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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
87
very good

54 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 54
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 18
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: WVbeergeek on 11-29-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

While most brewers of pumpkin ales strike early for the Halloween season, this is often to the dismay of the lovers of pumpkin ale who prefers the taste much later in the season, ....say Thanksgiving? ...To accompany all of those desserts, dressings, and spicy foods that define the season? Why not, and I'm on board- let's extend the pumpkin ale season!

Great Lakes' version opens with the quintessential appearance of the style- one that captures the color of orange through a range of amber, gold, and red kilned malts used in its brewing practice. A frothy, and semi-meringue textured head talks the "whipped cream" language. It's medium-firm staying power and soft lacing tells me it's still a worthwhile beer and not a after dinner treat.

At first sniff, the ale offers the pleasantries of caramel (maybe soft praline), but fused with lightly kilned barley, and decorated with the sharp yet restrained spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and peppercorn. With both a delicate tone to dumb down the sweetness and an elevated sense to drive dryness, the beer evokes the sense of drinkability and succulence with its aroma alone.

As the flavors take hold, it's the driving force of dry caramel taste that leads the pack. Though the taste of caramel exudes, it doesn't carry the sugary sweetness that's expected from caramel or praline, but instead a dry malty taste of barley suffices. It's this "grape nuts" character that weaves in honey-ish tones and and paves the way for spices to come. Then there's the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice taste that the nose promises, but does so in the rounded way to imply pumpkin pie! With low bitterness, the beer achieves all of its complexity and balance from the barley malts and the contrasting spices- just like dessert, but at 5+ percent.

Medium bodied, it is temping to read lighter textures into the beer because of the fleeting malt presence of sweetness and the elevated spiciness. It's those spices (and their implied heat), coupled with the firm dryness of malt and medium alcohol presence that the beer registers lighter to the trigemental forces that define weight. It's only the spice astringency that work against it's overall mouthfeel, but with slight effect.

Ok, a lot of big descriptors hit this review. And at first glance, the beer does little to separate from the rigor of adequate pumpkin ales. But as the beer opens up, I see a drier taste and textures that never waiver in variety and layered complexity that remind me of the often dismissed Anchor Our Special Ale of the Christmas Ale varity.

BEERchitect, Dec 02, 2012
Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

Gotta love Dave's connections. This stuff pours a clear tawny sunset amber topped by a short finger of cream foam. The nose comprises brown sugar, cinnamon, caramel, allspice, nutmeg, and a touch of light cocoa. The taste continues the burst of spices, but things are thinned out, toned down, and washed out with the caramel and toasted rye bread that pervade the proceedings. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a pretty solid pumpkin beer, one of the more drinkable ones, but surprisingly a bit light on the spice when the tongue gets involved.

TMoney2591, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Orange copper amber hue forms a tiny layer of foam leaves behind spots of thin cream colored lacing. Aroma: Spiced up nutmeg, all spice insert other pumpkin pie like tones here, evident malty sweetness really heavy own spice and light on pumpkin tones very mild hop character pretty much overshadowed by the spicing only 15 IBU anyway. Taste: Spices and pumpkin dessert style beer pretty sweet and somewhat sickeningly spiced with a touch of pumpkin gourdiness and lightly toasted mild ale malts no hop character can I detect. Mouthfeel: Medium to light on the body even carbonation just gets a bit cloying toward the end of a pint I would suggest a half pint serving or at least a twelve ounce. Drinkability: Not the best of all pumpkin ales I tried seems like this is only the second year brewing this one and still working out the recipe. Not a session brew that is for sure I wanted to cut it with some Burning River Pale ale just to mellow out the pumpkin pie spices. I appreciate the attempt but I know somebody out there other than Dogfishead can revolutionize this style that seems like you have to offer it between Halloween and Thanksgiving, not true.

WVbeergeek, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

BARFLYB, Dec 21, 2013
Photo of ffejherb
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Great Lakes on 12/1/08. Served in a 12-oz. glass.

A - Poured a hazy pumpkin orange-tinted color with almost a finger of creamy froth on top. Lacing slide down the sides of the glass. Nice head that retained well and flared up with each swish of the glass.

S - Lots of pumpkin spice up front with a heaping amount of nutmeg and brown sugar. There is also hints of cinnamon and pumpkin meat with a touch of sweet cream.

T - Mix of pumpkin meat, nutmeg and sweet cream in the initial flavor, followed by brown sugar and cinnamon sweetness and a crackery/crusty maltiness in the finish.

M - Medium body with a pretty smooth, creamy texture. Spicy finish with minimal bitterness on the palate.

D - Definitely one of the better pumpkin ales I've had on tap. This one blends the spices and the authentic pumpkin flavor quite well, and throws in ample maltiness and sweetness for good measure.

ffejherb, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of Deuane
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Slightly hazy copper with a medium light tan head that reduced to a thin cap and left spotty lace.

S-Bold nutmeg, and clove aroma with a bit of malt sweetness..

T-Spicy upfront with a significant pop from the combination of nutmeg and clove. Underlying sweet caramel malt contributes to good balance.

M-Medium-light to medium body with a crisp, dry finish. Good lasting spicy notes.

D-Nice. Bold without being annoyingly spicy. Does not taste fake at all and the flavours taste very true. This is a very well done pumpkin brew.

Deuane, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of TX-Badger
3/5  rDev -22.7%

TX-Badger, May 29, 2014
Photo of Tyrawlings
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Tyrawlings, Feb 22, 2013
Photo of Stinger80OH
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Stinger80OH, Jul 05, 2012
Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a hazy orange color with a pretty nice creamy colored head. Head leaves some nice lacing down the sides of the glass.

S- Smells of pumpkin spice, nutmeg, brown sugar and cinnamon. Nothing really shocking here.

T- The taste is nothing over the top and pretty solid. Follows the nose very well.

M- Medium body and in carbonation nothing out of the ordinary.

D- I've been wanting to try this one for a while now and it did not disappoint. Easy to drink, well balanced and one of the best out there.

nrbw23, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of jampics2
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Great Lakes. Served in a pint glass.

What do you drink on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon in early November in Cleveland? I can't think of a better beer than the Great Lakes Pumpkin ale. When discussing the timing of the release of this beer with head brewer Luke Purcell a few years ago, I was impressed by how he sticks to his convictions instead of making a quick buck by jumping on the Halloween bandwagon. Luke really thinks this is a cold weather beer and doesn't want to capitalize on the public's perception that pumpkin beers need to be drank while buying costumes and carving pumpkins. Instead, Great Lakes releases this just days before Halloween so that it will last through mid-November. To me, this nice Pumpkin beer is a bright spot in an otherwise bland and dreary time where the days get shorter, the skies turn grey and the cold weather begins to set in.

The beer itself has a look that could best be described as "murky". It's very hazy and doesn't have the attractive disposition of some other popular pumpkin beers that have more of a caramel colored clear look about them. The color is a mess of orange and yellow, quite drab actually. The head retention is the star of the show, and, in a way, the cloudiness adds to the authenticity but doesn't get my taste buds crying out for a sip. Wonderful lace is left behind, saving this from a more average score.

The smell is full of spice and everything nice. Nutmeg and clove hit the hardest, followed by hints of allspice, ginger and cinnamon. Some pumpkin flesh and modest hops add depth. This is expressive and well balanced without becoming gimmicky.

Each year when I take my first sip of Great Lakes Pumpkin ale, I smile as it's really a comfort-food type beer. Cinnamon dominates the taste much more than the nose. The sweet caramel malt drops out half way through, letting the spices shine in the finish. Brown sugar and some light hops linger in the finish.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with creamy carbonation. The finish is just a touch watery. Overall, I really like how this honest beer stays true to the style without being flashy or overwhelming. Much like Luke's decision to release this when the timing is right, the beer has integrity and that's a rare thing in the crowded market of pumpkin beers with flashy names and overwhelming spice tastes.

jampics2, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised to see this on a tap takeover at a local bar in DC. Poured into a snifter glass. Pours a cloudy orange amber with a medium off-white head. Aroma is spiced all the way with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice. Flavor is upfront with a mild pumpkin flavor, nutmeg and clove, then mellows to a spicy dry finish. Glad to have tried this one!

CuriousMonk, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

GrindFatherBob, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of Stevedore
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Stevedore, Oct 29, 2013
Photo of adamette
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap into clean, clear glass by Steve, day bartender in the front of GLBC.

A Opaque light orange body under a minimal head that leaves little lacing. 3.5

S Nice pumpkin and spice smell profile, probably some nutmeg, cinnamon spices included. I really do like the smell that conjures up smells of pumpkin pie. 4.0

T Strong pumpkin taste with minimal spice profile. Not the sweetness that I have enjoyed in other pumpking ales, this one is probably more accurate as far as a true pumpkin taste. Lingering aftertaste of pumpkin came back to me after several minutes. This is an expertly brewed beer from Great Lakes. 4.5

M Medium feel with some malt but mostly the feel of pumpkin. Really nice. 4.0

D Very, very good. 4.5

Notes: I was pleasantly surprised by this beer that I did not expect too much from. I had come to the brewery today to taste the sublime Rackhouse Ale but this was a pleasant surprise.

adamette, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of Spider889
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Spider889, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of goblue3509
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

goblue3509, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of bruachan
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this one isn't as pumkpin-y as others. i had southampton's version the night before, and that was basically liquid pie. this is a little drier

the hops involved are strictly utilitarian, as the flavors are fairly subtle to begin with. the aroma has a clean pumpkin to it and the taste features the same, plus some spice at the finish

it's a hazy orange color with no lacing

good pumpkin beer if you're looking for something understated and not like a dessert

bruachan, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of spark3148857
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

spark3148857, May 28, 2013
Photo of qcbrewer
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

qcbrewer, Thursday at 04:06 AM
Photo of Lanstrum
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Lanstrum, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of neenerzig
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap recently at the brewery as this is another one of their on-tap only "pub exclusives." This beer is a nice orange.golden color. Mine didn't have much of a head when it was drawn from the tap, just a fairly thin surface layer and not to much lace either. Aroma wise this beer is chock full of pumpkin, spice and is rounded out by hints of hops. Tastewise it is malty sweet and spicy with flavors of nutmeg and obviously pumpkin. Perhaps a hint of cinnamon as well. The taste is rounded out by a hint of hop bitterness. Not very complex flavorwise, but quite enjoyable. Has a crisp, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink. Another tasty treat from Great Lakes.

Eric

neenerzig, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of chefhatt
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this growler back in November, popped it today
I poured this beer and it has a very nice amber/orange color body with a thick tan head that lays down to a thin lace.
The smell is very gingery and clove. The taste has a clove and pumpkin flavor up front but then mellows out with some cinnamon and a ginger finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and overall this is def one of the better pumpkin beers i have had.
I drank some of my frineds growler that was filled when mine was and it is just a awesome beer, wish they would bottle it.

chefhatt, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of IronLover
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Reddish orange in color with good clarity. Poured with a short off-white foam that quickly reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet malt , pumpkin and ginger aromas. Medium bodied with rich carbonation and a tangy hop bite through the middle. Rich caramel malt, pumpkin and ginger flavors with a tangy herbal hop bite through the middle. A very malty pumpkin ale without the typical, pepper and coriander spices. Easy drinking....very enjoyable.

IronLover, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of KAP1356
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

KAP1356, Dec 23, 2013
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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.