Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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.

130 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 130
Hads: 548
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 28.14%
Wants: 44
Gots: 103 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 130 | Hads: 548
Photo of Cylinsier
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours a deep mahogany brown, tannish head, fine, about an inch, slow dissipation.

Smells of sweet to tangy pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Tastes of mildly toasted pumpkin with some nutty hop bitterness. Brown sugar and nutmeg spice as well. Hint of smokiness.

Medium to full body with mild prickly carbonation on the tongue.

A different approach to a pumpkin ale, works pretty well. Sweet like some pumpkin ales, but the smokey and bitter notes take it somewhere else. I like this pretty good and would have it again.

 543 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep tarnished penny color, almost brown head is a finger and a half off an aggressive pour. Head falls to cap some lace left behind. Seems a little dark for pumpkin must be the extra malt.

Aroma is malty only hints of pumpkin, some pumpkin spice and light alcohol esters. Seems kind of tame for a regular pumpkin might less an impy one. Nose isn't bad just figured it would be more powerful.

Taste is big on malt to start bready notes nice body then the pumpkin appears light in taste also, but liking the heavier malt as most pumpkins seem lighter then this. The spice kicks in with malt and lasts through out the finish. Light alcohol noted n the finish but does not distract. Taste much bigger then the nose and I am liking the heavier body on this one makes for a malty treat.

Mouthfeel is big medium defiantly bigger then most pumpkins and I and enjoying that tonight on a crisp fall night. Carbonation is about average and does not distract at all.

Overall after smelling this one thought eh average but after sipping on it found myself enjoying the fullness of it. Not sure why the nose is not bigger might pick more of these up for a heavier pumpkin brew.

 1,176 characters

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

 459 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
4/5  rDev +9.3%

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Deep, dark brown.

S: Lots of pumpkin spice, but of a darker earthy flavor. A bit musty with clover, cinnamon and nutmeg.

T: Mostly of spices and a strong brown ale. Warms up nicely, like a nice pumpkin pie, but a bit scarce on the pumpkin.

M: Smooth with just a nice bit of carbonation to move those spices around.

O: Good stuff. One of the better ones that I've had. My third of the year, but my first full bottle (the second was the Schlafly Pumpkin and the first was Pumking).

 543 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +9.3%

A: deep dark brown body, less than opaque edges; fat foam head a couple of fingers high left some lace down the glass

S: dark brown chewy pumpkin bread, molasses and spice

T: rich brown malts and slightly vegetal but mostly sweet pumpkin; spicy edges and molasses sugars; hearty dark bread quality, fruitiness of candied fig and date

M: medium-weight, warming and smooth, slight prickle on the palate; roasty brown aftertaste

O: better than I expected - the brown ale was well-suited to the pumpkin bread flavors and spice; rich and warming seasonal treat

 559 characters

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.

 1,547 characters

Photo of dgherm
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Dark amber in color, small head. Head gone in flash. Small wisps of lace also gone in an instant. Traditional pumpkin spice in the bouquet, not too strong just right. Good spice level up front in the taste, alcohol on the back end going down. Too strong, kills the enjoyability, nice mouth feel though. Getting better taste as it warms up here.

 344 characters

Photo of larryi86
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Black with a two finger off-white head.

S- Brown sugar, pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg, lots of spices.

T- Pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, burnt sugar, alcohol, some bitter earthy hops in the finish.

M- Medium body, fairly smooth.

O- A tasty pumpkin beer but the burnt flavor brings it down some. Worth trying and I will pick this up again.

 379 characters

Photo of BB1313
2.98/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. This is a darker pumpkin ale. Pours a dark brown with some light brown hues. There's a huge fluffy dark off-white head which sticks around and leaves sticky lacing. Nice looking beer. The aromas are somewhat faint, but still enjoyable and basically what you would expect from the style. Lots of caramel malts blended with some cinnamon spices. The flavors are very bitter. The hop bitterness is very noticeable. The flavors are very spicy. Lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Once again, very bitter and not sweet at all. Mouthfeel is slick and syrupy. The carbonation is there, making it a smooth drink. The alcohol isn't really noticeable and there's no booziness, just a harsh bitterness.

This isn't really the best Imperial Pumpkin Ale I've come across. Too bitter for the style, in my opinion. I was hoping for more, considering Flying Dog really excels with their bigger beers.

 923 characters

Photo of thain709
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Served with a dark amber colored body and an off white head...the head stood about one finger tall and was very bubbly...it retained nicely and left some decent lacing

S - Your typical pumpkin pie spices are apparent (clove, nutmeg, all spice)...there is a dash of vanilla throw in to sweeten it up...there is a trace of alcohol

T - The flavors actually started off with a lot of malt...this one was malt driven until the middle where it sweetened up again from caramel and vanilla...towards the end there is a huge spice presence...all the pumpkin pie spices are there and they are in full force...again a trace of alcohol is lingering

M - Medium bodied...smooth from the cask pour...lingering spice

O - This was a decent pumpkin ale...I'm glad to see Flying Dog branching out with a few new beers...the spices may have been too big and I could taste more alcohol than I'd like

 886 characters

Photo of chefhatt
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When I poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a very dark brown color body with a tan head that disappears quickly. The smell is all about the spices, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and brown sugar. The taste is up front strong of spices with a smokeyness to it. It has a little bit of pumpkin flavor, but finishes with a hop bitterness.
The mouth feel is kinda heavy but well carbonated and overall i would put this in the top 10 of pumpkin beers.

 449 characters

Photo of ksimons
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-a very dark brown with two fingers worth of light tan head

S-pumpkin spices and a bit of roast

T-more roasted malt in the taste with pumpkin spices and a bit of chocolate sweetness in the finish

M-medium body, creamy, moderate carbonation, roasted finish

Overall a nice variation of the typical pumpkin beers with the roasted malt

 336 characters

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.

 492 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tall pilsner glass, color is amber to dark brown, head is light tan and presented 1/2 inch thick then dissipates to a ring with some lacing.

Smell is some light roast, caramel and hints of spices, some nutmeg, clove and cinnamon are most obvious.

Taste is an malt upfront, caramel and light roast, quickly followed by strong spice character, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon (though light). some of the flavoring is a bit harsh, not sure if this is the heavy handed spice profile. alcohol strength is hidden very well.

Mouthfeel is a bit strong on the tongue, spices lingering, could use some sweeter or maltier balance. Update in 2015: mouthfeel is not so cloying, lighter spice, better malt balance.

Overall, a bit harsh in the flavors and mouthfeel but the smell is pleasant, especially as it warms. Strength of the brew is hidden well, though

 854 characters

Photo of russwbeck
2.56/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Orange brown pour with a white head. The lacing and retention is great. Pumpkin, vanilla, spices, some roasted malty aroma. Sort of a weird smell. The taste is malty, roasted, sort of boozy. Really no hint of pumpkin or spiciness. Disjointed and like the smell is weird tasting. Light, carbonated well, just not balanced at all. The strange smell and flavor makes this difficult to drink. Disappointed in this.

 410 characters

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.28/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip.

Appearance: Very dark brown, with light bubbles on the body and a off white head that's roughly a quarter inch off the body.

Smell: Freakig potent pumpkin scent heavy nutmeg. Comes and goes not heavy stickiness but very good to inhale.

Taste: can you say pie Ina glass because that's what it tastes like, slightly creamy and heavy pumpkins and cinnamon. It's sweet with malts and brown sugar how can you go wrong.

Mouth: Sticky and smooth.

Overall: incredible purchase and best one of the night here at TJ Finleys, thank you for offering this gem. Salud!

 583 characters

Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the darkest pumpkin beer i've seen that hasnt called itself a pumpkin stout. Deep 100 year old rusted brass hue with a big sticky off white head. Pumpkin, licorice, allspice,nutmeg, cinnamon an cocoa powder on the nose.

Surprisingly light for 9% abv but still on the heavy side of being medium bodied. Lots of spice with a big roasted malt profile and a nice pumpkin flavor to it. Unfortunately the spice really dominates this beer to the point of lingering in the mouth. The nice roastiness of the malt however compliments the pumpkin pretty well. A bit of a sloppy beer but a pretty good effort and i complement the brewery for using this years fresh pumpkins. Could use some work but drinkable and overall tasty enough.

 732 characters

Photo of sleazo
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter

A_Pours a deep brown with a one finger creamy head. Retention is low and lacing is minimal.

S_Roasted pumpkin, brown sugar and cinammon dominate the aroma. As it warms clove and bit of ginger come through.

T_Caramel sweetness with a bit of the aforementioned spices hit first. The sweetness lingers mixed with a nice bitterness comes through next which nicely balances it out The alcohol comes through in the aftertaste as its' astringency dries out the mouth.

M_A bit sticky but with enough carbonation to push through it. Medium bodied for the style

O_A good but not great pumpkin beer. Still can't be the king.

 651 characters

Photo of IronLover
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nearly black in color with brownish hues on the edge of the glass. Poured with a short beige foam that quickly reduced to a soapy cap that drapes sheets of wet lacings on the glass. Thick, creamy, smooth feel. Sweet pumpkin aroma with a lightly roasted malt aroma beneath. Sweet pumpkin flavor up front and into the middle with a floral hop bitterness in tow that continues to grow to the finish. Hop bitterness gives way to a brief pumpkin sweetness at the finish that leaves a lingering hop bitterness. The imperial nature of this beer is very apparent from the middle to the end. This was damn good. A truly unique spin on pumpkin ale.

 638 characters

Photo of Arithmeticus
4.14/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured chilled in flared glass

A: Thin head; good carbonation; dark cola color; not much lacing
S: nutmeg, pumpkin, caramel; inviting
T: very satisfying; alcohol and spices (nutmeg, allspice) prominent; hops are very strong, providing complexity

Some reviewers complain about the abundant hops, but I find that an asset in a pumpkin beer (a style I tend not to prefer). It's superior to Dog Fish Head's pumpkin, which is overly spiced.

 437 characters

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.

 354 characters

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.

 1,164 characters

Photo of bleedsblu
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Poured from an ice cold bottle into a glass.

Its very dark as imperial ales mostly are in most cases. There is carbonation but its tough to see being so dark. There was a small head even with an aggressive pour.

I get a fresh and fruity smell, not an aggressive pumpkin smell.

The mouth feel is thick and I'm getting an strong sour note.

I'm getting a light pumpkin taste, its good but it has a strong sour note. It has fresh fruity notes and over all its a good brew. I would still like to see the pumpkin flavor jacked up a notch.

 540 characters

Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am excited to have found this one. The beer poured a deep clear chestnut, mahogany color and builds about a finger high, tan head which has good retention and leaves lacing on the glass.
The smell reveals lots of spice, nutmeg, coriander and malt.
Tasting the beer the front is certainly marked by all the spices. In the middle actually a little pumpkin flavor works its way through along with caramel and brown sugar. At the end the alcohol is certainly making its mark, along with some flavors almost expected from whisky barrels.
A really great fall beer with a lot of character. I am glad I had a chance to taste it!

 622 characters

Photo of droomyster
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A spice bomb of a beer that doesn't taste bad but is in desperate need of depth and subtlety. Pours a very dark brown with a tan head with good retention. Aromas are equal parts roasty, spicy, and pumpkin-packed. The taste, however, beats you over the head with spices. How much cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves can your mouth stand in a single sip? If it weren't for the redemptive roastiness and burst of black licorice that lingers on the immediate finish, I'd consider its flavor to be "below average." Fifteen minutes later, my mouth still tastes like I just smoked a pack of Djarum Blacks (clove cigs). As a non-smoker, I don't consider this an endearing quality.

 665 characters

The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.