Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Punkin Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Punkin AlePunkin Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,039 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,039
Hads: 6,211
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 22.45%
Wants: 344
Gots: 1,145 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 09-26-2002

A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with.

28 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Punkin Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,039 | Hads: 6,211
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generously bubbled pumpkin orange capped by a pastel orange, whipped creamy head that is a perfect color match for the beer that created it. The three finger cap has a considerable amount of patience, but doesn't look sticky enough to grab and hold onto the glass. A lack of lace is a minor disappointment that doesn't spoil a very nice pumpkin beer look.

The nose is as expected: baked pumpkin flesh and pumpkin pie spices. Perhaps I should go along with Dogfish Head and start writing punkin'. I've smelled pumpkinier versions and I've smelled spicier versions, but this one can hold its own against all but the most aromatic. Amazingly enough, even at a relatively high pumpkin ale ABV of 7%, there's no alcohol evident in the nose.

This is lovely stuff, even if the alcohol is now easily appreciated. This is definitely a different sort of pumpkin ale, a stronger version of the usual gourd beer. It's sweet and malty with a generous amount of caramel flavor. The spices aren't as up-front on the palate. The label indicates that allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg were used. They're all identifiable, with none dominating the others.

If I was in charge at the brewery, I'd knock the ABV back a full 2% (or try harder to mask it) and would add more brown sugar and spice. It's their beer, though, so I guess I'll have to take it or leave it. Um... I'll take it. This really is a quality fall seasonal.

The decision to build a sturdier pumpkin ale pays dividends when it comes to the mouthfeel. It's a few notches more full than medium and is as smooth as heavy silk. Too many bubbles on the initial pour become just the right amount before very long at all.

Punkin' Ale is one of the better versions that I've run across. It doesn't seriously challenge my clear favorite (Smuttynose Pumpkin), but it's definitely worthwhile and is deliciously different. If you have any interest in the style whatsoever, I suggest you get Punk'd as soon as possible.

 1,963 characters

Photo of yelterdow
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed icea tea color with a small head. Served in a large snifter at just over fridge temperature.

Pumpkin and nutmeg are the first aromas, with allspice notes as well. Perfect for the fall season.

Well integrated spices with a pumpkin background, quite tasty compared to others I've tried this year. Full and round.

Prickly, carbonated mouthfeel just short of being too much. Great action that brings out the individual flavor notes. Quite drinkable for a pumpkin ale. The alcohol isn't detracting at all but it certainly does not go uinnoticed.

 564 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottled in '05. Pours reddish/amber with a thin tan head that reduces to almost nothing. Smells of cinnamon, allspice, faint pumpkin, sweet malts, and some nutmeg, but it's not as strong as I'd like. It has a medium body that is a a bit tingly and a flavor similar to the aroma but with additions of roasted malts, green/citric hops, some bitterness and alcohol. Above average, but not the best.

 402 characters

Photo of Matthew
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out of the bottle a reddish brown with a tannish head.
Big aromas coming from this beer. Pumpkin and an explosive cinnamon smell. You can smell this beer from across the room.
Nice maltiness balanced by the spicey notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hoppiness that sneaks itself in there amongst all the other flavors to be enjoyed.
The nuttiness of most brown ales is replaced by the pumkin flavors and complimented well with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and spicey flavors. This isnt a beer I can have more than 1 or 2 of, but a very well crafted beer.

 554 characters

Photo of tboom29
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I must preface this by saying not a huge pumpkin/winter spiced ale fan. I am, however, a DogFish fan. I was not dissappointed with this.
Color was a nice dark amber, looked like any pale ale. The smell was full of a cinnamon smell, spicy but also sweet, like brown sugar.

This beer was very smooth throughout, nice silky full mouthfeel. The nose pretty much confirms the flavor throughout the beer, with spicy and sweet hints. They didn't overdo the pumpkin, but there is enough where a first timer may say "Hmm, Pumpkin Ale. Interesting" I would recommend it to anyone, as it is probably the nicest pumpkin ale I've had. I'm a convert now to this beer style. DogFishHead, nice job once again.

 697 characters

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from one of the newer bottles which has the "Punk" label on the neck. There is a calendar, but, no packaged on date is marked.

This one pours a clear amber to light orange color with a thick frothy off-white head. The head leaves very nick, thick rings of lace. The aroma is a spicy cinnamon and pepper smell. The taste is medium to high alcohol right from the first, but tames slightly as the beer is drunk. As it goes down, the alcohol tames to a nice warming feeling. The taste is mainly a peppery spiciness with a good tasting pumpkin bread flavor on the backend.

This is the second pumpkin ale I have tried, and, it is the best so far. Highly recommend for its unique flavor.

 695 characters

Photo of drumstik
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper with a very thin head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of sweet malt and pumpkin spices. Almost like taking a wiff of pumpking pie.

Tastes of sweet malt and pumpkin right up front. The pumpkin spice flavors balance well with the hop flavor. Finishes with a nice bitterness and the essence of spices remains in the mouth. Carbonation is very present but kept in check.

One of the best pumkin ales I have tried. This one is right up there with Post Road. I would love to try both of them side by side sometime.

 536 characters

Photo of dciskey
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler with about 1.5 fingers of tan head. Head retains fairly well and eventually diminishes into a ring around the edge. Very little lacing. Color is dark iced tea with some ruby edges.

Smell is alcohol, then sweet brown sugar, some bready malt and pumpkin spices. Pretty much like pumpkin pie. The first taste is malty and maybe pumpkin (which I guess is pretty neutral when you make beer with it), then a little sweetness and some spiciness. Alcohol is barely detectable. I took the bottle out of my 40 degree-ish fridge about 15 minutes before pouring; I highly recommend doing this; the other three bottles from this four pack I started drinking too cold, which makes it all spices and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium and carbonation is medium-low, a good and almost creamy combination that melds well with the flavor. This beer tastes good for what it is, and I'm glad I tried it, but since I'm not a pumpkin pie fan I'm not sure I'd want more than one of these in a session. Also, as it warms the alcohol really pokes itself through; I think 10 minutes out of the fridge might have been better. I'd rather have one of these than a slice of pie, though!

 1,196 characters

Photo of Ahhdball
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good color. Amber with red highlights and a small thin laced crown to cover the pint.
Smelled a little cinnamon, and even less pumpkin but not too bad or disappointed.
Tasted more like a brown ale than a fruit or vegetable beer. I can't say I care for brown ales to much but I'll try and remain fair. Brown sugar, pumpkin, and a hint of maple tasted good but not great.
Would I have this again? Yes but if I had a Rocky River Monster Mash in front of me this would lose badly.

 479 characters

Photo of thegiggy86
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I drank this beer last night at The Brazen Head in Brooklyn.

This is my first experience with a Pumpkin style ale.

The look of this beer reminded me of autumn leaves. The dark orange kind.
This beer produced a pumpkin pie-like aroma.
This beer tasted like a pumpkin pie.

In terms of drinkability, I only had a half pint, but I could definitely have another. Based on my positive experience with this beer, I will be drinking more Pumpkin Ale in the future.

 468 characters

Photo of Gaisgeil
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hands down the second best pumpkin, oh excuse me "punkin" ale I've had to date, eclipsed only by Kuhnhenn All Hallows. Pours into my nonic pint a crytalline and shimmering bright amber with trails of carbonation rushing northward. Nose is of pumpkin pie, slightly bready, with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Very pleasant and Pavlovian. Taste is fairly rich and full,with a decent body to it. The pumpkin really comes through here quite well unlike many examples. Very similar in taste as in the nose. Mouthfeel is quite nice, neatly carbonated. A very decent brew, but at nearly twice the price as I can get All Hallows I'd have to pass.


 650 characters

Photo of hopsaplenty
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a golden amber, with a modest tan head of dense bubbles, relaxing to a collar, and leaving modest lacing. Lots of spiciness such as clove, allspice, and nutmeg. There is also malt sweetness and spiky hops. The spice is bold on the tongue, followed by hops. The malt starts to show as well, but it is the hops and other spices that seem to come to the forefront. Nice mouthfeel, mild carbonation, this is a nice pumpkin ale, but I did not find much in the way of pumpkin in the flavor. Nicely balanced, this is a nice beer for those cooler afternoons spent outside around a fire.

 585 characters

Photo of Joey7F
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit: Okay I tried it the 2nd time about two weeks later. It is a much better beer, hence the increase in score. The cinnamon and brown sugar standout, and I couldn't really taste much pumpkin. Either way, great beer and I am glad I gave it a second chance.

Old review:

I went through a fair amount to get this beer, and I got to say, for the first time, I think I am going to be in disagreement with most, in the negative direction.

In fact, I am in disagreement with Dogfish on this one. The bottle reads, "A full bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg"

Fullbodied, check. Brown ale? I would argue it is an ESB (and a good one at that) but the hops are overpowering. The pumpkin, I am barely detecting which is not uncommon as it has a mild flavor. I am tasting no brown sugar, and just a trace of cinnamon. I was really hoping these flavors would have been more pronounced.

Toward the bottom of the pint glass, I am getting more of the flavor and I am not ruling out that my slightly stuffy nose is stopping me from getting all of the potential from this beer. [Turned out to be the case!] I have another one left, that I will try it another day and see if I feel differently. It could be just an expectations thing, I was expecting more of an Oktoberfest with a pumpkin flavor.

I still recommend it.


 1,381 characters

Photo of czechsaaz
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very spicy aroma. Allspice hit right away then a touch of nutmeg. Some malty character, mostly crystal types. Not much in the way of pumpkin, just pie spice.

Orange, crystal clear. Small head and nice rising carbonation. Head dissapates quickly.

Tart and spicy. High hop bitterness. Is there really any pumpkin in here? No pumpkin flavor at all. Again, pie spice and some malt. The level of spice kind of blows everything else away.

Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

As a spice ale, pretty good.. As Pumpkin, doesn't do it for me.

 545 characters

Photo of stephendedalus
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the best Pumpkin Ales I have sampled to date. Unlike Blue Moon, Post Road (yes, I know it is brewed by Brooklyn--and I usually really like their products), Dogfish head uses a brown ale base (I'm guessing their Indian Brown), which gives this punkin' a little more complexity and body than some of the competitors. Likewise, the slightly higher ABV (7%) helps cuts a lot of the potentially cloying sweetness created from the allspice, etc., resulting in a tasty seasonal ale. I usually enjoy the punk for about a month, then it is time for it to retire for another year...until the breeze turns crisp and I start to think of Autumn seasonals one more time. Speaking of seasonals...Mad Elf coming soon!

 716 characters

Photo of wingnutter
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 offering, fresh from the shelf at my local beer store.

Im glad I waited on reviewing this beer until I finished the 4 pack. After the 1st one, I didnt care much for it and left the other 3 alone for a few days. Then tonight I decided to revisit it with a fresh palate.

Look: Beautiful clear orange. Fluffy head. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Pumpkin pie, but I think the allspice came to the front pretty aggresively. It smelled tasty though. Sweet, a tad of alcohol, subtle pumpkin. Yummy.

Taste: Smooth, sweet. Goes down easy, and a nice candied aftertaste. Does indeed remind me of pumpkin pie, but I didnt detect much cinnamon. Allspice was prevalent to the point where I thought it was a bit over the top. Alcohol shows up a bit as it warms, but just the right amount to warm me up on a cool fall night. Overall, a good beer, but this style just isnt my cup of tea. A good offering for the style though, so no points taken away due to my personal taste.

Mouthfeel: Light, yet big. Just the right amount of carbonation. Feels like dessert.Very easy drinking. Alcohol hidden well. Maybe Im just used to stronger beers, but this didnt feel like a 7% ABV ale.

Drinkability: I guess fans of the style would enjoy it more than I did, but by my 2nd one, I actually started liking it more than when I first started, so I will give it a good drinkability rating. As I said earlier, just not my cup of tea, but its pretty darn good for what it is.

If you enjoy pumpkin ale, give this one a try from one of the best craft breweries in all the land.

Goes excellent with chocolate.

 1,596 characters

Photo of RBorsato
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange-ish gold with a low filmy beige head, lots of floaters, and low carbonation. Nutmeg and allspice aroma (a bit sharp) with some pumpkin underneath. Sharp biting spice flavor dominates with a bit of pumpkin-ish malt. Medium bodied and smooth with a drying spice finish.

Decent Pumpkin Ale but not quite worth the price in my wallet.

Per label: "Full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg"

Per DHCB website: same as label sans allspice... hmm?
24 IBU, approx. 224 calories, 22 carbs

'5215' lasered on bottle bottom
Tasted: 10/27/05

($7.99 / 4-pack)

 618 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled due to the efforts of Lackenhauser and The Great Pumpkin BIF.

Pours a good looking chill hazed amber colored ale with a good lasting tan head.

Smell is very malty with a good strong scent of mulling spices. Ginger and allspice are the strongest scents in here. A bit of brown sugar and bread make up the malt part of this beer.

Taste is mild sweetness and bready with a little spice in the first sip. The base flavor of this ale is a good amber ale, on top of which are a candy like extra layer of malts and spices. Flavors of brown sugar and cinnamon, allspice and ginger are present and not so strong that they hide the herbal hops that finish the flavors. Good lingering flavor of ginger and vanilla in the after taste.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

A very good example of a pumpkin beer, but it does have one small flaw. Tasty but the alcohol is all too prominent in this one, doesn't bug me but not everyone will tolerate it in a regular beer.

Recommended by me but your girlfriend might not like it as much as a BA will.

 1,047 characters

Photo of Redrover
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown longneck. The beer pours a nice brownish orange ( or should I say brownish pumpkin?).

Nice aroma of spice and pumpkin with a bready malt underneath. Yummy!

The taste is similar. I get hints of ginger, all spice and maybe cinnamon. Pumpkin flavor is subdued but present. One thing I like about this beer is that while the pumpkin pie taste is very present, the underlying brown beer is evident and it helps balances the beverage.

A bit to much carbonation may be the only shortcoming (slight) of this beer. Easy enough drinker, but as with most pumpkin beers, two an evening is plenty for me.

Trick or treat? This is one is a treat!

 655 characters

Photo of granger10
3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This Dogfish offering poured a bright orange with a golden hue. Head was smallish and lacing was minimal. Aroma consisted of brown sugar, ginger, and some caramel sauce. Taste lacked the pumpkin I was looking for. Lots and lots of brown sugar, way too much for my liking. This is overly sweet. Body is on the thin side, even after it warmed. Finish is a little tart almost and the alcohol gets noticed a bit. This just isn't my cup of tea, I had this along with four other pumpkin ales and it didn't really impress. The Michigan Brewing Co.'s offering was way better.

 567 characters

Photo of sjum29
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer, and despite the heafty price tag for a college budget, ($9 a four-pack) I will definately be purchasing this again.

Punkin' Ale pours a deep, dark orage, almost a true amber. The head is a tan color but is short lived with a little agitation. Its scent is heavenly, like warm baked pumpkin pie. You can pick out the nutmeg easily. As for taste, this is the Pumpkin Ale champ. The brown sugar and nutmeg really hightens the pumpkin flavor giving an aftertaste just like you remember mom making at this time of year. In my opinion, this beer is a little better after it has been out of the fridge for a few minutes and you can really pick up the intricacies of the flavor.

I like the alcohol content as is (for obvious reasons and others). It is masked well and doesn't detract from the beer in any way that I can tell.

Mouthfeel leaves something to be desired. You almost want something this flavorful to be a little thicker. It is more crisp than I anticipated.

Drikability is excellent. I enjoyed 5 of these to myself and still wanted more. You really can't go wrong with this one.

 1,124 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.64/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm still looking for the season's signature pumpkin ale and I don't want to put any pressure but for $9 for a 4 pack and the quality rep of the brewery, this had better be it.
Pours a pleasing tawny caramel color with nonexistant head or lacing. A very nice scent, with spices and sugar prominent, particularly cinammon. Definitely reminds me of pumpkin pie, which of course is the idea.
Some of these notes are extant in the flavor but are generally overshadowed by a very strong alcohol taste. If it were me, I'd lower the percentage from seven to five and not strangle the pumpkin flavor as much. Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth despite the carbonation, which for an ale seems a bit more than I would like. I do think this beer improved as it warmed and more spice is noticeable as I finish it.
This is a nice try by Dogfish Head but I must regretfully report that I'm still looking for a pumpkin ale I can drink easy and clean all autumn.

 950 characters

Photo of radshoesbro
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date and a blurb about what's in it. typical DFH bottle.

this pours a clear copper with lots of carbonation and a somewhat dopey head that fizzles to nothing within a minute or two. some lacing but not all that much. definately better than an average pumpkin beer though.

the nose is gorgeous!! spices, pumpkin rinds, very much like sticking your nose in a can of pie filling.

this has a great mix of spices, malts and hops! very nice pumpkin taste upfront with a nice hop finish. the bitterness definately does not interfere with the spiciness of the pumpkin. an excellent mix.

this is very smooth medium bodied beer that i would definately get again. however, i would never be interested in drinking this outside of october or november.

another example of a fine brewery!! dogfish head punkin' ale is the best of the pumpkin beers i've had!

 895 characters

Photo of ikats
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice orange in color with solid off-white head - after all it's a pumpkin ale, so what color other than pumpkin should it be? While I was writing my note, the head subsided to a dense, quarter inch cover. Very good looking.

Aroma is of pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Just like it says on the bottle. It's a bit too sweet for my taste, but spices make it stand out.

Taste is a lot hoppier than I expected. Maybe even a bit too bitter. On second try, maybe not. Bitterness kicks in at just the right moment after initial sweet notes.

Interesting beer. Even though it's not exactly my cup o' tea (or rather my pint o' ale), I find it strangely intriguing. Rich like fall foliage. And the draft I tried a few weeks ago was even better.

 755 characters

Photo of Naes
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This one is amber brown in color with hues of orange and has a small white head.
Aroma is of cinnamon and pumpkin.
The flavor is quite bold for a pumpkin brew. The pumpkin is minimal, but the spices and maltyness are quite present. There is also a slight alcohol presence near the finish.
Mouth feel is light to medium bodied and is highly carbonated which hinders the drinkability for me.

 392 characters

Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 2,039 ratings.