Great Pumpkin Ale | Cambridge Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
88
very good
128 Reviews
Great Pumpkin AleGreat Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
New England’s first and CBC’s most sought after seasonal beer, The Great Pumpkin Ale, is back in bottles and on draft! We are very proud to be brewing with locally-grown sugar pumpkins from our friends at The Farm School in Athol, and Wilson Farms in Lexington. We’re also using organic barley that was grown in MA and then small-batch malted by our friends at Valley Malt in Hadley, MA.

Added by sponberg on 10-09-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
128
Ratings:
358
Avg:
3.95
pDev:
22.03%
 
 
Wants:
67
Gots:
40
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 128 | Ratings: 358
Photo of Arbitrator
2/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks, Arne!

A: Pours a pale golden body with slight amber highlights. Short-lived beige head. No lace.

S: It's earthy and slightly vegetal (I suppose I could attribute this to the pumpkin) with only a mild spice presence.

T: As the nose goes, the taste follows. Earthy, even mildly fruity -- I'd say hops have a slight edge in the flavor. Somewhat vegetal, with a slimy and oily back end. Mild on the spices; only some nutmeg is noted.

M: Light-medium bodied. Kind of slimy. Coats the mouth, but it doesn't leave any enjoyable flavors when it does.

O: I think I sampled this out of a growler last year, but I must have thrown away the notes. I obviously didn't hate it, as I make it a point to upload reviews of beers I detest. That means I must have enjoyed it. I'm not sure what the difference is between last year's growler and this year's bottle, but this was fairly horrid and no one finished it. Maybe it's old? Off bottle? Who knows.

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Photo of alysmith4
2.36/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Too sweet for my taste. Poured a clearish-orange color with a small head. Strong pumpkin and squash flavors coming through in the taste and smell. Also very malty with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice coming through. The mouthfeel is average - smooth with slight carbonation.

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Photo of ACD
2.69/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle

Served in pint glasses with a cinnamon sugar rim

appearance - poured great and looked great! A nice creamy head on it

smell- nothing strong or distinctive about it, but also nothing bad

taste- I was disapointed. After reading all the great reviews about it, I thought there would be more of a taste to it. Seemed very average to actually blah!

mouth-feel- overall it was very easy drinking beer and on the smoother side, which is what I like, but nothing outstanding about it.

overall- not a bad beer , but nothing to really write home about as well. There are so many great pumpkin beers out there now that I don't think I would go back to this one.

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Photo of MisterClean
2.77/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz purchased from Final Gravity, yeah you guys are getting some love. Thanks for being one of the first stores to carry it here in Kahl-ee-Fon-Ya.

A - Pours slightly hazy gold to copper with about 2 fingers of head. Moderately dissipates to about 1/2 finger. Kind of hard for the style to maintain head retention, should not be overly hoppy. Carbonation is moderate to low. Well done.

S - Aromas of lightly toasted bread, light spice - maybe clove, and slight aroma of squash or pumpkin. There is a moderate aroma of floral bittering hops. Quite possibly cascade from the slight pininess.

T - There is a little bit of caramel, some light breadiness, little pumpkin, the spices blend together and are indistinguishable, and there is some light to moderate bittering hops. A little disappointed that the pumpkin flavor and spices were outshined by the ale flavor and hops of the beer.

M- Malt slightly dominates, slightly warming, moderate body, light to moderate carbonated, no off-flavors.

O - Typically when I think of pumpkin beers, I hope to see a balance of the pumpkin and spices with the base beer (ale). The ale was overpowering and I did not get a lot of the pumpkin flavor. I would suggest to others to try other pumpkin ales such as Fat Jack T.R.E.A.T, and others unless you are seeking a pumpkin ale that is base beer heavy and pumpkin/spice light. If that was what Cambridge was going for, then they did a great job.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was looking forward to this after reading all the reviews. What a let down. Looked "lighter" than I anticpated, not a very good hue of orange. Carbonation was ok. Very little pumpkin taste, a little spice. Overall, I found it to be on the verge of a weak ale, almost watered down. I just saw my growler review from last year and am wondering, "what happened?"

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Photo of ShanePB
3.01/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First ever bottling of this beer, sent to me in the Secret Halloween BIF from Carl, thanks! 22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Semi-hazy orange golden copper body, with a slightly off-white head made up of tight little bubbles. Fairly quick dissipation leaving behind a thin cap and absolutely no lace at all. Typical for the style, as I rarely see any pumpkin ales leave anything behind.

S: Pumpkin flesh, allspice and nutmeg with an overall extremely watery character to it. All the flavors smell diluted. Touches of cinnamon towards the end, but aside from the actual pumpkin flesh, there isn't much from the spice side here.

T: Again, pumpkin flesh along with slight cinnamon notes, clove and hints of bready pie crust. It's not big in flavor but tries to showcase actual pumpkin flavor, almost to a fault. Pumpkin itself doesn't impart much flavor into the beer, but if that's what they were going for than so be it. The flavors are still very diluted on the palate as they were in the aroma, watery and dull.

M: Quite thin and watery on the palate with lots of tiny bubbles all over. After looking at the low ABV on the bottle, 4.4%, I can understand the thinner body but to me this takes away too much from the overall experience.

I was extremely excited to try this beer, but this left a whole lot to be desired for a pumpkin ale. I'm not looking for something overly sweet, spicy and sugary but I am looking for some flavor. This was way too light on everything, albeit was extremely easy drinking. A lot of fine tuning needs to be done to make this stand-out among all the other beers in the style.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.18/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this in a spur of the moment trade with Ericwo... Thanks Eric!! Pours a pale orange with an off white head... good retention with little lacing.

Nose shows a lighter spicing than many pumpkin beers... I am thankful. Light cinnamon and possibly some nutmeg or mace... a bit of real "pumpkin" in the aroma... fairly light across the board.

Flavor mirrors the aroma with a little toasty maltiness thrown in to the mix.. Flavors are light... even a little watery.. mouthfeel is a bit thin accentuated by a hefty carbonation level.

Not my thing..

4/3.5/3/3/3

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.32/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Quite disappointed with this one after much hype surrounding this beer. Pours a slightly cloudy golden orangish amber in color with a medium and tight white head that stuck around to produce a small amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma is mild of bready yeasts, pumpkin pie spices and very slight of pumpkin itself. Not impressed. Flavor is pretty mild all around with pumpkin spices with just a hint of pumpkin fruit. Watery and slightly bitter finish. Expected more out of this well-hyped pumpkin beer.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly hazy copper colored orange. Creamy white head caps it off nicely.

Aroma has the spice thing going on with notes of nutmeg and allspice. Pumpkin adds a vegetable/gourdy note to it. Malty bread character rounds it all out. Palate lines up with with these notes as well, with only the spice being a bit more noticeable.

Mouthfeel is rather light and crisp. Overall, not a bad pumpkin beer but nothing really special either. Maybe I'm just pumpkined-out for the year.

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Photo of brewhiker
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presents as a clear and amber colored brew with little to no head. Some spice, but no pumpkin on the nose. I was looking forward to a serious pumpkin flavor, but found it more of a spicer amber ale. Quite drinkable nevertheless; good quaffing on a warm autumn day! From reading the other reviews I either bad a bad batch or the sampler glass did not do this brew justice. I'll have to re-try with a full pint.

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Photo of Durge
3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hazy golden amber color with a decent white fluff on top and fair traces of spotty lacing. The aroma is skunky swamp squash with a hint of cardboard. Not exciting me but not a game ender. The flavor is a bright orange pumpkin squash with an Alka-Seltzer feel. This is definitely a vegetable beer. No real hop presence, very little sweetness or spice touch, just bare bones authentic raw pumpkin with a soda-like feel. Thin bodied with a hint of woodsy-leafy almond. It becomes more palatable as you finish it but this is far from my favorite pumpkin beer. Interesting but not delectable.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.39/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 60 ml bottle. 2015 batch. Sampled on Nov 1, 2015.

Dark amber-orange with an amber short-lived head.

The aroma has some pumpkin spices and a light nutmeg character.

Medium body.

The taste brings out the nutmeg and cinnamon spices I was hoping for and they work well with this beer but not extraordinary.

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Photo of founddrama
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Actually pretty good. They've toned down the pumpkin & spice compared to most of the others I've had. Nice amber color too. Color reminds me a bit of Switchback, actually.

Also: having had this right after Pumking, makes me feel like that one was maybe over-spiced and didn't really earn its 4-star rating.

LASTLY: the least pumpkinny pumpkin beer?

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Photo of Florida9
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch #1; bottled Sept '11

A: Clear orangey copper in color. Forms a sizable off-white head. Good retention, but only minimal lacing.

S: The aroma is a mix of pumpkin pie spice and herbaceous hops, but mostly the spice.

T: The flavor is fairly thin, almost like a pumpkin beer light. Starts off with some light, clean, lightly sweet malts, and then the spices kick in: nutmeg and allspice, with ginger and cinnamon to a lesser extent. Finishes with a light, juicy, almost sugary, sweetness. The bottle says there is actual pumpkin in this beer, but I can't taste it.

M: Lighter bodied with heavier carbonation. Only the faintest hint of bitterness.

O: A very light pumpkin beer. Light in body, light in flavor, light on alcohol, and light on the pumpkin. Decent and drinkable, but couldn't see revisiting this one ever again.

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Photo of 57md
3.44/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light, cloudy copper with over a finger of head that dissipated quickly. There is a great deal of sediment at the bottom of the glass. The nose has light malt notes, but little else. The flavor is pretty bland with only traces of malt; no discernible pumpkin flavor present. The finish is pleasantly dry. There is certainly nothing “great” about this pumpkin.

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Photo of crossovert
3.47/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle.

It pours a hazy peachy orange with a foamy white head. It is the perfect appearance for a "pumpkin beer".

The smell is mostly herbs and spices with some malt and a small hint of pumpkin.

The taste is spicy with some pumpkin and hops. It isn't overtly sweet, rather subtle. It isn't bad.

For a pumpkin beer it is actually pretty good.

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Photo of Viggo
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a lightly hazed amber/orange, medium sized white head forms, slowly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, leaves some chunks of lace behind.

Smell is interesting, pumpkin, caramel, wheat, quite spicy in the nose, yeast, mace, cloves, a bit sugary, pretty neat but light and a little funky.

Taste is better, lots of pumpkiny sweetness, spices, lightly sour, grassy, wheat, a bit yeasty, good pumpkin flavour and really dry in the finish.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation. Pretty cool, but maybe a little too dry for my liking.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.49/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

In a market where many brewers are abandoning the beer-like qualities in favor of strong sweetness and spice in these holiday ales, Cambridge Brewing designs a Pumpkin Ale where "beer" flavor is most prominent and the flavors of pumpkin pie come secondarily.

Light gold in color, Great Pumpkin Ale casts a medium haze that gives the beer's body glows with an almost pumpkiny look. A creamy froth ensues to give the ale a handsome cap that retains the session easily and laces the glass with intermittent pocketing.

Aromas are surprisingly of baking pumpkin and decorative spice. Somewhat starchy, the fresh cut gourde-like aroma equals that of biscuity malt, light yogurt and something akin to pasta. Its lightly toasted character is like bread crust as the scent transitions to cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove and pepper.

Its inquisitive aroma translates directly to taste and the sweet and starch interplay teases the palate. The fresh gourde flavor is as much of butternut squash as it is pumpkin but gives the beer a bready taste with light dough and yeast. Its balance is lightly of pie spices but is careful not to tread too roughly on its medium-sweet flavor. As the spices turn from bright to bitter, the woodish taste of hops set in and give the beer a dry, stemmy taste to close.

Medium bodied, the overall starchy whole wheat bread character wraps around the beer's tiny bubbles for a creamy texture to amplify the starch effect. But as the sweet starchiness and carbonation retreat, the middle palate is left somewhat naked and wavering. As the taste turns bitter, so does the astringent bite of boiled spice for an unsettled prickle on the back of the tongue.

The good news is that Great Pumpkin Ale is front and center with actual pumpkin taste and texture. The problem is that its front and center with actual pumpkin taste and texture. We don't eat pumpkin pie for the flavor of the pumpkin; we enjoy it for all the sweetness, richness and spiciness as pumpkins add little culinary value to the dessert plate. And this beer favors the gourde just a little too much.

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Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lasting thin head after the initial fluffiness. Leaves only a couple of spots. The color is gold with a mild chill haze.

Some spiciness to the smell, not much pumpkin.

Notable cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice. I can detect light pumpkin. The aftertaste is lightly sour. Thin with an above average level of carbonation.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a - poured a two-fingers thick creamy, eggshell-colored head into a snifter that settled to a nice ring of lace but it disappeared halfway through the beer. the body was a slightly hazy amber color.
s - pumpkin with some sugary spices.
t - pumpkin, spices like nutmeg and cinnamon with a hint of fruitiness.
m - thin and sharp.
o - decent beer and i've had worse pumpkins but this wasn't one of my favorites.

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Photo of Brad007
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber hue with a touch of orange into my glass. I tried to avoid seasonal ales but I couldn't resist.

Pumpkin pie in the aroma, thanks in part to a decent amount of nutmeg. Nothing bad to say since it is a pumpkin ale.

Nutmeg compliments the base malt. Very mellow. Spicy. Clean finish.

A decent pumpkin ale here. No pretensions. Just flavor.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pumpkin Ale Review #50
22oz bottle, dated 9/11/14, poured into snifter

A- pours a bright copper/amber color with a creamy white head that retains nicely, eventually settling to a small film floating on top

S- notable spiciness up front on the nose, with a big emphasis on cinnamon, reminiscent of cinnamon flavored gum. Marzen-like malty sweetness with notes of dried leaves, nutmeg. toasted bread crust and pumpkin

T- malty base with hints of caramel and bread crust. The spices kick in mid-palate with cinnamon leading the way, just as in the aroma. Hints of nutmeg and clove kick in, before eventually finishing dry with a flavor of Big Red chewing gum

M- light-medium body with moderate biting carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a crisp finish

O- an approachable, low ABV pumpkin ale. However, there isn't anything that makes it stand above the middle of the road pumpkin beer

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received a pint of ambery-orange brew with a decent head to start that disappeared quickly, with some lacing.

Scent is some faint sweet malt and pie spice.

Spices are right up front, with the sweet caramel/toffee malt coming through. Not too strong or overdone. Bit of a dry/tannin pucker finish on this one as well.

Lighter bodied than I expected, which keeps it from being cloying. Had one, and it was enough. I think for a seasonal pumpkin brew, they hit it pretty well, but I think I'd tire of this after getting a second pint. Trying very hard to review the characteristics of the beer here, and not my preferences, but these are inseparable. I think I'm done with the pumpkin brews for a while.

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Photo of barczar
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy copper orange with a frothy light beige head.

Pumpkin, ginger, and grain form the initial aroma. Spices are fairly subtle, but cinnamon and clove emerge. There's a hint of floral hop character.

Flavor reveals an underlying squash character throughout. The malt backbone is toasted and fairly bready. Spices are again subtle, gently adding pumpkin pie character with notes of clove and nutmeg. Nutty notes surface as it warms.

Body is moderate, with moderate carbonation that's prickly.

In comparison to most pumpkin ales, relatively subtle and understated. Pumpkin forward, but still very much a beer. Not terribly impressed.

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Photo of dheacck11
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour is a remarkably pumpkiny looking beer. Nice dark orange/amber, just a hint of red. Off white light, crispy head which lingers.

Nose is nice and sweet and toasty. Good notes of pumpkin spice, some sweet maltiness, not too potent.

Taste is also pretty mild overall. Some initial sweet, soft malts, followed by a little burst of nutmeg and cinammon. Finish is really mellowed, and almost straw like, lagery.

Feel is pretty thin overall. Even a bit watery on the finish.

Decent pumpkin ale. Tastes more like an english brown with some spices added. Would like some more body and flavor punch personally.

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Great Pumpkin Ale from Cambridge Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 358 ratings.
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