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Night Owl Pumpkin Ale - Elysian Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Night Owl Pumpkin AleNight Owl Pumpkin Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

328 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 328
Hads: 1,058
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 118
Gots: 171 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Elysian Brewing Company visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-11-2002

Brewed with 150 lbs. of pumpkin in each batch. Made with Pale, Munich and Crystal malts green and roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin in the mash, boil and fermenter. Bittered with Horizon hops. Spiced in conditioning with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 328 | Hads: 1,058
Photo of gNasty
1.65/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Well the beer looked great in the grocery store, promising a hearty ale perfect for the first chilly evenings of fall. Open the beer though and things go downhill...fast, a freefall into mediocrity. First off, the brew is devastatingly under-carbonated, an attribute that contributes to a flat, thin flavor and slightly grainy texture. Second of all, the beer smells like the holiday section of Walgreens, only less saccharine. And for the record, I am not against pumpkin ales, quite the contrary. I love the full, hearty, festive flavor of a well-brewed pumpkin. I am also not against Elysian. They make a fantastic Amber, one of the best. But the Night Owl flew away with all the body and flavor somewhere before bottling... (727 characters)

Photo of Beerriver
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured this cold beer into a pounder glass. Rich in foggy amber fall color. In the bottle it smelled like a seasonal gift store. In the glass it smelled more like a heavily pumpkin spiced beer. The first very cold taste seemed unpalatable. I let it warm close to room temperature and things came around. Flavors married, though flavors were less intense, spices tend to burst around the mouth and are a bit too prominent. Tastes to me as if pumpkin spice was simply shaken into my beer. (486 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
2.79/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle. Pours a hazy amber bown with a thin head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is bready malts, a touch of fruit and some spices (nutmeg, allspice).

The flavor is vegetal malts with spices. It has a bit of an off metallic finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a little spritzy carbonation, but is mostly watery.

Overall, it sounded and smelled so good - just didn't taste good to me. I like pumpkin beers but this was a bit off (vegetal and metallic). (490 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.8/5  rDev -28.2%

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy burnt copper color. The head is a finger high, with an off-white shade. While the head has a nice creaminess, retention isn't very good. A slender ring of lacing is left on the glass. (3.25)

Smell: Yeah, this one comes off overspiced. I'm picking up a ton of ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, somewhat overpowering the notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, and pie-like sweetness. I have to say, the spice levels here are somewhat offputting. (2.5)

Taste: This works a little better. The harsher spices are toned down, while the notes of gourd, cinnamon, and cream come through. Still, there's too much ginger and nutmeg on the finish - a problem many in the style suffer from. Ah well. (2.75)

Mouthfeel: It's somewhat crisp and dry, giving it solid drinkability. The latter is its crowning feature - even if the flavor profile isn't fully agreeing with me, I can still get it down very easily. Carbonation is restrained nicely. (3.5)

Overall: Not really enjoying this. There is a decent pumpkin pie character, but it's overshadowed by the spicing. More for others, plain and simple. (2.75)

2.8/5: It's not your fault I (generally) dislike this style, Elysian (1,208 characters)

Photo of microbrewlover
2.83/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This brew pours a cloudy orange color with sediment in the glass. Low carbonation. No head or lacing to speak of.

The smell is initially of strong pumpkin and cardamom but this quickly fades as the beer warms. There is also a wheat smell.

The taste has pumpkin in it however the spices do not shine through at all in the taste. There is also a musty wheat taste.The taste does not improve as the brew warms up.

The mouthfeel is thin, water and flat.

I have found this to be a weak pumpkin ale and I am puzzled by the good reviews it has received. I would put Wyerbacher, Post Road and Smuttynose pumpkin ales before this one. (630 characters)

Photo of kosmoraios
2.97/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear orange color, with plenty of carbonation visible in the glass. Fizzy white head rises to about a quarter of my finger before settling back down, leaving little top and no lacing.

Aroma is subdued, pumpkin pie and sweet malt.

Taste is of pumpkin pie spices and light, sweet caramel malts. The raw pumpkin is noted, also. Far too light and watery for my taste. Overcarbonated, fizzy and soda-like in the mouth. Not one I'll purchase a second time. (461 characters)

Photo of TheBigBoy
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, I am now resigned to the fact that I am just not a big pumpkin beer fan.

In line with all the reviews, this is not an overpowering pumpkin beer. Subtle pumpkin and spice flavors throughout not even close to going over the top like some of the more fragrant and sweet pumpkin ales available.

Split out of a 22oz bomber on Halloween.This one was just Ok for me. Happy to now be past the Halloween beers and looking forward to Winter Ales now coming into season. (465 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a an amber red dark orange color with a mild lacing ring around the top and minimal carbonation.

S - Brown sugar, pumpkin, and nutmeg in a bread crust sort of way. The nose is weak.

T - Mimics the nose...brown sugar, pumpkin, and nutmeg in a bready sort of way.

M - Light bodied and somewhat watery with a spicy sugary finish. This beer leaves an annoying artificial and chemical-like aftertaste.

O - Meh. Mundane when compared to other pumpkin beers but because of the ABV, it's very drinkable. (510 characters)

Photo of seedyone
3/5  rDev -23.1%

From growler at home. I used to be a big fan of So. Tier's Pumpking but it seems to have shifted towards a drier, hop forward brew which has left me behind. I picked up this from Elysian because many reviews claimed it was a bit sweet. Not for my tastes.

It pours nicely & the slight cooper tone of the head bode well of the very nice warm spice blend. The taste was just OK by me. Not as dry or hoppy as this year's (2014) So Tier effort but still 2 bases short of a home run. (480 characters)

Photo of Toddzillamz
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho. I know something you don't know. That's right y'all, Toddzilla is back! Ready to drop some knowledge on you wannabe beer guzzlers. You probably some other kind of guzzler, if ya know what I mean.

This beer leaves me saying, "I don't know." And maybe it's not just this particular beer, but the overall feeling I get from a pumpkin ale. Football starts, the leaves turn, and the days grow shorter. This is when the brewers turn their focus to this niche of pumpkin style brews. We all wait for it to happen, and jump in head first, only to be disappointed. But, then again, I don't know. Maybe we should try other gourds. Well, here's the quick and dirty:

A: The color of urine when you drink nothing but beer.
S: The standard selection of fall spice. Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon. Not too strong though. Not the warm feeling you get when sniffing a Pumking, that's for sure.
T: It was definitely better the night before, when I first opened the bottle. Things happen. You get a call/text and you take care of business. The usual suspects are here.
M: Dry, clean, crisp. Like listerine without the burn.
O: I don't know. It's a smooth, drinkable brew, but these pumpkin ales just rub me the wrong way. Like a sandpaper handjob, or a farmgirl with roughened, callous hands. All the same to me. They don't live up to the hype of "autumn beers". Not that a sandpaper handjob lives up to the hype, but you know what I mean.

This unnerving feeling takes me back to a time in Rome. Not that I was time traveling back to the glory days of gladiator fights and chariot races, but a trip I had where an experience left me guessing, forever. So, I'm back at the hostel with a slew of two euro bottles of wine, and run into the other cast members of that week. I happily share my wealth, and drinking breeds more drinking, so we all wander off to a club. This is where somebody drugged me. When I come to, I'm back in my room and see this smokin' girl from Israel right in my face. My shirt is being pulled off. I black out. I wake up in the morning with three chinese girls across the room staring at me and giggling. I was in my bed with nothing on but my underwear halfway up. There was what seemed like dried blood all over the place. All over me, the bed, and the floor. I later found out that this was wine, which was puked up. And, I puked all over the girl and her belongings. What I never found out is what happened. Did she take advantage of me and sex me up without me knowing? I don't know. Where did my clothes go? I don't know. Similar feeling with all these pumpkin beers. I don't know. Don't love em. Don't hate em. Just don't know. (2,671 characters)

Photo of Domingo
3.01/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Pours a pretty deep dark burnt orange. It actually has a pretty decent amount of head for the style, and the foam laces really well.
Smells like a boatload of spices. Cinnamon's the main one, with allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and a surprising strong liquorice/anise smell even though I don't believe it contains any. Not much in the way of beer or pumpkins, though.
The flavor mirrors the smell. Lots of cinnamon and anise, but as a beer, I'm just getting a ton of spice. If that's what you want - this one is pretty much the king of heavily spiced pumpkin beers. If you aren't into that - beware.
The body of the beer's great, and pretty ideal for the style.
For me, the first 1/3 of the glass was great. After that, it was like drinking liquid spice mix. Definitely a splitter.

Hmmmm. Lots of talk about this being among the best pumpkin ales. I really enjoyed their Great Pumpkin at the GABF...but this is all spice and very little else. I have to think that Night Owl might be a bit overhyped. Lots of people whine about overspiced pumpkin beers, but this beer (the most spiced one of them all) seems to be getting a free pass.

Worth a shot, and good up-front, but it'll let you down pretty quickly.

(It might be worth noting that this was contract brewed at New Belgium...not sure if there's any difference between this batch and the ones brewed in Seattle) (1,363 characters)

Photo of wl0307
3.02/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Coming in a slim 650ml brown bottle, BB 10/08/2013, served lightly chilled in a long-stemmed wine goblet.

A: pours a dark reddish amber hue with light haze, coming with a light beige foamy head with good retention and light carbonation.
S: amber malts, dried longan-fruit flesh, thick nectar, sweet leafy herbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and semi-lactic sourness as of light-coloured prunes. All cramped together, messy and one-dimensional. Quite acidic also.
T: lightly effervescent, light bodied, thin and savoury-acidic fruity accompanied with notes of light herbal/spiced tea, hawthorn fruits, prunes, loose-bodied semi-caramely sweetness, faint anise seeds, and lingering thin-bodied sourness as of prunes and prune skins, with a light tannic edge to it. The finish is not possible to separate from the main flavour profile, as the sourness overall quite frankly storms its way through…
M&O: medium level of carbonation, thin-plus bodied, the acidity comes too much at the expense of the balance, and all in all I can’t understand what the flavour profile tries to deliver to me. I suppose really this ale cannot be consumed past its suggested Best Before date? (1,164 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at ?

Poured clear orange-copper with a nice head. Malts in the nose and some pumpkin. Pretty much straight-up malts and the pumpkin and spice is not too spectacular, as opposed to other brews of the style. Like, when I order a pumpkin beer, I want pumpkin and spice...no need for subtlety. Light-medium mouthfeel, a bit watered down. Fairly drinkable, but not worth going out of the way for. (410 characters)

Photo of BigMike
3.08/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by 3-6-11

A: Pours a crystal clear copper penny color. Topped with a thin soapy eggshell colored head.

S: smells alot like Ginger bread. Nutmeg clove ANd allspice too. Pretty good pumpkin aroma. Doesn't smell fake.

T: Man, what a let down. There's almost a sour like quality to this and not in a good way. Almost non of the aroma transfers over to the taste. Very watery and plain.

M: Light bodied. Pretty easy to drink but not very enjoyable.

Overall: I want to love pumpkin beers. I love all pumpkin flavored pies, cakes, coffee ect. I have yet to find a beer that captures the real pumpkin pie essence. Does such a beer exsist? Possibly. I haven't found it yet. Alot of times the nose is promising only to be a let down once tasted. This beer suffers from that. It's really not a good pumpkin beer at all. (831 characters)

Photo of froghop
3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a semi-clear burnt auburn with little to no head, some lacing.

smell of spice, pumpkin, baked crust, just like a pumpkin pie.

taste is of spice, pumpkin, malt, some cinnamon.

overall an okay beer, i really don't care for the taste of the pumpkin brews that come out in the fall, but this one is better than most. (321 characters)

Photo of DaggerEyes
3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle
poured an amber orange, off-white head, patchy but abundant lacing clinging to the glass.

Sweet pumpkin pie, kind of like pumpkin pie out of the can. lots of spice, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.

The taste at times reminds me of ginger bread, though the pumpkin is undoubtedly there. Not much in the way of carbonation, smooth and slick mouthfeel, with a watery body. The body is a real turn off for me I like my pumpkin ales heartier than this one. There is also a strange and somewhat awkward off-dry quality on the finish. (541 characters)

Photo of Neorebel
3.12/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a ruddy amber hue, carbonated, with some minute sediment present. Bubbly head dissipates quickly, leaving no lacing in its wake. The aroma is nice, with sugary malts, graham cracker, nutmeg, pumpkin, and citrusy hops. I find the flavor to be rather straight forward... it's an APA with subtle pumpkin/spice characteristics in the finish. It's a bit watery and thin. I would recommend if you are looking for a good APA based session beer, otherwise, there are far better tasting beers of the pumpkin persuasion... (518 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: No head. Pale, dark copper. Translucent.

S: Ginger? Very strange. Rice? Spicy, dead yeast.

T: Interesting. Heavy pumpkin, but only on the foretaste. Still tastes like rice though. Lots of subtle spice. Enjoying the ginger and cinnamon.

M: Thin and a touch sour.

O: Not a bad beer, especially in gulps, but not as tasty as I was anticipating. Wouldn't recommend, even if I'd have another. (455 characters)

Photo of dborginis
3.16/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22 oz bomber to pint glass.

Appearance is a somewhat opaque amber, like looking through a rod of plastic. Interesting.

Smell is very lightly of pumpkin. Can't get too much else.

Taste is a little bit of spices, a little darker smoky malt with a little bit of a carbonation bite. The aftertaste though, is very watery, almost like a lowfat milk. The more I drink it, the more I feel it is watered down, with the above mentioned flavors hiding out and creating a quick sensation, then dying out quickly.

It is drinkable, but I think I'd rather spend my time drinking something with a little more flavor going on.

Nothing against Elysian, but their two offerings I have tried, this and the Jasmine IPA, have been a little too subtle for me, almost watered down. Probably just me, as I have had friends who really enjoy Elysian. Maybe its the coast to coast trip? (877 characters)

Photo of Gobzilla
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: poured a translucent golden orange in color with yellow highlights and a finger of head that left good bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: noticeable grainy aroma upfront in the nose with very light spice notes such as ginger, cinnamon and all spice.

T: the cinnamon, ginger, all spice and clove were a tad more potent on the taste alongside plenty of grainy flavor a touch of pumpkin character a mild citrus notes.

M: the beer was light in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a spice, semi sweet, mildly fruity and crisp finish.

O: not really big on pumpkin flavor and was my least favorite in the pumpkin beer series. (643 characters)

Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - typical pumpkin brown, nice head and lace that lasts

S - much spicer than pumpkin aroma, lots of nutmeg and cinnamon and some brown sugar

T - Not a lot of pumpkin flavor but lots of nutmeg and cinnamon. Weird blend of spices. Would like to have tasted more pumpkin, a little watered down

M - Medium body and a little under carbonated. Spicy finish but doesn't last very long

O - Not one of the best pumpkins I've had but if one likes more spice in their beer than this is for you (487 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed at our pumpkin beer tasting. Thanks to Pete for bringing this one.

Pours an orange copper color with a bit of haze. Smell brings loads of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. A bit of roasted pumpkin. The taste layers on the spice even more. A bit of toasted bread as well. Feel is strange, as the my entire palate is overcome with pumpkin spices. Drinks okay, but a bit lopsided in balance. (393 characters)

Photo of Cavalier92
3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not your typical pumpkin ale. A good bit of dryness and hops. Strong nose of ginger and nutmeg. Deep amber brown body with thick off white head. Pumpkin flavor comes through on the finish, but still feels a bit thin in the mouth. 6un because it,s different from the standard pumpkin brew, but nothing to go out of your way for. (327 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.32/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color, a bit chunky, and a small to no white head. In the aroma, big cinnamon and allspice all the way through. In the taste, big spice, quite heavy on the cinnamon, with nutmeg and allspice, and notes of gourd. A spice bite and a medium to lighter body, with a dry over use of cinnamon and ginger in the aftertaste. Overuse of cinnamon and big spice presence, although, just about average. (424 characters)

Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The darkest pumpkin beer I've reviewed yet. A lovely deep amber hue with some cream on the top...Sweet brown sugar, pumpkin flesh and allspice on the nose. Beautiful template for flavor. Cinnamon and clove mesh on the tongue with sweet brown sugar. Medium light body has a load of miniature carbonation to hail in the nectar of the fall. (337 characters)

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Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 328 ratings.