Highballer Pumpkin Ale | Grand River Brewing

BA SCORE
85
very good
94 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
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Highballer Pumpkin AleHighballer Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Grand River Brewing
Ontario, Canada
grandriverbrewing.com

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pumpkins for the Highballer Pumpkin Ale are all grown by our owner Bob Hannenberg in his Garden.

Added by Viggo on 09-29-2007

BEER STATS
Ratings:
94
Reviews:
49
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
8.99%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 94 |  Reviews: 49
Photo of Vyronian
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of Hoppy_McGee
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Derek
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper-bronze with an off white head, some retention, great lacing.

S: The pumpkin pie spicing is bang on, with some nice biscuity malt (somewhat reminiscent of pie crust).

T: Not as quite as bitter as last year, the hop flavour isn't upfront, and the spicing is perfect. Nice biscuity malt & a slight fruitiness. I think this has surpassed the Great Lakes Double Pumpkin, making it the best local pumpkin of the year. Their water really brings the bitterness forward, and I'd prefer a little residual sweetness (with perhaps a hint of vanilla), but this damn good.

M: Lighter than moderate body with a crisp, fairly dry finish.

D: VERY drinkable.

 654 characters

Photo of esto
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of heebes
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottled on Sep 4th 2012.
5.2% abv.

Pours a rich dark orange with half a finger of light tan foamy head. Nose is brisk with lots of pumpkin, spices, cinnamon, faint hops. taste is majorly pumpkin, cloves, spices and cinnamon, some good barley malt caramel backing, very fresh and full tasting. Good body, peppery mouthfeel, smooth.

Overall a well rounded pumpkin ale from Grand River, spot on this year.

 411 characters

Photo of hopsolutely
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 2010 Highballer knocks it out of the park.

Have enjoyed bottle, draught and cask versions and they are all well balanced and nicely spiced. Would highly recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys pumpkin ales.

Much prefer the 2010 release to that of 2009, and strangely enough am already looking forward to 2011...

 318 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the LCBO, 500ml into a tulip. Bottled on October 19, 2011 - 3 days old.

Pours a reddish orange with a straight white head of about a finger of head, decent retention and good lace. Nice spicy nose, allspice and cinnamon dominate with only a moderate hint of pumpkin. More pumpkin spicing than actual pumpkin itself, but some bready qualities do exist here, large amounts of pumpkin pie crust. Taste has less spicing, but still reflects the nose and takes the breadiness down a couple notches. Mouthfeel is almost watery, fairly light with spice into the finish. A pretty good pumpkin ale, and could've been much better I think if it reflected it's nose a bit better. 4/4/4/3/35

Rereview: Bottle from the LCBO, 500ml bottle into a tulip. Bottled September 4, 2012, reviewd the 30th of the same month.

Orangey brown, just offwhite head. Decent retention and lace. Lots of cinnamon and cloves on the nose, a bit of pumpkin and sweet malt character. Taste has more pumpkin flesh, cloves, cinnamon and a bit of allspice. Sweet and mildly drying finish. Heavier medium body and lower carbonation. Quite a nice pumpkin ale, good body and some flavours that come through real nicely. 4/4/4/45/45

 1,202 characters

Photo of funkengruven
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh Growler from the brewery, dated today (October 21, 2007)

This poured a nice dark amber with some head that dissipated quickly. Smell is floral, with some spice in the nose, Pumpkin Pie comes to mind. This is also reflected in the flavor, very fresh, lots of pumpkin in the initial flavor, aftertaste contains an affirmative malt aroma with a touch of hops. Mouthfeel is a touch astringent, likely from the pumpkin, but still very nice.

Drinkable, flavorful, a very good example of this style of ale. I wish Ontario brewers would take on this style more.

 562 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

500 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; bottled on August 23rd (if I am properly deciphering the smeared code that was stamped on the label). This is one of a very small group of pumpkin ales that I have never heard anything overtly bad about, and thus I've been seeking it out for close to two years now. Finding this fresh bottle in a small town LCBO was a nice surprise. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a bright, crystal-clear orange-amber colour, generating a little less than one finger's worth of dense, smooth, off-white head. It fades quickly, leaving nothing more behind than a thin cap and collar. Some strands of lace cling to the sides after each sip. The aroma is lovely, and (unsurprisingly) rather reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Spicy notes of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and a bit of ginger are easily detectable, with the underlying malts offering up vibes of buttery pie crust and graham crackers. Not a lot of pumpkin/squash on the nose, but my mouth is watering anyway.

The bite of the taste backs up the bark of the aroma - this is a yummy ale that is a pleasure to drink. A nice, malty backbone of pie crusts and doughy biscuits underlies the central 'pumpkin pie' flavours, providing the perfect counterbalance to the aforementioned spicy notes of cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg. The finish is full-on pumpkin pie filling, with some mild cinnamon and earthy bitterness closing things up. Rather light-bodied, with moderate carbonation that provides a somewhat crisp mouthfeel. Real easy to toss back.

Final Grade: 4.09, an excellent A-. Grand River's Highballer Pumpkin Ale is a sessionable pumpkin ale done properly, and one of the few examples of this style that I'd be willing to drink repeatedly before the season is over. While it doesn't skimp on the spices, it also doesn't go completely overboard into 'potpourri' territory, which is one of my pet peeves with this style (and spiced beers in general). Instead, the spice aspects are balanced beautifully with the malts, causing this ale to come closer to liquid pumpkin pie than perhaps any other I've had the opportunity to try. Great stuff from a great brewery - the perfect pairing for Thanksgiving dinner.

 2,193 characters

Photo of ikidunot
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of PorterPro125
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 500 mL Bottle

A- Clear Coppery colour with a good 1 finger off-white head with good retention.

S- Cooked pumpkin (pie filling), malty caramel sweetness, and a healthy dusting of cinnamon (other pumpkin pie spices?)

T- Similar to aroma but with more malt and a lingering bitterness to finish off. Nice...

M- Light Body and Moderate Carbonation.

O- For my first true Pumpkin Ale (not pumpkin pie spice), I quite liked this beer. The pumpkin flavour came through better than I expected and it sat well with me. Will definitely be picking up this one again before the Autumn draws to a close.

 611 characters

Photo of drinkininthewood
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ive had this beer every year since its introduction ( i still have the bottles to prove it! ) and it never disappoints. So glad to have growlers back from GRB also.

Served from a 500ml bottle in to a Snifter. Bottle Aug 27th 2013

A- Clear bronze color with a fluffy white head of foam that diminishes fast with some lace.

S- The smell is rich with aromas of Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie mix, caramel sweetness with aromas of fresh baked shortbread cookies and pumpkin spice muffins.

T- Rich and creamy. Liquified pumpkin pie with whip cream is the best way to describe it. Nice malty brew with the perfect amount of spices and incredibly well balanced. The nose translates into the palate very well. As you tilt the glass towards your lips the aroma enters your nose and as you sip the aroma and flavors meet with perfect execution.

M- Smooth, medium bodied with soft carbonation that works wonders for the beer.

D- this is hands down one of the most ( if not the most ) drinkable pumpkin beers in Ontario.

Overall Highballer Pumpkin ale has always been good but as the years go on GRB is continuing to perfect this brew. For someone like me who likes more spice and a nice malty chew to a pumpkin ale this is as good as it gets i believe. So fresh and delicious. A few growler fills for thanksgiving are in order for sure.

 1,339 characters

Photo of kwjd
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright orange colour with white head that dissipates without much lacing. Smells of pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, some hops and bready malt. Flavour has a nice level of sweetness, but not incredibly sweet like some pumpkin beers. Very well balanced. Medium bodied carbonation. A very nice pumpkin beer.

 309 characters

Photo of mick303
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500mL bottle that was bottled 9 days ago, had this after Nightmare on Mill St as a comparison. This was noticeably lighter, an amber brown colour, large visible carbonation and a lot of creamy white head, and really solid lacing. 4

S – ginger, sweet pumpkin, caramel, cinnamon, resembles fresh baked pumpkin pie in a good way. Some pleasant biscuit malt, the pumpkin is sweet and appetizing. Awesome. 4.25

T – a gingery lemony start, with the fresh pumpkin coming across. Pleasant lightness of body, some malt comes through and compliments well, nutty for sure, the pumpkin is there but not as intensely as Mill St. This is a smooth session ale, with light spices, more hops (grassy and fruit, apple, some citrus) and a much sweeter profile. Finish is crisp, malty with a pumpkin twist. Refreshing. 4

M – mild, sweet profile with a full feel, quite sessionable with appropriate carbonation and a balanced profile, leading to a smooth crisp finish. 3.75

Of the two, this one despite the marginally higher ABV seems to be playing it safer spices and making a really tasty pumpkin session ale that I could and would drink all evening (fall?) long. I admire some of the boldness in Nightmare, and theyre both quality beers, this seems to be more of a malty session pumpkin ale. Great flavor without being dominated by pumpkin, and worth trying. 4

 1,352 characters

Photo of MrHall
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml purchase at the brewery - bottled on Dec. 28. I've had this for about a months, and probably waited a little too long to drink it.

pours a clear orange/light amber, small white head that disappears fast with very little lacing (I wonder if that's due to the freshness.)

smells well, like a pumkin ale, nutmeg, cloves cinnamon,

taste is pretty balanced. an early sweet and spicy, followed by the mild hoppy finish.

I actually find the carbonated too light (again, freshness?)

As such, you could probably drink this till the cows come home.

even though I'm drinking it out of season, still probably my favourite Ontario pumpkin ale.

 647 characters

Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of DaveBar
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Outstanding all around

LCBO for $3.90 less $0.70 missing a label

500ml bottle at 8deg C

A- amber, opens well and pours high

S- Spicey goodness

T- Very good. Enjoyable for the season. Super well blended

M- Nice and tart with crispness to spare

O- Enjoyable. Will buy a few for the winter and spring.

Pretty good little Pumpkin Beer

Food Pairings

You better believe this pairs with... Roast Turkey

With those root veggies and gravy this wonderful beer will match well. Try a coffee desert.
Enjoy

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Photo of ThinkAgain
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of bgibbard
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Jotora
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of evil_liver
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of nullbort
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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Highballer Pumpkin Ale from Grand River Brewing
3.78 out of 5 based on 94 ratings.
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