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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

1,002 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,002
Reviews: 326
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 107
Gots: 142 | 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:
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: 1,002 | Reviews: 326 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RickS95
3.49/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

RickS95, Jan 20, 2014
Photo of BDeibs
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

BDeibs, Sep 05, 2014
Photo of leftoverburrito
2/5  rDev -49.1%

leftoverburrito, Apr 11, 2014
Photo of TheBigBoy
3/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

TheBigBoy, Nov 01, 2011
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Mildly hazy burnt orange. Head is white and drops to a wispy cap rather quickly. Some carbonation sneaks through the slightly thicker collar. Loose and barely there.

Smell: Nutmeg buried in the back. Nice compliment of roasted and toasted malts. Some bready sweetness in the back. Nice pumpkin. Squashy, vegetal, earthy, and fresh. The usual spices make an appearance, but it's not the first thing to jump out. Cinnamon and clove in particular. Ginger jumps as the beer warms. Nicely layered.

Taste: Sweet cinnamon spice laced with nutmeg. Big squashy pumpkin flavor is incredibly delicate given how big it is. A big scoop of fresh pumpkin sprinkled with spices. Bready malts balance it out a touch. Some malty sweetness. Nice roasted character in the back, and I swear I can taste the earthy flavor of pumpkin seeds. Vaguely floral at times. Clove and ginger make up a big part of the spice profile as it warms. Falls apart a little when warm, giving the spice more headway. More like a crispy pumpkin cookie.

Mouthfeel: Minimal carbonation. Body runs on the lighter side of medium. Incredibly clean and smooth. So very smooth. Vague notions of creaminess.

Overall: I'll take another x6.

Solid pumpkin mixed in to an easy drinking ale is always a good time. Spices get a little overbearing at times, but it's quickly made up for with another sip of squashy goodness. Each sip makes it better and that's hard to do with the style.

Goblinmunkey7, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of ldhughes3
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

ldhughes3, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of HoppySeb
4/5  rDev +1.8%

HoppySeb, Jun 09, 2014
Photo of Tilley4
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this one from screamforme in a recent trade... Thanks, Mark!

Pours a beautiful burnished copper into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint with a creamy 2 inch head and awesome active carbonation throughout... Awesome looking pumpkin ale... Very autumn like...

Aromas of graham crackers, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices and toasted malts... The spices aren't overdone or phony here.. Very subtle and nice letting the pumpkin take the lead... The graham cracker malts are terrific here and really give this the pie aspect instead of all cinnamon and nutmeg...I'm digging this one...

Warm toasted maltiness followed by the graham cracker aspects mentioned in the aroma and a slight cinnamon-nutmeg aspect that lingers in the background but never dominates here... Nicely balanced between warm maltiness and seasonal spices...

This could have been a touch creamier and it would have been perfect... Medium bodied but slightly thin on the finish...

Overall, a top notch pumpkin ale here....its subtle in its spiciness while showcasing the pumpkin and malts as a good pumpkin ale should... Very drinkable and one of the few pumpkin ale that I could have more than 1-2 of...

Tilley4, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of thebouch01
4/5  rDev +1.8%

thebouch01, Oct 24, 2012
Photo of asabreed
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a 12 oz. Samuel Smith nonic.

Appearance: A darker chestnut-colored and hazy orange-copper hue, with a surprisingly not only retention-heavy head, but one that leaves thick rings of lacing down the bulb of the glass. Unexpected, and one that lasts and lasts. Haven't seen a version of the style from the bottle like this ever I don't think.

Smell: For all the ingredients, the key here, for this brew, is balance. Too many pumpkin ales seem to be all about "more is more," when in fact the raucous nature of the amalgam of everything makes it too chaotic, but here, the beer is the main factor, whereas the other flavors seem to work more subtly and well with each other. A lot of pumpkin aroma, yes, and a lot of malt yes, but a good balance of spices that, again, work as subtlety rather than cacophony.

Taste: Again, with the aroma, the balance comes through pretty well. It's fairly complex, where the pumpkin and spices -- mostly nutmeg and some ginger -- come through, with some vanilla on the back end, along with those rich pumpkin mash flavors also. Finish is not sweet, but highly malty, with lingering pumpkin pie spice on the tongue, and again, the key here is not the pervasive sweetness you can sometimes find on the over-spiced and under-hopped versions.

Mouthfeel: Seemingly more medium-bodied, but I think that's due to the carbonation, which is the key to providing the fluffy head, as it seems to, somehow, be perfectly complimentary to this beer. It also seems velvety in its softness, which was another surprising variable for me, considering the ABV of the brew.

Drinkability: Color me pretty shocked with this, and this is a brew also that won't break your wallet. I get any new pumpkin ales I can find that I've never had, and though I hoped to enjoy this, I didn't expect the depth of flavor and balance. Definitely try it, and pick up a few if you see it. I will if I can find it again.

asabreed, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of angrybabboon
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for giving me a bottle of this

Appearance: Hazy, cloudy - burnt orange at its core, with some light orange around the edges - small, off-white head, rapidly fades to nothing except a bubbly ring that actually leaves a few streaks of lacing

Smell: Wet pumpkin flesh - fresh pumpkin guts with some squash - spices come next, with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and some clove - a base of biscuity, lightly toasted malts - some sweetness

Taste: Pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds, squash, and an overall vegetal flavor - lightly sweet, lightly earthy, lightly bitter - nutmeg and ginger seem to be the most prominent spices, with cinnamon next, and then clove - very flavorful spice profile, but not overdone - nicely balanced - nice malts, with toasty biscuits and some spice bread

Mouthfeel: Medium, smooth, minimal carbonation

Overall: A well-rounded pumpkin ale

Lots of pumpkin flavor with a nice spice profile and a good malt base. What else could one want? This didn't particularly blow me away in any category, but it's solid.

angrybabboon, Nov 01, 2012
Photo of NickThePyro
4/5  rDev +1.8%

NickThePyro, Dec 24, 2012
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 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 DOCRW
4/5  rDev +1.8%

DOCRW, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of OregonGrown7
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%

OregonGrown7, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Kramerbarthomer, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of vande
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

vande, Apr 23, 2012
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 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 Phillyz
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Phillyz, Oct 25, 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 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
Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,002 ratings.