Highballer Pumpkin Ale | Grand River Brewing

BA SCORE
85
very good
94 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 94 |  Reviews: 49
Photo of BGDrock
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%

Appearance: bright, light copper, not quite clear; head does an ok job of sticking around

Aroma: kind of funky, real pumpkin aroma like pie filling, with some cooked apple, caramel sweetness, spices accompanying it

Taste & Mouthfeel: thin and watery is the first impression, with little carbonation - there's no backbone; light flavour, barely anything to speak of, just hints of spice and caramel, nominal pumpkin; minerally

Overall: a boring brew, feel led astray by an interesting aroma, may as well have been a glass of water; not worth the time

 552 characters

Photo of JahTurbo
2.87/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of mikemands
2.96/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

head dissipated fast,
smells fair, not too pumpkiny, more like a patch of uncut pumpkins
taste little pumpkin, little caramel, little...cinnamon/ginger? kinda flat
feel is also somewhat flat, little carbonation, pumpkin taste is the only thing left, but faint and fleeting.
overall not too bad, like a low carbonated pumpkin ginger ale, probably my fault, this beer was bottled almost 5 months ago

 399 characters

Photo of R_Kole
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of Pmicdee
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of Sammy
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A malty-spicy aroma. A slightly brown appearance with lace and decent head. High carbonation. Sourish taste that barely let out the spices. Not much of any flavour came out, indicative to me of injection and end of batch or not good batch at all.On-tap at Cask Ale Fest Volo 2007.

 280 characters

Photo of Boozecamel
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of WillAndSarah
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of SandS
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of gloryhole
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of fostachild
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of markaberrant
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - light amber, very clear, some sediment chunks (could be settled out spices), white head, good retention, some lacing

S - big pumpkin spice nose, the usual suspects, peppery, not hot, but almost phenolic-like, some sweetness backing it up, no hops

T - very dry, almost no residual sweetness, spices are balanced and not bitter, which is surprising considering how dry this is, but still have that phenolic taste, and low bitterness. Almost no aftertaste. This honestly tastes like a really bland, bone-dry ale, with almost no hops, and some spices.

M - body is medium, carbonation medium, creamy, overall ok.

D - This really doesn't deliver on what I'm looking for in a pumpkin ale

The spices come off as phenolic, and there is absolutely no sweetness to round things out, which is absolutely critical to me with a spiced beer. I realize this isn't the freshest example (7 months old), but this is a huge letdown.

Thanks to Viggo for the bottle!

 954 characters

Photo of Mit
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

s-Pours a nice dark amber with minimal head.

a-pumpkin, banana, spices(nutmeg, clove)

t-Earthy, spicey, pumpkin flavours coming through. Aftertaste reminded me of a nice pumpkin dessert bread.

m-solid, not watery in the least.

d-very drinkable, could have a few of these.

Had a Great Lakes Pumpkin earlier in the day and found this to be very comparable.

 360 characters

Photo of cmadd
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Half a finger of white head. Disappears quickly, leaves no lacing. Clear amber leaning to yellow.

S: Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice with some earthiness. Grassy pilsner hops in the background.

T: Sweet cinnamon, squashy pumpkin and hard water earthiness holds the finish. This earthiness really dominates the beer and is very characteristic of Grand River. Almost no hops, what is there is very light and grassy. In the late finish the sweet pumpkin comes back; nice touch.

M: Light carbonation. Very nice.

O: Pretty decent, but nothing particularly remarkable.

 564 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Highballer, like nearly all other pumpkin ales, is orange in colour. Its tone, however, is a little square, without any highlights and only when held directly against the overcast autumn sky does it, by contrast, appear at all luminous. Its complexion is crystal-clear as a lager. Its carbonation is too weak even to support the beer's slinky, soapy outline.

The aroma get's my approval - it is well perfumed, but not overly perfumed. Spices are appreciated but can't be pin pointed, which is good because all I care to be able to do is acknowledge (but not catalog) them. The savoriness wafts gracefully beneath the nose along with a good portion of caramelly sweet, biscuity, nougat-y malts.

I've drank enough Grand River to recognize a certain 'house character' of theirs, I speak of a distinguishing maltiness that is chunky and enthusiastically bready. That particular brand of maltiness is perfectly suited for pumpkin ales because it almost starts to emulate the doughy taste of pie crusts. And add a lovely graham cracker flavour to boot. Yum.

But the mouthfeel is a tremendous let down. It reveals not even a trace of savoriness or spiciness, not a trickle of caramel sweetness, not any of the doughy maltiness. I was optimistic things would improve with warmth but the glass is reaching room temperature with little changes to note. I hate to use the 'W' word but, frankly, this is watery.

Session ales don't have to be watery or weak in flavour, Grand River has proven that with a regular lineup of exceptionally brewed mild and lower alcohol beers. Unfortunately few of the brewery's seasonals, this included, have lived up to that standard of flavour and character. Highballer Pumpkin Ale is a nice beer, just fine for a fall-time pint or several, but (at least in bottle) it's far too feeble to earn the high marks.

 1,835 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at C'est What? Festival of Small Brewers. Nice to see brewers here doing some pumpkin beers for the fall.

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange, thin white head, few lace spots, head disappears to a thin wispy ring. Smell is sweet, caramel, light pumpkin, spices, not bad but slightly weak. Taste is more of the same, light caramel and pumpkin, spice, weak finish, just spicy, pumpkin doesn't really come through in the flavour. Mouthfeel is thin, light bodied, low carbonation. Not bad, but leaves me unimpressed.

 521 characters

Photo of al_al1357
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of spinrsx
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 4$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a lot of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, cloves, all spice, pumpkin

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and all-spice/clove. There is also some pumpkin and a bit of a rustiness. It ends with a malty and spicy aftertaste.

Overall - Not the best seasonal beer by any means, but a solid effort from this brewer nonetheless. I won't be shelling out another 4$ for more but I'm glad I gave it a shot.

 656 characters

Photo of jfreeze
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mrmanning
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle from the brewery- Slightly hazy, deep gold pour pours a frothy beige cap. Nose of pumpkin pie spices...nutmeg, cinnamon, some allspice, a bit of coriander, followed by earthy malts. Tastes of hoppy pumpkin pie with all the aforementioned spices. A bit of caramel malts with fresh hops leading to the finish. Bitter, spicy, good.

 342 characters

Photo of Long813
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of CRObighit2
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of bigox420
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of SSS
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark orange and no head to speak of
S-Very feignt aroma of spice but not much else to go by
M-Very low carbonation and light watery mouthfeel
T-Sweet and watery upfront with some warming spices appearing in the aftertaste, cinnamon and nutmeg is what I get, Christmas flavours
O-On the pour this had some potential aromas, but ultimately fell flat and underwhelming.

 371 characters

Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark golden color, with low activity. Slightly creamy beige 1 finger head, lasting around 5 minutes, with moderate lacing. Flavors of pumpkins, ginger, cinnamon, sweet grains, lemon, faint caramel and hops. Highly sugary, minimal bitterness, but the sharpness is good, and well spiced. Smooth full body with nice zesty carbonation. Light to medium strength finish, ending with a fruity pumpkin feel, gingerbread and red ale spices. Overall good quality craft. Tasty pumpkin flavor that is well intensified. Although a little flat, too oily, and missing some freshness.

 575 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Highballer Pumpkin Ale from Grand River Brewing
3.78 out of 5 based on 94 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.