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Pumpkineater | Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
64 Reviews
THE BROS
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PumpkineaterPumpkineater
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
A high gravity pumpkin ale brewed with barley, fresh roasted pumpkin, hops, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, water and yeast, it is one of the local seasonal favorites. This beer is produced in very limited quantities each fall as part of the John Mitchell series.

19 IBU

Added by lumikuuro on 10-08-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
64
Ratings:
190
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
12.11%
 
 
Wants:
27
Gots:
32
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 64 | Ratings: 190
Photo of prosper
2.06/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Exceptionally brisk carbonation. I poured a glass full of foam. It's a slightly hazy orange colour with an off-white head.

Smells of pumpkin pie spices, as anticipated, but not overpowering. Seems like a good balance with some toasty and some caramelly malts. No hops.

Taste is.... OK. I think it's probably over-spiced for my tastes, it's got a strange non-hoppy bitterness that's sharp and biting, oddly combined with a cloying sweetness and a mouthfeel that's moderately full up front, but seems to finish watery, somehow. There's a biscuitty malt edge that just seems to clash with everything here. It's all wrong, in my opinion. I'm going to have a hard time getting through an entire litre of this stuff; definitely NOT my cuppa tea

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Photo of SirChugsAlot
2.61/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark copper color with a white cloud of head that fades to a thin layer across the top with a touch of lacing.

Smells of spices toasted malts and sweetness

Taste is BLAH!!! too over-spiced for me. I was hoping more from this beer, but it's like a homebrew gone mad with spices. it's a very complex flavor that is hard to put a finger on all the flavors.. this beer is a mess

mouth is light and not hard to drink.. except for the taste, a little over-carbonated... i would not tell my friends to try this one

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Photo of Bfarr
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Big, bubbly, hazy orange amber with a thin foamy tan head with no retention. Cinnamon and nutmeg with light pumpkin. Clean amber beer with hints of pumpkin and spice with light warming. Sharp foamy feel.

Head disappears after 2 seconds leaving an ugly beer that looks like a soda. Nonetheless, it's a good clean beer with no off flavors and is otherwise an easy drinking beer.

 378 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.18/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a glowing orange with good carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Pumpkin, allspice and light cinnamon

T: Pretty tame to be "imperial". Light toasted pumpkin, spice, nutmeg and dash of cinnamon

M: Toasted pumpkin and ok mouthfeel, no complaints but pretty boring

D: Ahhh. Worth a try I suppose. I had no problems in drinking it but not Imperial.

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Photo of souvenirs
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

1L bottle shared with friends on Thanksgiving.

A: clear copper, big foamy head, visible carbonation, slight lacing left behind.
S: maple sweetness, almost like a liqueur.
T: I found this quite sweet and I couldn't taste the pumpkin at all. I didn't even pick up much of the spices I'd associate with pumpkin / pumpkin pie. This was a definite disappointment as a pumpkin ale. It definitely tasted like 8% alcohol, or maybe higher. Bleh.
F: fairly thick, smooth.
O: I wouldn't buy this again. I was glad my friend Sara really enjoyed it and wanted to finish the bottle so that it didn't go to waste!

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Photo of Svingjo
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Was a bit disappointed with this year's version of Pumpkineater. This is usually one if my favourite pumpkin beers. This year's version the pumpkin flavour was very subdued and the carbonation was too active. Actually gave me instant heart burn. I'm not sure if the bottle I got was off or not. I will give it another shot though.

 335 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1L Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 11$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige coloured head. There is a lot of carbonation and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes but then it was gone completely.

Smell - Malts, cloves, all spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and pumpkin. There is also some all-spice, clove, and a bit of a smokey/peat like flavour. It ends with a malty spicy aftertaste.

Overall - Good not great.. I will say that it is fairly drinkable. Given the size of the bottle, this is a good thing. It's a decent seasonal beer.. It's no pumpking though.

 690 characters

Photo of Converge
3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1L swing-top bottle poured into a 20oz nonic.

A - Just over two finger of carbonated tan head. The beer has sort of a medium amber-copper hue with some reddish hints as well. No real head retention beyond the first minute, and no lacing at all.

S - Pumpkin pie, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a generous amount of clove. I'm certain can smell coriander and as well as a lot of banana. A touch of booze and... chocolate?...

T - Pumpkin spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, as predicted. Not much sweetness. Banana and unripe orange can easily be made out. A little actual pumpkin flavor here and there. Slight warmth from the alcohol in the finish. Some light earthy hops linger in the finish too. Robust malt character overall. Some sugary caramel malt appears as well, but doesn't do much to sweeten this ale up.

M - Low-to-mid carbonation, light-to-medium body. Pretty straight forward here.

D - I'm beginning to think these pumpkin ales aren't all they're cracked up to be. This one was decent, but I probably won't be buying it again. Pretty good flavor, but the unripe fruit gave this one sort of a tart feel to it.

 1,117 characters

Photo of BGDrock
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: great look - deep red mahogany, raspberry juice colouring; fine, thick head on the pour, but it diminished in a few minutes to non-existence

Aroma: scent is like fresh pumpkin pie with some sweetness and even brings to mind flaky pastry

Taste & Mouthfeel: spice flavours are great, blending so well that one particular spice doesn't stand out - it's just a unified medley; warming and comforting, almost like there's some heat to it, no doubt aided by the alcohol content which is faintly noticeable; medium body and silky texture, but the low carbonation is damaging to overall enjoyment; toffee and syrupy sweetness matches the spice in a good way, but the way it lingers in the finish and the affect over time makes it a little overbearing

Overall: on all accounts this ale is a hit at first glance - look, smell, and taste - but falters as time goes on; increased carbonation and managing the sweetness would go a long way to making it a great beer

 967 characters

Photo of tonyf55
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 1L pop-top bottle into a pint glass

Visual (4): Foggy orangish amber color, medium clarity. Off-white head which was very active early (2 finger head) but dissolved to a think film. Little visible carbonation, weak lacing.

Aroma (3.5): Light spices, hints of nutmeg. No real pumpkin scent. Smells malty, almost toasted. Alcoholic undertones at the end of the scent.

Taste (3.5): Initial sweet flavor, that blends into a light bitterness at the end that sits in the palette. Alcohol is evident, typical of an imperial ale. Flavors are not overpowering but rather soft. Nutmeg, clove present, but pumpkin flavors seem to be hidden.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Light to medium body, with a rather light watery texture. Lively on the tounge, with a lasting back of mouth moderate to heavy alcoholic feel.

Overall (3.5): A very drinkable imperial ale, but any pumpkin flavor seems to get lost behind alcohol tastes and mouthfeel. I enjoy seasonals and this spiced beer does offer something a little different.

 1,008 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium somewhat cloudy orange-copper amber with a half finger medium white head. Light aroma of pumpkin with light sweet malt and light spicing. Flavor of roasted pumpkin, light sweet malt and some spices. Somewhat dry and a touch sour finish. The flavor is not as robust as other pumpkin ales, but pleasant. The finish takes away somewhat from an overall positive impression

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Photo of Shadman
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No problems with foam on a fairly aggressive pour. Nice tight foam head, tan in colour. Good lacing. Slightly clouody, but still a bright ammber.copper mix.

More of a rounded malt aroma, toasted with sweet caramel tones. Typical pie spice is more in concert rather than dominating here. Which for a pumpkin beer is kinda disappointing really.

Smooth, a;most chewy feel at first. Nice blend of pumpkin spices and sweet caramel apple malt. Booze is there, but is decently hidden until the finish where it it masked decently by the cinnamon and nutmeg's dryness.

A nice fall warmer with the robust body. If you crave more spice this might disappoint you. I found it to be pretty darn good except in the aroma department

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(3.5) A: Rich dark amber coloured with a healthy foam head that swiftly recedes to a ring. Satisfactory lacing down the glass.

(4.0) S: Caramel, butterscotch, gingerbread, pumpkin, nutmeg, dark fruits including ripe plum, and orange peel. Mmm. Enticing. Smells like every type of fall/winter season baked good together in aroma form.

(3.5) T: Similar to aroma with lots of spices and butterscotch-like malt coming through. I’m also a little surprised at the level of hoppyness in this with quite a fruity flavour. Good but I feel something isn’t quite balanced (maybe too hop forward or an off spice mixture) or perhaps the cross-country trip might’ve done it or maybe I'm just going crazy.

(3.0) M: Lighter bodied with a lower carbonation. Thinner and less oily/chewy than expected. Good bittering components from the spice come through.

(3.5) D: Aroma was full of varying flavours with some complexity but the taste didn’t quite match that level in my opinion. Would love to try more from this brewer and will be scanning the shelves for their other offerings.

 1,076 characters

Photo of TruePerception
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Howe Sound's Pumpkineater, Imperial Pumpkin Ale. 8% ABV.

A: One and a half finger of fairly fluffy white head. A little light on head, but good retention. Fairly hazy/unfiltered. Orange, a little deeper in color near the center. Dull yellow, in the dimple.

S: Pumpkin meat. Slightly sweet. Very slight pumpkin stem. Clove, very slight ginger, just a hint of cinnamon. A little light on the nose, but has good smells.

T/MF: Light and crisp, with decent body. Pumpkin seed sticks out the most. Pumpkin stem, skin, the stringy guts. Not so much the meat/flesh, but not bad. A bit of spice on the finish, but I can't place it. Overall, pretty drinkable.

Poured from a 1 liter swing-top, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of Dawkfan
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Towering 4 finger white head consisting of very tiny bubbles. Retention is good for a high abv pumpkin ale, lacing is below average though. The color is a slightly hazed copper orange.

S- Pumpkin and light biscuit malt aroma, the spices are here but muted somewhat. If you leave your nose in it long enough it does start to smell like pumpkin pie.

T- Really sweet upfront. Not getting much pumpkin until midway through, it's met at the end with the traditional spices and booziness. Doesn't really shine until after it's left the mouth.

M- Medium body, light carbonation. Seems a little flat to me.

O- I enjoyed the warmth this gave off, really suiting for the time of year.

 681 characters

Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%

I normally refuse to drink a pumpkin ale before the middle of September but I gave in this year damn it.Pours a deep burnt orange with a full half finger slight off white head but is gone in an instant.The aromas are the bast attribute of this beer,clove,cardamom,and ginger really jumps out at ya along with some sweet alcohol.Flavors start out spiced and warming but a bit of an off chemical-like flavor to go along with big alcohol sweetness in the finish kinda turns me off a little.Well it's big and sweet like alot of the "Imperial" pumpkin beers,me personally just give me a standard old school pumpkin ale and I'am happy.

 629 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle half pint at Bar Volo takeover. About an average pumpkin beer. Attractive orange colour, with little head. A good spicing, ginger, cardomon, cinammon, white pepper. Decent drinkability. Spicy nose, average mouthfeel, appropriate understated carbonation.

 260 characters

Photo of n2185
3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear dark honey color with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Strong spice notes here--cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of anise mostly. There are some vanilla and sweet bread notes underneath.

T: The spices are a bit less heavy here with caramel malt, bread, burnt sugar, and vanilla coming through. The finish has a light alcohol burn.

M: Medium body with lowish carbonation, this beer just avoids being watery.

O: A solid beer, overall. I'd like the spice notes to be a bit more balanced and more of a body, but it is otherwise enjoyable.

 599 characters

Photo of Derek
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Copper with an off-white head, thin ring of retention, hint of lace.

S: Huge cinnamon, ginger, cloves, vanilla.

T: Cinnamon, ginger, mace, vanilla, pretty spicy, hints of Gourd, balanced bitterness, warming alcohol.

M: Well-attenuated, with a drying finish.

D: It's a little warming.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, cinnamon stick, and strong clove aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, earth, clove cigarette, and pumpkin pie spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a strong clove emphasis in the smell, but the taste has more balanced pumpkin pie spice flavors even though clove is also the most noticeable flavor.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of biegaman
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pumpkineater looks like it's already eaten a few - this beer looks like semi-digested pumpkin and all the colour and clarity you'd imagine that to have. And if that image doesn't sound very appetizing, then good, I've done my job because what's in the glass certainly doesn't look overly tantalizing. Giving off little highlighting, it looks muddied. It's also pathetically flat; not even an upright pour could produce lasting bubbles.

You'd have to use a microscopic amount of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and anise for the aroma to smell like anything other than those spices. Indeed, this is a spicy, savory amalgamation of all the above (no one ingredient stands out above the others) that conjures thoughts of ginger cookies and pumpkin pie. It also manages a distinct gourd-y note, like fresh-cut butternut or acorn squash (it's also brewed with real pumpkin).

While there is a bit of cinnamon heart taste, I feel as though I'll be flossing strings of pumpkin flesh from my teeth instead of cinnamon bark. Surprisingly, maple-y squash flavour holds its own. That's not to say, mind you, that the chai-like profile of clove and nutmeg aren't appreciated - they certainly are. Even the anise is present in small quantity (provided you know to look for it). Quite a nice balance. I suppose it's a draw then.

While I wouldn't tinker with the spices, I would up the malts. Refreshingly, for a higher gravity beer there is little (if any) alcohol noticed. However, the other side of that coin is that it also drinks much thinner than a beer of its strength should. The flavour suffers most; it all but dissipates within seconds of swallowing and only a brief memento of the chai note is retained. More biscuity, toasty maltiness would help prop the beer up.

Any knocks that I might have about Howe Sound Pumpkineater have little effect on my overall enjoyment of it. Although a wee thin, it's still a fully loaded pumpkin ale that finds balance - and that's not an easy thing to do. Now, whether it's worth the price tag ultimately depends on how much you care for pumpkin ales; it will suit casual pumpkin ale drinkers but it might not suit their budget. I don't regret splurging on it one bit.

 2,198 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the 1L Howe Sound swing-top almost the colour of cola (albeit somewhat translucent cola), dark caramel/ruby/reddish/brown. A super aggressive pour nets a couple fingers of head that recedes quickly down to a few millimetres and then some islands, but does leave some runny lacing.

Smell is starchy, cinnamon, nutmeg, slight pumpkin, licorice (anise, I guess?), caramel, toasted malt, slight biscuit. Pie crust? Very pleasing.

Taste is very pumpkin pie. Again, pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. Light licorice. Decent malt body. Rather starchy. Carbonation is rather high and spritzy, and while the body is surprisingly light for the ABV and pumpkin content (too light, almost), there's a certain sharpness, a bile-ish dryness that makes large doses a bit unpleasant.

Not bad--the smell is the real winner here, and the 1L format isn't doing this beer any favours, because it's better in small doses--but I remain ever on the lookout for the perfect pumpkin ale.

 975 characters

Photo of Brianhophead
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pumpkineater is a deep copper colored ale with ruddy highlights. The head is dense, cream colored, and lasting.

S - The aroma starts off smelling like pumpkins. Pumpkin moves quickly into pumpkin pie spices, cloves, and nutmeg. These give the rich, savory aroma of pumpkin pie in a glass while also giving balance to the lush aroma of pumpkin. Pumpkins and spices are decently balanced to give a very enjoyable nose.

T - Pumpkineater is only medium bodied, a nice surprise given the lush pumpkins found in the nose. The center gives only the faintest hint of caramel but does give more pumpkin pie spices. Those spices give good balance to the sweet, lush flavors of pumpkin.

O - Given the richness of what a pumpkin pie provides, Pumpkineater shows surprising refinement and restraint. And what's more the ale carries its 8% abv with great restraint. If I didn't read it on the label I might never suspect this was such a strong ale.

 942 characters

Photo of wordemupg
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1L bottle poured into tulip sept26 2010

A slightly hazy deep amber with some bubbles popping up too a large beige head that has good retention but leaves no lace

S lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, and a little licorice with some booze

T a little sweet with some clove and pumpkin on top of what I smell with a little heat but the booze is fairly well managed

M a little flat and some bite to it, leaves a little grit in your mouth not bad but nothing special

D a little strong and the big ass bottles take some commitment but I managed without to many issues

not a bad beer and well suited for the season, I can't think of many pumpkin beers this strong but when the weather cools off it would be most welcome

 710 characters

Photo of peensteen
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber colour, 1.5 fingers of off white head, some lace here as well. Nose is of cinnamon and ginger followed by a nice crisp malt, quite a bit of vanilla, pumpkin, clove and more spice all well integrated here and the nose is quite lovely. Taste is spicy with cinnamon, lightly bitter, vanilla, bits of a weird acidity too, pumpkin with a doughnut malty finish. Light-medium carbonation, medium body. Pretty good and the nose is wonderful but another 1L bottle of this is out of the question.

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Pumpkineater from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.
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