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Wick For Brains | Nebraska Brewing Company

37 Reviews
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Wick For BrainsWick For Brains

Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Wick for Brains is our classic and painstakingly produced Fall Pumpkin Ale. Instead of simply using spice, we use real pumpkin which lends a sweetness and pumpkin flavor not found in many Pumpkin Ales. Wonderful pumpkin pie spice intertwined in an Amber Ale creates a pumpkin sensation which is elegantly crafted. Notes of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, Ginger and Allspice blend perfectly in this seasonal Ale. There are many Pumpkin Ales out there crafted by some wonderful breweries – we feel that ours stands among them and in some cases – stands apart.

Added by Hojaminbag on 11-10-2010

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Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 156
Photo of IowaBiertrinker
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Found this on sale, so I thought I would give it a shot.

Bright orange pumpkin color with minimal head.

Taste is pumpkin forward with minimal spices, but extremely well balanced and interesting. Not over the top on anything.

Mouthfeel is amazing...super smooth. Really surprised by this.

Overall, this is one of my top 5 pumpkin beers with well balanced flavors throughout.

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Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber orange in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving some patches of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of pumpkins and pumpkin spices are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell, having flavors of pumpkins along with notes of nutmeg and ginger; the spices are most noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This pumpkin ale features pumpkins first and foremost in both the smell and the taste and isn't dominated by spices.

Serving type: can

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Photo of Taybeh
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

from a can into a spieglau ipa, nice clear bright orange copper with a white head that subsides quickly and leaves little lacing. nose doesn't have much spice, but a nice doses of real pumpkin. Pretty thin but smooth on the mouthful, and the back end brings some nutmeg and allspice that pairs with the pumpkin...lacks body, though.

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Photo of biegaman
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wick For Brains is a liquid jack-o-lantern - pumpkin orange in colour and lit up like a flashlight. One could guide their way through a dark room with these highlights! Flatness and perfect clarity enhance the natural glow and create the impression of a featherweight beer (even if it does clock in at 6.1% alcohol).

The aroma is hardly what I'd call 'perfumed', both because of its lack of spiciness and overall lack of strength. No scents of any kind will jump out the glass - you've got to go in to get them. What's more, the earthy, squash-y smell of actual pumpkin is more prevalent than anything you'd use in baking.

Only on the palate is it feasible to actually pick out allspice, cinnamon, or ginger... but even then it's a bit of a guessing game. Mind you, that's not such a bad thing - the old adage when it comes to spices says that if you can be sure of what's in there too much was used. There's nothing obvious in this one.

And while I'd prefer that to something that could be mistaken for a Bath and Body Works product, I also feel that a watery, diluted spiciness is nearly as bad one that's intense and overly saturated. This won't overwhelm after one bottle but will leave something to be desired.

Wick For Brains is fairly hollow as far as pumpkin ales go. One might argue the more restrained seasoning, lack of dessert-like sweetness and subtle presence of real pumpkin lend it more integrity than other pie- and potpourri-like examples on the market. Maybe. Or maybe it's just a bit more dull.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.24/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is one of the better balanced pumpkin ales I have had - instead of relying just on the spices I believe this has real pumpkin added in the brewing process. Has more of a vegetable than a sweet feel to it, with a little acidity in there to keep it light and zingy. Solid medium mouthfeel. Overall thought this was nicely put together.

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

A: Pours a clear medium copper in color with moderate to heavy amounts of active visible carbonation and some faint mahogany highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy beige head that quickly reduces to a small patch of very thin film and a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts, brown sugar, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg).

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel malts with a light amount of toasted malts and a moderate amount of brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by a light to moderate flavor of pumpkin and a moderate flavor of pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice). Minimal amounts of bitterness is present in the finish and fades away quickly.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Hints of dryness from the spices in the finish.

O: A little bit lighter than the average pumpkin beer which makes it very easy to drink. Enjoyable but a little more subtle in flavor and sweetness than others in the style.

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. can into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of off white head which settles into a thin patch.

Smell: A spicy, earthy, and sweet malt forward aroma with a scent of pumpkin spice and caramel. Upfront presence of pumpkin and spices including cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice, and nutmeg. Toasted malt with hints of caramel, toffee, grains, biscuit, and yeast. Some sweet hints of vanilla. Subtle earthy hops. A solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a spicy, sweet, and earthy malt driven taste with notes of pumpkin spice and caramel malt. Upfront notes of pumpkin spice with some nice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and allspice. Some sweet vanilla notes. Sweet toasted malt with notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Light earthy hops. A solid taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

Overall: A pretty decent take on a Pumpkin Ale. Nice spice and malt mix.

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Photo of Beejay
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Medium amber with orange notes, and a white head that quickly fades into frog eyes, followed by a ring.

S: Sweet bread, brown sugar, pumpkin, and spices. There is a touch of vanilla in the finish.

T: Flavor follows the aroma, bready with vanilla, pumpkin and spice notes.. finish has a touch of sweetness in it.

M: Medium light, with moderate carbonation, slight cling in the finish.

O: Overall a simple yet tasty version of the style.. it is clean and easy drinking, the flavor of pumpkin is not too tame to be boring, nor overpowering or fake. Is it amazing... no. But tasty, certainly.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a pint glass

A- pours a clear Amber-orange color with a small fizzy white head that disappears completely, leaving nothing behind

S- typical pumpkin spice aroma, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, hint of cola. Malty undertones

T- sweet and malty base with highlights of cinnamon and nutmeg, slicing is well balanced overall

M- medium body with moderate-low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and crisp finish

O- well balanced and easy drinking, nothing stands out but solid overall

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.52/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Interesting label art.

Appearance : Pours a Sunkist/Minute Maid/Fanta orange out of the can straight into the weizen glass, creating a still orangey but mellow blonde glow. The head is small but what's there sticks around for a bit, leaving mossy cream on the top and sticking to the sides loosely.

Aroma : Smells like a grocery store during a fall batch season. Pumpkin, cinnamon, pecan, clove, with a bit of oatmeal raisin cookie as well. It takes some effort to get a nose though, so a little bit of a dock there.

Taste : It drinks easy, and the front half is spiced generously with nutmeg, allspice, and stale cinnamon; the back gives way to some rotting pumpkin, burnt malts, and scorched black syrup with a burnt version of the spices before it. The finish is kind of literally hard to swallow.

Feel : Very easy drinking - heavily and excitingly carbonated, very refreshing, a balanced feel, and a dry finish.

Overall : Wouldn't buy again, but it was nice to try. Pumpkin Ales are hit and miss, this one was unfortunately more of a miss.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: A very clear bourbon amber. No head. No lacing. Very full if it wasn't so damn clear.

S: Good pumpkin aroma. Green, vinous stems. Lots of cracker malt.

M: Very light, well attenuated. Dry throughout with a finish of a marzen.

T: Flower like herbaceous quality not unlike squash blossoms or sweet potato tempura. Some clove spicing, mace, light brown sugar, light lemony hops.

The seasonality of pumpkin beers makes this a very competitive category. This beer is light, floral, and a little hoppy. Not how I prefer my pumpkin beers.

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Photo of tigg924
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours clear, orange-brown with minimal head. Taste is pumpkin pulp, cinnamon, and light clove and hops. Hits all the major style points. Not a bad pumpkin ale, although there are others I prefer in the style.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.86/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; copper colored; 1 finger off white head that receded to a thin collar; nice lacing;

S: pumpkin pie spices - mostly cinnamon and nutmeg;

T: pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices; mildly bitter finish;

M: light to medium bodied; low to moderate carbonation; very dry finish;

O: the best pumpkin beer I've tasted - simply because it's the 1st I've ever tasted that actually tasted like pumpkin. Most of them only taste like pumpkin pie spice.

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Photo of JPowell712
3.09/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Not a bad beer, just not a great one. The pour was a very clear orange color with little head at all. The carbonation was relatively low. The aroma was very similar to a wheat beer with some added seasonal spices. It was an overwhelming odor either. Very subtle in the taste as well. You don't get a huge smack of anything. It was very mildly spiced and balanced. This might be a good introduction beer to pumpkin ales or vegetable beers. I just didn't quite get as much of a kick as I like out of the pumpkin ales from this one. I will say the more it warmed up, I did like it better as it sat in the glass a little. Not a bad beer, just not a great one.

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Photo of dank203
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

great pumpkin; full flavored without being cloying, or over spiced. fresh pumpkin flavor with spice balance. low IBU's, medium/full body with just enough thickness. a lot of flavor without excessive alcohol content

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Photo of JamesMN
3.06/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No canning date.

Appearance: Dark caramel in color with decent clarity and a disappointing lack of head. Just a couple off-white bubbles on top and some effervescence sticking to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Soft pumpkin pie spices with a hint of a butter-like crust element.

Taste: Pretty typical array of pumpkin pie spices with a general sweetness from what is likely an amber ale base recipe. The hops aren't really a factor. Would have liked to get more of the pie crust that was in the aroma but it doesn't come through in the flavor. A bit shallow in the flavor department but not quite watery. The can states 6.1% ABV. Weak finish and aftertaste of ebbing spices.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium in body with average carbonation and okay drinkability. Nothing special here. Almost tepid at times.

Final Thoughts: A completely average pumpkin ale. Not even par for the course. Although there weren't any major technical flaws, there are so many more better options available. Would I drink it again? No.

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Photo of donspublic
3.79/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap into a pint shaker. 1 finger head dissipates pretty quick. Not picking up much other than a little spice. Taste, you know it is pumpkin. Nice mixture of pumpkin to spice. Will mix this in with pumking throughout the fall

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Photo of Lilbeck23
4.79/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When it comes to a Pumpkin ale this one does not steer you wrong! The aroma, taste and easy contour makes it an overall delight to kick back and enjoy the fall! Pumpkins stand no chance when it comes to the easy sipping of this seasonal ale!

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Photo of woodychandler
3.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

One of the last in-person trades that I made with tone77 before his departure from our area included this CAN. I miss having him come by to drop off all sorts of different beers for me as I would load him down with CANs in return. The CANQuest (TM) abides.

From the CAN: "World Class in Every Glass"; "Our classic and painstakingly created fall pumpkin ale. Real pumpkin lends a sweetness and a true pumpkin flavor not found in many pumpkin ales. Wonderful pumpkin pie spices intertwined in our amber ale create a rich pumpkin seasonal. Elegantly crafted."; "CANs: Infinitely Recyclable".

First of all, this used one of those stupid 360 degree openings, so there really was not a Crack! and I could not upturn it for a Glug! It is a s**tty CANcept that is really a step backwards in CAN engineering. When you are left with a sharp, throwaway piece, you may as well go back to pop tops. Once deCANted, the head quickly dissipated before I could do anything. Color was an orangish Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity (what else?). Nose had a pronounced cinnamon spiciness. Mouthfeel was somewhat thin. Taste was spicy, prevalently cinnamon, backed up with perhaps nutmeg or allspice. The finish was gaspingly dry with the spices really doing their part. It was like liquid alum! Man, I was ready for a glass of water upon finishing this beer. Not bad, but needs work on presentation.

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Photo of Auraan
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Poured a cloudy orange body with a thin white lace on the surface. It looks like a typical pumpkin ale, nothing special. Scents of cinnamon, pumpkin, medium-light nutmeg and allspice, medium gingers clove. Overall impression of aroma is of a spice and pumpkin forward pumpkin ale, but one that is not too sweet and is very appealing. None of the pie crust butteriness that ruins other examples of style. Very pleasant. Flavor begins with notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, light ginger, allspice and a light sourness. Middle is medium-dry with a light sourness, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin and clove. Finish is dry with notes of pumpkin, ginger, white pepper, clove, nutmeg and allspice and a light sourness. Aftertaste is pumpkin, clove, nutmeg and allspice. Overall impression of flavor is of a wonderful pumpkin ale. It captures the flavors of pumpkin and spices, with a light sourness throughout that aids the flavor. A truly wonderful pumpkin ale flavor that avoids the traps of the style. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium-high carbonation and drying, sour feel. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a light, refreshing ale. Very nice. Overall this is the single best pumpkin ale I have ever had. It avoids every problem I have with the style in aroma and flavor and is aided by a level mouthfeel. Simply wonderful.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 3.75 Clear amber with a small white head.
S: 4.0 - Pleasant caramel malt with moderately strong cinnamon scent.
T: 3.75 - Medium malt with a lot of cinnamon. No pumpkin detectable. Other spices have a light touch.
M: 4.0 - Nice creamy mouthfeel
O: 4.0 - Not the best PA, but I find it pretty tasty. Of course, I like cinnamon a lot.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.11/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into an IPA glass.

Look: A nice copper body with a white head that disappears and leaves a ring and some light laving.

Aroma: Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar.

Taste: All spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. Very subtle hints of squash.

Mouthfeel: Watery, light mouthfeel.

Overall: This is a typical pumpkin ale. Slammable, I could drink this all day, but it is a spice rack and not much else.

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Photo of tone77
3.12/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A big thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a orange/golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of pumpkin, very light nutmeg. Taste is really kind of bland. Some pumpkin, spices are present but really subdued, not bad, but boring. Feels light in the mouth and overall I was not impressed with this beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz aluminum can with appealing label art and a curiously large pull-tab acquired at Whichcraft in Austin, TX, and served cold into a pilsner glass.

Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery's reputation and the fact that I'm just in the mood for a pumpkin ale. 6.10% ABV. 2014 vintage. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Reviewed as a pumpkin ale because it's identified clearly as such on the label.

Opening the can is interesting; this pull tab removes the entire top with ease - props for great packaging!

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Off-white colour. Average creaminess and thickness. Light uneven lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is above average - about 3 minutes. Average consistency and complexion.

BODY: Translucent transparent copper gold of average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears adequately carbonated. Not a unique or special appearance for a pumpkin ale, but generally appealing.

AROMA: Brown sugar, faint pumpkin gourd, light cinnamon, caramelized sugars and malts, and brief hints of allspice and nutmeg. It's pretty light in strength. A timid aroma which is pleasant but wanting. Doesn't really evoke pumpkin gourd or pumpin pie spices as much as it needs to.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, hop notes, or off-notes are detectable. I can't say it has me dying for the first sip, but I'm optimistic. Pretty average for a pumpkin ale overall.

TASTE: Caramelized malts comprise the simple basic core. There's a bit of pumpkin gourd and some noticeable cinnamon, but little else. Even the nutmeg and allspice disappeared. Simplicity is king here. Very no-frills. Dareisay insipid.

I do like it, but there's just nothing going on. What few flavours are present come through shallow. The brief duration of flavour and mild flavour intensity doesn't help. I want fresh ripe pumpkin gourd, subtle yet intricate spices, and an autumnal/harvest malt build, but none of that is present here. It's just a bland boring build with loose cohesion and a hint of pumpkin. I do like that what little pumpkin there is tastes genuine - not artificial - but that just isn't enough.

It does have a near ideal level of sweetness for a pumpkin ale.

TEXTURE: Well-carbonated. Smooth, wet, light to medium in body, and a bit thin. Sticky. This texture complements the taste well, but isn't ideal for a pumpkin ale. More presence and heft on the palate is needed. Like the taste, the texture lacks oomph.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Among the most insipid pumpkin ales I've ever come across. It's a pumpkin ale for those who don't care much for pumpkin, and offers little to the discerning drinker. I'll finish the glass with ease - this is very drinkable - but I see no need to ever buy it again. Why brew this? A swing and a miss from Nebraska. I guess their marketing team just figured they ought to put out a pumpkin ale. This is easily the most uninspired beer in the style I've ever had.


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Photo of ocelot2500
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear golden orange color with a tight, white head that leaves little to no lacing.

Smells of a bit of spice and toasted malt.

Tastes of the sweet, toasted malt with only a touch of spice. Malts lead off with toffee, caramel, and some toasted bread. Fairly sweet. This gives way to some cinnamon mostly maybe some clove and allspice as well. Finishes fairly clean with some lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium-light with an almost undercarbonated feel.

Overall, this is just alright, nothing particularly good, but nothing bad as well.

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Wick For Brains from Nebraska Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.
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