Pumpkineater | Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

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

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

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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 191
Photo of sAvAgE69
4.58/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is the second batch that I have tasted. For an imperial beer. The taste seems to be all natural. In my opinion. This is the standard of what a pumpkin ale should be. There is no tinfoil taste, the pumpkin and spices are bursting with flavour and the lacing is immaculate. If you can get it. Give this beer a shot.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear dark garnet reddish brown in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy dark beige head that reduces to a large patch of medium thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and anise) with light to moderate aromas of roasted pumpkin and caramel + toasted malts. Hints of earthy hops are present as well.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel + toasted malts with a light to moderate amount of sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of roasted pumpkin and slightly stronger than moderate flavors of pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and anise). Hints of earthy hop bitterness in the finish which does not linger for long.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: I love the fact that these Howe Sound beers come in the 1L swing top bottles. Easy to drink and enjoyable, hiding the ABV very well. Nice balance between the flavors of the pumpkins, pumpkin pie spices, and malts.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.31/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Look: A rust colored body, opaque ... the color of cinnamon sticks. A cream colored head recedes to a wisp with little or no lacing.

Aroma: The spice rack of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and a fleshy, real pumpkin meat aroma on the tail end.

Taste: Just like the aroma with all the spices of Autumn. A much more pronounced cinnamon finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, goes down very smooth at 8% ABV.

Overall: Very much a pumpkin ale in every way, but I do appreciate that aroma and taste of gourd flesh on the back end.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a clear, copper body with reddish tints and two finger head which left a minor lace ring. The aroma is mostly a mix of clove/spice and some nutmeg and pumpkin sweetness (I don't really pick out the cinnamon but I know it's there). Light bodied, smooth, straddles the line between pumpkin flavored beer and beer that just has pumpkin added to it. The cinnamon and nutmeg, along with pumpkin, add sweetness to a spicy beer that finishes crisp. Not the best pumpkin ale out there but worth trying although the dry, boozy finish slightly detracts from beer at times.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.73/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, semi-cloudy, deep, dark, mahogany color, speckled with orange highlights, and a half of a finger of white-colored head that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Delicious! Lots of toasted malt and pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices such as brown sugar, nutmeg, ginger, all-spices, cinnamon and clove, as well as some black pepper and a hint of dark chocolate.

Taste: Just as delicious as the aroma! Lots of toasted malt, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices such as nutmeg, ginger, all-spices, cinnamon and clove, up front, followed by tons of brown sugar-like sweetness. As the beer warms up, more and more dark chocolate comes through, making the beer, more complex and deep in flavor. Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and, nicely carbonated to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 8.0%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a damn good pumpkin beer! Strong in all of the pumpkin pie spice-like flavors, but the addition of dark chocolate really makes this pumpkin ale stand out from the rest and makes it very unique. Delicious!

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Hazy copper tinted amber with a vigorous 2” cream colored foam cap.
S: Traditional pumpkin pie spices liven up a big pumpkin bouquet.
T: Pumpkin pie in a glass with an under current of brown sugar especially on the finish. The nutmeg, clove and anise are very apparent. A small pinch of hops pulls the beer back slightly from the edge of too cloying.
F: Medium full body and medium low carbonation.
O: Stands on edge of the abyss of too much pumpkin pie character.

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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.

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Photo of JoanS
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

I liked it because it didn't have a strong pumpkin-y flavor. It was very smooth like the Belgian quads i like and as another reviewer noted, it sneaks up on you.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%

Appearance - amber/orange color. Thin head that disappears quickly. No visible carbonation.

Smell - I smelled the pumpkin and spice as soon as I opened the bottle. Nice sweet smell.

Mouthfeel - bubbly/tingle feel as you drink. Medium bodied.

Taste - very good pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavor. Nice balance between sweet pumpkin and spice.

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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 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 avwrite
4.4/5  rDev +13.4%

Nice pumpkin taste that isn't as bloated as other pumpkin ales I've had. It's supposedly has a high ABV, but it didn't seem like it. Sneaks up on you later. Nice, bronze color and surprisingly clear. Not cloudy at all. Probably my choice among halloween themed ales.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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Photo of mick303
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, a solid cap of white head, great lacing. Colour is a deep ruby orange brown.

S – deep roasty pumpkin, mild smoky nutmeg, caramel malt, nice lively spiciness, a bit of a dark breadiness, pumpkin and spice come through really nicely, rich and balanced. 4

T – a really nice caramel spice sweet start, lots of cinnamon nutmeg spice, pepper, maybe a touch of chili, lots of rich meaty pumpkin. Maybe some molasses/ brown sugar notes for sure, leading to a more toasty dry finish with pumpkin pie spices. Refreshing and tasty with good depth. Balance is really good. 4.25

M – Pleasant with a big, semisweet body and light carbonation. A bit of sharpness toward the finish, but a drinkable and tasty strong pumpkin.

A nice spicey standard take on the style. Enough pumpkin flavor to be noticed but not be too dominant. Still drinks like a well-balanced strong ale but with a lot of the spices mentioned. As far as pumpkin ales go this is certainly a tasty and complex offering and would certainly recommend it. You dont get much of the alcohol presence for sure, it drinks overall fairly moderately with a decently spice-forward profile. A good idea of what the style should be, interesting and tasty without being cloying.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 liter bottle into a FW tulip. 2013 release but didnt see an exact bottling date.

Dark orange color, 1 inch head that dissipates fairly quickly. Smell is of Fall spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, everything you imagine when you think of Fall, though they arent too strong. The taste is a tad different than other pumpkin beers and i prefer this one to them. We get the cloves and nutmeg that dominate here, making it not sweet like a lot of the other varieties. Good flavor in my eyes. Medium bodied with mild carbonation.

Overall a very good pumpkin beer that you should check out if youre in the mood for that style. Also, the 1L bottle is awesome.

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Photo of Scrylol
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a 1.5 finger head. Dark orange, amberish color body. Seems typical of a pumpkin ale. Head sticks around and there is a bit of lacing. Nice.

Aroma consists mostly of sweet, spiced pumpkin pie. Bit of leafy, grassy hop note to it. Slight grain smell. Can definitely smell a lot of spice.

Slight pumpkin on the tongue. A generous dose of spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, nutmeg. Low bitterness. Nicely balanced. Leaves a dry aftertaste with a bit of alcohol heat and pumpkin spices.

Decent carbonation. Bit too watery. Goes down smooth.

Rather surprised. I poured from a 1L bottle all for myself not expecting much because this bottle is actually last years (one year old). Either that or the rep was lying to me, but there was still quite a bit of pumpkin and spice taste to it. With how this is at one year old, I'm really curious to see how it is fresh this year. Nice pumpkin ale from Howe Sound.

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Photo of JackieTH
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review written from tasting notes.

Light anise on the nose with cloves and nutmeg. Taste has none of the anise I smelled. Summer squash/mashed pumpkin. Hint of nutmeg, allspice, cloves. The spices here really add nicely to the flavor and are not distractingly over-the-top. Nice clean malt. Medium body hold together well. Good level of carbonation is complementary. Overall was a tasty seasonal brew, would buy it again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of cinnamon and cloves are quite dominant with light pumpkin and caramelized notes. Taste is a solid mix between some cinnamon and cloves notes with some good notes of pumpkin and caramelized malt. Body is full with good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Solid interpretation of the style and somewhat reminiscent of Pumpking with less aggressive spicing.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Burnt amber and crystal clear, with a few lazy bubbles finding their way to the surface. Two fingers of creamy head on the pour, but nothing more than a minimal ring around the glass after a rest.

S: Roasted pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, nutmeg & ginger and some sweet malts. The pumpkin is right there in the forefront of the scent profile as are the pumpkin pie spices. Noticeable absent is the yeast - that may be intentional, but doesn't detract from the smell.

T: Forward flavour of roasted pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices, with a hint of bitter hops, noticeable heavy on the star anise. Some rum notes on the back end, like a solid winter drink should be.

M: A little thin compared to the big flavour & smell, I hoped for something chewy & coating, however this feels crisp and clean and light. Some nice sparks of carbonation up front on the palate and just a suggestion of booze at the back end.

O: The smell and taste are definitely a strong representation of a pumpkin ale, however I find the mouthfeel a little thin. This wouldn't deter me from trying it again because the flavour and scent are so incredibly pumpkin forward. Maybe it's just me, but I think this might make a fantastic beer float!

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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
3.88 out of 5 based on 191 ratings.
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