Highballer Pumpkin Ale | Grand River Brewing

BA SCORE
85
very good
94 Ratings
THE BROS
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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
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 94 |  Reviews: 49
Photo of wordemupg
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into tulip 10/10/12 thanks liamt07 for the bottle

A hazy orange amber with a few bubbles and suspended particles, a noisy thumbs width of foam falls fast and leaves no lace

S ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a little pumpkin puree, some bread and toffee with just a little earthy hops in the background

T much of the same really, not over the top with the spices like many pumpkin beers I've had in the past,

M a little thin with prickly bubbles leaving a tingle on the tongue, ginger and pumpkin linger faintly on the finish

O this one worked for me, not heavily spiced and pretty mellow all-around, still beer unlike many pumpkin beers I've had that are almost unrecognizable from all the spicing

Its to bad this didn't show up before my Thanksgiving dinner because it would've been a great beverage choice with my turkey, ham and pie. yup that's right bitches I got turkey AND a ham, living the dream, living the dream

 952 characters

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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 slitherySOB
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark golden amber colour with a fingers worth of head that disipates quickly but leaves lacing. Smells like pumpkin pie. Pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet malts. Tastes like it smells. LIquefied pumpkin pie. Mouthfeel is smooth and low carbonated with a great overall balance. A delicious beer.

 323 characters

Photo of fostachild
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of jrenihan
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Sept 4, 2012.

Beer is a slightly hazy copper colour. Smallish off-white head. Fades fairly quickly to a film.

Nice smell. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin. Some bready malt and grassy hops.

Taste is good, and very similar to the nose, though not quite as nice. Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Spices are very prominent. Grassy hops there as well. Well balanced. Has the characteristic Grand River flavour that I cannot quite describe, but I expect has to do with the water.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Overall, pretty tasty!

 556 characters

Photo of SebD
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice deep golden/amber color to it. It has a thin white head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of pumpkin and spices (cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon).

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some pumpkin but not as dominant as the aroma, some cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and some malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

 529 characters

Photo of bryehn
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on Sept. 14 (5 days ago).

Pours a clear golden-copper colour with a small but frothy white head. Solid, long-lasting collar, but little lace.

Smells of ripe pumpkin, honey sweetened toasted malts and grasses. Very warm and inviting.

The taste is also pumpkin forward. There is a lovely light and fruity ale underneath with a sweet caramel tone. Grassy, floral hops bring earthy and tart characteristics, as well as a mild orange pekoe tea flavour. Subtle spiciness present throughout that comes forward in the finish.

Full-bodied with low carbonation. Dry cracker character on the tongue. Pepper and allspice in the aftertaste.

Quickly became one of my favourite pumpkin ales after a couple days. The pumpkin shines, rather than the spice and it’s extremely smooth drinking. Great with (or in) a stew, crusty bread, roasted meats and, of course, pumpkin pie.

 873 characters

Photo of mspang
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of philmen
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of KrisDLSmith
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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 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 ThinkAgain
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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 peensteen
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper/amber colour, one finger of white head, no lace. Smell is spicy with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, gram crackers, mineral presence, malt and pumpkin pie. Taste is spicy up front, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, good bitterness, mildly hoppy, biscuity malt, spicy finish and aftertaste. Medium carbonation, medium feel, decent mouthfeel. This is quite enjoyable, subtle but still full flavoured, will probably grab a few more of these this season.

 462 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at volo.
Served in a pint glass.

A - Poured medium orange. Slightly hazy with a small amount of off white head.

S - Pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg and a hint of cinnamon.

T - Pumping pie! Pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.

M - Medium body, smooth. Light carbonation.

 276 characters

Photo of Stocean1
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a one finger head into a big wine glass - nice orange amber colour - little lacing and poor retention. Lots to note for the smell. Banana, pumpkin with bubblebum up front. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. Taste follows the nose but not nearly as strong as the smell led me to expect. Light body with little carbonation. Slightly bitter and very easy drinking. Overall, this is a fine brew although I would have loved the taste and mouthfeel to be a little bolder.

 463 characters

Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A small off white head reminiscent of milk foam tops medium amber semi opaque body. The retention is low and leaves some ok lacing.

S: Strong pumpkin up front followed by curious fruity scents of unripe mango, chayote and grapefruit rind. Some cinnamon and cardamom spices hide behind roasted pumpkin seeds and dried apple. There is a faint hint of shortbread.

T: A strong amber malt spine supports assertive pumpkin and cinnamon flavours. The rest of the profile is made up of sweet bready tastes; gram cracker and shortbread. There is next to no showing of hops. The carbonation is medium low and the beer coast the mouth somewhat.

A good effort if a little one dimensional.

 682 characters

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed October 13th and dropped on me by biegaman, thanks; it got lost at the back of the fridge until now. On opening, there is a hazy, featureless orange hue under a one finger beige head that appears that it will stick around (alas it didn't, at least not for long). There is a tangerine fruity smell at first that gives way to cinammon-spicy odour that generally pleases. Big flavour in the mouth with cinammon, nutmeg, allspice, pleasant low bitterness and hops, refreshing cleansing mouth and a malt that weighs in on the lingering finish. Medium to light body for the style, not overpowering, rightfully labelled a pumpkin ale and although not the best I've tried, it certainly has potential as a sessional for that time of year. Decent brewery in my experience, not a bad pumpkin ale either.

 799 characters

Photo of mrnobody
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a Grand River pint glass.

A: Pours a clear amber with a thin white head that quickly disappears. No lacing.

S: Smells of nutmeg, pumpkin and brown sugar.

T: Not particularly sweet tasting. One can taste some of the spices but they're not overwhelming. There is a bit of hop bitterness in the finish.

M: The mouthfeel is light to medium with medium carbonation.

D: The drinkability is pretty good for a pumpkin beer.

 445 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 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

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