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Night Owl Pumpkin Ale - Elysian Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Night Owl Pumpkin AleNight Owl Pumpkin Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

933 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 933
Reviews: 320
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.96%
Wants: 110
Gots: 126 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Elysian Brewing Company visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 933 | Reviews: 320 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OregonGrown7
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%

OregonGrown7, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Totowa via the single bottle. Hadn't tried this before and I wanted to give a Seasonal beer like this a go before things cooled off too much. I'm not a huge fan of this style since there are so many examples of this out and I never seem to warm up to any of them that I try. This one was quite good and almost won me over but in short, this was a beer that is a good example of the style and quite easy to enjoy.

This poured decently with a fair amount of head, a somewhat radiant pumpkin hue, and no lacing to be seen. Not quite clear either as there was a bit of sediment to be seen in the beer. The aroma was good with a nice amount of pumpkin that was repeated in the mouthfeel. A good but not overwhelming amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnut were here too but this never felt too spicy or complex. The balanced was nice but if I had to do this over again, I'd tone the carbonation down a bit. This was quite sharp and not as easygoing and filling as other Pumpkin Beers that I've had before, with the bubbles clearing out too much of the heavier notes after each sip.

The alcohol was a bit strong here too but it never felt that way as took my sips down my pint glass. This would go great with a big slice of Pumpkin Pie and Cool Whip on top and for anyone looking for a good beer to celebrate the changing of the seasons with, this would easily suffice.

JerzDevl2000, Oct 08, 2012
Photo of ldhughes3
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

ldhughes3, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of artoolemomo
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours up about a finger's worth of head that disappears so quickly I barely got a chance to discern its color. The head appeared to be an off-white with light beige notes while the body is a translucent, medium to dark amber which glows medium amber when held up to the light. No lacing at all.

Nose- Whoa! It smells like a spice factory exploded in here. The abundant cinnamon almost burns my nose. Nutmeg is second and I get hints of clove and allspice in the back of my sinuses. I guess there's pumpkin in there somewhere but I wouldn't know- this is olfactory overload. The cinnamon itself almost excludes anything else. I feel like I took a big whiff of Big Red chewing gum.

Taste- Much more mellow than the aroma. This is very fortunate. Mild pumpkin starts the flavor profile, spices fill in the middle (nutmeg and clove seem to occupy the center while the cinnamon hangs around the edges and makes up the linger), and some pumpkin on the finish. Pumpkin seeds seem to play an integral role in the overall taste. There's a slight bitterness on the finish that I'm guessing comes from the cloves and allspice. I can't say that I've noted any real ginger as of yet. Not bad for my first pumpkin beer (I tend to stay clear of the actual gourd itself) but the phenolic nature of the cloves seem to distract. It's a dirty, earthy bitterness that doesn't seem to jive well with the other flavors. Most of the initial flavors seem to subside but that dirty bitterness seems to reside. Linger of pumpkin on the finish as well. Spices start to fade and a mellow pumpkin starts to pervade the palate. Some thinness. Definitely above average but nothing to write home about. Ginger really starts to show itself at the end to the extent I feel like I'm drinking ginger ale.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied to the point of being scrawny. At least, there is a some zip from the carbonation to give it some body.

Drinkability- Not bad. The spices make this desirable. The actual pumpkin seems to be a means of conveyance. I'm okay with that.

Overall- Above average and seems to represent the style. If you like pumpkin beers, you should try it. If you could care less (and would rather have a sweet potato pie), grab another beer.

artoolemomo, Aug 31, 2013
Photo of TonyTalon
4/5  rDev +1.8%

TonyTalon, Oct 02, 2012
Photo of froghop
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

froghop, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of vande
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

vande, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of spoony
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 650 ml bottle (undated) to a nonic.

A-An aggressive pour produces about one and one-half fingers of short-lived, off-white foam. The head fades quickly to a fat collar and leaves a stray bit of lacing on the glass. The beer is orange-tinted amber and mostly clear.

S-There are a ton of pie spices here: clove, cinnamon, allspice, and a huge nutmeg scent, as well as gingerbread and a little bit of pumpkin flesh/puree. I also get some caramel and a fair bit of brown sugary sweetness. Nutmeg is really dominant, however.

T-The taste follows the pie-like smell for the most part. Lots of baking spices and gingerbread up front, but the spices, pumpkin, and sweetness taper slightly towards the dryer end on the finish. There is a bit of nutty flavor that runs throughout, which I suspect is from the pumpkin seeds.

M-The feel is lighter and less syrupy than the spiced flavors would suggest. Still, it is medium body with a moderately active, fine carbonation.

O-This is a pretty good example of the style, and an especially good example of sweeter, more pie-like traditional pumpkin beers. I am not sure that I would drink this beer year-round, but it will easily go head-to-head with my other favorite pumpkin beers, e.g., Dogfishhead and Upslope. If you want a beer that tastes like pie, and sometimes I do, this is a good choice.

spoony, Sep 26, 2013
Photo of Phillyz
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Phillyz, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of Domingo
2.98/5  rDev -24.2%
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)

Domingo, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Sam Adams Lager glass.

Pours a clear copper with a creamy off-white one-finger head.

Nose is pumpkin pie - pumpkin, heavy on the nutmeg and cinnamon, sweet caramel malt.

Taste a nice sweet malt body up front, followed by a dry, spicy, pumpkin-filled finish, packed with nutmeg and cinnamon. Slight floral hop not on the finish to balance. Never gets weird or vegetal as some pumpkin beers tend to do.

Light body and moderate to light carbonation.

Really nice go for the style, probably my favorite pumpkin beer.

JohnQVegas, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of erialbill
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

erialbill, Aug 07, 2013
Photo of Docer
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

MaltBombPete brought a bottle of this...

- Yeasty bubbly amber... really dark copper... half a finger of fizzy fluffy white head.

- Lots of spice and sweet caramel pumpkin goodness... light clove, and grassy spice. Nice amber grain aromas and a banana Belgian-like yeast scent.

- Lovely smooth and balanced pumpkin brew... light pumpkin.. spice, clove and cinnamon.. amber caramel malts... grassy hop... loving the clove and cinnamon touch...

- Light to medium bodied... plenty well carbonated.... watering the palate... not sticky or chewy really.... smooth.

- I am impressed, a very drinkable brew... tasty as all hell, and one I wish I had a keg of.

Docer, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of russwbeck
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear orange pour with a fluffy white head. Great retention and lacing. Bready pumpkin smell with tons of spices and vanilla. Very light taste. Pumpkin and caramel. A slight spiciness. Really muted. Light body and a bit under carbonated. No hint of alcohol. Was expecting a bit more from this. Really average taste. Very
drinkable though.

russwbeck, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of 57md
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy copper with a honey colored hue. Two big fingers of head, but it dissipates quickly leaving only a trace of lacing. The nose certainly has pumpkin notes to it. The taste is pretty straight-forward pumpkin-like.

The bottle claims the presence of various pie spices, but they are hardly noticeable other than the definite clove notes on the finish. The finish is also semi-dry.

As a special treat, a very subtle touch of sweetness begins to come out as this offering warms.

A solid straight-up pumpkin ale.

57md, Sep 13, 2012
Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Kramerbarthomer, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of LambicPentameter
3.54/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed out of a 12 oz brown bottle with no discernible dating for freshness or bottling. Poured into a 16 oz nonic style tumbler. I've heard great things about Elysian's love of pumpkin ales, so open this with much anticipation.

Appearance - Initially translucent orange with amber highlights, with a fine silt of sediment entering the glass like a cloud of fog descending upon emptying the bottle. The head is active and dynamic, getting to about a finger-and-a-half of thickness before fading away rather quickly to leave a thin, sudsy film across the top with absolutely zero lacing.

Smell - Overwhelming notes of pumpkin pie--nutmeg, allspice, cinammon, cassia, as well as a bit more fruity notes like fresh-carved pumpkin flesh and an underlying but almost imperceptible light biscuity element. Very promising indeed, especially with the fresh pumpkin elements that are so often absent from these "pumpkin" beers.

Taste - Many similar elements to the smell, with brown sugar, some faint molasses, clove, pumpkin pie and butternut squash. Some genuine vegetal quality that tastes like real bonafide squash rather than just pie spices. Everything was humming along, until near the finish, a faint metallic twang, reminiscent of pennies, enters the picture. Upon tasting this element, I go take a look at the other reviews on the site and find no mention of anything similar. So perhaps my bottle is off, or old and what I'm tasting is oxidation.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, but with a thinning finish. I think the generous spicing and flavor profiles give the illusion of a heftier beer than it really is. Moderate to low carbonation.

Overall, a beer that started off with such promise, and try as I might, I cannot get past that metallic twinge. It seems to have sullied an otherwise outstanding take on the style. Without any information telling me I should do otherwise, I have no choice but to dock the taste of this beer, however I would encourage others to try it, as my experience seems like an outlier.

LambicPentameter, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of jmccraney
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

jmccraney, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of craytonic
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nutmeg and pumpkin in a bottle (in that order)

Appearance: bronze-orange pour with a smallish head, no lacing

Smell: Wow. Go big or go home I suppose. First just pure nutmeg, followed by pumpkin. This smells exactly like fresh pumpkin pie (albeit cold). Behind that I get cinnamon, caramel, brown sugar, perhaps some maple syrup and sweet molasses.

Taste: Similar to the nose, enormous amounts of nutmeg followed by pumpkin pie filling, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, caramel, brown sugar and maple syrup. Very tasty and perfect for thanksgiving.

Mouthfeel: Is good, but with the huge smell and taste you want a big mouth feel as well.

Drinkability: Bit of a novelty, but half a bomber would be perfect. Probably one of the top 2 or three pumpkin ales out there. I'd be curious to have a blend with half of it barrel aged.

craytonic, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of HoppySeb
4/5  rDev +1.8%

HoppySeb, Jun 09, 2014
Photo of pwoods
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks again Tayner for this trade.

22oz. bomber poured into a pint. No dating.

A: Pours a deep amber with plenty of haze and some ruby hues in the light. <1 finger of chunky, dirty blonde head that fades quickly. No lacing.

S: Very spicy nose. Obviously pumpkin but big notes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Slight undertone of bananas as well. Alcohol isn't listed but I can pick up some spiky phenols here and there.

T/M: Very first think I noticed was a distinct toasted seed taste. You can really taste the "real" pumpkin pie(made by hand with pie pumpkins). Malts aren't overly sweet like a fake pumpkin pie, either. The spices are spot on. Mouthfeel is a little less than I wanted... not quite creamy.

D: Easy to drink and perfect for right now. Other than this time of the year, I don't think I could see myself drinking pumpkin ales, though.

pwoods, Oct 25, 2007
Photo of Jason1337
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Jason1337, Apr 20, 2013
Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at St Augustine's in Vancouver.

A: 1/8" white head over deep amber cloudy liquid.

S: Cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin and yeast.

T: Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon up front which transitions to a yeasty pumpkin finish.

M: Medium to thin viscosity and a medium level of carbonation. Some presence of alcohol on the tongue.

O: Very drinkable spiced pumpkin ale that is quite yeasty.

DaftCaskBC, Sep 20, 2011
Photo of DOCRW
4/5  rDev +1.8%

DOCRW, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This years night owl pours a deep orange rubyish brew with a good fluffy white head that leaves great lacing.

Nose is nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin. Some marzen like graininess and a bit of clove.

Taste follows. Spices, pumpkin, very marzeny actually, sort of weak. Stronger in the nose than it is here. Thin.

Mouthfeel is too thin, but ok all around. Would like a little more body on this one, this is probably part of the reason this seems so marzen like to me. Really it is like a beefed up marzen.

Drinkability is quite good, a good choice for an oktoberfest brew, as it is like a marzen with a bit more body and harsher spice flavoring.

Overall a good pumpkin ale, but i would much rather drink a few of the locals here. There is something about bottled pumpkin ales that just dont do the trick for me. (Unless of course the pumpkin is mixed in with an imperial chocolate porter) haha. Still a good sessionable fall brew. This beer is much better on tap, but even then it can't touch the quality of their "Great Pumpkin" try some!

AKBelgianBeast, Sep 30, 2008
Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 933 ratings.