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The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
The Fear Imperial Pumpkin AleThe Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

128 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 128
Hads: 528
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 27.87%
Wants: 41
Gots: 94 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: taylor714914 on 09-25-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 128 | Hads: 528
Photo of beergoot
3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark, mahogany colored body; thick, dense, rocky head. Aroma exudes pumpkin pie notes; pumpkin; cinnamon; allspice; cola and root beer. Dark malt flavors with a pronounced alcohol presence; chicory; spicy, anise-like taste; phenolic aftertaste. Rich and warm mouthfeel; fairly heavy in body.

A pretty decent and relatively unique pumpkin ale. The pumpkin presence only revealed itself in the aroma while the flavor didn't really deliver much pumpkin flavor but did offer a rather rich and unique dark grain and unknown spice character to the palate. A little boozy, rich and malty flavors with an interesting spicy twist on things. Good stuff...

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Best by 11/27/15.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon gum, and toasted malt aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, molasses, and pumpkin pie spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty, but the pumpkin pie spice aspects are slightly better in the smell to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Lush looking two fingers of tan head, dark brown with garnet highlights. Big pumpkin pie aroma with a drizzle of brown sugar is what this beer smells like. It has somebody, girth, oomph. Great set up with its hearty malt back bone, reminds me of a strong winter warmer but with all of the pumpkin and spice. Nothing mind blowing but certainly much better than the usual pumpkin ales out there.

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Photo of bman13
4.09/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The best pumpkin beer I've ever Had. I'm not one to hop on the whole pumpkin beer bandwagon, but i do like flying dog and can appreciate what they did here. Very nice REAL flavors, not fake like every other one I've had. Flavor is full of fall (pumpkin, pie, nutmeg, allspice ect.) Yet everything is well ballanced, with nothing being too dominate over the others. I really do like this and would actually buy this again. Good job flying dog.

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Photo of Marraybay
4.14/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Whoa: big beer here: Definitely not what I anticipated. Very "Belgianesque," from the moment the pour hits the glass; very dark chestnut brown color, with a rich 1.5" of opaque foam on top; (more could've been had with a harder pour.) Nose is pure belgian strong dark ale; sweetness comes thru with some spice. Truth be told, I don't know that "pumpkin" would ever come to mind in a blind sniff or taste test for that matter. Starts off with abundant sweetness and quickly transitions into some spice-burn and bitterness; Again, those "layers" being quite reminiscent of a good belgian. There's no "halloween mask" on the 9%. It's there pretty much from beginning to end, although I didn't feel overwhelmed by fogginess.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a perfect pint.

4.0 A: Clear deep amber color. Two fingers of foamy beige head. Retention is pretty good and a good finger of interrupted lacing is left.

4.25 S: Big potent pumpkin in this. Spices are just as strong with cinnamon and nutmeg leading the way and allspice and clove just underneath. Maybe a hint of ginger as well. Molasses and dark caramel. Toasted malts lead a sweet aroma. Very nicely done.

3.75 T: This is an in your face type of brew. The spice mixture is really potent, perhaps even a touch too much. The allspice flavor is the most aggressive and really hits you hard. Again, there's a strong pumpkin component. Toasted malts, molasses, and dark caramel malts make a formidable malt base. I'm not sure if it's the hops or the spices, but this has a bit too much bitterness in it. Still, it's pretty damn good.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Decently creamy with a tinge of booze on the finish.

3.75 D: Great nose and good otherwise. This is an aggressive pumpkin beer that does a lot of things right and does a few things a touch too strong.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at BC's Pizza & Beer

A: Pours dark copper brown with a creamy khaki head that settles to a light layer and laces well.

S: Spice jumps out up front, toasty malt, toffee sweetness, mabye a hint of pumpkin.

T: Toasty bready malt, followed by plenty of spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, a bit peppery, light pine, some caramel toffee sweetness, and a touch of pumpkin.

M: Towards the heavier end of medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Surprisingly drinkable for how big a beer it is. Darn decent pumpkin ale.

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Photo of hman43
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours dark brown with a brown head and plenty of lacing. It has aromas of pumpkin, allspice, spices, and hints of coffee and roasted malts. It has roasted malt and coffee flavors with pumpkin, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices. It has a moderately bitter coffee aftertaste.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.99/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flying Dog Brewery, "The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, coded but not freshness dated
$2.49 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

I hate to say it but it's getting to the point that I dread "pumpkin season" (which is now what... early July through the first week of September before everything is sold out?) as there are just so many bad or mediocre ones out there. I tell myself I'll stick with the tried and true, but I can't help sampling new ones. Fortunately I have tried them, because this is not one of the bad ones!

There's a fruity and almost cola-like aroma and flavor to it that's unique. Then the usual pumpkin spice kicks in, but I'm quite pleased to say that it's not overdone. It's there, it's certainly there - there's enough spice that it actually leaves a bitterness at the back of the throat - but it's not screaming "PUMPKIN!" with cinnamon, or ginger, or whatever spice the brewer has overdone leading the way. The fruitiness is like apple and softly sweet red berries, and it has a roast edge to it, and an almost piney note, which I'll assume might be coming from hops, but maybe not, and which in combination with some clove probably leads to what I'd initially found as "cola"... and it's also slightly minty in that way. And let's not forget the malt. There's more malt here, and that's probably helping to dampen and round the spices (although I have had other Imperial pumpkins that were harshly over-spiced). It's also dark, gently roast, and caramelish, which would be the other side of what that makes up a cola - and yet it's not a "cola" beer, it's simply not a completely pumpkin-spiced beer. The alcohol generally remains cloaked although there is a light flicker at the end, and the spice adds to the dry finish as well so not a lot of bitterness is needed. It lingers with a bit of golden honey, some mint, and a dusting of clove, cinnamon, and dull anise.

In conclusion, although "The Fear" is a "pumpkin" beer it appears to me more as simply a malty-strong spiced ale. I could easily see finding its spice profile in a Christmas beer and not questioning it. If they'd used a Belgian yeast it would have become simply a spiced Belgian-style ale. It's nicely done all-around, and this is definitely one that goes on my "pumpkin" list, but I also intend to grab a case to throw in the cellar and enjoy through the winter until the snow clears. Unique!

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Photo of Beermeow
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Really enjoyable while still being unique...what flying dog does really. I really like the color and nose. It looks like a stout and smells like pie. The taste though is truly what sets this beer apart. It is bitter while having a sweet overtone. Some compare pumpkins by saying that is like pumpkin pie in a bottle, well this is like burnt pumpkin pie in a bottle. And I burn a lot of pies so perhaps I'm partial.

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Photo of Chicken_bear
3.26/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Good color, good body.
Taste is a little too raisin-y for me, although the taste is balanced nicely. Taste more of the spices than the pumpkin. Doesn't taste like a 9% beer.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look - An awesome dark brown / black color. A finger of head that dissipated fairly quickly.
Smell - Roasted malts, spice, cloves, yams
Taste - An abundance of spice, tons of roasted notes, cloves, spice, sweet maple, has a smokiness to it, pumpkin, slight booziness

A nice beer to sip on, sitting by the fireplace on a cold night.

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Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very dark pour with a frothy head. Smells of caramel and various fall related spices. Good pumpkin spice flavor with a lot of robust porter background. Finishes roasty. After a while the roast kind of takes over most of the other flavors that were previously detectable. (this may be the only downside to this beer) The 9% abv is hardly noticeable. This is a good and unique rendition of a pumpkin ale. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.16/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber vs. porter, mellow pumpkin vs. assertive American hops, rich and boozy vs. light and drinkable - a beer that effectively bridges any of those gaps could be called a hybrid. Here, FD takes on all three. The result? My favorite fall beer in a long time.

Pours muddy brown with a beige microfoam head that quickly deflates. Aroma is sweet and nutty, with notes of almond, nutmeg, and cinnamon. A bit of warm pumpkin puree in the backdrop gives it a hint fresh-baked pie, but it's only barely there (honestly, if I didn't know this was a pumpkin beer, I might not have even picked it up). Taste is all malt at the start, an interesting (and surprisingly satisfying) combination of pie crust, maple sugar, toasted wheat cereal, mocha, and toffee flavors. Think brown ale with a shot of imperial stout dropped in the glass. As soon as the grain bill piques your interest, though, the palate tightens to a bitter, spice-and-hop finish: crisp, hoppy pine tastes rise quick, but they're soon overtaken by the more traditional cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Pumpkin is, once again, in the background, but there's much more of it in the palate compared to the nose - the fleshy, nutty flavor of roasted pulp is ever-present, and especially apparent under the bitter hop character. Carbonation is velvety-smooth, propping up a body that's just a hair on the light side. Overall, this is a wonderfully easy drinker.

It's been a while since I've had a FD brew, but they certainly have my attention again now. What a way to start the pumpkin beer season.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, amber highlights when held to the light. Just a bit of head, no real lacing. Light to medium nose of pumpkin spice, cloves, caramel malt. Toffee on the front of the tongue. Cloves and spice, like the nose. Dirty hop bitterness in the background. A touch of alcohol, but fairly well masked. Body is actually fairly thing, especially for the high ABV and busy, high carbonation, some warmth from the alcohol. Drinkable, but not really up to some of FD's other "big" offerings.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.61/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very dark, almost completely opaque, brown color, speckled with reddish highlights, and with a full finger of oatmeal-colored head that slowly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic. Strong notes of pumpkin, nutmeg, all-spice and ginger. Also strong notes of freshly baked dark bread, however, there is not much in the way of hops.

Taste: Delicious! Very spicy up front with strong notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, and ginger, followed by strong notes of dark bread. The beer finishes with quite a strong sourness, at least to my palate, which I wasn’t expecting, but find quite pleasant. Finally, there is no hops bitterness to speak of, which I overall prefer.

Mouthfeel: Very chewy, and with a good amount of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an AV of 9%, there is quite a good bit of alcohol on the palate which I find pleasant.

Overall: This is a very tasty beer! I really like the high amount of spices that this beer has. It’s quite delicious and it’s certainly going on my pumpkin beer rotation.

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Photo of JayQue
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A strong Pumpkin Ale. More alcohol presence than I like, but not bad either. Pours a dark brown color into a pint glass with plenty of ruby highlights coming through when held to a light. Fairly big light cream color head and thick bands of lacing on the glass. Aroma is ok, not much pumpkin, just a malty beer with pumpkin spices.

Taste is fairly good. A rich malty beer with the pumpkin spices not overdone. There is a good deal of alcohol in the taste though.

Mouthfeel is somewhat rich but there is a significant alcohol "burn". Enjoyable on a cold night, but the alcohol could be more toned down.

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Photo of Saisons-of-the-Abyss
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Very tasty and satisfying beer! Like many other high abv offerings from Flying Dog, you can really taste and feel the alcohol on this one. While the finish can be a bit harsh, it's still very drinkable. The pumpkin is just right, not cloying or artificial tasting.

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Photo of mdagnew
4/5  rDev +9.3%

355ml bottle bought from Lighthouse Wines, Jordanstown

Poured a deep dark amber orange colour... Creamy head poured small but quite thick and foamy then faded to wispy covering... barely any carbonation... any lacing fades very quickly...

Aroma - Lots of pumpkin pie notes along with dark malt loaf, nutmeg and clove spiciness, spicy fruits (oranges, dates), lots of dark molasses sweetness, light pepperiness, allspice, some caramel...

Taste pretty much mirrors the aromas... again lots of rich pumpkin pie and malty bread notes mixed with nutmeg and allspice, cinnamon, some burnt toffee hints, honey notes, brown sugar, some faint peppery hop hints..

Feel - Quite sharp and dry at first then smooths out... medium bodied... pretty drinkable for a 9% beer as the alcohol is very well hidden but i wouldn't want to drink more than one bottle as it would become way too sickly...

Overall - A pretty good pumpkin beer and much better than i expected... recommended

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

A: Pours a very dark brown in color, almost black, a nice finger off tan head at the top with a nice lacing around the glass.

S: Lots of roasted malts and caramel, some vanilla as well, little bit of pumpkin on the tail end but nothing prominent.

T: The character of taste on this one is somewhat like the nose just spicy on the tail end and lots more pumpkin coming through as well, lots of roasted malts.

M: Medium/ heavy bodied, a pretty decent amount of carbonation.

O: Very different from other pumpkin beers because the flavors are not to much on the pumpkin side, not a bad beer at all, I have had better from this brewery though.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into nonic
Aroma of pumpkin spice, but not overwhelming as most
Head large (5.5 cm), light brown, creamy, diminishing to 3 mm ring and layer
Lacing good - complete rings with stalactites and tiny bubbles
Body dark amber, clear
Flavor begins lightly sweet and spicy with some hints of malt; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, slightly syurpy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of CDGoin
1/5  rDev -72.7%

How to describe the worse thing I have ever tired.. How about someone threw up a pumpkin pie on a pine tree.. ? I don't mean to be rude.. But it was literally the worst beer I have ever had. If you like Pumpkin and you like VERY Hoppy IPAs.. then I guess you might like this obination. If you lean towards liking more malty beers, and not a big fan of pumpkin stay far.. far.. far away. As you should Fear it.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

355ml Bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (£4.40):
Another fairly enjoyable Flying Dog effort that was by no means the brewery's best beer but a good one nonetheless, particularly because it was such a big, well flavoured beer that was very nice to sit and sip away at. Perhaps the alcohol content could have been better hidden but it didn't take much away from the taste and it was well worth trying without truly exciting.

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Photo of seedyone
2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

10/24/12 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. At first blush I was smitten but less than half way through the heavy texture started to interfere w/the subtle spiciness.

As a big So. Tier Pumpking fan I feel I've committed some weird form of adultery.

Moral of the story is what may appear to be fresh, new & exciting often is not. Maybe I'm just getting old.

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Photo of sierratwohearted
3/5  rDev -18%

opaque amber, didnt think the head was there until it was overflowing my tulip glass...big pumpkin pie aroma, heavy spice.taste is like burnt pumpkin pie. roasted malt is almost overwhelming the pumpkin flavor. i almost taste the bready crust of the pie. again, the roasted malt too quickly takes over the pumpkin flavor in every sip. this is a pumpkin stout in my opinion, and i dont much like it.

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The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.