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Imperial Pumpkin - Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

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Imperial Pumpkin
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45 Reviews
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Reviews: 45
Hads: 230
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 22.12%
Wants: 39
Gots: 48 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerFMAndy on 09-05-2013

Pumpkin and spiced bock aged in used oak Korbel brandy barrels. Originally brewed for their 25th Anniversary.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 45 | Hads: 230
Photo of chinchill
3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz 2013 bottle served in a snifter. Allowed to warm before serving but still improved with further warming.

Appearance: hazy red-brown body with a somewhat weak head and minimal lacing.

Aroma: spicy and boozy

Flavor: too boozy and too spicy with a rather vegetative contribution presumably from pumpkins. Light+ sweetness.

Feel: smooth but warm. Low carbonation. Medium+ body.

Overall: disappointing selection from a favored brewery. Still, likely to appeal to fans of spicy pumpkin ales.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

UPDATE 10/29/15
Wow. What a difference a vintage makes. Upgrading my 2014 score of 3.60. (See below.) New score: 4.32.

But even that's underselling it. I'm enjoying it even more than a 4.32. (My reluctance to score it higher? Grade inflation. I'm a former college professor.)


Wife and I have eyes-a-poppin' at all the primo flavors here. Last year, the ham-fisted, out of control alcohol heat put the beer in the "interesting, but, yikes" category. The alcohol this year comes as refined, smooth, white-wine/fruity-liquor. Incredibly drinkable for a 9.5% beer. My glass is disappearing so fast, if this weren't such a pleasure I'd be really sad.

Awesome aroma.

Great mouthfeel, a bit creamy with excellent fizz.

Really, though, major complaint: it vanishes in mere moments. We're already cracking our last of the 4-pack.
(9/2014: rating 3.60)
Will I ever find a pumpkin beer I like?

This one got better as it warmed. But the alcohol astringency was just too distracting.

It's also way too sweet. Like a Pumpkin schnapps.

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Photo of Hootie159
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Traditional burnt orange pumpkin look. Thin white head, quickly gone. First hit on the nose is classic pumpkin spicing. Then a nice whiff of the brandy barrel. But if booziness. Alcohol is fairly prevelant. The barrel flavor outweighs the pumpkin and ends up being a bit short. Medium low carbonation. That nice brandy feel. Alcohol adds some sting.

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Photo of BrewThru_29
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

May be my favorite pumpkin beer. The brandy flavor is just perfect with the pumpkin spices and flavors that are present in this beer. I will seek this out every year.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A really nice imperial pumpkin ale with some slight boozy tones. Color is a hazy amber yellow with a 1/2 inch of head that fades to a ring. Smell is excellent ton of all spice, booze, and caramel malt. Taste is very exceptional not much brandy burn with sweet vanilla and cinnamon highlight. Body is creamy and medium body. Worth picking up.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

normally i prefer my pumpkin beers to be a little more subdued, but this has some interesting things going on so it's worth hitting again.

pours a reddish-brown with a slight ring of carbonation. no lacing or real head, but there's just a hint of foam around the edge of the glass.

smell is boozy up front, with vanilla and spice finishing the mix. unlike a lot of pumpkin beers, this doesn't smell like some halloween faerie ruined an entire batch of beer with "pumpkin spice". the brandy really carries this one.

taste is again brandy up front, with vanilla carrying the back end. there's definitely a serious allspice kind of kick to it. finishes with alcohol - whole thing seems pretty hot.

mouthfeel is like brandy and soda, or perhaps drambuie that's been thinned out a bit. light carbonation gives way to a lingering brandy aftertaste.

in terms of pumpkin beers - i don't like it. in terms of barrel-aged beers, i think it's pretty sharp. i think the pumpkin got completely buried by the bourbon and vanilla, but in terms of the specific beer, it's pretty tasty either way. just don't know what the pumpkin really added here.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A- Looks like the leaves of fall. A deep ruby brown. No head.

S- Lots of pumpkin and cinnamon, allspice. Like thanksgiving. Not picking up a whole lot of brandy.

T- Probably the most complete, well rounded pumpkin ale I have every had. Amazing. I get a little brandy but it's not overpowering.

M- Medium carb and a coating mouthfeel.


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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice: color is amber, transparent, head is light tan, presenting very thin and dissipating to a ring.

Smell is a blend of booze and pumpkin spice mix; the booze is pleasant and lightly sweet, the spice profile is heavy vanilla, lighter cinnamon and ginger are noticeable.

Taste is very big and bold with a lighter booziness than the aroma; malt is sweet, a good caramel component; brandy shines through afterwards with a warming quality; spices finish it out with a heavy vanilla, with components of cinnamon and maybe ginger/allspice.

Mouthfeel is a bit sharp but as it warms it is subdued with a great strong warming presence, reminds me of the combination of pumpkin desserts and sweeter digestif liqueurs.

Overall, I like this style of pumpkin ale a blend of the spicier ales that is immensely aided by the brandy barrel aging providing depth and strength and a nice mouthfeel

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Photo of flunker24
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Lets see if I can sum this up in one quick paragraph. It has a reddish copper color with a short one finger head that dissipates quickly. There is a slight aroma of the brandy, but its not overpowering that goes along with some ester, spice, and a touch of cinnamon. Once this touches your tongue you feel the brandy hit, then all the other flavors follow: pumpkin, all spice, vanilla, and some caramel. The brandy and barrel linger. A solid feel in the mouth with carbonation to distribute the aforementioned flavors.

A very enjoyable beer that kicks, can't wait to try it in a year a write a review for the next batch.

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Photo of jera1350
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Probably my favorite pumpkin beer now. Liquid pumpkin pie with vanilla, wood, booze and brandy. Looks, smells and tastes the part. Just a really well done pumpkin beer and the brandy barrel is just the cherry on top. So glad to have discovered this one.

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Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting beer, I'm not usually a fan of pumpkin beers these days, but aged in brandy barrels and with vanilla it could be interesting.

Pours a light fizzy bubbly head that fades pretty quickly, this batch apparently being 9.5% so that's typical, little lacing but nice legs, semi hazy cherry red colored beer.

Nose is mixed of good and bad, some mild pumpkin, fake pumpkin and messy gourd earthy notes, with a madeira like steak sauce mess mixed in, and lots of sweet candy things and some alcohol notes with phenols. Mild brandy fruity note, faint pumpkin spices thankfully, with a decent pumpkin pie aroma and toasted grainy malts, a mild vanilla with barrel note, decent biscuit doughy pie crust note as well.

Taste is nice, lots of vanilla out front, vanilla bean and some notes of barrel, with a nice fruity brandy flavor, with whisps of alcohol and some faint phenolic booze notes, and fair sweetness. Then pumpkin pie, light fresh pumpkin and gourd flavors, not really canned or fake pumpkin, but it's light overall, with light spices, a touch of cinnamon and ginger I think, etc. A nice creamy wheat flavor, with toffee and caramel, mild biscuit and doughy flavors almost pumpkin pie crust like flavor again, but not a lot, dark dried fruits with the dark wheats and esters. Finish dries a bit, leaves a bit of a tingly booze, with a mild bitterness, little pumpkin and gourd, light spices and vanilla, and hint of brandy and barrel lingering as well.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, thick and a bit creamy smooth, decent carbonation with small dissolved bubbles.

Overall pretty interesting, some nice notes of brandy and vanilla, spices are light thankfully, decent barrel, decent pumpkin as it didn't taste fake or canned, nice base malt and wheat with biscuit caramel toffee, etc. The nose was just a bit off with that madeira soy BBQ sauce thing, but otherwise pretty nice for a pumpkin beer.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Believe this fall seasonal is a slight tweak to the 25th anniversary. Label describes as Brandy barrel aged with vanilla added. The abv here is 9.5 which is higher than the 25th anniversary incantation.

Copper colored with a thin white outer ring.

Lots of spicing on the nose: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and brown sugar. Vanilla shows up here as well....sweet dessert quality all over this.

Taste follows suit....like vanilla ice cream atop fresh pumpkin with all the aforementioned spices mixed in. The barrel lays a drop kick of alcohol heat along the back end that also serves to dry the finish.

A nice, abundantly spiced, and moderately boozy big pumpkin beer.

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Photo of freakspank
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Didn't think I'd give a pumpkin this high of rating but I was very impressed by this Bock. I enjoy many of Lakefront's beers and this one is the best Pumpkin I've had so far. Actually was lucky I got my hands on it cause after talking to the Cellar they did have ONE 4 pack but it was in the back. Tried it while watching some fall football. The brandy really comes out but not overpowering. Almost making the pumpkin spice taste more warm. Very drinkable and ready for a great sit down and relax brew.

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Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

Appearance: Pours a clear burnt orange with a modest head; splashy lacing lingers behind

Smell: Rich pumpkin pie aromatics with a waft of brandy

Taste: There is solid base of pumpkin flavor with the pie spices building above; vanilla, oak and brandy elements arrive, after the swallow; a bit sweet and boozy, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Bought this on a whim to compare to the Pumpkin Lager and, while I was told that this was a reprise of the 25th anniversary beer, I note that this is an ale while that beer was a lager; anyway, in comparison to its little brother, this shows what using ale yeast can do for the style; certainly, an excellent pumpkin beer and the brandy (while a touch overwrought) really adds a nice aspect

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Photo of Bshaw22
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

One of my favorite pumpkin beers. Good move by Lakefront bringing it back. It actually seems a little boozier this year. Definitely taste the brandy. Bit of pumpkin too. More pie than actual pumpkin.

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Photo of djhowell
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Pumpkin pie and a boozy, warm kick from the brandy barrel aging. I'm glad Lakefront brought this back this year; it's an interesting take on pumpkin beers.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

Once the calendar turned to September, I am willing to drink pumpkin beers. This one hit Madison right after Labor Day so I thought it would be a fun way to kick off pumpkin beer season.

This is the first beer I have had that is brandy barrel aged The smell was of fairly strong brandy which I rather enjoyed. Initially I tasted brandy as well but as it warmed, more pumpkin pie spice came through. The only real negative thing I can say about this beer is that it was a little dry. Don't know if the brandy barrels would do that?

Overall, a really good pumpkin beer.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

A-dark reddish amber color with a smallish cream-colored head and a little lacing

S-caramel malt, pumpkin, spices, vanilla

T-caramel malt, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, Brandy, oak, vanilla, brown sugar

F-medium body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth

O-I really liked what the Brandy did for this beer, subtle but complimentary, wish they made more of this

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Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

From notes on 10/7/2013

Tried a sample of this at a beerfest in Madison. Thought it was great, probably best I tried at the fest. Nice pumpkin and spice flavors. What really added to it was the subtle brandy flavor brought out by the aging process. Really added a nice sweet finish to it. This is a little rich in flavor though, and I think the sample I had was perfect. Don’t know if I could drink a whole one by myself. Perfect beer to share after a nice meal.

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Photo of alphagnome
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep, reddish mahogany body houses plenty of sediment and is plenty cloudy. No head to speak of, even after a hard pour. Decent legs for being 8%.

Heavy on the allspice... in fact, that's pretty much all I get. A very sweet malt profile houses a hint of nutmeg and even a bit of booze.

Solid pumpkin pie profile, is quite sweet, and plenty boozy. Plenty of spicing from the usual suspects in the style; allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The barrel-aged character shines through with a pleasant sweetness (ALMOST too sweet) and plenty of vanilla and warming alcohol. I highly recommend enjoying this one at a warmer temperature, you'll definitely get more flavor out of this one.

Heavy bodied beer and lightly carbonated. Sweet finish. Easy to drink, but it will warm you up.

A pretty solid pumpkin ale that I definitely enjoyed more the second time I had it. The booziness of this one might turn some off, but it's definitely worth a shot if you're a fan of the style.

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Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at The Queen's Kickshaw, Astoria, NY

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber orange in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a thin white head that died down, leaving only a thin ringer of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of pumpkins are present in the nose along with slight hints of nutmeg.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but has some sweetness along with additional hints of cinnamon. No alcohol is perceptible. The flavors become a little stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a little too sweet for my taste as a pumpkin beer, except if you wanted to have this for dessert. The pumpkin flavors aren't that strong, but balance out well with the spices. It's not that difficult to drink since it hides its alcohol rather well.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date 09/04/2013 printed on the bottleneck. Another new beer to me from Lakefront Brewery, and my first encounter with a barrel aged pumpkin beer. I've been seeing this beer on the shelves for months now, so I'm excited to finally have it. I honestly have no idea what to expect.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours about the usual appearance of a typical pumpkin beer. Pours a dark coppery ruby orange with some ruby hues. Less than a finger of bubbly beige head that falls to a fluffy ring.

S - The smell is very pleasant. Typical gourdy pumpkin aromas: buttery diacetyl, cinnamon, brown sugar, creamy earthiness / woodiness, vanilla extract notes, and some alcohol fumes. Doesn't smell too much different than a regular pumpkin beer, but there is some noticeable syrupy qualities & vanilla imparted from the brandy barrels.

T - Taste follows the nose, with all the attributes of a regular pumpkin ale - cinnamon & brown sugar, lightly grainy, but with added syrupy brandy alcohol presence, earthiness / woodiness, and vanilla extract. The vanilla doesn't always taste entirely natural, but it works very well with the rest of the flavors.

M - Feel is smooth, clean, lightly syrupy and with lots of sticky vanilla / burnt brown sugar spice lingering on the palate. Body is a hefty medium with low carbonation.

Overall, a nice pleasant introduction to the world of barrel aged pumpkin beers for me, and by far my favorite beer that I've tried from Lakefront Brewery so far. Glad to have tried it, and I will be sure to grab the other beers in the 25th anniversary series while I still can.

Lakefront Brewery 25th Anniversary Imperial Pumpkin ---4/5.

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Photo of stortore
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce into a New Holland flute. Bottled 9/4/2013.

6th of 8 bottles, first review. Looks great in glass, pouring flat at this point. Aroma is a lot of vanilla, some brandy and cinnamon. Still tastes terrific, boozy but not overwhelming. Follows the nose, bringing in some oak, pumpkin. Really smooth, a full rich body.

I think this is an awesome beer and although the 2014 ale version is very good, I wish they would have re- created this. This is truly a treasure and I will rue when my last two are gone. After, not during.

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Photo of darthvohn
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Glass Used: Nonic pint

Appearance: Hazy orange-brown with a brown sugar cream head that dissipates pretty quickly leaving only a ring around the surface of the glass.

Smell: The intoxicating aroma plumed from the pour of this one. Cinnamon, nutmeg, tons of vanilla and pumpkin-sweet potato. Right at the tail end of the inhale you get the oakey brandy. Excellent aroma off this one.

Taste: Wow. Vanilla and brandy right up front, while the pumpkin-sweet potato barges in mid palate. Oaky-boozy finish.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and sticky but in a good way.

Overall: Another great discovery thanks to my friend Pintofbrown. I have had my fair share of pumpkin ales this fall and would gladly put this in the top two with no qualms giving it a blue ribbon.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From: Friar Tuck's, Savoy, IL
Date: Bottled 2013-09-04
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

Lakefront's Imperial Pumpkin is a delicious pumpkin ale, one that seems to manage blending spices, pumpkin, and barrel aging all into an effective beverage. While I don't enjoy the obvious ethanol, and think this could be trimmed to 6-7.5% ABV without little consequence, the overall combination of flavors is masterly. One of the few barrel aged beers that I think works (that is, hasn't completely overshadowed the original base beer).

Pours a 1cm tall head of beige-colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles that yield a frothy appearance. Retention is average, the foam lasting roughly one minute in decline to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass and a few small islands of residual foam resting atop the body of the beer. Lacing is minimal, a few dots cling to the glass' walls. The beer's body is a dark amber brown hue, with light bringing out dark golden orange tints. Carbonation is visible through the transparent body, though low in number and activity.

Aroma is of butter, caramel, brandy, pumpkin pie filling (pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon), and ethanol. Delicious, the best part of this beer.

Front of palate detects butter, pumpkin pie filling (pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves), and caramel. Mid-palate increases the intensity of the butter, pumpkin pie filling, and caramel, adding brandy and ethanol to the mix to add complexity and potency. Back of palate finds cinnamon, nutmeg, ethanol, burnt caramel and butter. Aftertaste of ethanol, buttery dark caramel, mild cinnamon and nutmeg.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy in body, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a mouthfeel that is lightly foamy (1/4) and otherwise smooth (3/4). Closes semi-dry, with substantial stickiness clinging to the palate and lips.

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Imperial Pumpkin from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.