Great Pumpkin Ale | Cambridge Brewing Company

very good
360 Ratings
Great Pumpkin AleGreat Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

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

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Reviews: 129 | Ratings: 360
Photo of fitzy84
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had on a flight at Cambridge Brewing Co. The beer had a murky amber-brown appearance with a thin head around the glass. Aromas included a solid pumpkin-like aroma, including spices like nutmeg. The taste generally follows the nose as a decently sweet and malty beer. Good carbonation in general. Overall, not too bad.

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Photo of chrishiker1409
4.26/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: An orange brown tinge. Poured with a finger of head which quickly dissipates, but leaves some lacing.

S: Pumpkin, nutmeg

T: Follows the nose. Quite a bit of pumpkin and not too crazy with the spices.

F: Smooth and creamy.

O: Definitely one of the better pumpkin beers I have had. A nice treat with dessert at Thanksgiving.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz, assuming fresh; bought on sale for $3. Pours a slightly hazy orange, with a large, beautiful beige-colored head (both large and small bubbles). Aroma is faint, but there are pumpkin and spices in there. Taste is definitely fruity--with pumpkin--and sweet. Light, but creamy, mouth-feel.

I was expecting more from this, based on the ratings. This is at least the 8th different pumpkin beer I have had in the last month or so (not to count the samples of at least a couple of others), and while it is good, it's definitely not the best I've had. I will give it credit for what it has going for it has at such a low ABV.

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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 Franziskaner
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep brown in color with excellent clarity. There's a fingernail of light brown resting on top. The aroma is full of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. I taste nutmeg, clove, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon in that order. The mouth is light to moderately carbonated and bone dry.

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Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is slightly hazy orange amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high light beige head that died down, leaving only a collar of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of pumpkins and pumpkin spices are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg spices along with notes of pumpkins and subtle bits of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has a very good balance between the flavors of pumpkins and spices, neither of which is overdone. It's also quite flavorful for a beer with a relatively low alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

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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 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 TheManiacalOne
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 11/12/2014 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a bright coppery red color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains strong spices like ginger & nutmeg along with pumpkin, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of ginger, nutmeg and pumpkin. Then a hearty malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a definitely one of the better Pumpkin Beers that I’ve had.

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Photo of mynie
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Everyone at work was freaking to the max when they heard this beer had been released (also, side note, "freaking to the max" is my beerphrase).

One guy says "They don't release it on a set time because they make sure to use a special type of pumpkin."

Then this girl says "it's like you're drinking pie!"

And I says, "that's like how a small brewer should make a pumpkin ale, guys," only says that quiet so as to not be mean.

In this state, the bar is low. Sure, there's Trillium, but you can't find them unless you're within a quarter mile of the brewery. And Jack's Abby is great, I guess, but sometimes you feel like having ale, you know. And that's it, really, so far as reliable brewers are concerned. There's tons and tons of not very good, pornographically expensive micro and nano brewers, all pumping out beer that tastes like an Englishman's shoe. That ain't my style, man. I want beer that tastes like an *American's* shoe, like alpha acid citrus and cat pee.

The pumpkins I've had around here have all been fucked up and weird. Cisco's was like from George Washington's recipe, or something. A couple other places went with an inexplicably firm hop profile. CBC, however, does it right--which is to say, they do it Midwest style. It tastes like pie.

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Photo of wattoclone
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

So much flavor for a low ABV beer with lots of malty pumpkin and hints of aromatic spice. The finish is a bit tart but not in an offensive way. One of the better pumpkin beers that goes well with or without food.

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Photo of Beric
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving: On tap, pint
Served: October 2014

Appearance: Pours a hazy somewhat sickly yellow, without much of a head. This could have been from the small 8oz serving size, but the beer truly looks unimpressive in the glass.

Smell: Soft muted pumpkin pie spice notes with some sweetness.

Taste: One of the best pumpkin beers I've had. The beer had nice sweet notes, with a definite "squashy" sort of note. The pumpkin pie spices were not overly dominant and really rounded out the beer in a great way.

Feel: Smooth and silky, but somewhat thin.

Overall: One of the best pumpkin beers I've had, event though I'm not bananas about the style. I would definitely recommend this one to those who want to get into pumpkin beers but aren't looking for pumpkin-pie beer or a boozy spicy mess.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a great pumpkin (pun intended). its hazy and rusty orange, dull in luster but robust in flavor. the spice is minimal so the squash can stand out. it wasnt always this way, but i am moving in the direction of preferring this with my pumpkin beer. the nose is reserved, a touch of ginger maybe, and the protein of the base. malty sure, but never sweet. there is a lot of body on it, a nice yest profile, which we almost never see in pumpkin beer, and finally a dry finish with excellent carbonation that makes this stand out both in terms of quality and uniqueness. squashy flavors, perfectly autumnal, and one of those beers i could drink way more of than i should. i like the feel, and the flavor is more alive than the nose, with a cool spice profile that marries well with the buttery vegetable part of the pumpkin. love how dry it is too. one of the best pumpkin brews of the year for certain. cambridge always impresses me, and should probably be regarded higher than they are on the whole. always solid, often brilliant.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4/5  rDev +1.3%

I am so ashamed. I am too trendy to like a pumpkin ale, but this is not bad. Pumpkin is lighter on the palate then others I have had. This actually tastes like pumpkin, not a melted Yankee Candle Pumpkin catastrophe others make. Pretty good. Although I won't confess to my friends I had a pumpkin ale

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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 Hendry
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep apricot pour, practically no head or lacing,carbonation visible in the form of tiny bubbles.

Aroma is mildly spiced pumpkin and not much else.

Pumpkin flavor that is moderately spiced with nutmeg,ginger,vanilla,cinnamon and only a slight hop presence in the finish. Easy drinking and pleasant tasting.Less sharp than other pumpkin ales I have tried, but not quite a spiced up as others. Flavors do improve upon some warming.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, well carbonated.Lacks a creaminess you expect in a good Pumpkin Ale.

I almost wish I had tried other pumpkin ales first before trying Williamsburg Alewerks pumpkin ale, because none have measured up. I don't have enough interest in the style to sample several others in search of one that really hits the mark.The Great Pumpkin is a solid effort and the second best Pumpkin Ale I have tried thus far. Worth trying and a solid brew.

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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 BarryMFBurton
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another pumpkin beer to try, this time low-alcohol – a great way to start a long night of studying.

Bottled on 09/03/2013, a little more than a month before the date of this tasting.

A: A still beer, with a body of luminescent burnt-orange and virtually no head. Bubbles rise slowly from the bottom of the glass, and not in large numbers – lively isn’t the word I’d use here.

S: Light and fruity, with an emphasis on an exceptionally sweet pumpkin aromas. Additional notes include fruity wheat, pie crust, bready pilsner malt, fresh ginger, and an acrid fruit note not unlike cranberry juice.

T: Starts with a smack of grain husk, like many low-alcohol craft beers, which quickly comes to a head as a crisp cracker and white bread taste (very lager-like). On top is the subtle bitterness of zesty hops and spice, a mix of lime rind, ginger, and rosemary. Lots of pumpkin and squash toward the palate’s end – coming through with the same earthy sweetness as in the nose – which pushes the palate toward a nutty finish.

M: Crisp, carbonated, and without that distracting thinness most beers below 5% alcohol are subjected to. Nonetheless, the body is light and refreshing – remarkable for a pumpkin beer that’s so satisfying.

O: After tasting their Sgt. Pepper saison and now this, I’d like to propose a new slogan for Cambridge Brewing: “the world’s most flavorful session beers.” I don’t know if that’s what they’ve been going for, but it sure fits for what I’ve tried. The Great Pumpkin is a wonderful ale with a ton of flavor – still, I do enjoy the fuller, boozier pumpkin beers this time of the year a bit more, so I don’t think I’ll be revisiting it anytime soon.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured on-tap and served in a shaker pint at the brewpub, the beer is a light, slightly hazed, orange-gold coloring with a filmy, clingy, white surface coat of head. Nose is subtle, with nutmeg spice and pumpkin richness. Flavors of pumpkin and spice blend, with a very rich undertone. Roast into the aftertaste, with subtle spices building as you go. Smooth bodied, with a well blended, clean finish. Easy drinker.

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Photo of Bicyclette
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap @ CBC in Cambridge, MA. Light golden color with a quickly disappearing head.

Fragrance is lightly pumpkin with bright fruit notes.
Taste: Easygoing pumpkin warmth with light spicing.
Mouthfeel: very effervescent - brings out the flavors and reduces the need for overwheling spices. Fairly light-bodied.

Overall - a nice seasonal brew. A little more bubbly than I'd select, but it does clear the way for the flavors, rather than overwhelming with the use of too many spices. While it may not be as medium-bodied as I like, it isn't viscous like some other pumpkin ales.

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Photo of Omnium
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On Tap at the brewery

A - Clear gold one finger of white head, medium lacing.
S - Good aroma of roasted pumpkin, some pie crust, random spices and cinnamon
T - Ale forward with some sweet and tart pumpkin flavor, decent blend of bready and biscuity malt though somewhat faint, touch of vanilla and some cinnmon.
M - Great pumpkin aftertaste, medium body, not too sweet.
O - Decent pumpkin beer

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer's color is a thick medium-dark shade of burnt orange, and it's distinctive in that there's a lighter color in the depth while it's darker on the edges. A dusty-looking orange-tinted cap barely less than one finger high leaves pretty good spotting.
This beer shows off the pumpkin in both aroma and flavor. Lots of flesh without any of the off vegetal undertones some end up with couples with light kitchen spicing that's neither too subtle nor too strong. It rests on a dryer sort of malts base, though there's some doughiness, with just a hint of sweetness balancing some leafy hop. This beer does manage some depth while keeping the focus on the pumpkin.
It's crisp with a medium body that, while showcasing that crispness, shows a bit of heft. A nice lush smoothness plays all the way through.

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Photo of dorianmarley
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a dark, orange amber. The head is tan-white, and it fades with some speed. Leaves a nice lacing.

Nose is terrific. It is spiced without reaching potpourri, and it has a nice, malty base that you would expect from an ale.

Taste is initially hops that fade into light pumpkin, and spice in the end. Coriander and crusty bread. It has a lot of malt flavors in common with a Scotch ale. Very clean finish.

Mouthfeel has more than average carbonation. Clean and easygoing, but has warmth to ease into the colder months.

Overall, this is not your typical pumpkin beer. The pumpkin flavor is subtle, which is refreshing compared to the autumn onslaught of pumpkin-heavy beer. Recommended if you like Scotch ales with a little spice.

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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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Great Pumpkin Ale from Cambridge Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 360 ratings.
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