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Heavy Seas - Great’ER Pumpkin - Heavy Seas Beer

Not Rated.
Heavy Seas - Great’ER PumpkinHeavy Seas - Great’ER Pumpkin

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BA SCORE
88
very good

639 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 639
Reviews: 204
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 64
Gots: 100 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 07-28-2010

In the most worthy of pumpkin patches and during the silence of the midnight hour, the Greater Pumpkin raises up and pours a rich deep and burnished orange color. Heady aromas of bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove linger seductively over the thick white head of this tremendous brew. Its love at first sip as the full malt body, dominated by British crystal malt, brown sugar and pumpkin, slowly washes over your tongue. Bourbon barrel aging rounds out the flavors with notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Pairs well with crisp autumn weather, crunchy fallen leaves, and the knowledge that your kids will be asleep soon so you can raid their Halloween candy bags.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 639 | Reviews: 204
Reviews by RFBrewing:
More User Reviews:
Photo of cs85b03
4.25/5  rDev +9%

I will start this beer to explain that I have been on a "pumpkin treasure hunt." That is, a hunt to find the best pumpkin beer. This may or may have not been stricken by my recent interest to get back into brewing or my realization of a few extremely complex pumpkin ales. I have searched long and far, even traveling to the other side of the country, in order to complete the hunt. Though vast journeys were made, I did not need to travel but a few miles outside my work to find the best pumpkin ale one can find. My pumpkin ale is still finishing, so it is possible (yet doubtful) the tides may turn once more. Sorry for all the pirate talk, I thought it would add to the brewery.

A deep amber, almost intentionally gloomy color with a slow compact tan head. This beer is pungent with tones of caramel malt, vanilla and clove. Pumpkin is noticed upon first sip, where it along with molasses, sun-dried tart cherries and pumpkin pie spice coat your entire throat. Finishes smooth and lingers with anise and dry brown sugar. This is #1 for my pumpkin treasure hunt. If you must know, #2 is Elysian's, followed by #3 for dogfish head followed by #4 - smuttynose. #2,3, and 4 are all very close and it is very difficult to judge them together. This, however, is a clear winner in my books. It may be just that this beer is what a pumpkin ale should be; robust, bold, big and a reminder that fall is a reminder of what cold winter brings. I should note that Kentucky Ale's Pumpkin is just as heavy, but is hot, lacks heartiness, and on so many levels is much inferior to this beer, so heaviness is not nearly the only factor that deemed this pumpkin #1 of the season.

This is a big beer. It doesn't feel like it, though. I've had plenty beers in this ABV range that are not shy of warning of their potency. This one is different. Comes in syrupy, instantly coating your tongue, finishes extremely smooth and leaves no traces of hotness. I've never experienced such from a 10%+ ABV adjunct beer before.

Photo of oberon
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The perfect weather for a big pumpkin ale here in NC. today.Pours into an imperial nonic a deep burnt orange in fused copper with a sticky off white head that clings to the glass it settles pretty quickly.Big alcohol and pie spices in the nose,smells like an alcoholic doozy.And the aromas are correct,cinnamon and clove flavors with a big spiced rum-like sweetness with it's mild molasses,vanilla, and brown sugar notes.Whoo this isn't the "biggest" pumpkin ale I have had but it tastes like it might be.I get more of a rum alcohol flavor than I do the bourbon barrel,hmm odd.

Photo of warnerry
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear reddish copper with a finger of off-white head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S - Bourbon, vanilla brown sugar and pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and clove) up front. Some caramel malt as well. Didn't really get any oak notes. The bourbon is really a complement here. It is one of the predominant aromas, but it blends nicely with everything else.

T - The taste follows the aroma pretty well, with the addition of some wood tannins. A bit sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. The bourbon flavors are an improvement on the base beer.

M - Medium, slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

O - Nice flavor combination. I enjoyed this more than the base beer (which I also thought was pretty good).

Photo of EastHarris
1.56/5  rDev -60%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I picked this up right before Thanksgiving as a bookend to all of the pumpkin/fall beers I would be having that day. I've had Heavy Seas offerings before but this was my first of their bourbon barrel aged offerings. Poured with almost no head. Smelled of pumpkin pie spices with a slight boozy, oaky aroma. The first sip was wow....what happened to this brew? It tasted like someone took a half decent pumpkin beer and poured a double shot of bourbon directly into it. It was so overwhelming that I drain poured the rest of it and I have not had a bourbon barrel beer since. I basically lost my taste for this style because of this beer.

Well intentioned, but poorly executed. I mean poor. The only person who might like this is a bourbon aficionado and even that is doubtful.

Better luck next time around!

Photo of generallee
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1pt. 6oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label has its ABV (9%) and a short description but no freshness or born on date.

Appearance: The body has a deep reddish orange amber color with fine yeast sediment floating around giving it a hazy look. From the pour I got a small off white head that quickly fades to fine layer of foam with a thick ring around the edge of the glass. Lacing is good.

Smell: Right away there is a noticeable whiskey presence. Notes of the booze, the vanilla, and some oak notes mingle with honey sweet malt notes and pie spice in the nose.

Taste/Palate: Right up front I get the bourbon whiskey notes with hints of vanilla, caramel and a slight touch of oak. This plays well with the base malt which has some honey like sweetness, pie spice and a hint of pumpkin squash flavor. The finish has some sweet boozy warmth from the 9% ABV that adds to the bourbon character. It also carries some of the pie spice and some mellow hop bitterness deep into the finish.

Notes: The bourbon barrel notes were a nice touch to base pumpkin beer. I liked the lighter balance of spice here in The Greater Pumpkin Ale vs. the regular The Great Pumpkin Ale.

Photo of codysjb
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought about a month ago and I’ve been looking forward to getting to try this one.
A: Not much head despite the fact that it gushed all over the place (thankfully missing my laptop and droid) which quickly dissipated in any matter. Light brown, but more of golden amber, color which you can’t see straight through.
S: Bourbon and booze, almost no pumpkin and not much of anything else.
T: Bourbon, Bourbon, a little pumpkin and more bourbon. I can certainly taste the alcohol, not what I was expecting.
M: Almost all bourbon, the flavor is really overwhelming. Can’t taste much of the beer.
O: Not the worst thing ever, better than a bunch of beers but the flavors are unbalanced and there’s way too much bourbon. Maybe not the best type of beer to age in bourbon barrels since the flavors don’t hold up.

Photo of tigg924
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Deep pumpkin spices like cinnamon and clove dominate the start of this beer. A good deal of dry oakiness comes out as it warms which leaves a bit of bitterness. A good beer, but I have had better.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a light orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the pumpkin and associated spices - mainly nutmeg and cinnamon. I don't get too much bourbon-aged character in the aroma.

The flavor is pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon and some oak, vanilla and whiskey notes. You can definitely tell the bourbon is there, but is more subtle than in a lot of other beers. The bourbon-aging compliments the base beer, it doesn't completely overshadow and dominate it..

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of glid02
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Porter in Atlanta.

Pours an almost opaque orange-amber color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of large amounts of spices - nutmeg and cinnamon - with fresh pumpkin seeds. Also present are hints of butterscotch and even lighter hints of vanilla.

Tastes very good. Medium malt flavors with good amounts of heavy pumpkin flavors kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are deep spices as in the aroma. Midway through the sip slight amounts of butterscotch flavors work their way into things, fading out into smooth bourbon flavors that carry through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer and even more impressed that the bourbon was as subtle as it was. A very well done beer that's well worth a shot, especially as the weather cools.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 vintage.

A: Pours a mostly clear amber with an off white head. Lots of visible carbonation going on in the body. Spots of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Spiciness up front with a dose of sweetness. Graham cracker like crust aroma is present which I like in pumpkin beers. Bourbon barrel aging doesnt make too much of an impact.

T: As with the aroma there is a healthy dose of spice to this one. Cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg come to mind. Bourbon is light in the background adding just a touch of vanilla, oak and booze.

M: Medium body with lots of carbonation for such a boozy beer. Retains a creamy mouthfeel. Finish is a bit sticky which is understandable considering the sweetness. Alcohol isnt too hot.

Overall its a pumpkin beer that exemplifies the style but I still feel that this one could push the envelope a little further. A bit more bourbon and pumpkin flavor.

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 edition, 22 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber color, specked with orange highlights, topped with two fingers of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic! Lots of candied pumpkin and ginger with strong notes of clove, cinnamon and brown sugar, along with some subtle notes of wood and vanilla. Due to the aging in bourbon barrels, and the high ABV, there’s some alcohol in the nose as well.

Taste: Tons of roasted pumpkin, candied ginger and cinnamon, followed by some wood, vanilla, clove, caramel-like sweetness, and finished with some notes of bourbon from the barrel the beer was aged in. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy. Very smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.0%, and with the aging in bourbon barrels, there is quite a bit of alcohol on the palate, imparting a pleasant warmth in the mouth.

Overall: This is a remarkable beer! I love the candied pumpkin and ginger flavor as well as the blended bourbon and vanilla flavors. Very, very good! I’m getting two bottle so this at least next year, one to drink right away, and one or two to age. Delicious!

Photo of Shmagles
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This will be an odd review. This just came into my store recently so im going to mention this as a 2012 version of the great'er pumpkin. I tasted this beer twice from the same bottle and had differing opinions between the two tastings. I have purchased two bottles because of the rarity. From the initial opening it maintained the boozy aspect that you would expect from the bourbon barrel soaking. I was very dissatisfied initially because I felt like I was drinking bourbon with pumpkin beer flavoring added and it just wasn't a satisfying taste. After which I fell asleep for a couple hours and woke up later. Once I tried it again after it having sat out in the open air for a bit did it finally seem to balance out. The boozy notes of bourbon seemed to settle and a beautiful balance emerged. Now I am fully impressed with the style of the beer and am probably more likely to enjoy it again. If I had finished it before leaving it in the open air, I probably would have rated it alot lower than what i am giving it now. Overall I wonder if this beer would work well leaving it to age before drinking. But it is definitely something worth trying. A- overall, but only because I have yet to fully appreciate the bourbon flavoring.

Ap- Seems like a normal pumpkin beer (darker orange)

Sm- Smells like bourbon and pumpkin spice

Ta - Tasted like bourbon and pumpkin spice

MF - Smooth.

Ov - Bourbon seems to weaken over time esp in open air. Do not wait longer than I did to drink it, After so long the beer will go totally flat. I was very lucky that i didnt wake up after I did. The beer was timed perfectly from absolute random luck. (~5-6 hours later) FYI the bottle was 2/3s poured into a pilsner glass. Very little surface area from the brew. The rest was still sitting in the bottle, I constantly poured the remaining amount to try to obtain a bit of foam before drinking.

Photo of SomethingClever
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into Chimay Chalice

A: Amber colored slightly hazy could be because It is so cold almost no head whatsoever

S: smells of ginger, nutmeg not so much like a cohesive pumpkin smell getting no bourbon on the nose

T: tastes like a pumpkin beer maybe not as sweet as some but it just tastes like pumpkin. I'm not getting much bourbon maybe on the finish and it just makes it sourish/bitter

M: a little syrupy but not over the top like some pumpkin beers I'd say medium body

O: meh a pretty average beer, tastes like pumpkin bourbon is about undetectable. if you see it and you love pumpkin you might love it but otherwise don't bother

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the better pumpkin beers we have had, among a great 2011 crop. Bottle picked up in New york. Orange body, with bright tastes of orange, ginger, cinammon. Very fresh tasting although aged from last year. This ageing led to a balance and a dangerous smooth drinking. Bourbon added complexity without taking over or felling boozy.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.54/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

EDIT: It seems as though I got a bottle of last year's batch, by some fantastic stroke of fortune. Over the fresh version, aging has improved it astronomically.

Thin whitish head, orangey hazy body. Some lacing.

Nicest pumpkin beer I've ever had the joy to nose. Pumpkin, nutmeggy spice, and a heavy helping of bourbony oak.

Holy cow; the taste absolutely lives up to the nose. Fantastic imperial pumpkin ale with heavy, heavy oaking presence. This bottle may have been from last year, which will only help it. There's a faint alcohol burn, but I don't mind in the least.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard and totally second fiddle to everything else. I don't notice it, so it must be all right.

Even if you don't like (or don't think you'll like) pumpkin beers, if you've ever enjoyed a bourbon-barrel aged imperial stout, you'll love this beer. I guarantee it.

Photo of Chuck_IPA_Mathus
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

mild intoxicating booze aroma

Velvety smooth bourbon pallete

hoppy afterbite. The best pumpkin beer Ive ever experienced and I am not a pumpkin fan at all. Excellent job on the aging of this ale

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. 2011 Edition.

Pours a clear copper, with a ½ finger covering of slight off-white head. This retains with more of a thin frothy fizziness, which leaves back a foamy cascade of lace that quickly slides down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of vanilla, oak, pumpkin spices, a touch of softer fruity orange character, and then some underlying greenness. It’s tough to say if it’s pumpkin or not, as a bit of stiff warmth starts to come out as this warms and muddles things a bit.

The taste has a lot of vanilla going on, with additional notes of sweet caramel, orange zest, green pumpkin (it’s definitely standing out more here), and then some festive feeling spices that are scattered throughout the profile. The bourbon flavor mostly sits in the back here, and it rather nicely done, with a pleasant lightly charred burn on the back of the palate. More barrel flavor creeps into the finish, with a woody dryness that lingers with some leftover sugars and a touch of spice. The mouthfeel is full bodied and fairly effervescent in the mouth. Things do get a little smoother though as this runs over the tongue and the alcohol itself it pretty well hid. There is some warmth to the body here and the bourbon leaves a bit of heat behind but I was a bit shocked at how overall smooth this was in the mouth.

This was nice and was much better than I thought a BA Imperial Pumpkin Ale would have turned out. Besides some misgivings with the nose, I really enjoyed the overall integration of the flavors here and I was extremely surprised at how much of a smooth sipper this ended up being in the end. A full bottle was a little too much for me in one sitting but this is a perfect one to split.

Photo of hdofu
4.78/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is more evidence of what some time in the woods can do for improving character. This is a completely different creature from its Great pumpkin sibling. It pours cloudy orange and has a fair amount of head. The Bourbon is very evident in the first sip and combined with the pumpkin spices it has a flavor much like egg nog. The smell is very spicy still much like pumpkin pie. It has a bit more of an boozy feel then the great pumpkin, which I like. In my oppinion this is probably my favorite pumpkin beer (when I had the great pumpkin I was debating whether I liked it more or Dogfish's punkin ale) as of now this is the best.

Photo of nickthetick
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a clear cherry wood into a DFH signature glass with a finger of off white (the gf said eggshell, sounds good to me). The head dissipates rather quickly and the left behind bubbles cling to the glass and leaves nice little rings.

S: a bit cough syrupy, boozy and over the top. I get honey, spice and cheap bourbon notes.

T: a lot better than the nose, pumpkin spice and pumpkin, bourbon hits hard in the middle and chases the pumpkin away. The bourbon is strong but good and honey, vanilla and a menagerie of spices shines through. Caramel, vanilla and cinnamon hang on the tongue, the alcohol is noticeable but not troublesome.

MF: a bit syrupy, heavy body and light on the carbonation. Extremely warm and leaves a feeling on the tongue, like a syrup coating.

O: great beer with a sub-par "findabillity". It took me forever to find this damn beer and when it got to my nose I was a bit pissed. The nose could be better but the taste is amazing and the MF is good. I will continue to search this beer out when its released each year.

Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to my boy Lunch for sending me this one in a past trade! 2010 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured orange with a minimal off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, pumpkin, wood, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, cinnamon, brown sugar, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. After having the base version right before this one, I was a little concerned on what I would think of this one. However, this one definitely improved quite a bit with the -bal treatment. The barrel added a nice bit of complexity that was lacking in the previous beer and made it much more enjoyable to drink. Definitely the better of the two without a doubt. Just ask nickd and he will tell you why.

Photo of Gmann
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden amber color with some orange hues. The white head is small and wispy, settles into a very light ring.

The aroma is of light pumpkin spice; cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Some pumpkin vegetal notes. These aromas are contrasted by a sweet bourbon scent that brings vanilla and oak. Quite surprised by the subtle nature, especially for a big beer.

The taste is quite bourbon-y to start. Vanilla and oak flavors are present as well as a slight fusel alcohol. Perhaps a touch of caramel. The pumpkin spices are muted but seem to play well with the bourbon flavors. Some cinnamon and nutmeg, perhaps some ginger. The malt is slightly bready and doesn't play too much in the flavor profile.

The feel is quite light, almost watery. Its sweet on the palate; the spice and ABV burn seem to help keep the sweetness in check. A bit dry in the finish.

Not really what I expected. I expected a thicked bodied, heavily spiced pumpkin ale that had some bourbon notes. This is almost the opposite. Its light, the main flavor is the bourbon and the pumpkin profile is subtle. It is a nice blend though; the spice works quite well with the bourbon.

Photo of scootny
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A light cloudy orang amber with a sizable off white head. A bit of carbonation is seen as well as a good bit of lace along the sides of the glass. Smell is sweet malt and pumpkin with pie spices. A good healthy splash of bourbon but not overpowering. It flows into a mild alcohol sharpness. A nice pumpkin bread component as well. Taste is a bit different. Pumpkin pie is the main course but the bourbon underpins the whole thing giving a boozy holiday flavor to this one. The bourbon and pie spice meld into a beer equivalent of a rum fruitcake. I kinda wish I had waited till Thanksgiving to open this one. Nice malt backbone is backed up by firm earthy hops to close out the beer with a clean dry finish. Bourbon comes in to add some vanilla and oak. Feel is creamy and supple with enough thickness to take on dessert and coffee. A lovely beer of complexity and depth.

Photo of bum732
2.83/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

S: Some pumpkin spices with a moderate bourbon note, slight squash tartness.

L: Hazy, bright burnt orange with a white head that dissipates.

T: Bourbon up front with a pumpkin spice background. Low bitterness yields to sweet pumpkin pie with some additional bourbon notes. Finishes semi-dry with a touch of oak.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation, slick.

Big beer, big bourbon as well, not a whole lot of pumpkin, pretty messy. Drain pour normally, but i wanted to get drunk.

Photo of Mongrel
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Velvety smooth and boozy, like some sort of creamy barleywine. Tastefully restrained spicing just lets a really well crafted strong ale shine through. The bourbon barrel isn't too strong either. Vanilla from the bourbon barrel complements the pumpkin pie spice really nicely. Certainly not your typical pumpkin ale and certainly more subtle and restrained than I was expecting from a beer this big in ABV. A surprisingly elegant ale.

Photo of Treyliff
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle, poured into a snifter

A- pours a hazy-yet-bright ruby-orange color with a small fizzy white that reduces quickly, leaving some short lasting lace

S-cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice up front, oaky notes kick in providing a strong vanilla presence, creating a creme brûlée aroma. Some alcohol at the end

T- slightly tart pumpkin flavors up front complimented by some cinnamon and nutty flavor. Sweet vanilla and creme brûlée flavors follow the aromas mid-palate, eventually leading an oaky finish

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to an almost viscous mouthfeel that is creamy and finishes smooth. Alcohol is hidden brilliantly

O- this was very good, most barrel aged pumpkin beers are overpowered by the barrel, this one was not. The base beer is very flavorful and mixed with the oak nicely to provide a dessert-like sweetness. Well done!

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Heavy Seas - Great’ER Pumpkin from Heavy Seas Beer
88 out of 100 based on 639 ratings.