The Fear - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
The FearThe Fear

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BA SCORE
82
good

112 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 112
Hads: 481
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 7.14%
Wants: 37
Gots: 74 | 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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 112 | Hads: 481
Photo of Fergyx825
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: a very dark amber beer, with a little bit of head on the edges of the glass and on the surface of the beer. This is way darker than most pumpkin ales.

Smell: A rich smell of pumpkin and spices. This smells great. I'm really looking forward to tasting this beer.

Taste: At first you can really taste the spices of this beer, then it settles into the alcohol of the beer. This beer doesn't taste as it smells, but you can taste the spices of the beer and not so much the pumpkin.

Mouthfeel: a low carbonated beer, with some body to it. I really enjoy the mouthfeel of this beer.

Overall: This is pretty standard run of the mill pumpkin ale. It has some flavor to it, but the alcohol is obvious. (709 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep garnet red almost no head formation upon the pour. Light to medium rise of visible carbonation, spacious, no window dressing on the vessel.

S: Sweet caramel syrup and cloves for aromatic. Molasses, cherry filling and figs, but more syrupy sweetness then anything. Not much natural pumpkin attributes, mostly clove spicing.

T: Warm spicy alcohol-cloves and caramel syrup for flavor. Sweet pumpkin inards, toasted seeds, sweet toasted grains, baked bread, with a warm caramel apple glaze. Spicing of cinnamon and nice spicy warmth as well.

M: Heavy bodied, syrupy consistency, spicy alcohol warmth.

O: Overall the alcohol contributes some spicenss and dry warmth, but also overshadows at times. Pumpkin quality could of been deeper. The alcohol soon settles and provides a sweet pumpkin pie spice warmth. (817 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: dark brown, kind of clear (insofar as a dark beer isn't clear by nature). Sustaining head with real good lacing
S: notes of pumpkin spice (shocking) - nutmeg, allspice, but also a nuttiness
T: slightly bitter nut up front combined with a sweet ginger taste, which is probably a combo of the alcohol and spices. Alcohol makes a presence throughout, although its bite comes closer to end. Mellows a little in the middle as the sugars gain hold.
M: the end is a little alcohol and resin and is a little if a turn off from the rest of the taste
O: I think this would be better toned down a notch on the alcohol. There are good spice flavors on top of a brown ale back that I enjoy. The ending dropped the rating a notch. (720 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a deep dark reddish brown with a tan light brown head.

The aroma is of sweet pumpkin and some brown sugar along with cinnamon, but tons of nutmeg and other spices. A good amount of sweetness and caramel malt in the back.

The flavor hits in front with wonderful melt of sweet juicy pumpkin, brown sugar, caramel, and cinnamon and spice. It hits in front and then to a bit of the middle. It then punches with a rolling bitterness of woodiness, roots, or herbal tea. This combines with the spices and then counteracts the sweetness and pumpkin well.

The hoppiness and bitterness really separates this beers from other pumpkin ales. This is really bitter and for serious beer lovers that can take the bitterness in this. (738 characters)

Photo of endincolorado
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Deep brown with ruby highlights and a nice pale-tan head that settles slowly and leaves behind a satisfying lace. Uniquely dark for the style.

S- Aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, a little allspice coupled with a nice, bready malt.

T- Nice and toasty for the style, with spices complementing, but not overwhelming the flavor.

M- Mouthfeel is nice and creamy; also refreshingly satisfying. Carbonation is just right.

Overall, I'm glad to have picked up a six-pack of this stuff. I wasn't even aware of this beer until tonight, and though I turned down a few other pumpkin ales (there are a lot nowadays) in favor of this label, I'm glad I chose this one. (654 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.28/5  rDev +17.6%
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 dgherm
3.53/5  rDev -3%
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 fourstringer
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 12 oz Brewer's Art goblet with a moderate hand. Admittedly, not my favorite style, but I do dig on Flying Dog in general.

A: Very nice. Rather dark amber, almost black when viewed straight on. Off-white head approximately 1 finger width. Minimal lacing.

S: Smells is good. Dark. Some indistinct pie spice and notable sweetness. Mild vanilla. Smells like a pumpkin beer. Better than most, but I would hope for a little extra oomph given it's "imperial" classification.

T: Sweet up front with a rapid transition to a hop bitterness which lingers. More hop than the average pumpkin beer for sure, but that's not an inherently bad thing. The expected pumpkin spice is certainly there, but a bit indistinct. Maybe I'm imagining it, but I swear I'm picking up some Old Bay in there. The first few sips were even a bit salty. It's unique, but I don't think it's really working for me. Tastes like 9% ABV.

M: Low to moderate carbonation. I think a few more bubbles would help this one out. A bit syrupy. Probably the low point.

O: Interesting take on an often underperforming style IMO. Spice profile is a bit off the beaten track and the hop factor is ramped up a bit. Not up there with the best I've had, but not bad. Worth a try, especially if you're a fan of the style. (1,286 characters)

Photo of csrbv
4.27/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Orval tulip glass.

A: Thin head; good carbonation; dark cola color; decent lacing
S: nutmeg, pumpkin, caramel; inviting; awesome!
T: very satisfying; alcohol and spices (nutmeg, allspice) prominent; hops are very strong, providing lots complexity

Some reviewers complain about the abundant hops, but I find that a huge 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, way too sweet and tastes like a ginger snap cookie. (522 characters)

Photo of theBubba
2.86/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

First, let me say that I'm not a fan of IPAs. What does this have to do with The Fear? You'll see.

Poured darker than most pumpkin ales. I like that. A decent head that didn't last but left some lacing.

Smelled really nice...the typical pumpkin pie spices that all the brewers use, but the malt aroma prevailed so that was a good thing. Got my expectations up, cause as you all know there are some shitty "pumpkin" beers out there this time of the year. Personally I usually have better luck with the Oktoberfests.

Anyway, I've always been a fan of the stuff Flying Dog puts out. The discontinued Horn Dog was one of my very favorites. So I def looked forward to tasting The Fear. Ever drink Cynar or some of those other Italian aperitifs like Campari? Do you like bitter? Than you'll love The Fear. And by the way, the 9 ABV is never noticeable thanks to the sea of bitter.

Otherwise stay clear. There are more friendly pumpkin beers out there. (949 characters)

Photo of mntlover
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
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 mvanaskie13
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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 (772 characters)

Photo of DeFaz
2.63/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

It's rare that I'm really disappointed with a pumpkin ale, but this one just doesn't work. The only thing going for it is its unusual appearance--a dark brown color with a beautiful red thrown in there too and a head that displays fairly poor retention. From there, things go down hill. The smell consists of roasted malt and pumpkin, with the malt distracting rather than complimenting the pumpkin. In the taste, the roasted malt, pumpkin, alcohol, and spices just don't work and leave a bittersweet mess. A cross between a porter and a pumpkin ale may have sounded good on paper, but I found this disappointing and one of the worst tasting pumpkin ales I've had despite the nice appearance and mouthfeel. (706 characters)

Photo of Suds
3.81/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An imperial pumpkin...these are becoming popular. The beer is a rich brown with a thin tan head...soapy. Clear. The smell is of pie spice and booze. Malt comes out in a big way...slightly roasted, and a little breads. No pumpkin in the smell. In the taste, however, there are pumpkin favors, nestled within a serious alcohol warming, big spice bite, and malty sweetness. Full and thick in body, huge booziness. Long and spicy finish. Great pumpkin beer. (453 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.7/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color. Not quite stout-y looking, but darker than a lot of pumpkin ales I've encountered. The head is a creamy mocha shade, about one finger high. It's both soft-looking and well retaining, all while leaving a nice ring of lacing down the side of the glass.

S: The spice levels here are strong; lots of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove here. There's something vaguely medicinal here that I'm not sure of, though. Otherwise, touches of pumpkin, brown sugar, and caramel round out the decent aroma.

T: For about a second, it's opens up with a pleasant layer of spices. After that second, problems ensue: the flavors become quite minty to the point of being medicinal. Luckily, the aftertaste is pleasantly roasty. The combination of the minty middle and the alcohol presence sends this one spiraling down into mediocrity - and straight into the realm of crappiness.

M: The smooth body is a welcoming respite...until it dries up on the swallow, exposing some of the harsher flavors. Somewhat boozy, and also slightly overcarbonated.

O: This reminds me that while there are a few rock-solid beers from this brewery (like Raging Bitch), some of their other stuff is painfully mediocre. Like this - actually, no, it kind of sucks. Will not be buying again. (1,312 characters)

Photo of ksimons
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
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 sleazo
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
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 Chrisbaggz
4.73/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pumpkin beers are one of my very favorite styles, second only to a good west coast or Imperial IPA. There are so many great pumpkin beers out there; Some very mild and not really pumpkiny at all. Some are way overdone to the point where we must ask ourselves if they are beer at all or are they liquefied pumpkin pie? And then there is The Fear: A perfectly balanced pumpkin ale that is deceptively smooth and delightfully drinkable despite the 9% ABV. The traditional pumpkin and spices are definitely all there, but subtle enough to allow the taste of an American Strong ale to come through. Bravo to Flying Dog for making a truly fantastic fall seasonal! (660 characters)

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

Pours a ruby-brown with little to no head or lace.

First major impression is the smell, which is like cough syrup or a strong herbal lozenge. Potent, bright and herbal, with just a little dark fruitiness coming through.

Taste is very similar to the nose - strong herbs and spices up front, anise and clove chief among them. This mellows in the middle to include a lot of malty sweetness, including vanilla, figs and prunes. There's a little hop coolness at the end. This beer is - like I remembered it - pretty in your face. I do not remember the herb/spice component being so forward - it sort of drowns out any real pumpkin flavor. Not a completely balanced beer, but still intriguing. Perhaps some time in the cellar would even it out a bit.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, with a little tingle from the booze and hops. It seems a bit thin though. (852 characters)

Photo of GlenRockJohnZ
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bought 6 pack @ Rite Aid Liquors Westminster MD. Sorry to say that I've missed this one before. Poured into Blue Moon glass. (I know, sorry-first thing I found) Shows small head on top deep amber black pour. Lace follows glass down; smell is least pleasant part of beer; swamp water with spice! However, things get better as beer has warm spicy mouthfeel, but individual spices don't stand out and overwhelm...I think cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg? Has an almost gummy consistency as you drink it down. Hides the high ABV well; you know something is there, but the monster doesn't exactly jump out of the bushes, you know what I mean? Tastes better as you go-although there's a bit of an acidic aftertaste. All in all, very good as a onesie; don't know about multiples. (767 characters)

Photo of Pencible
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a nearly opaque garnet with some off white head.
S: It smelled like pumpkin and clove and cinnamon, with some copper and cranberry and pie crust.
T: It tasted like clove and cranberries and copper, with some pumpkin. It had a dirty and bitter aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was not one of the better pumpkin ales. The scent and body were ok, but the taste wasn't ok. The finish was rough too, so it was not easy to drink. Not recommended. (507 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer was served from the tap at Rattle N’ Hum in New York, NY. It arrived in a generic goblet showing a deepened, rusty amber coloring. It held a one finger head of cakey tan foam, showing nice retention, and leaving splotchy lacing down the walls of the glass. There was a chill haze, with no sediment noted. Carbonation appeared robust. The aroma gave big metallic malts, roasty caramels, baker’s yeast, and strong phenolic spice of clove and black pepper. Booze came with warmth, as did a light nutty moss and herbal hop bitterness. Our first impression was that the spice and chemically backbone really drowned out a lot of the other flavoring. As we sipped, aromatic metallics, toasted pale malts, brown sugar caramel roast, and saltiness started things off. These were all decimated through the center of the sip by chemical and clove of phenol, black pepper spice, and fusel booziness. These persisted through the finish, where they were added to by a bittering herbal hop quality, raw licorice, nutmeg, and powdered pumpkin spice. The aftertaste breathed of that phenolic fire, booze, nutmeg, clove, pumpkin spice, and herbal cone hops. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. There was nice and soft slurp, smack, cream, and froth to the sip, with thick coating left all around the mouth. There was a slight pucker, with little dryness or astringent to be had. The abv was fine, and the beer drank okay.

Overall, what we liked best about this beer was the robustness of flavoring. While that central bite was certainly overpowering at times, at no point was the drinker bored. At first, things did feel one-dimensional, but with time and warmth the ending of the swallow flourished with a mix of bitters and spices. This made for an ultimately interesting drink. This beer does not land well within the stylistic guidelines, as much of anything pumpkin is lost, but it is definitely one of the more forward beers for Flying Dog. (1,960 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter

Appearance- Served a deep orange-brown color with a thin cream colored head. The head fades very fast to leave a whole lot of nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell-The aroma is on the more roasted and dry side overall. It is heaviest of a roasted malt and light roasted pumpkin smell. The nose has notes of a nutty nature as well as some spices of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Taste – The taste follows the nose of the brew very well. It begins heavy with a roasted malt and roasted pumpkin flavor. There is a light only a light level of sweetness upfront, but as the taste advances some sweeter brown sugar and caramel flavors come to the tongue. Initially in the taste there are some light nutty flavors which dwindle as the sweet flavors come to the tongue. Spices come to the taste more at the end as well. Nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon mix with the sweeter flavors and the roasted malt and pumpkin well to produce a rather balanced pumpkin flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer was on the slightly thicker side with a carbonation level that is rather average. The creaminess is quite nice for the pumpkin and roasted flavors of the beer while the carbonation suits the spice and sweeter tastes that come to the tongue at the end.

Overall – A rather nice roasty at first and sweeter and balanced pumpkin flavor in this one. A good example of an imperial pumpkin brew and one to try if you have the chance. (1,464 characters)

Photo of schoolboy
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm not sure when this one came out, but I missed it, so this week I picked one up for tasting.

It is a lot darker that one would expect - like a deep dark reddish, almost opaque. The aroma is a bit weak for such a big beer, with spice (cloves?) overpowering hops and malt.

I was not in the mood for a really sweet drink and this was just barely OK. It is a little bitter, with some hoppiness and loads of spice, but better balanced than many. Underneath all this is a very big, strong beer, and the booze is totally covered by all the taste.

The aftertaste is bitter with spices. Overall these tastes seem to have settled into this beer nicely, and I think waiting a few months since it was brewed (I can't make out what any codes printed on it mean but I have to assume it was brewed in early fall or before) has probably improved it.

I would not go out of my way to buy this again at $2.50 bottle, but I also would not refuse one if offered. (949 characters)

Photo of BB1313
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
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)

The Fear from Flying Dog Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.