Imperial Pumpkin - Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

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Imperial Pumpkin
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39 Reviews
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Reviews: 39
Hads: 207
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 22.6%
Wants: 41
Gots: 40 | FT: 1
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: 39 | Hads: 207
Photo of aubzachsyd
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The best pumpkin beer that I've ever had. The combination of the pumpkin spice, vanilla and brandy barrel notes are incredibly good. I wish I would have bought more. And that Lakefront decides to make this a regular seasonal. Sure seems like it's more than 8% ABV though. Not that I'm complaining.

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Photo of TheSSG
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a great, dense, off-white head that collapses into a nice half-inch head. Overwhelming aroma of sweet malt, tons of spice, and a nice vanilla-wood behind it all. As I swirl it around, I can draw in long drags of a deep, rich, oak atop spiced pumpkin bread. Good god, this smells like Autumn; heavenly. Radiant, transparent, burnt sienna color. A nice thick mouthfeel. Starts with a noticeable booziness (8% ABV!) just as the spiciness ramps up, almost immediately; cut to pumpkin malt; a flash of vanilla; like pumpkin bread or spiced cookies. The finish is lingering spice and oak blended in perfectly.

Wow. This is great. I LOVE the normal pumpkin lager (so this is right up my alley!), and this is just an intense version (reminds me of the Spiced Pumpkin liquor from Great Lakes Distillery). The aroma is absolutely perfect. The flavor is just a fantastic balance of spice, pumpkin, and those brandy barrels. Enough of a balance of all the flavors to really satisfy and live up to the expectations. One of the best things to ever come out of Lakefront.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Lakefront tulip
8% ABV

A - A fleeting head isn't surprising from a beer with elevated alcohol, but this one maintains a ring of foam above the deep, clear copper beer.

S - Warming brandy barrel alcohol and soothing vanilla is a beautifully inviting way to usher one in to a big and robust pumpkin aroma and the perfect spirit to pair with this beer's melange of spice. Roasted pumpkin rind and sweet caramel malt finish out this clean lager wonderfully for an exceptional aroma.

T - Though imperialized, this pumpkin lager doesn't go for heavy pumpkin or loads of spice. Instead, maltiness prevails with sweet caramel and toffee flavors, exceptionally accented by pumpkin and spice and capped off by traces of wood and brandy with a trickle of vanilla on the back end.

M - Light carbonation gives this imperial pumpkin a heavier-feeling body than it really has but warm, soothing alcohol keeps it in check, finishing with a smoothness that perfect for a cold fall day.

O - Bottled the day of this review, a confession that the brandy is a little heavy is in order, though, that's relative considering some barrel aged beers don't get this smooth with out a minimum of two years of age on them. This imperial pumpkin sets the bars for pumpkin beers up a notch with it's wonderful lagering, interweaving the sweet malty base together with the pumpkin and spice beautifully. The addition of vanilla and ingeniously choosing brandy barrels for aging this imperial pumpkin puts the finishing touches on a beer that will not only fly off the shelves but reward those who are patient enough to wait for the coldest days of fall to indulge.

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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 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 aasher
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you to Jonathan for this bottle.

This beer pours a light bodied dark, burnt dark copper in color with a slight off white lacing. The nose is sweet and malty with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg with just a touch of brandy. For being barrel aged, there isn't much alcohol at all. The flavors are big and creamy. There is a lot of spice but they may have been necessary to take away from barrel character. There is a lot going on. The pumpkin aspect is in pumpkin spice latte territory. It drinks very smoothly with mild carbonation. I enjoy this beer a lot. It is both different and true to style. I love its barrel aged. I couldn't recommend this enough.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Easy to tell this is a barrel-aged offering, the ring of white foam dissipates in about a minute, leaving behind a dark amber body.

This is the best spice profile I have ever smelled on a pumpkin ale, maybe on any beer! Right away there is cinnamon and clove, then sugary and boozy cherries from the brandy barrel, and some light brown sugar and/or vanilla. Wow, I cannot quit sticking my nose in this glass.

The pumpkin spices are not as big on the palate, but the vanilla and brandy barrel smacks me in the mouth. After the palate is done processing that, there is a little bit of spicy cinnamon, baked sweet potato with brown sugar, and a long, sweet, boozy finish.

Heavy, this beer feels heavy on the tongue. Pretty sticky too, the after taste hangs forever on the cheeks, may have to start charging rent if it will not get out of here.

What an awesome beer. Just to be clear, I would have guessed around 10-12 percent ABV on this one, runs a little hot on the palate. Those flavors from the brandy barrel though, they compliment the spicing and style very well! I highly recommend this sweet, boozy, pumpkin monster of a beer!

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Photo of workingclassbrew
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got these for my wife who loves Lakefront Pumpkin Lager, this altogether much different beer.

Poured into a tulip glass, no head, virtually no carbonation. The aroma is as sticking your nose into a carved pumpkin. Took me awhile to capture that. Not very spicy, and only a touch of vanilla as the bottle notes.

The taste is the opposite of the tangy pumpkin smell. Very sweet brandy cask, as if the beer was pulled from the crevices of the cask. Heavy pumpkin guts, heavy warm alcohol, heavy carrot like sweetness on the back of the tongue. As it warms it gets sweeter, deeper, more intense almost more like a food than drink.

Truly an imperial beer. This is a beautiful beer to be relished, beautiful...

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 don1481
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into my Lakefront glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark orangish color. Little hazy. Very little head when I poured it. Odd.

Smell: Yep. Smells like a sea of spices. Somewhat like a pumpkin pie, I suppose.

Taste: Once you get past the initial shock of boozy taste there's a really nice array of spices that just go and hit you. Reminds me of my grandma's pumpkin pie - yes, with booze.

Mouthfeel: It's got a thicker feel to it, but not obnoxiously so. Helps the after taste linger, which is not a bad thing at all.

Overall: Yeah, I'll have no problems getting through this 4 pack. It's pretty darn good - better than their 25th Anniversary Stout that I had recently for sure.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a vibrant amber/reddish orange with minimal head and lacing. Has viscous apperance and nice clarity. Nose features familiar pumpkin spice notes with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice very forward. The brandy elevates these notes and brings on a brown sugar like sweetness along with some vanilla. No booziness from the brandy, just the essence of brandy which works well with the base beer. The taste is sweet up front with brown sugar, cinnamon, and all spice with notes of vanilla in the background. This is a nice array of fall flavors and would make for a nice dessert beer. The finish has a nice notes of cinnamon and vanilla. Mouthfeel is sturdy with mellow carbonation. Overall, this is a well executed brew. Lots of big flavors and spices which could easily become heavy handed, but they work nicely and strike a nice balance.

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Photo of bound4er
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A. Crimson to dark amber appearance with an off white head that breaks fairly fast to a nice covering skim. Lacing is minimal.

S. Lots of baking spice (cinnamon and nutmeg) and pumpkin with a sweet cherry infused brandy note to add a unique twist. Smells very inviting.

T. Baking spice, pumpkin and Brandy Old-Fashioned flavors (a Wisconsinites dream).

M. Nice and creamy with low carbonation.

O. This is the first pumpkin beer that I will buy more of after trying a single. Not my favorite style but this is a special beer. The pumpkin doesn't taste fake and there is enough other interesting flavors to keep me coming back for more. Really well made stuff.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy rusty orange with heavy carbonation activity and a slightly orange hue to the head.

Pumpkin, nutmeg, brown sugar aromas.

I love the sweet brown sugar and pumpkin spice contrast. Cinnamon, vanilla extract, and slightly boozy.

Medium bodied and soft, smooth. Light alcoholic heat in the end.

I found it to be a fantastic pumpkin ale and the barrels gave it a nice but subtle vanilla and booze quality.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lakefront Imperial Pumpkin

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stemmed tulip. Chilled...

A) It's a bit of burnt orange, like the maple leaves dropping in my backyard. Very little head generated on the pour, and what was there didn't stick around.

S) A nice amount of pumpkin and spice, lightly toasted malt, vanilla, brown sugar, and a little of the brandy. Very nice...

T) Enough pumpkin and spice to keep lovers of pumpkin brews quite happy, but what really separates this offering from other pumpkin beers, is the barrel aging. Nice vanilla flavor, brown sugar, a little wood, and enough brandy to warm you up, but not overwhelm. This is great at room temp.

M) Medium body with very light carbonation. The light carbonation works for me, as I found this quite smooth. Let it warm up, and sip on it like a good brandy. The aftertaste is full of warm pumpkin flavor, and it coats the mouth.

O) I hope Lakefront considers making this a seasonal release, rather than a one shot deal. It is a perfect pumpkin sipper for those colder fall evenings, that start to make you think about the long winter that awaits.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, bottling date 9/4/2013, poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 10/16/2013.

Pours a light mahogany body with a substantial 1cm offwhite head. Very pretty beer. Bits of lacing follow the beer as it goes down.

Smells ridiculously sweet. Pumpkin pie, whipped cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves up the wazoo. Its so much, on the verge of being a major mess. But somehow this comes off just right. Nicely executed.

Same as in the nose, but just right. Pumpkin pie, crust, vanilla whipped cream and holiday spices provide the majority of the flavours. There is a little bit of brandy-like sweetness, but not much. Not a whole lot of oak, but I am thinking the barrel is contributing the vanilla-like whipped cream flavours. Very sweet, on the verge of cloying but not quite.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly watery but still substantial. Carbonation could be better, for a medium bodied barrel-aged beer it could be a bit thicker and creamier. There is quite a bit of booziness apparent here, which is not good for my drinking experience here.

Very fascinating beer. The brandy barrel treatment really complements the base pumpkin beer quite well. This is a sipper, but a great cold, rainy fall sipper at that. Its worth trying once, I don't know if I would ever want a 4-pack of this, though.. its a bit syrupy and too hot to be drinking on a regular basis.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - The bottle states this is a lager, but the color is more emblematic of a porter. I won't argue the style, just the color.

Smell - The booze is easy to detect in this one. Booze and cinnamon mesh well in the aroma, given a sweet impression more than a biting one.

Taste - In the initial taste, the brandy makes an immediate impression. With the brandy comes notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and nuances of pumpkin. I think the brandy smothers the pumpkin, but this is still pretty darn good. I really appreciate the many layers of taste in the brandy.

Mouthfeel - One can taste the brandy, but not feel the burn. It is thick enough to linger, and smooth enough to go down easy.

Overall - This is the best pumpkin beer of the season for me.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a FW teku glass. 9/4/13 bottling date.
dark orange color, fairly small head. Smell is very intense and i get it even from aways off. lots of nutmeg and pumpkin flavor as well as a lot of cinnamon and a ton of vanilla. the taste has a lot of pumpkin flavor at first with a lot of vanilla, then even some bourbon? flavor. its a big ABV beer and very full bodied. goes down smooth but definitely a sipper and one of the most intense pumpkin beers ive had to date.

overall this is a terrific beer! and the best ive had from lakefront

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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 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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Imperial Pumpkin from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.