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Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

873 Reviews
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Shipyard Pumpkinhead AleShipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Maine, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-04-2001

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Reviews: 873 | Ratings: 2,619
Photo of doppelmeup
3.36/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle dated Drink By Jan 07.

Just got it at the store last week the day it arrived, so it is very fresh beer.

Appearance not very impressive. Looks like a macro lager. Very little head, no lacing, light yellow color only a hint of orange in the background. Not nearly as pretty as the Post Road I had the other night.

Aroma was good. Pumpkin pie spices. But not overpowering. What I would expect from a pumpkin ale.

Taste is hard to pindown. Hints of pumpkin spice, but a very watery taste with lots of grain in the finish. It starts out tasting well, then the grain flavors come in and bring it down, then it finishes with a nice flavor again.

Very watery mouthfeel, and it really detracts from this beer. When I think of pumpkin ale, I envision a nice, rich deep amber colored ale. But this beer is really quite watered down.

Overall, I'll not purchase this again. I think there are better pumpkin ales out there, readily available.

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Photo of Damian
4.07/5  rDev +40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Gilbert's Chowder House, Portland, ME

Poured a clear, golden yellow with virtually no head.

Aroma was subtle and fruity with a slight malt presence.

Taste was intense and sweet. Faint malts were detectable on the front end. As the beer moved along the palate, the flavors crescendoed. Huge pumpkin flavor (oddly noticeable most on the roof of the mouth) with strong nutmeg and cinnamon. The flavorful pumpkin aftertaste lingered. Little hop presence.

Very light bodied and super easy drinking.

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Photo of drotski
3.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very pale color...minimal head, minimal lacing. Not impressed to far.

Smelled of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices...but was missing something...pumpkin...but nice smell anyway.

Tasted smooth, of cinammon and spice, but still missing actual pumpkin flavor.

A little too much carbonation, but was a decent mouth feel overall.

Fairly drinkable, but a couple of these and you'll be craving a stout or porter if you're like me.

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Photo of mooseisloose
2.82/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 40ml chalice, almost no head. Smell is of cinnamon and spice and everything nice.. Color is a pale golden yellow. Carbonation seems very subdued but is sufficient. Taste is very unique.. Starts out tart and finishes like a pumkin pie. Very different but not a flavor I would seek out to drink very much of. I think this beer would go great however with a hearty fish or lobster dinner.

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Photo of gnoff
3.64/5  rDev +26%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle at Oliver Twist in Stockholm, Sweden. Tried it in November 2005.

Really special scent and taste, guess that’s the pumpkin.
Really makes me want to try other pumpkin beers too.
Very clear cinnamon taste and smell, or am I confused by the pumpkin?

Though the place was fairly dark I'd say the color of the beer was orange to light brown.

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Photo of Halldog
2.3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I was excited to try this at first. The appearance and smell were not that bad. Very aromatic pumpkin pie smell. The head fades quite quickly. At fist sip it tastes like coors light with pumpkin pie spice added. This was a real disappointment. I couldn't even finish the bottle, let alone the other 5 bottles. Go with Smuttynose or Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ales.

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Photo of jda007
2.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a limited brew from Shipyard only available from Sept. - November. As the name suggests, it is a pumpkin flavored beer just in time for the fall.

The color is golden with a slight orange hue. There is a slight pumpkin pie scent from the beer and the head is a clean white.

In my opinion, which is of course, why I'm writing this, this is an excellent beer! It has a nice clean taste that is not too overwhelming. The flavor notes combine pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The pumpkin pie flavor goes well with the balance of hops and malt in the beer. It is refreshing - it goes great with Thanksgiving dinner!

Pumpkinhead is perfect as a seasonal beer, although some might be disappointed if they are looking for a stronger or hoppier ale.

Again, revisiting made me change the review. This beer is a great "gateway" beer for those who are inexperienced in craft and micro beers and may help get others interested in beers other than the typical fare.

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Photo of cooncat
2.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Serving was a 12 oz. bottle, chilled and poured into a 15 oz. pilsner glass.

A pour down the center of the glass produced a nice sized almost pure white head, which was very short lived. Swirling the glass produces very minimal lacing.

Initial aroma to hit the nose was something akin to "pumpkin pie" (perhaps it is nutmeg?) The initial taste is similar, a slightly sweet pumpkin pie taste, with a slight hop bite behind it. The mouthfeel is extremely thin ... not what I expected for a seaonal brew (most good Christmas ales have great mouthfeel by comparison). I don't think this would make a good session brew .. the novelty of the pumpkin pie flavor/aroma is short lived, and the mouthfeel leaves me looking for something more substantial.

Worth a try, if you've never had something similar, but probably won't impress you.


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Photo of NClifestyle
1.64/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pumpkin head pours up a pale yellow color with tons of fizz in the liquid, but not much of the white head shows up. This is not what an autumn beer should look (or sound) like. Smells of cinnamon and sour cider assault the nose, with nary a hint of pumpkin to be found. If this beer is really an ale, it’s the thinnest ale that has ever crossed my lips; it’s more like an American macro lager, and tastes much the same. A fake cinnamon flavor explodes across the tongue, with a lager-like flavor to follow, no hop or herb taste can be found, and if there is any malt, it’s mixed up with the overly sweet cinnamon. For an ale, a pumpkin beer, or anything of worth, there is extremely too much carbonation in the glass, more similar to a cola than a beer. Finishes with an off aftertaste, somewhat sour with a tinge of sugar. This could possibly be a refreshing beer in the middle of summer, but even then, you would not want this much cinnamon, or “pumpkin spice” taste. This beer is too watery for my taste, much less, it’s not a solid ale or even an average pumpkin beer. Take this pumpkinhead and smash it in the street.


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Photo of lordofthewiens
2.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer is a pale yellow color with a fairly good head to it. The smell s predominately spicy, but I have a difficult time appreciating pumpkin. The taste is pretty bland, but at least I can taste some nutmeg. OK to drink, just not very exciting. I've tasted better pumpkins.

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Photo of acrawf6
2.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A little late reviewing this one, but oh well.

Poured out a light golden, just a little darker than a macro american lager. It was quite lighter than i hoped for. About a 1 inch white head. lots of carbonation bubbles flowing up.... a whole lot, like sparkling wine.

Aroma has spices, pumkin and a banana aroma to it. It smells ok, but reminds me of rolling rock out of the can. for a pumkin ale, this doesnt really stick out. There is a small amount of non-sugary pumkin flavor that comes out. almost smells natural. almost.

Taste: ehh. dissappointing. An artificial [pumkin flavor. bottle says, "Malt beverage with pumkin spice added." That's not so good. i can taste some spice, but its not strong.

Mouthfeel: a little slick and unbalanced. there is just something about this beer that doesnt make it that enjoyable, but i dont think it is awful (unless compared to others). for all the bubbles i saw, i thought the carbonation was a little weak.

Overall, not so good. Not terrible, i would choose this over a few others (rather have this than i bud light). and i do think it is better than buffalo bill's (pertaining to style), but thats it.

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Photo of Higravity
2.49/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Well, not to kick a beer that is already down, but man does this one deserve it. Slightly chilled and served in a pint glass. A slightly hazy orangish with a white topper and some decent lacing. Smells like, whoa let me take the big red gum out of my mouth to make sure the cinnamon won't affect the beer, oh wait I am not chewing gum this beer just smells like cinnamon. It doesn't taste as bad as I thought it would and in a weird way it grows on you. Maybe the pumpkin pie they make in Maine has a lot of cinnamon in it, I don't know. It has a decent body and if they retuned the spices this could be a passable beer, but right now if I see it again that is just what I will do, pass on by.

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Photo of BeerAngel
2.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours very clear brassy orange with a thin bubbled head that is soda-like as it is being poured with rapid bursting of bubbles creating a familiar sound that takes me back to the soda-pop days. It has a very odd smell that seems to maybe have some pumpkin lying behind the grassy notes that dominate the aroma. The taste reveals a more pronounced pumpkin taste that makes me think of Thanksgiving. It is slightly sweet with a tad of spicing and very light hops. It also has a alcopop bubbly type taste towards the end. This is a very light bodied beer that finishes with more sweetness that began in the middle.

This is one odd duck. It's strange when you first taste it and just when you think you might be getting it, you don't. Perhaps the headless horseman's job on the label portrays it's peculiarity. Strange brew!

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Photo of Hagbard
2.28/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a pale orange straw color with a small white head that sticks around for a bit. Transparent and sparkly, you can see carbonation lines coming up. Very light in appearance for a pumpkin beer. The aroma is very malty with a peculiar chemical aroma I'm having a hard time placing. I guess there are some spices hiding in the background. The taste just doesn't do it for me. A sickening blast of spices bursts forth wrapped in a blanket of cloying sweetness. The strange chemical taste arrives in the finish bringing with it a touch of actual pumpkin flavor. This is the most pleasant part of the taste, unfortunately my palate is already shot by thte time it arrives. Incredibly cloying, this beer is not drinkable at all. The best part about it is the cool label.

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Photo of Applesauce1
3.16/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got the Pumpkinhead Ale on tap at Skipper's Bar and Grille in Athens, OH. Great selection of quality beers on-tap at this joint.
This beer poured a golden-orange color. Not much smell. As I sipped the beer, I could sense the "pumpkin pie" aroma, but not much of a taste. Not a bad beer, it goes down well, but needs more pumpkin flavoring or some other flavors. Pretty bland.

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Photo of Zorro
2.94/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a pale yellow beer without much head.

Smell is sweet and bready with scents of spices of which ginger is the only one I can identify.

Taste is light with a major flavor of gingerbread. This tastes EXACTLY like gingerbread there is no other accurate was to describe the flavor. There is a bit of a ginger sting in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is OK.

An OK drinkable beer that would be better described as a ginger beer.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.22/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had from a bottle, purchased for halloween with some other seasonal beers. Opened today and tried with my wife.

Tastes like the major pumpkin pie spices were used, but they really dominated the after-taste in a bad way. Bitter and not refreshing. My wife finished the bottle...

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Photo of damifino
2.4/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

It pours clear with a slight orange tint to it. I purchased this beer along with some others to get the "Halloween" theme going.

You like pumpkins or allspice, sniff away. It had some smithering of malt though.

I drank two bottles of this, and I got out of it was the spice after taste. It was good for those two bottles.

This is one of those beers that does not go well with meals. I bought a six pack and kept it as a novelty to give to people who thought drinking a "pumpkin" beer would be cool.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.27/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

*I originally posted this a month or two back under the wrong Shipyard pumpkin ale (Eli's). This Pumpkinhead Ale is the one I meant to review*

Cinnamon ahoy! I cant believe the amount of cinnamon in this beer! I dont have the most distinguished palate, but this is a blast in the face! There are also apple tones present. Very interesting. I gave the taste a (relatively) high score for this beer, but I dont know if I should have. It kind of belongs in a catagory of all its own - cinnamon beer. There is so much more of that than any noticeable pumpkin flavor. Compared to other pumpkin ales, this one would rank low, as it doesnt seem to really follow the guidelines. I liked the taste, though, so it gets a 3.5 in that area.

All that being said, there is not too much else notable about this Pumpkin ale. It is very light colored, which is a bit of a turnoff. Same blast of cinnamon in the nose. Light, sharp mouthfeel to match.

I think after more than one of these beers, things would get way too sicky-sweet, and possibly nausea-inducing. I definitely wouldnt want a whole six pack. Low drinkability.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.35/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: 12 oz. brown twisty, enjoy before Jan 06 notched on side

Aroma: First sniff is pumpkin pie spices on some mild malt. As the head settles, a bit more of an off aroma, a bit metallic

Appearance: Very clear pale yellow amber (I really want to say orange, but I can’t) glass that poured a good finger and a half white head, but that died down to a very modest, constantly fed thin cover.

Flavor: Pumpkin pie spices come through very nicely in the taste, but that’s all that’s there. There is a slightly artificial aspect to the spice taste as well. The rest of the beer just tastes like 7-up.

Mouthfeel: Soda pop texture, very light body, fairly dry finish.

Overall Impression: The bottle says “malt beverage with pumpkin spice added”. Well, truer words have seldom been printed. It’s about an alco-pop level. It’s so hard to do a good pumpkin beer. To be fair, I kind of liked this one, so drinkability gets fair marks, but, it’s a mere ghost of a beer. A good one for Halloween.

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Photo of BamaScholar
2.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, wanted to make Halloween more tangible but the punch we put orange sherbet in with pieces of carved pumpkin had more pumpkin element than this.

Freshness date is a "best by" scenario...in this case, Nov. 2006.

Appearance was not interesting...sort of a pale topaz with virtually no lacing or head retention.

Smell is dilute...malty macro aroma with a hint of spice.

Taste is just underwhelming. It doesn't stray to any extreme with too much malt presence and not enough of anything else. Even a mouthfeel of nutmeg or something would be welcome.

Mouthfeel is nothing noteworthy either, though there is a slight bitter pang which I find to my liking.

I picked up a second with the same results.

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Photo of Joey7F
2.08/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried a sampler at Old Chicago to see if this was as bad as people said. At first, I was bracing for the worst which made it less disappointing. There was some pumpkin spice flavor but only marginally so.

After I let it sit for a minute or two, it tasted like a macro with a little bit of pumpkin. I even commented if A-B made a pumpkin ale this would be it. Now apparently they have, and rumor is it is decent.

The mouthfeel is very thin. It was my first pumpkin beer (tonight will be my second, with Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale) and it was a moderate letdown.


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Photo of Dubblebock
3.42/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale made an appearance in the Austin area this year and I just couldn't pass it up. I like these seasonal ales, and I like to try pumpkin beers in general. The label is inviting, with a grinning pumpkin on the neck label and a pumpkin-headed horseman rearing up on the body label. Nice touch.

The Pumpkinhead Ale poured with an orange complexion and an inch-thick head of thin foam that didn't stick around for long. The nose was sweet and full of cinnamon.

The taste was dominated by pumpkin-pie spiciness with enough hop bite to cut through and make it's presence felt. The flavors never really come together, though. This is not a particularly robust tasting ale, but it's decent enough. More gimmicky than it needs to be. It definitely avoids being too sweet, leaning more to a lingering tartness.

A weak body leaves the mouthfeel wanting a bit. Good carbonation level. Relatively drinkable, especially in light of the seasonal feel. There are certainly better examples of the style out there, but this one isn't a complete loser.

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Photo of SetarconeX
2.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Not too much to look at. Far to light and transparent, though with some nice corbonation on it. Big, almost soda like. Sweet, cinnamonny scent, smells rather nice really. Wouldn't mind sniffing this for quite a while...

Take a sip and...oh god! What went wrong here? Tastes of rancid cinnamon and rotting vegitation, with a hop or two as garnish. Really one of the more disgusting beers I've tried lately. Pretty big dissapointment considering how lovely it smelled.

Pleasently smelling and foul tasting. Probably one to avoid.

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Photo of Shovelbum
1.7/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer is nasty, and not in good way.

The body was pale yellow in color with a fleeting head.

Smelled of cinnamon, and maybe a bit of pumpkin, but mainly cinnamon. ferent

Tasted like someone had dropped a cinnamon stick in an American macro-lager. Light-watery body… oh and did I mention cinnamon. I recognize that spice is part of this style, but this example did not find the blance between cinnamon and the other spices that make pumpkin pie so good-- not to mention the lack of another important flavor-- pumpkin.

Heavy carbonation that dominates the mouthfeel, and nose and throat for that matter.

Drinking this beer was not a pleasant experience. I enjoy many of Shipyard’s other ales, but for this one their heads seem to have been somewhere else-- not inside of a pumpkin, but perhaps a jar of cinnamon.

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Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
68 out of 100 based on 873 ratings.
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