Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale
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BA SCORE
86
very good

58 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 58
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 18
Gots: 6 | 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: 58 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
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3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

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3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

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3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

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3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

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4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

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5/5  rDev +29.2%

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3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Chrixsus
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of Zormac
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Yusko
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of crawdadwilly74
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Twifiter
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of zi1ch
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle picked up at liquor mart. Overall great looking bottle with orange foil covering neck and cap giving it a nice presentation.

Appearance - Pours with a nice creamy offwhite head which is relatively short lived. Beer is hazy orange color. A small amount of lacing is left behind.

S - Spicy! Nutmeg, bit of clove, pumpkin. Sweet smelling but not overbearing at all.

T - Heavier on malt, clove, and nutmeg taste, with more pumpkin and cinnamon aftertaste. Moderate hop bitterness on the finish.

M - Moderate carbonation, with medium body.

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer - it's not overpowering in pumpkin and spices which makes it easy drinking. I would have liked a bit less clove taste, but that won't stop me from having this again next year.

Photo of Dan_Bowman
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Stinger80OH
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of cynical1027
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of challenja
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served On Tap at Smoke and Barrel Adams Morgan DC

A: A nice Orange rind pumpkin haze with a soulless head, nice ripe pumpkin orange.

S: Nice sweet pumpkin, subtle nutmeg, spicy clove and orange rind spice.

T: A really good sweet pumpkin rind, subtle nutmeg, with a clove backbite, orange rind spice. A really good solid pumpkin beer.

M: Racy and lingering, strong refreshing medium body. Medium carbonation with a nice firm body.

O: This beer is dangerously close to breaking into the top 5 best pumpkin beers that I have had. This is definitely a pumpkin beer to be enjoyed by all beer fans.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +3.4%
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!

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of ninner00
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of seand
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light clear yellow/orange amber, with a small amount of fizzy white head. A little retains, especially around the rim of the glass, leaving small sheets of lacing.

S: Light hops and spices, including mild clove notes.

T: Again quite mild; some spices and finishes with some hops. I wasn't a big fan of the combination at first but it's growing on me after a few sips.

M: Light to medium body, medium carbonation.

D: Fairly drinkable if you like the spice mixture.

Photo of jampics2
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.