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Night Owl Pumpkin Ale | Elysian Brewing Company

very good
343 Reviews
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Night Owl Pumpkin AleNight Owl Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Elysian Brewing Company
Washington, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-11-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 343 | Ratings: 1,149
Photo of beerandcycling88
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug from a 22oz bomber.

A Pours a hazy orangish amber topped off with a white head.

S Smells like pumpkin pie with lots of cinnamon, allspice, and what I think might be cloves.

T The taste follows the nose with lots of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, a hint of ginger and lots of pumpkin. Not overly sweet though, and very drinkable.

M Medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall this is another excellent pumpkin beer by Elysian. Almost as good as the Great Pumpkin and better then Dark O the Moon. Plus its easy to find and fairly cheap which combined with the great flavors and easy drinkablity means I will be drinking this one all fall.

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Photo of cbarrett4
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The yardstick I measure all pumpkin ales with.

Poured two bottles, one from 2010 (that I didn't know I had unti lI went through my beer cellar), the other from 2011 purchased fresh from Whole Foods as well as a couple of Dogfish Punkin for comparison.

Pours a copper hue with a light white head that quickly fades into a persistent lace. Great carbonation. Very pretty.

Smells of spices, mainly cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Some notes from the yeast and malts coming through as well. Smells like a beer brewed with pumpkin spices. A hint of brown sugar, caramel, and (at last) some pumpkin.

Tastes of pumpkin pie, though less intense than other examples of this style. This is the one area that I feel this beer is lacking. Compared with the Dogfish Head at least (which lacks the aromatics, but has the better taste).

Texture is nice, medium bodied. Alcohol is present but well integrated. Nice, medium length, but mellow finish.

Overall a wonderful holiday/pumpkin/spiced beer. Though it doesn't scream pumpkin, it has all those nice little touches that make it a good beer with the addition of some wonderful pumpkin pie spices.

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Photo of julian
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle bought today at Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA. Shared with a non-BA friend.

A: Completely clear golden pale amber color with very minimal head that quickly disappears.

S: Aroma is dominated by pumpkin and nutmeg...and not much else.

T&M: Taste is mostly dominant of pumpkin flavors. Spices include the ever present nutmeg, some clove and mild cinnamon taste, there's also a ginger presence that balances out the sweetness from the malt and pumpkin flavors.

D: Pretty good. For a seasonal, local pumpkin ale this is pretty good but these speciality flavored beers are only good in small doses.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice dark brownish amber color with a tawny colored head. Not to big not too small, very rich colors.
S: Sweet pumpkin aroma, balanced, with a good hint of cinnamon and spice nipping at the end.
T: Crisp and warm flavor. Balanced, while not being too strong. Excellent blend of flavors. Very true to what i expect from a pumpkin beer. That true pie flavor.
D/M: Crisp and filling with great flavors that dont ruin your palate. It gives you a great warming sensation.

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Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours out a cloudy brown with a reddish hue. Looks just like apple cider, I like. Off white head that kinda lingers a bit, and some OK lacing to boot.

S: Laid back and chill for the most part, but that might be the cold that I'm trying to kick. The cider comes back into play because i do sense some fermented apple, clove action, cinnamon stick, light malts too. Slight pumpkin in the background.

T: Mild in every aspect, but that mostly what I like about this brew. Its not "In your Face", like some of these pumpkin beers tend to be. Taste more like cider than beer for the most part.

M: Not quite medium in body, some looseness involved, somewhat light in carbonation, ABV blended well throughout the sipping display.

D: One fantastic beer for the foliage season. It resembles everything that goes with the season. Kudos to the brewmaster!

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Photo of bkilpatr
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a mug. 12/14/08. Best by date of 12/26/08.

Pours a bright orange-copper color with about a finger of soft beige head. Aroma is filled with pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove.

Taste follows the aroma and then some. Lots of pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. Underneath all that is a nice sweet malt base. Tastes like liquid pumpkin pie. Very nice balance between pumpkin and spices.

Feel is smooth with a light-medium body. Carbonation is a bit low. It's not fizzy like most pumpkin beers, it's smooth and creamy. Drinkability is pretty good. Goes down real easily and has a very balanced taste.

Overall, a very good pumpkin beer. It's like pumpkin pie in a bottle.

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Photo of bcostner1
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pumpkin orange, nice head; great autumnal hues.

S: Awesome...fall spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice) and pumpkin.

T: Top notch pumpkin ale. Follows the nose with very pleasant doses of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, minimal clove (good thing...don't like a lot of clove in my pumpkin ales), pie crust, and pumpkin flesh finish.

M: Easy drinker for sure...has enough body to be satisfying but is definitely not overdone. At 5.9%, no booze present at all. Highly sessionable pumpkin ale in my opinion.

Really enjoyed this one. I put it up there with Schlafly, CCB, and Uinta Oak Jacked as my favorites for the style. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Roscoe's

Appearance- Hazy dark orange/copper. Off white head almost cream color. Almost no lacing. 4/5

Smell- Not a very strong aroma but definite pumpkin pie smell. Nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice. 4/5

Taste- Again, not a very strong or overpowering taste. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and all spice. Very balanced and easy drinking. 4/5

Mouthfeel- Medium mouthfeel. I have to say this is close to perfect for what you would expect from a pumpkin beer. 4.5/5

Overall- Well done Elysian. I am not a hard core pumpkin beer drinker, but this is good. Very balanced The spices are not in-your-face, yet you have the main pumpkin flavors. 4/5

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Photo of DaggerEyes
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
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.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark Amber with a reddish hue. Pours about 1 finger of off white head that fades slowly. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Pumpkin, spices, cinnamon, allspice. A bit boozy as it warms which was surprising considering the relatively low abv.

Taste: Pumpkin, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, good carbonation.

Overall: A good pumpkin beer. Nothing terribly exciting going on, but well executed. Very drinkable.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

*** I re-reviewed this beer after the InBev aquisition. I noticed the abv has been raised to 6.7 %

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 6.7% abv.

Appearance- Pours a dark orange, almost being a burnt brown color. Moderate carbonation.

Smell- Freshly ground pumpkin mask with spice notes of nutmeg and cinnamon dominant. Pumpkin pie like.

Taste- A sweet malt followed up by a pumpkin flavor that is quite real and fresh. The spices come later, and linger in the palate for a good bit. Some bitterness too in the end.

Mouthfeel- Medium heavy in body with active carbonation.

Overall- Just as good as I remembered it to be. The difference being it is now more heavier in body, darker, has higher abv......and....technically a product of AB. Still an out of this world pumpkin ale worthy of being among the top of the style. I'd put it in the top ten of pumpkin ales.

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Photo of kbeals
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Jerriko sent me this tasty treat a little while ago, thanks man!

A- Pours a dark copper color with a generous amount of fizzy white head sitting on top. Bubbles slowly rise to the top resulting in good head retention and lacing.

S- Good doses of spice and pumpkin. This beer really comes alive as it warms up. The ginger really begins to stick out as well as the pumpkin. Pretty close representation of pumpkin pie.

T- Extremely similar to the smell but the flavors don't come through quite as good as the aromas. Still has nice amounts of spices, once again ginger seems to stick out more than anything. Pumpkin comes through nicely, has a touch of sweetness to it as well.

M- A little watery, but good amounts of carbonation. Appropriate for the style.

D- Pretty easy drinker. I'm still pretty new to Pumpkin Ales but this one definitely seems to be a good one. Thanks again Evan!

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Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours slightly hazy amber with fizzy white head that dissipates to a thin cap. Wonderful aromas of mulled apple cider, pumpkin pie, cinnamon pie crust, clove and allspice. Flavor echoes much of the same with the cinnamon and clove lingering and mixing with a subtle hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but works well with the flavors given There is also a vibrant effervescence that gives the beer a feel of ginger beer. One of the best pumpkin beers I've ever had.

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Photo of username
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Actually does have a number of pumpkin pie characteristics that are evident and desirable. Very pronounced pumpkin pie flavor.

Compared to Schlafly Pumpkin Ale (which is also quite fantastic), this I feel has more of a home-cooked, non-commercial, pumpkin pie flavor while Schlafly has a more generic, store-bought pie flavor. Elysian is a bit more savory, while Schlafly is sweet. My preference would be for the Elysian, but honestly it'd be hard to go wrong between the two.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.05/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Trying to get into spirit and try a "local" brew and a pumkin ale.

Beer smells ok. Some pumpkin with lots of spice.

Tastes mirrors the smell, but comes up short in the malt balance. Beer is light and watery, all I can taste is spice--specifically the ginger is sticking out (not good). This beer really could have used some malt complexity and residual sweetness to round out the spices. Unfortunately I bought a 6 pack of this. Not looking forward to the rest of the pack. Not impressed with this beer.

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Photo of kosmoraios
2.97/5  rDev -24%
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.

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Photo of Marraybay
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one seems to deliver more of what's promised on the label, as compared to some other pumpkin beers I've tasted; Mainly that it smells and tastes like pumpkin! The question of course is whether that's a good thing!

A pretty lively pour that's copper-orange in color, with a decent +1/2 inch of white foam. A bit thinner overall than I imagined and a bit cloudy. The pumpkin-pie spice potpourri is definitely front in center in the nose. The taste has a little of that pumpkin pie spice involved, including a touch of sweetness, but I felt like I was getting more of a plain or roasted pumpkin note. A little bitterness and alcohol burn in the finish. Overall, a little undecided as to whether this was a success for me or not. Would probably need to resample. (Food Pair note: I thought the addition of ketchup in the meal I was eating, somehow accentuated what the brewer was trying to deliver.)

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of bigaltemple
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy, deep orange. Cream-colored cap leaves some decent lacing.

S - Huge pumpkin scent. Sweet malts and cloves are pretty strong. Small hints of nutmeg and cinnamon.

T - Taste is pretty similar. Caramel malt, sweet pumpkin meat and spices.

M - Light to medium-bodied with good amount of carbonation.

O - First pumpkin brew of the season. This one came through pretty much as expected. I'm really quite interested in their "bigger" offerings.

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Photo of josiahschlender
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A few years ago I tried a handful of pumpkin ales. It didn't end up being my favorite style, but this beer stood out as the best. I picked up a few bombers at the end of the year when they went on clearance after not moving quickly enough. Finally getting around to drinking and reviewing this one.

Nice looks from this beer, a healthy amber-orange color, a medium head with just a bit of orange that has decent lasting power but leaves no lace. Holding it up to light, I'm seeing quite a bit of sediment.

Good aromas that have a mix of beer, pumpkin and spices. Most prominent to me is roasted pumpkin, followed by nutmeg, maybe cinnamon and clove, with muted bready malts. It's hard to tell whether any hops are present in the aromas.

No surprises with the flavor after the smells. I like the intensity and balance of flavors. Elyisian manages to pack the most pumpkin flavor in their offering that I've had; spices seem to be the more dominant flavor. In fact, right now I'm more reminded of pumpkin bread than pumpkin pie.

Mouthfeel is well balanced for the beer. Not too fizzy, but smooth and semi-full. Well done, Elysian! I wish I could always find excellent beer at clearance prices. I'll be coming back to this beer by the next fall.

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Photo of erikm25
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This pours a heavy burnt orange mixed with an amber and rustic hue. A medium off white fluffy head. The head had a very light orange haze as well. Retention is decent as is the lacing.

S: The pumpkin smell is amazingly strong. Even from the outset of the pour I could pick up the strong aromas of pumpkin pie and nutmeg. Amazing that a beer could actually remind me of opening a piping hot oven on Thanksgiving day. Also, the nutmeg and brown sugar aromas are present giving it a nice sharp smell.

T: The aroma is a lot to live up too. There is a great pumpkin flavor here but I was hoping for just a tad more. I was actually hoping for a real overkill on pumpkin so maybe this expectation was unreal. Regardless, the spices, peppers, cinnamon, and nutmeg add a nice feel to the taste and bring out the pumpkin pie qualities even more. Vanilla slightly appears in the aftertaste.

M: This is medium bodied yet impressively creamy. Great mouth feel and medium carbonation.

D: Overall I found this to be very drinkable. Most likely will jump into a few more before the end of the fall season. At the very least I think having this closer to room temperature is worth a try. The aroma is one of the best I have ever smelled and the taste was quality. Just a little more body and a little more pumpkin taste and this would have been perfect.

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Photo of trevorjn06
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich copper/orange color with one finger of head that recedes quickly.

As I pour this beer I can smell pumpkins and spice, it's quite pleasant! It really has a nice pumpkin pie aroma, as well as hints of caramel. Other than that most traditional beer aromas are hidden and/or masked behind the spices.

Flavors follows the nose a bit, there is a bit of malt, a nice balance of spices, pumpkin and just enough hop bitterness to cut through and keep this beer from being too sweet. There is a bit of bready malt and hints of caramel. The finish is a bit thin but pleasant with more spices, hints of pumpkin and a very slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium/slightly thick with slightly below average carbonation.

Overall this beer is quite enjoyable to drink, despite the presence of such strong and unique flavors. The pumpkin and spice flavors are very up front, not over-bearing and very balanced. I found this brew quite drinkable and would have it again.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark rudy, tiny head that retains on the edge.

Smell: This is incredibly pumpkiny. Not over-the-top spicy (to be fair, spices are there), but it has such wonderful pumpkin meat aroma that this is truly a pumkiny pumpkin ale (too much pumpkin?)

Taste: Great pumpkin flavour and some nice spices mixed in. The malty backbone isn't as strong as other Pumpkins, but it is still there with it's prominent sweetness. The hops are quite subtle, almost lending their space to the spices.

Mouthfeel: Solid ale feel. Moderate carbonation. the whole beer has a subtly about it with the spices. The pumpkin gives a sweetness that reminds of eating a solid peace of pumpkin pie.

Overall: Great stuff by Elysian. They made a point of showcasing the pumpkin of this ale rather than just the spices associated with pumpkin pie. Price was reasonable (~$5.50/bomber) and it delivered on the flavour front.

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Photo of jslice99
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a re review for me. I gave it a great rating two years ago i hope it lives up to the hype. Look: dark orange, kind of cloudy great looking pumpkin beer. Smell: pumpkin pie. Pie crust, graham cracker, all spice, nutmeg, clove. Great smelling beer. Taste: pumpkin pie, vanilla, nutmeg, clove. All of the ingredients of a pumpkin pie. A great session pumpkin beer. Like a lighter version of their great pumpkin. Feel: medium bodied, decent carbonation, smooth, a little spice but very pleasant. Overall: flavor and aroma is spot on. If you're a pumpkin beer fan you'll love this. Its like a light imperial made for sessions. I could enjoy a few of these at a bonfire or a crisp fall Friday night.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A--Reddish-orange sunset body with a small, one finger, foamy eggshell head that receded to a skim and left decent lacing. This is the most amber/russet pumpkin ale I've tried from an admittedly limited sample size (maybe half a dozen).

S--One of the most standout characteristics of this beer. Lots of nutmeg and allspice with hints of clove, too--much more spice than pumpkin or ale in the nose, although the squash makes itself apparent subtly toward the end of the sniff.

T--Copies the nose almost to a T, right down to the aftertaste, which leave a full roasted pumpkin taste on the tongue. Only difference may be that the clove and allspice mostly give way to the nutmeg and a tad of hot spice must be the ginger. Very little malt and only a hint of hops right after you swallow--not much citrus or floral or pine linger, though, as the pumpkin really eats this up. Bottle says there are pumpkin seeds in the mash--I think they could have left them out as they aren't traceable in the flavor.

M&D--Too rough, too astringent, especially with such a dull thud roundness of pumpkin on the palate. Let the spice give us a rocky ride, not a lack of balance. Drinkability is superb, though, I would say, as the alcohol doesn't really show up and the ABV is pretty much sessionproof.

Definitely falls into the "traditional" pumpkin ale category, in that it resembles what I imagine the real thing back in colonial days must have tasted like when they really had to substitute squash for grain. For my money, though, I prefer the updated, non scarcity based approach of, for instance, Smuttynose, that provides a firm pale ale stage on which the spice and vegetable can perform. Still, an accomplished beer.

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Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.