just falls a little flat.

It's not a bad beer. It's just a run-of-the-mill pumpkin beer that happens to be 8% ABV.

Photo of FutureBrewerNate
2.84/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

I bought a 4-pack of this expecting something completely different. To be completely honest, I wanted to like this beer (Since I paid $10 for 4), but each one I open, I become more and more disappointed with it.

The Pour and Appearance: Beer seemed flat right when opening the bottle. I figured it was just the first bottle, but each consecutive one has produced the same results. Any possible head on this beer dissipates within seconds after pouring. The beer has a nice color that I'd expect from a pumpkin beer, but seems to have a certain haze to it.

Smell: As stated from previous reviews, the beer smells like a cinnamon stick. Plain and simple. Maybe has a slight fruitiness smell to it, but it can't be placed and certainly doesn't smell pumpkin(y).

Taste: Has a strong alcohol taste to it at first, and then the spiciness and pumpkin flavors start to come through. Even as the pumpkin comes through, the alcohol nature of it lingers. I started to wonder if this beer was brewed strictly with pumpkins without any malt at all. I has virtually no malt backbone to speak of. It honestly tastes like I would expect a pumpkin cider to taste.

Mouthfeel: Thin. This beer felt flat with each one I had (It could've just been a bad 4-pack) I believe that if you're going to make a beer called a pumpkin ale (not just a pumpkin spice ale or porter etc.) the ale should remind you of everything else that is pumpkin-deliciousness. It should be full bodied, creamy like a pie or at least buttery smooth. This beer is lacking in any kind of body.
Now, I know that this beer is supposed to be an "imperial" pumpkin ale, and with higher alcohol content, you are going to lose some body. From my personal experience (and my first try) at brewing a pumpkin ale last fall, I discovered that my pumpkin ale at 8.9% ABV (almost 1% higher than this) still retained its creamy, full-bodied feel and smelled just like a piece of grandma's pumpkin pie.

Conclusion: Luckily, the high alcohol content of this beer made me forget what I disliked about it until I opened another later. It does have a decent pumpkin taste when you get past the strong, fruity and spiciness of it, it simply lacks in every aspect but the fact that it'll knock you on your ass.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this tonight while carving pumpkins!

Poured a nice seared pumpkin color, brilliant clearness in the light, with a white head that quickly diminishes to trails of white. The nose is heavy on the cinnamon, but clove and nutmeg is also found in the bouquet. More of a nuttiness than caramel or sugar here, although a nice sweet gingerbread undertone comes out as it warms. Very smooth, although I wouldn't mind a touch more body. Overall, a very well made beer.

Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 2,501 ratings.