Howling Gourds
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Howling GourdsHowling Gourds
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Style:
Pumpkin Beer
Ranked #355
ABV:
7%
Score:
81
Ranked #47,207
Avg:
3.23 | pDev: 26.32%
Reviews:
22
Ratings:
33
From:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  0
Gots
  4
SCORE
81
Good
Howling GourdsHowling Gourds
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 33 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull from California

3.03/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Single bottle poured into a pint glass. The Howling Gourds pours a light copper and offers a half inch cap of foam. Decent carbonation level supports throughout. Nose of mulling spices and a bit of pumpkin in the mix. Clove, allspice, pumpkin and a touch of citrus. Bit of nutmeg and cocoa.

Taste has lingering notes of allspice and pepper but not much else. Pumpkin notes are light though spice notes do linger on the finish. Feel is spicy then a bit oily then spicy again. As such the spice hides the ABV well. Feel is moderate. Overall ok but should land in the 'herb and spiced beer' category by a long shot as pumpkin didn't really show up for the game.

Oct 12, 2020
Photo of 1009
1009 from Massachusetts

2.7/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Love a good pumpkin ale, but sometimes too much pumpkin spice can be a bad thing. This beer from Trader Joe's pours into an appealing dark amber color and produces autumn spice and pumpkin smells that are very comforting. However, the beer is difficult to drink as it is almost too spicy if that makes any sense. My mouth had a sensory overload and made it a bit of a struggle in the first few sips. However, the 7% horsepower makes up for that. I could only do one, but thats all I needed.

Sep 30, 2020
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.09/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

$5.99 USD per sixer at Trader Joe's, Metairie, LA.

7% ABV. "Pumpkin ale." 24 IBU.

Pumpkin spices are present but I'm not tasting any actual legit gourd...nutmeg, clove, allspice, maybe ginger? Brown sugar. Cassia bark. Not getting any true cinnamon nor any vanilla bean.

Drinks like a festive spiced ale, not a pumpkin beer proper. Hides its ABV dangerously well, which is probably its best attribute. The alcohol to price ratio alone makes this beer worth recommending, but it's not much of a pumpkin ale. It's what one expects of a $5.99/sixer brew from Trader Joe's, and there's nothing at all wrong with that.

C+ / ABOVE AVERAGE

Sep 29, 2020
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chinchill from South Carolina

2.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with a BB date stamp on the label that is only a week short of being a full year from now. This may seem optimistic but given that this is over spiced some cellaring is advised. More specifically, there is too much nutmeg and clove. In addition, there are more welcome notes of vanilla, cinnamon and allspice.
Feel. Near medium body with coarse (artificial) carbonation.

Sep 28, 2020
Photo of GStone899
GStone899 from Minnesota

3.24/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's hard to really nail a pumpkin beer. This one doesn't exactly nail it but it's still a good beer and drinkable. You get a good amount of pumpkin spice upfront and it sticks with you on the back of your throat. Not exactly something you want lingering as it's very pungent. Spice, clove and nutmeg aplenty. Smell is similar to what it tastes like but the taste is more bold. This a good mix up beer but you aren't going to want another right after drinking it.

Sep 27, 2020
Photo of alexrichman
alexrichman from Oregon

4.01/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice light orange color, a bit of head that quickly dissipated
S - Very similar to pumpkin pie, more so than almost any other pumpkin beer I’ve tried. Clove and nutmeg dominate the nose but hints of ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla are discernible. On the backend a bit of graham cracker and a fleeting sour note.
T - A less nuanced version of the smell, losing the subtle hints that are present on the nose. Mostly nutmeg and clove. The graham cracker that was present in the aroma is gone, taking on a cracker taste. Just a tad of tartness on the finish. Again, very similar to pumpkin pie in the taste.
F - Nice thickness, light carbonation, doesn’t flout it’s 7% abv

O - If you like your pumpkin beers to have a pumpkin pie character you will like this beer. If you prefer a more moderately spiced beer that explores different flavors you will probably not like this beer. I enjoy a pumpkin beer that is skewed more towards the pumpkin pie side of the spectrum and unsurprisingly I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. Drinking it on the first chilly day the Pacific NW has seen in many months certainly helped.

Sep 25, 2020
Photo of DarkSideOfTheMoon
DarkSideOfTheMoon from Virginia

3.45/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Wife picked a sixer up during a run to TJ's -- I havent been a big fan of JB beers and unfortunately, this one won't be changing my mind. Thought it was odd to see a transparent "pumpkin" ale, but this guy is a crystal clear, deep gold color. Smell is great with pumpkin spice and a bit of citrusy fruit. The taste lacks a backbone though. It is thin, with all the pumpkin spice up front and nothing else to ease it back. Tastes like a liquefied pumpkin spice candle. Palatable ...but wont be buying this again.

Sep 21, 2020
Photo of BucannonXC5
BucannonXC5 from California

3.38/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Revision 12-oz. tulip
From: Trader Joe’s in La Mesa, Calif.
Price: $1.17
Purchased: Sept. 26, 2019
Consumed: Sept. 27, 2019
Reviewed as: Pumpkin Ale
Misc.: Best consumed by May 17, 2020 at 10:46 a.m. PT

First time I had seen this and had to pull the trigger. I mean it was $1.17, it was 7% ABV (pretty high for a pumpkin beer I think) and I hadn’t reviewed it yet. Could not find any description of the beer.

Poured an amber clear color with 1-to-2 fingers of fizzy off-white head, which thinned out on the top rather quickly. Lots of bubble streams, including some slow-moving ones creeping up the sides of the glass and some faster ones coming up from the bottom. Excellent spotty and watery lacing. Good retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled potpourri, perfume, nutmeg, cinnamon, artificial pumpkin spice, graham cracker and lightly toasted brown sugar. (Smell - 3.50)

Tasted like an enhanced version of the smell and not in a good way. Got potpourri, perfume, nutmeg, cinnamon, artificial pumpkin spice, honey graham cracker, lightly toasted brown sugar, herbal and earthy grainy malt. (Taste - 3.25)

Medium body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Bitter, spicy, herbal finish. (Feel - 3.50)

Not that good for a pumpkin beer in my opinion. Decent I guess. (Overall - 3.25)

3.38 | 77 | B-

Nov 27, 2019
Photo of NeilSilber1
NeilSilber1 from California

3.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours copper gold with nice white cap. Strong notes of pumpkin spice and taste of bursting clove and prickly pumpkin mash. Basically an overwhelming autumn clove, nutmeg, vanilla and sugar flavor masking a strong 7% okay ale.

Oct 26, 2019
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from North Dakota

3.53/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright, amber-orange color with no head. SRM of 13. (3.25)

Aroma: Strong aromas of Orange, pumkin, clove, and vanilla. Smells like a candle store and cologne. Also some sweet sugar cookie underneath. (4.00)

Flavor: Strong flavors of fall/autumn spice and pumpkin. There's a ton of nutmeg, clove, and pumpkin. Finishes sweet. (3.50)

Feel: Heavier bodied, low carbonation. Finishes with an autumn spice and pumpkin spice flavor. (3.25)

Overall: This is one of my first pumpkin beers. This tastes like a fall/autumn spice candle with some sweet sugar cookie underneath. It's a fall warmer and the strong spice makes it more of a sipper. Good for one of them. I wouldn't want more than two in a night. (Final Rating: 3.53)

Oct 19, 2019
Photo of MattDecker
MattDecker from Texas

2.62/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The best summary of this beer goes to user LiquidAmber: "Many 'pumpkin' beers seem to be cheap lagers with a lot of spices added, and this is one of them."

I'll drink the rest of this 6 pack and never get it again or recommend it.

Oct 18, 2019
Photo of JamarcusMarinovich
JamarcusMarinovich from California

3.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into pint glass with small, short-lived head. Nose is spicy right off the bat with clove and nutmeg and taste is the same. Allspice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg...total pumpkin pie makeup. Lingers on the tongue with spicy mild hop bitterness. Lots of spice, maybe too much. A decent try, but nothing I'd go back to.

Oct 14, 2019
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

3.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into an Elysian pumpkin snifter (from which for the first time I will not be drinking The Great Pumpkin this year at halloween because NONE of the stores in Seattle I've visited seem to be able to get it. Pours a medium coppery amber with a fine, half finger white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of mildly biscuit malt, pumpkin, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg; pumpkin pie. Flavor is neutral malt, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and a hint of pumpkin. Strong pumpkin pie spice finish with a ageing pumpkin note. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Many "pumpkin" beers seem to be cheap lagers with a lot of spices added, and this is one of them. I'm a big pumpkin beer fan, but want some real pumpkin flavor in the beer; spices should be deftly added, like in a pie. This is a spice beer with some modest pumpkin flavor. A miss from the usually reliable TJ's inexpensive beers. Drinkable and spicy, but not recommended.

Oct 12, 2019
Photo of Boyce77
Boyce77

3.04/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Definitely more on the pumpkin side of the spectrum than the usual cinnamon/nutmeg/clove heavier pumpkin beers. Maybe a little nutmeg heavy but not too bad of a beer overall

Oct 06, 2019
Photo of gkal1964
gkal1964 from Ohio

1.86/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

I love pumpkin beers but wayyyyy too much nutmeg. No other spices that i can detect to balance out the taste profile. This is fatally flawed. You have been warned.

Oct 05, 2019
Photo of Kaktus
Kaktus from Washington

2.12/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

Nice fall smell but artificial. Loads of nutmeg, tastes like they dumped pumpkin pie spice into it.
Feel is smooth, high abv but can't taste much of the alcohol.
If you're looking for a pumpkin beer look elsewhere. If you want a pumpkin spice beer this is your beer.

Oct 05, 2019
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LollaBridgeda

4.99/5  rDev +54.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After many years of trying various pumpkin beers from various breweries I have to say this is going to be my go to as long as it's available. There is no need to look any further for that beer that screams fall. It has that punch you in the face quality that leaves no question what you're drinking. Pumpkin beers can be hit or miss, this one on the other hand is definately a hit.

Oct 01, 2019
Photo of wugglyump
wugglyump from Minnesota

1.18/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I agree with the guy who wrote the review below: as someone who appreciates plenty of sub-premium beers like Hamms, ‘Gansett, Schaefer, etc., I find this stuff hard to take.
The appearance is the only nice thing about it: clear coppery-orange.
It’s downhill from there, though. The aroma is an assault of warm spices, cloves and especially nutmeg. The flavor doubles down on the aroma: nutmeg and cloves, that’s it, and both in such large amounts that it’s downright offensive. I can detect no malt or hops flavor, really.
Too bad, because TJs often has nice beers, but if my wife had bought more than one, I’m afraid they’d get sent right down the drain.
P.S.: 7.0% abv for a beer like this is ridiculous, IMO.

Sep 29, 2019
Photo of brucemcgoose
brucemcgoose

1/5  rDev -69%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Awful beer. Truly nasty stuff and I have low standards. I’m one who can appreciate a Hamms or Narragansett no problem. This beer is terrible. Wouldn’t buy again and would talk anyone in the aisle out of giving this a shot.

Really, awful.

Sep 28, 2019
Photo of mikeg67
mikeg67 from New Jersey

2.3/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours hazy amber with tall lived white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, grassy hops and bready malt. Body is medium and crisp. Pumpkin, spices, herbal hops and bready malt fill the mouth, strong mismatch of flavors. Finish is long and spicy. Awful brew, good for Halloween nightmares.

Sep 26, 2019
Photo of Spikester
Spikester from Oregon

4/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear rose gold with three fingers of white head. Splotches of lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell is pumpkin spice.
Taste is pumpkin spice with some malt and spicy hops.
Mouthfeel is light to medium with good carbonation. Finish is lightly dry and balanced.
Overall a tasty spice forward pumpkin ale. Date 03/30/20.

Sep 24, 2019
Photo of boilerfan50
boilerfan50

3.99/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Has a nice pumpkin smell. Has a creamy mouthfeel without being too carbonated. Nice flavor, the 7% ABV is not too apparent but lends to the flavor profile. Bottle states 24 IBU's. Overall, enjoyable beer. Nice pumpkin flavor, and even though that is not what I would normally prefer...very good nonetheless. Trader Joe's beer so reasonably priced.
Not sure what style this would be considered...bottle simply states pumpkin ale.

Sep 10, 2019
Howling Gourds from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 33 ratings