Night Owl Pumpkin Ale - Elysian Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Night Owl Pumpkin AleNight Owl Pumpkin Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

321 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

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Reviews: 321
Hads: 1,041
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 106
Gots: 155 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Elysian Brewing Company visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.90% 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: 321 | Hads: 1,041
Photo of SitkaSteve
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Alright, so I've had this most of the time out of a pint glass but decided to switch it up for this review. This is out of a snifter, and honestly, there isn't even a difference.
Anyways, here's my take on this wonderful beer.
In the snifter, hazy dark orange to brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute leaving some light foamy lacing here and there around the glass.
The smell was 30 x better than pumking as this had a slight element of the pumpkin pie - ness but still offering more of a pumpkin spice sampling. Along with that, light ginger, allspice, nutmeg involve themselves in the aroma.
The taste took all of those previously mentioned flavors and combined them wonderfully - spicy yet sweet.
The mouthfeel had a slightly light spicy harshness to eventually allow a sweet gentle softness rolling over my tongue.
Overall, this should be everyone's standard for pumpkin ales, not pumking. (952 characters)

Photo of Samp01
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark cloudy burnt orange caramel with a medium beige head. Aroma and taste is of sweet pumpkin pie, nut meg, some fruity notes with some toasted malt and caramel malt. Palate is a medium body, good carbonation and slightly crisp mouth feel. Finishes with a sweet pumpkin pie nutmeg flavor with some toasted grains and caramel and mild hops bitter notes for balance. This brew was quite good not overly sweet for pumpkin ale and nicely balanced, a good drinking brew. (474 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

An old pumpkin beer. 12oz. bottle into a Pizza Boy pint.

Pours a foamy 1 finger white head with moderate retention. Beer is a clear, dark mahogany. Lacing is thick and stringy with excellent stick. A real nice looking brew.

Nose is cinnamon, sugar cookie, brown sugar, and sweet pumpkin spice. Mellow. Actually pretty nice.

Opens cinnamon, pumpkin spice and a slight yeast. More of the same with sugar cookie, oatmeal and spice in the middle. Ends sweet with the same aftertaste. Decent.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down easy and crisp. Finishes clean with a barely lingering aftertaste. Quite drinkable.

Seems pumpkin beers don't age at all. I don't think the flavor in this one has changed in the past 7-8 months. Still solid as ever! (792 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy pale copper with a fading head.
Nose shows currants, fruit cake, candied fruit, golden syrup and soft pumpkin.
Pretty similar flavours, although the pumpkin is more prominent and there's less sweetness. Still a lot of the christmas pudding-like spices. Finishes a little short, could use a longer lasting malty finish.
Nice moderately high carbonation. (363 characters)

Photo of RickS95
3.54/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Doesn't look like much body from the pour. Mostly a dark copper color, but a bit clear for my liking. The head is a dingy white and a finger thick. Small bubbles in the middle and larger bubbles around the edge. Little to moderate, closer to little, retention. The tiniest of spotty lacing.

Smells pretty bitchin'. Caramel malts, smothered in a variety of pumpkin spices...heavy on the cinnamon and ginger. Nothing else is remotely noticeable.

Extremely spice forward taste. All pumpkin spices and little else.

So much potential, but it just misses. There's little body, it needs more as it feels like a spicy light beer. Very spicy, just not enough body to chew on. More than anything, it feels like a spiced tea or something wassail-like. Spicy bitter finish, but it leaves you wanting more.

It's not bad, it's just got too many things missing. It needs more body and more alcohol. If you're into the lighter end of the spectrum, you need to try this. (967 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear orange with a finger of white head that fades into a frothy ring with decent lacing.

S: Light pumpkin spice aromas along with some squash-like notes and sweet breads. There are also some notes of ginger.

T: Pumpkin spices are a bit more present here with hearty bread flavors following. The finish is slightly bitter and bready.

M: Body is on the lower side of moderate with lowish carbonation, this beer just avoids being watery.

O: A solid pumpkin ale overall, though lacks depth. The spices aren't too heavy-handed, but there's little else going on. (573 characters)

Photo of scootny
4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff is the real deal. A gorgeous reddish amber with good clarity. Two fingers of frothy head with good retention and copious lacing. Beer stays covered as I imbibe. Smell gives a preview of the excellence in the glass. A big slice of pie with a healthy malt backbone that acts like a graham cracker crust to the lovely gourd caressing my nose with sweetness. Taste is full boat wow. This is without a doubt the best "pie style" pumpkin ale I've had to date. Imagine a perfect slice with a light sweetness. Now add the graham in the nose to cradle it as it fills your mouth. The swallow is bittered well by the hops combined with ginger in such a way that the hops never draw attention to themselves. Some how while being the perfect slice in the glass it is dry and quenching. Crisp light feel with a creamy fullness that is satisfying and sessionable at the same time. This is one easy drinking beer that still manages to be a full on "style" beer. No shirking the pumpkin here. At the same time you just keep filling the glass and draining it. You don't get overwhelmed or tired of it. Wish I had another growler. Superb beer. (1,135 characters)

Photo of KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap

Elysian imperial pumpkin
Pours a Light copper bronze. With little foam, fairly clear atop. Sweet pumpkin pie nose, some seasonal spices leak out. Tastes Like liquid pie, very smooth. Nutmeg. Good flavor brings you back for more.. Tasty. 375 375 4 375 375 (269 characters)

Photo of Omnium
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours a hazy orange color, 1 finger off off white head, mild lacing.
S - Aroma is really good, lots of warm inviting spices, not a sensory overload. Vanilla and cinnamon, with some nice pie crust scents, sweet pumpkin puree.
T - This is where things fall short for me, you get a little bit of spice up front, but there's so little pumpkin, it gets watery.
M - Thin metallic and watery.
O - The aroma on this pumpkin beer is outstanding, but the flavors are really a big let down. (507 characters)

Photo of bizweasel
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Of the many and myriad Elysian pumpkin beers this is like the flagship, the standard, the rock on which all the other ones rest. Right in the good middle of several possible continuums: sweet vs bitter, dark vs light, spice vs malt, and the better for it. Have been stockpiling it to hopefully last a few more weeks as it is now almost gone from stores for 2013. (362 characters)

Photo of LampertLand
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Elysian"Night Owl"Pumpkin Ale @ 5.9% , served on *cask* @ GCBF'07&'09 , on tap GCBF'11 &'14 and from the 650 ml bottle purchased for $6.50

A-pour is gold from the *cask/tap/bottle to a lovely light orange/amber in the glass with a small tight off-white head leaving fine spotty lace along the pint/sampler glass

S-such a great smell of pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon , ginger , nutmeg , allspice)

T-smell is better than the taste , so smooth & creamy , just damn tasty !!

MF-light/mild carbonation , nice medium body , perfect Pumpkin pie mouthfeel

Ov-one of the sweetest Pumpkin Ales , also one of the best

prost LampertLand (632 characters)

Photo of ckollias
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a copper hue with a thin white head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and wispy lace.

S: Cinnamon and pumpkin aroma.

T: Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, all-spice, pumpkin, and cloves with a good malt background.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Pretty good pumpkin brew – pumpkin pie in a glass. (381 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a copper color with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Caramel, bready malts, pumpkin, spices, and brown sugar. Smells good.

Taste: Definitely pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, allspice, pale and bready malts, and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little chewy, pumpkin spiciness, low to medium carbonation, and medium bodied.

Overall: This is a pretty solid pumpkin beer and I can't believe there is actually 7 lbs of pumpkin per barrel. Awesome. (624 characters)

Photo of Reidrover
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from"Lifesource" in Salem. $3.99 Pours a slight murky amber colour, largish creamy/bubbly off white head. Wow very fresh pumpkin pie aroma!! pumpkin clove and cinnamon..i can even ( probably in my mind) small some whipped cream on top!.Great stuff. Taste is very similar like drinking a pumpkin pie smoothie with a dash of alcohol..lovely. Nice mouth feel.. smooth and low carbonation. Overall one of the best if not THE best Pumpkin Ale i have had..though even with that recommendation one would be enough! (520 characters)

Photo of PA-hunter
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Purchased a case recently, then poured bottle into a glass. Awesome artwork on the label!

Appearance- Light to medium orange. Moderate carbonation with somewhat thin head.

Smell- Very aromatic and complex. Pumpkin is easily recognized, as well as the wide variety of spices.

Taste- Strong character of pumpkin at first followed by spices. Very much like a pumpkin pie in a bottle. This beer contains 5 spices, the cloves and cinnamon were apparent. The 7lbs of pumpkin brewed per barrel was an evident point as this was much more "pumpkiny" than some other pumpkin ales I tried.

Mouthfeel- Light to moderate but not thin or watery. Very easy drinking ale. Quite agreeable.

Overall- I thought this was a great example of the style and an outstanding seasonal pick. This was my first Elysian brew, and can say they did it right. The 5.9% was decent for the abv. Though a bit pricey, I would definitely buy this great seasonal brew again. If you are not a fan of spice flavors, or just don't like pumpkin pie, I could see why that person would rate lower. But if you like pumpkin, you'd be happy with this pumpkin ale. (1,122 characters)

Photo of MNishCT77
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
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 RandomExile
3.37/5  rDev -13.4%
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 LambicPentameter
3.58/5  rDev -8%
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. (2,018 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. This offering obviously wasn't available when I spent a summer afternoon at the brewpub a few years ago, but today, while generally warm, was blustery enough to engender in me the desire for a well-wrought seasonal ale. Enter stage left.

This beer pours a hazy medium bronzed amber hue, with one flabby finger of tightly foamy, and mostly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some decently chunky iceberg floe lace around the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells of rich, pungent, toasted pumpkin flesh, semi-sweet pie-crust caramel and pale malts, dark turbinado sugar, cinnamon buns, spicy nutmeg, ginger, and clove, a touch of black pepper to taste, and a subdued, perfunctory earthy, leafy hoppiness. The taste is more of the same - a big roasted pumpkin mash sweetness, brown sugar, gingerbread, spicy cinnamon and clove, earthy nutmeg, subtle white and black pepper dust, and some understated citrusy floral hops.

The bubbles are softly ebullient, gently frothy, and little more, the body a heady, enveloping medium weight, genuinely smooth, and more than a tad creamy. It finishes off-dry, the pumpkin and pastry-akin malt doing well to overshadow the heretofore show-stealing spices.

A rather pleasant, and fulfilling pumpkin ale, full stop. Though I'm at a bit of a loss as to what contribution the pumpkin seeds added to the mix, I'm sure it's there, in a dutiful supporting role, under the radar and all that. Everything else simply puts out beyond expectations, providing a stellar drinkability, one irrelevant to seasonal affectation (guilty!). (1,571 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: dark caramel & orange. darker at the top, lighter towards the bottom. almost a ruby red/amber hue in there as well. 1.5 finger frothy, wavy off white head

s: oh boy. so much pumpkin. pumpkin on pumpkin. loads of sweet brown sugar, cinnamon, rich caramel. something like graham cracker - maybe from the all spice. this smells phenomenal

t: right away your hit with the spice. clove, cinnamon, allspice. its almost like a graham cracker. its not so spicy as to overwhelm though. it then fades into a nice fresh clean pumpkin flavor. tastes like pumpkin cooked with brown sugar and a hint of caramel. finishes with a real nice spice kick. tastes like drinking fucking fall, the season

m: its medium, but fills the mouth nicely. not much carbonation

o: i'm amazed how much flavor is packed into this <6% beer. as mentioned, it is like drinking fall in a glass. it has all the nice spices and pumpkin, and they are harmonized really well. nothing dominates, it all mixes in a real smooth way. if you like pumpkin ales, get this please. (1,041 characters)

Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Bright, hazy orange with an off-white head that dissipates very quickly. Leaves almost no lacing.

A: Rich cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and some caramel/bisciut malt. Light on the hops notes and very neutral in terms of yeast character. Smells like pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust.

T/M: Modest bitterness upfront, swells into pumpkin pie, graham cracker and slightly herbal and vegetal notes. Mouthfeel is smooth as silk, with a subtle carbonation bite. Superb balance.

Overall, this is hands down the best non-imperial pumpkin ale I have come across. The balance is just about perfect, exceeds everything I thought possible of the style. I always thought of pumpkin beers as a kind of novelty, but this one goes to prove they can be just as delicious as they are festive. (790 characters)

Photo of minterro
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought from a secret stash at Little's Wine and Liquor

Poured into a pint glass, not paired with anything.

A&S: Easily the best smelling pumpkin beer I've had the opportunity to try. Smells like I stuck my nose in pumpkin pie (crust and all). This isn't a store bought pumpkin pie either, it contains all the spices (nutmeg, corriander, and a touch of brown cinnamon) and copious amounts of pumpkin. Lively semi-transparent reddish orange colored beer. With a creamy off-white head that is retained around a half an inch (some lacing).

T&M: The taste isn't nearly as intense as the aroma. Still very enjoyable, and debatably more enjoyable then a super intense pumpkin taste (eg. southern tier pumpking). More malty then the aroma with less pumpkin flavors and a similar amounts of spice. Crisp, but not too much of a bite, smooth as it goes down.

Overall: the best pumpkin beer I have ever had, easily the best. If you can get your hands on one I would highly encourage you. Incredibly affordable less than 5 bucks for a bomber! (1,034 characters)

Photo of Beerriver
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%
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 Axnjxn
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bomber into a Deschutes teku glass. 2013 release.

Pours a dark copper/orange color with a nice inch thick head. The smell is of pumpkin pie...lots of nutmeg and cinnamon and pumpkin flavor. Taste is again right on the money - pumpkin pie flavor. Not overwhelming in any way though, all the spices are very balanced. Not too sweet or too bitter. An exceptional pumpkin flavored beer. Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall upper echelon as far as pumpkin beers go. (470 characters)

Photo of Cubatobaco
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I got an opportunity to try this at "The Great Pumpkin Debate" in Wilmington, DE this past weekend. First. let me say that I am one that does not like a lot of pumpkin beer. I decided to walk the tables and see if there was one that actual appealed to me.

I came across Elysian Night Owl on the second table and was blown away. This had beautiful clarity and nice carbonation with a gorgeous nose that reminded me of Thanksgiving. I am mostly turned off by these beers because of the over use of spices. The flavors were in perfect harmony! Just the right amout of spice, pumpkin, and cinnamon to keep you wanting more. The carbonation danced on your palate, keeping things lively.

I would definitely recommend this beer if you are leary about pumpkin beers like me. This will be my choice this Halloween! (809 characters)

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 321 ratings.