Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale - Elysian Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Night Owl Pumpkin AleNight Owl Pumpkin Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

326 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 326
Hads: 1,053
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 115
Gots: 165 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Night Owl Pumpkin Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 326 | Hads: 1,053
Photo of MNishCT77
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle purchased recently at Franklin's, 2013 vintage but unclear bottling date, poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 10/22/13 over an hour.

A: 2/3 - amber-red coloration, solid clarity (surprisingly though could not read or see through), one finger head resolves into a subtle glass lacing persisting throughout pour, minor alcohol legs

S: 8/12 - lots of pumpkin, all-spice, etc....nice at first but kinda pussy

T: 14/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a strong spiciness that bounces around but unfortunately does not resolve, the flavors continue to bounce, and, towards the end, the malt background starts emerging but not overwhelming - too much spice and too little complexity!

M: 3/5 - moderate-to-high bodied; appropriate carbonation; little alcohol aroma

O: 7/10 - I don't understand the appeal of this beer straight; might be better with food but the spice is really overwhelming to the point of being cloying; admittedly, it might be better with some pumpkin pie or even a Thanksgiving meal, but, otherwise, I would pass unless you love a varietal of spices

TOTAL = 34/50 (1,097 characters)

Photo of Dieseldynamo
3.34/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured from a bomber with little head and no lacing, plenty of (what I'm guessing is) pumpkin residue floating in the glass from adding it to the fermenter!

S-Light ginger and cinnimon over biscuit malt. Almost a bit perfumey...

T-Similar to smell but with beer flavor...no bitterness (as to be expected) and no apparent pumpkin flavors despite the intense additions. The spices are nicely displayed however a bit strong on the ginger perhaps.

M-Nice and medium-full bodied for a 6 % abv beer, great texture and consistency.

O-Not the best (certainly not the worst) example of the style I've had, I think they put too much emphasis on getting pumpkin flavor into the beer and missed the balance of spices that should compliment the type of texture that comes with adding pumpkin to a beer. It does make a nice fall beer however. (835 characters)

Photo of AltBock
3.36/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber bottle with a pumpkin orange label that has an up close head shot picture of an owl. This owl is serious! He has that look in his eyes that he wants to scratch the eyes out out of everybody that looks at him. Behind the serious owl is big red full moon. To the left of the owl is is the mandatory US information and on the owl's right side are two paragraphs. One talks about all the ingredients that went into this beer and the second one talks about the Brewhouse. Below the paragraphs is the brewmaster's signature and if you have a magnifying glass handy, a best before date. It said best before December 26th, 2008. OOPS!

When poured into a Sly Fox Imperial pint glass, this Pumpkin Ale almost poured a solid pumpkin orange. If it wasn't for that small tint of amber, this beer would have shared the same shade of orange that a Pumpkin has. On top of this beer was a creamy 3/4 of an inch head of pure white foam. This head of foam never receded. It was one of those heads of foam where the only time it receded was when I took some sweet liquid out of the glass. When the head of foam receded, it left behind plenty of milky white streaks of lace around the glass.

This beer smelled like baked pumpkin. Not a baked pumpkin pie, it was more like an aroma you'd get if you threw a whole pumpkin into a oven. Right behind the baked pumpkin was a hint of nutmeg, a dash of sweet ginger, a pinch of cinnamon, and a subtle speck of cloves. This aroma had a surprise, but it only came out when it was swirled around. When it was swirled around, out comes the scent of over ripe cantaloupe. What that was doing in a Pumpkin Ale is beyond me. The cantaloupe completely took over the aroma. When it settled down, it comes the baked pumpkin aroma again. Take my advice, don't swirl this beer around.

Most of the Pumpkin Ales I've had in the past tasted like pumpkin pie. This one tasted a little bit like pumpkin cheesecake. But this beer only tasted like cheesecake at the very end of the taste. This beer started off with the baked pumpkin and then that was quickly followed by cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. That would have been great, it they didn't water down the pumpkin pie spices. I honestly don't know if they were watered down, but I do know that something was holding them back. I don't like my Pumpkin Ales overly spicy, but this one was holding back the spices. It was the pumpkin cheesecake at the end that saved this beer. if it didn't come in, this beer would have been nothing but baked pumpkin and watered down spices.

This was a light bodied Pumpkin Ale with a dry baked pumpkin aftertaste of baked pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. The baked pumpkin was the only taste that stuck around after the liquid was long gone.

I don't know what to say about this Pumpkin Ale. It had the taste of pumpkin in it, but it was holding back the spices for some reason. I guess the baked pumpkin was scared that the spices would over run the taste so that it beat the spices down. Overall, it's not a bad Pumpkin Ale. It's just not my favorite one and it's definitely not my favorite beer from Elysian. (3,127 characters)

Photo of antilogic
3.37/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had it on tap @ the Horsebrass in Portland. Got a free taster from the bar staff.

Aroma of light spicing, but lacking a pumpkin. Head was big, low carbonation, appears a standard "brown" in low bar lighting. Taste was smooth, and some pumpkin was definitely there. It was a lot lighter than I expected, leaving me disappointed. (328 characters)

Photo of RandomExile
3.37/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep cloudy amber, thin, short-lived head, persistent fine-foamed rim and surface film.
S: Floral, almost fennel nose, spice
T: floral, cloves, cinnamon, fades mostly into pumpkin and cinnamon
M: a bit thin, can be foamed
O: Not bad. Doesn't really fall into the refreshing category, but it not so overly sweet or spiced as to be cloying. For those who want a medium-bodied pumpkin ale distinctively spiced but no overpowering, this could be the one. (453 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep amber beer with ruby high lights. It has a pretty decent foamy head, quite dense and pocked with large bubble holes. Good lacing.

Aroma is mostly malts with little to no pumpkin or spice aromatics.

Taste is rich caramel maltswith just hints if any of pumpkin and/or spices.

Nice medium body feel and smooth.

According to thier website they use an abudence of pumpkin and spices throughout thier brewing process but to me this is a very weak flavored pumpkin ale. Beer wise its pretty good just lacks. (511 characters)

Photo of chefhatt
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a copper color body and don't have any head or lace to it. The smell is strong of cinnamon and ginger with a hint of nutmeg. The taste is very spicy of the the spicies from the smell with just a hint of pumpkin peeping through on the finish. The mouth feel is good and overall a good pumpkin beer, i have had better and worse, it is aboe average but exceptional. (407 characters)

Photo of scootpolute
3.39/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint, 6 FL OZ. bottle into tulip glass.

A - Pours dark-amber, with a full, cloudy-light-brown head...-some great lacing!

S - Hops and hints of a combination of spices; pumpkin, clove, cinamon & ginger!

T - A bit bland...The combo of spices is weak (which I think is 'good,' rather than over-doing the flavor), but...something is missing. Perhaps more hops would have helped, eh?!

M - Good carbonation! The carbination disappears quickly to the combo of bland flavors.

O - At the top, there's a feel like your're going to get (with flavor) much more than you actually 'get!' The bland combo of flavors kind of go all over, then, die off to a relatively 'weird' place...sort of a soapy-cinamon ending..? (710 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice looking clear copper color with nearly no head on top. There was just some scattered bubbles on top of this and no lacing. The smell of the beer was spicy very much autumn scented. The taste of the beer was pretty good, balanced between the malts and the spices. The mouthfeel was a little on the watery side in my opinion, it finished very dry also. Overall this beer was decent and I might drink it again one day but I wouldn't see myself running out to buy a case or anything next fall. (520 characters)

Photo of morebeergood
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was the third beer that my wife brought back for me from Seattle. Thought it was a good idea to crack it open on Halloween. Poured it into pint glasses. Had the typical look and smell of pumpkin ales. Did not have a lot of carbonation (a bit of a let down) so not much head. Had a nice taste, but differed from most other brands, as the taste was more pumpkin than spice. The more subtle flavor made this beer very drinkable. This is a great example of the style, but not the best I've ever had. (500 characters)

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Does this beer make me think of pumpkin pie or pumpkin? Amber and syrupy, no head, red rooibos tea comes to mind. Slimy on mouth like a pumpkin. Spicy cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and ginger are balanced by woody hops. Sage, floral lemon zest, coffee and caffeine. Light vanilla and peach combine with spices to give impression of herbaceous squash, earthy and metallic. Metal on palate with lemon verbena bitterness. Overall, I think the malt presence is too weak in this beer at the moment. Bitter, nutty, astringent, not yet ripe squash that is compensated by heavy spicing, served without butter, lacking decadence and fullness. In the end, this is decidedly just a pumpkin beer masked by hops, spices, and lacking the an integral maltiness. I didn't imagine myself in James's pumpkin version of the giant peach. (815 characters)

Photo of nickd717
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Taking my review from RB after prior BA review was deleted...

On tap at City Beer in SF. Cloudy dark amber-brown color with a small off-white head. Aroma is decent with good pumpkin spices, pumpkin, and sweet malt. Flavor is not bad but a little harsh. Lots of spices - cinnamon and nutmeg stand out. Also some pumpkin and caramel and roasted malt. Could use a little better malt balance, but it's still better than most pumpkin ales. A little astringent on the palate with medium body and some spicy zing. Above average overall. Drinkability decent. (551 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark, cloudy, orange copper brew. Two fingers of fluffy cream colored head rise up in the glass and slowly subside to a half finger. A nice thick ring of head rests atop this pumpkin ale with good lacing washing down the sides of the glass. I'm excited to try this.

S: Fairly standard, but good nonetheless. Strong pumpkin pie scents of nutmeg, allspice, and maybe just a touch of cinnamon. Faint roasted pumpkin notes as well. Smells tasty.

T: Surprisingly malty with a sweet, cloying profile. The nutmeg and cinnamon is surprisingly subtle until the the finish. A little bit of a funky aftertaste, just a bit tart. Overall, pretty well done, but could have used more spice to balance out the malt.

M: A little too heavily carbonated, to the point where the flavor profile of the brew suffers as it is masked by the bubbly mouthfeel.

O: Elysian Night Owl is a solid Pumpkin Beer, if not somewhat forgettable. The appearance and nose are very good but the taste and overly carbonated mouthfeel were a bit of a letdown. Try it if you see it, but a Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin will do just as well. (1,103 characters)

Photo of doughanson78
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. My first Pumpkin Ale. I'm glad it's a Local brewery.

A: Medium to dark brown and dark amber/orange when held to the light. Super clear. One and a half finger, slightly off white head with pretty good retention. Awesome lacing. Some larger bubbles in the head.

S: Nutmeg is the biggest aroma. Lots of cinnamon. Pumpkin. Smells like a baking pumpkin pie crust. Very light clove.

T: Very light taste. Again nutmeg is the biggest taste (if you can call it big). Some cinnamon and pumpkin. Lots of caramel malts coming through towards the end. An overall watery taste.

M: Light to medium bodied. Seems like it should be thicker. Medium carbonation. Definitely needs more creaminess.

O: A decent beer. Nice change in style. This only leaves me jonseing for the likes of Pumpking and the Dogfish Head releases. Wish the local brewery would've hit it out of the park. (899 characters)

Photo of ksimons
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-a hazy orange with a thin layer of white head that quickly disappears to leave some lacing around the top

S-lots of spices-cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin, vanilla, and light alcohol

T-pumpkin with a very strong squash/vegetable taste that I am finding a little off putting, not as much spice as the smell would suggest, and a light bread like malt backbone. Sometimes pumpkin beers can be too sweet, unfortunately this one is not sweet enough and there is too much of a veggie taste in it.

M-medium body, light to medium carbonation

Overall the smell started off strong but I am not a fan of the squash like taste of the beer. (635 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 12/27/11
*From notes

A: It looks like a ruby hued pumpkin. Clean. A good pour yields a three finger head. Solid retention and lacing.

S: Another all-spice bomb (que rolling of eyes).

T: Shocking. More all-spice with minimal pumpkin qualities to it. Not that it's a bad thing, just not the most creative venture.

M: Packs the proverbial punch, as it's big and bold.

O: Elysian's Night Owl is yet another in a long line of decent yet unspectacular pumpkin ales. Though it isn't a bad beer, it's nothing to get worked up about, and not something I'll seek out again. (611 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle tonight while grabbing some wine for the wife. Great Pumpkin and Dark O' the Night are in my near future, so I thought I would start here.

22oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Clear, red-brown with a thin light tan head that fades to the edges very quickly.

S - Light cinnamin and cloves.

T - Graham cracker, cinnamin, malty, spices linger for a bit.

D - Heavier to medium body, low carbonation, very spicey aftertaste.

O - Pretty mild for a pumpkin beer. (486 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Dark amber liquid with orange hues. Creamy, oatmeal-colored head a finger thick and dissipates quickly. 4

Spicy and tea-like with the initial smells. Reminds me of chai, just like the Imperial Pumpkin from Dry Dock. Interesting. Sweet and vanilla-like. Not bad. 4

Well, with Dry Dock the pumpkin spiced chai thing worked, as the body was thicker, creamy and felt like a beer. This tastes like chai and feels like it too. Thin-bodied, clove-heavy and teal-like, this just doesn't taste or feel like a beer. The pumpkin flavor is not over the top and the mix of spices all work well, but again, I almost don't feel like this is a beer save the robust carbonation. T- 3.25 F- 3.25

Overall, this is a great chai with some booze, but an okay beer that feels like a pumpkin chai. (817 characters)

Photo of livingregret
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type: 1 Pint 6 fl oz

Appearance: A lovely Orange colour w/ no head to speak of. A pumpkin ale that is actually orange coloured? So far so good....

Smell: A wonderful pumpkin pie aroma. A touch of brown sugar the only thing that is missing is some spice but still very nice...much better than many other pumpkin ales

Taste: Sigh....I had such high hopes. The taste is like that of a wonderful pumpkin pie....but w/ no spice. If only this had some spice this Ale would be a absolutely amazing Pumpkin Ale w/ no equal. As it stands it is better than many other pumpkin ales but is lacking balance because there is no spice

Mouthfeel: Very light, little carbonation, no hops....goes down easy

Drinkability: Everything leading up to the actual taste is amazing but than it goes slighty downhill. Still better than the other 2 Pumpkin Ales I have tried. Cheers (867 characters)

Photo of jletts
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasty and very nice aroma. I tasted a little more alcohol in this year's version it seemed. Nutmeg, a little cinnamon, and pumpkin spice accompanied by a warming alcohol taste. I'll have to try it on tap for comparison but the bottle is definately worth a grab. (261 characters)

Photo of robmorris31
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not my favorite but a Great Pumpkin Ale! (My favorite is from Shock Top)

from Elysian:

Style
Pumpkin Ale

Body
Light to Medium

TASTING NOTES
A very drinkable pumpkin ale—brewed with seven and a half pounds of pumpkin per barrel and spiced in conditioning with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.

MALTS
Pale, Munich, Crystal

HOPS
Lightly bittered with Magnum

SPECIAL
Both roasted and raw pumpkin seeds are in the mash, with pumpkin added to the mash, kettle and fermenter.

ABV: 5.9%

IBU: 18

AVAILABILITY
Fall Seasonal — 1/2 Bbl kegs, 22 oz bottles (572 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent amber/caramel with 2 fingers of fluffy cream colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Nutmeg, cinnamon & some pumpkin

T: Nutmeg, cinnamon, & pumpkin up front. Dryness & more of the same as this warms, plus a bit booze on the edges. Finishes with cinnamon, a hint of grain & a bit of caramel

MF: Light/medium body, slightlty over carbonatnated

Drinks okay, was hoping for more flavor & malt depth from these guys. This is still a style with more misses than hits for me (505 characters)

Photo of Ezekiel81923
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at Capone's, bought for a girl who wanted to try some Pumpkin Ale's. She bailed, I drank. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber/Brown color with a 2 finger foamy tan head. Head receded very slowly, never completely, and left great lacing.

Smell: I didn't get much spiciness out of this one. Slight roasted aroma that I would assume is the roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin itself is in the nose as well, and some faded cinnamon and nutmeg.

Taste: Again, I can't find much of a spiciness in this one. It can't be that old of a bottle, it couldn't have been on the shelves more than a few months. But anyways, a definite pumpkin flavor does exist, along with some nutmeg. Kind of an awkward aftertaste, kind of like spoiled pumpkin and alcohol mixed together.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy on the tongue. Light to medium carbonation. Just that awkward aftertaste of too much pumpkin without any spice.

Drinkability: Drank the whole bomber, moved on to other beer. I guess that means it's drinkable.

Would like to try again next year to make sure I didn't have a bad bottle. This one scores high in the areas that don't matter, but misses where it counts. In my opinion, any assertion that this could overthrow pumpking is just way off base. (1,264 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Recently attended a pumpkin beer tasting at Mike's place. The two pumpkin beers from Elysian were the best IMO. This one slightly under the other.

Beer is orange and nearly clear, slightly darker than the Great Pumpkin but is moderately carbonated. Not much of a head on this one and not much lacing as a result.

Aroma is moderately spicy with a definite pumpkin presence. More nutmeg and less cinnamon than the Great Pumpkin.

Beer is light in body and a little sweet. The spices come through but the pumpkin doesn't take center state here. Drinkability is OK, better if you like nutmeg and allspice, but I'm not really feeling this one all that much. (654 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 12oz bottle which was good because a bomber or a sixer would be way too much. Orange color with good lacing but it also has a lot of particulate floating throughout. Strong smell of the typical pumpkin pie spices. Flavor is pumpkin, nutmeg, spicy. This is good but I really don't want too much of it, kind of overpowering. (334 characters)

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.