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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale - Great Lakes Brewery

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Pumpkin AleGreat Lakes Pumpkin Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

104 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 104
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 14.16%
Wants: 10
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
In our pursuit to bring you the most flavourful and unique beers possible, we are proud to release this tasty autumn ale. Handcrafted with an assortment of specialty malts and hops, we added a generous amount of pumpkin directly into the brew. Combine this with hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice, and you've got a beer that you won't soon forget. Rich, satisfying and slightly spicy, our seasonal ale goes perfectly with your favourite dessert or traditional feast. But like fall, Pumpkin Ale comes but once a year!

(Beer added by: Viggo on 09-29-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mama-Kail
1/5  rDev -71.7%

Mama-Kail, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of kinguy
1.75/5  rDev -50.4%

kinguy, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of kelvarnsen
2.5/5  rDev -29.2%

kelvarnsen, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of Luk13
2.55/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle. Pale orange pour with thin white head. Good spicy aroma, cloves, cinnamon and definite pumpkin aromas. Taste is rather mild, still some candycane, spice and a very earthy kind of bitter finale. Watery mouthfeel. Not a fan of pumkins and rather hard to drink.

Luk13, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of allergictomacros
2.58/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Hmm... Orange under the cap is not pumpkin but rust. Bodes poorly? Pours a clear copper with copious off-white head. Kinda loose though.

S - Doesn't smell like much of anything. Kinda raisiny and a hint of pumpkin. Uh... hint of fish sauce. Warms up with some cinnamon and spiciness.

T - Slightly buttery with some apple and pear - harvesty yes, pumpkiny no.

M - Kinda chewy.

D - Alright I guess but I am underwhelmed by the lack of pumpkinyness
in this.

allergictomacros, Oct 26, 2007
Photo of JohnnyBarman
2.6/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this as part of a Pumpkin Ale tasting event. Poured into a nonic glass.

Light copper-golden, a thin, foamy head that recedes after a few moments. Some visible carbonbation.

Nose is pretty dull - pale malts, light hops, only a faint nutmeg, pumpkin scent that I could barely detect - others with me could not.

For a beer that markets itself as a pumpkin ale, where exactly is the pumpkin??? Unlike the noble jack o lantern, which features prominently on your front step or in your window, the pumpkin here chooses instead to hide in the back, only making rare visits as the beer warms up. The spicy flavor is not all that enjoyable either - more tinny and artificial. If this were a well made pale ale with subtle pumpkin notes, this could be excused, but sadly, it is not. Truth be told, I had trouble finishing it.

Mouthfeel is thin, carbonation provides a light sting.

I had been warned about this brew by a few friends, but I thought I'd give it a go, despite having developed a mistrust of Great Lakes LCBO offerings. Comparing this brew to others of the style, and it's not even close.

Poor effort, won't pick up again.

JohnnyBarman, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of CanuckRover
2.68/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

My first pumpkin ale.

Good looking, halloweeny bottle. Pours, well, orange, or dark amberish if your picky, clear and visible carbonation.

Aroma may have ruined the whole experience for me. Unpleasant sour, macro-lager type smell. I was expecting to smell pumpkin pie, instead I was getting raw pumpkin pulp, not my thing.

In the taste, again I got a cheap lager impression which is not what I was expecting at all, kind of chalky. Bottle promises full flavoured ale with pumpkin, cloves, allspice and cinnamon... I got the cloves but where were the other spices? I was prepared for much more after reading reviews of big pumpkin pie beers. The pumpkin seemed subdued to me, more of a whiff in the finish than anything else. It seemed to me like the malt and the pumpkin just weren't complimentary, they didn't seem to work together. To me it tasted like a Keith's with some pumpkin in the mix.

Mouth feel was, again, not what I expected. I was looking for a big ale with some very mild carbonation. Instead I found it surprisingly thin and carbonated.

Now, as I said, this is the first pumpkin ale I've ever had so maybe I've misunderstood the style. I was expecting a full-flavoured, pumpkin pie spice experience, instead I found a thin beer with a little bit of pumpkin and cloves and not much else. Reading the other reviews, I'll give this one another shot and try some more examples of the style. As it is, I'm not impressed with this one.

CanuckRover, Oct 24, 2007
Photo of Wordslinger
2.75/5  rDev -22.1%

Wordslinger, May 06, 2012
Photo of mdaschaf
2.9/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to korguy123 for this one! Poured from a bomber into an Evolution pint glass

A: Pours a clear light orange, lighter than others in this style I have had. Nice one finger head that dissolves into a layer of white bubbles on top of the beer. No lacing.

S: I get some of the typical spices here, but relatively weak. Also get a hint of alcohol.

T:Not much, a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of spice. Dry finish.

M/D: Thinner than expected. Overall not great, on of the weakest pumpkins I have had so far. A pass.

mdaschaf, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of Damian74Shensky
3/5  rDev -15%

Damian74Shensky, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of korguy123
3.05/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber into DFH Signature Glass.
Part of the Halloween release at the LCBO.

A- Clear rich amber pour, Carbonation is surprisingly light. Two finger white head, lacing is good.

S- Pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. All smells are quite subtle and muted. Very bland as far as pumpkin beers go.

T- Spices and pumpkin almost non-existent. Brown sugar, vanilla with a slight bitter aftertaste.

M- Thin feeling slight carbonation bite.

D- Good, but one bomber is enough for me.

Overall little disappointed in this one. Was expecting more of a pumpkin smell and taste from this one. First year for pumpkin beers, and first year for this one and I have to say this is the weakest out of all the ones I've tried so far.

korguy123, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of tbeckett
3.05/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours bright. Orange to dark golden in colour with no head and mild carbonation.

S - Spices. Lot's of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice. There is a little pumpkin too but the spices dominate for the most part.

T - Spices dominate again. Mild pumpkin with lingering baking spice.

M - Light with little carbonation.

D - Good but not my thing. Too much spice, not enough pumpkin for a pumpkin beer.

tbeckett, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of MeisterBurger
3.05/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's nitpicking, I'll admit, but I think the orange foil on the cap has the opposite effect of that intended. It doesn't elevate it or add a modicum of elegance, it makes it seem like it's trying to be something it's not. This has a cheesy font and retarded looking baby-faced jack-o'-lantern on it for crying out loud. It'll take more than a bit of tin foil to make that look classy.

Pours a clear, orange-hued golden color with a decent amount of head, a decent amount of retention, and the same could be said about the lacing. Decent. It looks a lot like their Orange Peel Ale, from what I recall.

It smells like faint malt and hops and faint pumpkin pie spice. Very grassy. It has that new carved pumpkin smell.

The taste is about the same, with a very generic, slightly grainy ale with a grassy hop up against a melange of pumpkin pie spices--nutmeg and clove chief amongst them. It's...tangy. The finish has a slightly unpleasant vegetable aspect to it, likely from the pumpkin?

My chief complaint with this beer is the lack of malt sweetness which I think would offset all of the spice and grassiness better. With a sweeter malt, a pinch more spice, and a higher ABV this could be a decadent cold weather warmer. As it is I find myself wanting. Really. Go big or go home. As it is it's an okayish slightly pumpkiny ale almost more suitable for warm weather.

The mouthfeel is kind of thin and lacking.

Conclusion: Needs more malt.

MeisterBurger, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of trevorwideman
3.1/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not sure where the "double" in the name comes from, my bottle just says Pumpkin Ale. 650ml bomber poured into a pint glass, sent out by pootz. Thanks buddy!

Pours a crystal-clear light copper colour with a healthy inch of head, some wet lace and medium-high carbonation. Nose is full of sweet malty aroma with tons of spice. I'm mostly getting cloves and allspice, with the cinnamon and nutmeg coming in right after. The whole mix is just a little bubblegum-like.

Taste is much lighter than I was expecting. A bit of zip from the spices, especially the cinnamon. The rest of the flavour comes off a little cheap as the malt profile is extremely generic with hints of veggie. Nothing to report in the way of hops in here besides a light herbal quality. There's a mineral flavour in here as well, which is somewhat welcome. Medium bodied and a bit creamy, cinnamon burns the tongue a bit but isn't really very dry at all. This is drinkable but a bit boring. I'm looking for more of a balls out beer to celebrate Halloween with.

trevorwideman, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of thirstybrother
3.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Very nice golden with a touch of amber, or pumpkin. Good head, not much lacing.

S: Maybe my nose is stuffed? No hints of the spices they speak of on the bottle. Maybe some pumpkin, but maybe just because I'm looking for it.

T: This beer isn't terrible, but the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg really seem to be lacking. There are hints, HINTS, of them in the aftertaste, but I shouldn't have to concentrate this hard to find them.

M: Kind of steely. Again, it isn't terrible, but it definitely does not scream pumpkin ale, more like a pale ale with subtle spicy notes.

O: I had this beer last year and recall being very impressed with the spicy/pumpkin flavours. I shared it with a non-craft-beer crowd and they liked it. Guess I should have reviewed it then. I can give GLB the benefit of the doubt, maybe this batch was a rough one. We'll see next year.

thirstybrother, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of kjyost
3.18/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is smack between Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en, and lo and behold, a pumpkin beer at LC. Who would thunk it? May as well give this style a shot...

A: Nothing special here. An amber brew, clear as day, with a fizzy white head that recedes and does not lace. May as well be a pale ale...

S: Intriguing. Light cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of pumpkin underneath it all. Some sweetness later comes into play.

T: Served around 6-8C, and the beer can be best described as muted. Low malt character, no real breadiness in the beer. The spices are there, but just barely. If the body matched the nose it would be better. Too light on every aspect of the taste. Later in a few mouthfuls I think "yup, there's the pumpkin" but by that time I am getting a nasty lingering aftertaste...

(EDIT: Interestingly I left a glass out for 1 hour and it really came around giving a strong taste of roasted pumpkin, but the aftertaste still lingered)

M/D: Easy drinking, actually quite crisp and finishes dry. Could easily have been a poorly made pale ale save the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that sometimes come about.

kjyost, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of heebes
3.2/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Welcoming in the fall season.
Pours a light gold colour, some head which dissipates quickly. Good amount of carbonation.
The nose is strong, I could smell the beer upon opening. A spice aroma is dominant. Cinnamon and pumpkin also present.
The taste is a little weak, tasting more like an ale than any sort of major flavoured specialty beer. It's a bit sour to begin with the light pumpkin and spice flavour lingering.
Again, light mouthfeel. Watery texture, a little underwealming.
Overall this is a rather average take on the pumpkin ale. I would have preferred a more flavourful and upfront spice taste. For whats available at this point in ON though, it's a great change of pace!

heebes, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of derekrick420
3.2/5  rDev -9.3%

derekrick420, Sep 29, 2014
Photo of biegaman
3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A neon carrot pigmentation that - especially given the shape of this glass - aptly draws resemblance to a pumpkin. Its tinge is too deep to permit transparency but its complexion is both very clean and clear. A circle of fluffy white traces well defined boundaries around the perimeters but leaves the center bare and outstretched.

For once I actually smell a lot of pumpkin coming out of the aroma of a pumpkin ale. I realize the vegetable (err, fruit) itself doesn't impart much flavour, but there's enough of it in this bouquet that conjures memories of cutting the top from the pumpkin and then pulling out the seeds. It also kind of has that same scent that follows in the days after Halloween, when it comes time to take the pumpkin out for compost.

Alas, there is plenty of spice too (relatively speaking). Alongside the actual pumpkin, Great Lakes reveal the recipe to also include: allspice, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. None of these ingredients are a dead stand-out to my nose. Despite being spicy, I still would have honestly had a tough time confidently identifying any of them outright.

It'd be dishonest of me to say the flavour couldn't use a few more pinches of spice as well. I'm not the biggest fan of overly perfumy beers, but beyond the spice this ale offers little to nothing. The actual issue, however, is with the terrible lack of a good malt base. More malt would greatly improve this beer, all in terms of taste, texture, and body.

I have real problems with the mouthfeel as well. For one, the beer hasn't any body. It is completely flat and this utter lack of carbonation (and lack of bitterness) leaves spices out of check to linger astringently. It is both soapy and metallic. The flavours are stale and off-putting. The aftertaste is drying and leaves a cottony feel in the mouth.

I commend Great Lakes for being a brewery that tries to be experimental and offer new and creative things, especially in this local market. When I first tried their Pumpkin Ale, on cask at the Volo Cask Days 2007, I thought it to be wonderful. Tonight's sample, however, was far from it. Whatever my opinion, there's undoubtedly room to improve for next year's batch.

biegaman, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of shamus
3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

We found rust (or is that pumpkin guts) under the cap too. Is this left over from last year I wonder? Not a lot of head. Nothing interesting to smell. tastes like someone dipped a slice of pie in a sleemans ale and let it marinate over night. That being said I am enjoying it. It's definitely a novelty beer. I have had better pumpkin ale before. However this will do for now.

shamus, Oct 28, 2007
Photo of TheBeeraholic
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%

TheBeeraholic, Jun 16, 2013
Photo of evil_liver
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%

evil_liver, May 07, 2014
Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It pours a clear amber / deep honey colour. Lots of head which dimples and drops at a medium pace, leaving some lacing.

It has a sweet smell, similar to some raspberry wheat ales I've had. A bit of the cinnamon or clove also comes out.

Pretty good taste - a bit of that sharpness or sweetness that I get from some fruit ales or beers with yeast still in the bottle. At first, it tastes like a fairly normal ale, perhaps a bit too fruity for my liking. The middle part of each sip is where the pumpkin comes out, but it's more raw pumpkin / "warmed-up Jack-o-lantern" than it is pumpkin pie, which I expected / was hoping for. The end of each sip, and afterwards, is when the spice comes out. It's the best part of each taste.

It feels OK in the mouth... not too watery; fizzy. But not overly.

As for drinkability, it's alright. One 650ml bottle is enough.

PEIBeerGuy, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of eat
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly cloudy body is a dark, pumpkin-like orange colour. The head dissipates to a very thin covering of off-white. No lacing. Nice colour for a pumpkin ale.

Faint pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove) and subtle, vegetal pumpkin, adding a certain creaminess. Caramel malt and light, spicy hops. Pretty weak on the nose.

Not much of the pumpkin or spices are coming through. It reminds me quite a bit of the taste letdown with their Miami Weiss; all the flavours here need to be amplified. Pretty much all I'm getting is a light malt character along with an earthy hop bitterness. Some grain on the finish. The spices are only present enough to make you wonder if they're even there at all. Everything here is much too far over to the cautious side of things. I wouldn't say it's too well balanced either; I could use more malt here. I'm thinking they missed the mark on this one. Not even close to enough pumpkin character.

I think I'd prefer the feel a little creamier but it's not too bad. Medium-high carbonation. More drying than you would expect at this level of bitterness.

It is drinkable. No off flavours and it does go down pretty easily in spite of it's boringness. The only thing holding it back is the drying finish, it's a little too much. If the bottle didn't say Pumpkin Ale, I'm not sure if I would think it was one. I know that pumpkin pie spice isn't something you want to overdo in a beer but for my taste the spices are way underdone. Glad I only picked up one of these, I won't be buying it again.

eat, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of Seanstoppable
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dropped off recently by friends from Ontario. They got to sample the local pumpkin ale, I got to try this one in exchange.

Opening the bottle results in an outpour of foam. Pouring into the glass results in a slightly hazy muted orange color with 3 fingers of white head. Head slowly evaporates and is still a full finger after a few minutes. Plenty of lacing left down the glass.

No real pumpkin scent There is some faint touches of nutmeg and cinnamon though.

Very faint pumpkin taste. Nutmeg and cinnamon are still apparent, though not strong. A bit of a malt taste in the back. Very mild overall. Some of the spice lingers in your mouth a while.

For something labeled as "a beer that you won't soon forget" I am actually somewhat disappointed with the flavor. More of a mild ale with some pumpkin and spice rather than a flavorful pumpkin ale.

Overall it is pretty smooth and not bad, but it isn't what I would expect from a pumpkin ale.

Seanstoppable, Nov 05, 2009
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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.