Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout
Rock Art Brewery

Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout
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American Imperial Stout
3.59 | pDev: 15.04%
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout
Notes: "A big stout brewed in the colonial fashion with large amounts of pumpkins and spruce tips added to the kettle for flavor and bittering qualities. The pumpkins compliment the malt flavors, and were used to add sugars to the mash. What ever you do, do not think this is going to taste like pumpkin pie. 50 IBUs."
Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 201 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle to snifter.
The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a finger's worth of eggshell white foamy head that sat atop for a good minute before gently dissipating. Moderate lace ran about.
The aroma started off with a nice dose of the roasted dark malts, somewhat dark chocolate-like with a little bit of coffee beans and a mild sweet sprucy needle freshness playing subtly with a little bit of pumpkin extract. Quaint amount of allspice ever so slightly at the end.
The flavor moderately blended the sweet fresh spuce to the roast and sweetness of those malts. Pumpkin was faint. Semi-smooth aftertaste of the roast, spruce and pumpkin.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping quality about it. Some smoothness along my tongue. Carbonation felt fine. ABV felt appropriate.
Overall, pretty nice imperial stout with the pumpkin qualities just faintly coming about. Nice Autumn evening sipper, if anything.

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Photo of neophilus
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with a tan head. Malt driven aroma carries around some spruce to make a good first impression, like a spicy pine tree. Mild pumpkin pie spices follow up and round out the complex scent.

Medium-low resin hop bitterness with the first sip mingles with some acrid roasted grain. Lots of malt and more spices - almost like darkened toast with a pumpkin butter spread. Some ginger from the pie spicing pokes its head through but the rest of the gang mingle together well and coalesce into a bitter, spicy flavor.

More dry toast malt body in the aftertaste. Slightly thin body barely carries all the flavors on its back without becoming too watery. Hop bitterness finishes through the aftertaste and cleans up all those spices and malt.

Pumpkin Stout has to be one of the hardest styles to get right, there is just so many flavors to deal with between the roasted grain and typically overpower pie spicing. This brew manages to push the pie spicing to the background and showcase the darker grains and spruce flavors. Overall an interesting, complex and satisfying beer.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours a cola-color, but settles into the glass as a very dark brown. Some carbonation bubbles are noticeable on the edges of the glass and rise to create a cream-colored head.

S- Roasty malts, chocolate and vanilla, maybe some hints of pumpkin bread, but nothing that stands out as pumpkin or spruce. Surprisingly pleasant nose, but different than I expected.

T- Roasted malts come through again, with hints of vanilla flavors. Hints of piney hops (maybe spruce?), but the roasty malt is there in a big way. Really charred flavor that works really well with the piney presence.

M- Somewhat thin and maybe slightly over-carbonated. Medium-full bodied, with a slight carbonation tingle.

O- Overall this one was way different than I expected, but pretty good. The pumpkin was non-existent for me, but the flavor was pretty good.

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Photo of freakdiablo
3.13/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A - Thick dark brown hue, almost black. Heavy, brown head that leaves a lot of lacing that sticks around.

S - Milder. I get a faint scent of malts, and pumpkins. Almost smells like fresh baked pumpkin bread

T - More pumpkin with sweeter malts. Almost sickeningly sweet, nothing really cuts through it. Mild pine flavor in the background, which follows through to the aftertaste.

M - Thick, almost oily with lighter carbonation. If I could describe it in one word, I'd say it was "sticky".

O - Looks pretty and not the worst beer I've had, but I'm not a fan. Even after letting it warm, it's way to sweet for my taste, with nothing really balancing it out. Some may find it to be a good fall/winter beer, but next time I see it, I'll leave it on the shelf.

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Photo of GuinnessAtRogerWilco
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a Guinness pint glass. Of the few beers brewed with spruce that I've had, I liked them all so I want to give this one a go and see what it has to offer.

AP: Wow, helluva head on this, takes up half the glass. Colour of the head is like chocolate mousse and it's a dense foamy head as well. Colour of the liquid is solid black. As the head ever so slowly dissipates, it leaves dried foam on the side of the glass, similar to a Guinness. Otherwise, lacing is minimal.
AR: I get a bit of the spruce in the aroma along with some light char and roast with chocolate pudding. Baked black/brown bread as well. No pumpkin to speak of, but I do believe that is the point to this beer, so no deduction of points for that. There is a hint of baking spices in the background.
T: Starts off with a hint of the spruce which fades quickly giving way to black/brown bread and chocolate pudding flavours. The spruce comes back into play near the finish with a subtle note of smokiness and then the roast and char take over on the finish. Again, no pumpkin to speak of. Nothing complex here, drinks like a decent Dry Stout, IMO. Nothing to get you excited, but it's enjoyable.
M: Body seems a bit light for an 8% ABV Stout. Seems more like a 5% Porter. Silky texture, however with low carbonation and a bit creamy on the palate. Finish is off dry.
OV: A decent offering. Won't knock your socks off or anything, but worth a try. If the spruce was more prominent in the flavour and and it had a bit more of that smokiness as well then this would be more interesting and better.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is jet black, with some dark mahogany highlights around the edges, and a thick, dense, creamy head that is light tan, and slowly settles into a filmy coating. Aromas of roast, bitter coffee, hints of pumpkin sweetness, spruce highlights, bittersweet chocolate, and earthy tones. Flavors are roast and sweet initially, with highlights of pumpkin, a solid dose of bittersweet baker's chocolate, woody notes, and hints of pumpkin. Creamy overtones help round some edges and keep an overall balance. The body is robust, creamy, and smooth throughout. The aftertaste is smoked, roasted, and bitter, with a chocolate and subtle pumpkin linger. Bitter, slightly dry finish, with a roasted linger. Good, solid, tasty brew.

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

22oz bottle from the cellar, was last years batch.
I poured it into a glass, it has a dark black body with a 2' tan head that fizzes away. The aroma has a choclate and malt aroma to it, no sign of pumpkin or spruce. The taste is chocolate and maltness goodness just like a good stout, again no pumpkin.
The mouthfeel is a little heavy but overall if i would have drank it like maybe 6 months ago i still would of had some pumpkin but the stout part of this is excellent, aged well.

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Photo of Givemebeer
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bomber into a goblet. Excited to try this Imperial pumpkin stout, and my first beer from Rock Art.

A: Pitch black color with a creamy head and some nice lacing. Truly very nice looking beer.

S: Smells sweet, pumpkin, roastiness

T: A LOT of roasted malts up front. Pumpkins are hidden in the background and theres the spruce in there that is noticeable.

M: Ultra-creamy. Thick mouthfeel with a semi-sweet finish. Love this part.

O: It's nice, but the thick heavy dark malts cover up the pumpkin flavor more than I would have hoped. This is worth a try if you want a stout with a touch of pumpkin flavor. Happy to have had it.

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Photo of DaPan
3.64/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black, with ruby red highlights against the light. Little head that dissipates quickly, no lacing.

Smells like hints of black licorice and brown sugar - molasses..rich candy..

Taste of spruce and medium bodied porter. Lots of sweetness, no pumpkin. I suspect that the age of the bottle has contributed to the pumpkin receding into the background,

Good mouthfeel, mildly bitter finish.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear but opaque very dark brown bordering on black in color with very light amounts of gentle carbonation along the edges of the glass and some dark cola brown + reddish amber highlights. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts with some light hints of chocolate. There are light to moderate aromas of spruce with just a hint of pumpkin.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark roasted malts along with some chocolate malts. There is a light to moderate flavor of dry cocoa powder and some hints of sweet milk chocolate as well. There are light flavors of pumpkin and spruce. Light amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light hints of dryness and alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Interesting to see someone doing something other than an ale with pumpkin (and not something that tastes like pumpkin pie). I wish the spruce flavors and aromas were a little more prevalent and there was a little more earthiness from the pumpkin.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.04/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle.

Pours a dark cola brown with a thin bubbly tan head. Nose of yam, pine, earth, anise, and holiday spice. Thick, lightly carbonated body. Sweet chocolate and anise flavor, rich malt, not much like you'd expect from other pumpkin beers. More like a pine-y/minty sweet speciality stout.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.53/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle that is stamped July 19. Not sure if that means expires in July 2019. Sampled on September 8, 2013.

The pour is black as night with a huge, lingering soft tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is dark malt and spruce grove forward with a much more muted pumpkin spice note. It's there but you have to seek it out. Some chocolate. No alcohol note. Very enticing aroma.

The body is bold and creamy.

The taste is mildly sweet up front with a piney dressing. Yet it is not overly hopped. Moderately bitter and dry finish. Pumpkins are in the background. Warming and smoother as it goes along.

I'm not sure why it gets low BA ratings. Probably because the pumpkin is not in your face. But this is still a topnotch beer.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a oversized goblet. Color was a nice opaque almost black, with just a hint of lacing for a dirty white head. Aroma seemed more of molasses and brown sugar with just a bit of earthy pumpkin. Absolutely nothing from the spruce. Flavor alternated between burnt sugary sweet, and piney twang from the spruce. The spruce definitely developed in the mouth over time. Not a bad flavor, but a bit of strange feel in the mouth. Coated well, but the spruce just tingled the tongue funny. Not a bad beer, but didn't pick up many pumpkin notes. Stood stronger if not sold as a pumpkin stout.

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Photo of Gavage
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a dark brown almost black color with a 2" head that falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: definite earthy and woodsy aroma here.

Taste: nice roasted malt profile with a big earthy tone. The spruce is definitely noticeable but not overpowering. Some pumpkin spice is there but very soft. Alcohol is slightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Long lasting earthy and woody aftertaste.

Overall: decent fall / winter time beer, but the pumpkin flavors were very mild.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.03/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bruce for the opportunity to try this one.
Pours a solid dark brown/black color with a smallish off white head that quickly dissipates to a cap. Smells of roast caramel and ash with a spicy earthy menthol aroma that I assume is spruce. This beer smells a bit oxidized or maybe that's a mix of spruce and pumpkin. The flavor is a bit spicy and roasty. Herbal spicy menthol hits up front followed by a roasty caramel and toffee. This finishes with a long lingering bitterness that seems more intense than just hops. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a roasty bitter mouthfeel. This one is certainly out of the box, but it really didn't work all that well for me. The pumpkin is almost non existent and the spruce adds a harsh bitterness that I really couldn't get into.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.94/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage that's been chillin in the cellar until this Halloween.

Pours with a large, rocky/foamy tan head that sticks around for a long time. Great lacing.

Aromas contain quite a bit of the minty and spruce twang. Good milk chocolate-like malty sweetness, but dominated by the hops.. surprised this quality has held up so nicely over the years.

Flavors bring the stout, but it's cut so well by the spruce. It's not dissimilar to a peppermint stout I've had before. Rich mouthfeel, but not imperial stout rich. Quite drinkable.

Definitely not your typical impy stout, if that's what you're looking for... but if you've SEEN the label, you'll know better. This one really lives up to the unique qualities that it sets out to achieve.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter.

A: It's hard to get a feel for the color in dim lighting, but it looks to be charcoal black. An active, bubbly tan head quickly sputters into nothing. Not much lacing to speak of, just a few specks here and there.

S: Roasted malt scents of bakers chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Cola. Strong aroma of fresh pine needles and fir trees. Bit of a minty quality. Andes mints. Coffee beans underneath. An interesting nose, to say the least. Aromatic, but not very complex and exotic to the point of being a bit odd.

T: Strong hit of pine needles and mint on the attack. Roasty malt tastes behind this. Charcoal, black cocoa powder, black coffee. Bitter dark chocolate with a touch of acidity. Touch of vague fruitiness. Eventually the pine goes away altogether and the bitter, roasted acidity takes charge. Try as I might, I can't pinpoint any pumpkin. Finishes with bitter dark chocolate, acidic black coffee, and charcoal.

M: Medium bodied. Slightly firm malt texture, but it isn't enough. Little to no carbonation. Not much here.

O: The spruce tips sure do make things interesting, but they can't hide the fact that this is a pretty average beer otherwise. Oh, and where's the pumpkin?

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Photo of lovindahops
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this bomber on the way home from hill farmstead a few weeks back. Very unique brew from the brief tasting. Poured into an alchemist stemless tulip

A- very brown body with a disappearing act of foam that leaves an opaque body

S-sugary molasses with an appetizing earthy and toffee scent. Slightly syrupy without the pumpkin I was thinking would be there. A sweet and hearty presence

T- sweet aforementioned molasses with a dark piney tone that is thick and effective with the flavor process. Even a bitter element splashes in to make for a unique stout. The brown sugar finish makes for an interesting autumn brew

M- carbonated and smooth with flavor

O- Intetesting autumn brew from a good Vermont brewery. Some sweet autumn attributes that will make me want another if I pass it by

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a clay colored head. Hard pour sprung a sticky foam cone. Decent retention.

Faint aroma. Dry Ovaltine powder with some old pine needles. As it warms it sorta smells like menthol cigarette butts.

This beer tastes fairly similar to when I mix chocolate whey protein with dark roast iced coffee. Not as strong as that concoction but the same flavor. Mocha I guess. Has a roast malt flavor without any actual roastiness. Dull mint in back which I'm guessing is from the spruce tips.

The bottle warns the buyer to not expect pumpkin pie and the bottle spoke truthfully. It's a colonial take on using pumpkin in beer where the gourd is utilized for it's sugars rather than dousing a beer with pie spices and extracts. Nifty idea and a solid beer.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at Rock Art Brewery into a taster shaker pint glass.

A dark brownish red body, pretty dark, presented with a faint tan collar. Looks inviting.

Nose is quite diverse. Cola soda. Beech nut and nutmeg. THere's a little bit of faint spicy toffee in the background. This smells very strange, and nothing like a pumpkin beer.

Taste seems to match the nose quite correctly. No sense of dense pumpkin body, lots of burnt charcoal without any sweet grainy tastes. Finishes with hop pine and a twiggy woody character no doubt because of spruce tips added I am guessing. Finish is wet and also a little burning.

Interesting beer, probably like it because it doesn't taste like a regular pumpkin beer, but not really drawn to wanting this again.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with an amber glow.

S - Spruce, roasted malts and a touch of maple syrup. Not getting pumpkin at all but a nice nose.

T - Spruce, roasted malts and maple. Decent sweetness overall with some bitterness present as well to provide balance. No pumpkin comes through at all.

M - Medium body, light carbonation.

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Photo of harrymel
3.22/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer was worth trying, it is far from a standard pumpkin beer with extensive spruce addition and little else to offer. The beer is worthy trying, but seems more like a novelty save the opportunity for a gin lover’s beer to shine. Looks average brown with some low carb evidence. Spruce nose. Some medium body and lower carb and dry finish.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.61/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Mike, served in a tiny ticking snifter for ticking. Beer is amber / orange with a mild haze, off white head, some lacing, decent retention, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is low, nearly non-existent. Some faint spice, perhaps a pumpkin?

Beer is nice though, decently spiced, nice gourd presence. Strong but not overpower, everything is subtle and nice. For a pumpkin beer not bad. I'd have it again, maybe.

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

Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout opens with a malty, slightly spicy aroma that has little, if any, pumpkin notes. Instead, the aromas begin with light stout notes, including chocolate malt, dark and milk chocolate, touches of coffee and cream, and add to that a light sprinkling of spruce (which comes across as a hoppy pine note), and even gentler touches of anise. Some brown sugars also rise to the surface. As a whole, the aromas are light, and tend to fade quickly, but are still enticing.

On the tongue, the beer begins with a huge dose of pine and spruce, making at least that part of the beer's name immediately apparent. The spruce adds a good hint of bitter resin and oil to the mixture, coming across much like what the aroma of a pine tree would taste like if distilled: heavy on sap, lemon, and anise. Beneath that is a decent stout, including coffee, chocolate malt, and ash. Hints of pumpkin add welcome sugary, earthy flavors to the palate, slightly tempering the bitter oils and coffees. Hops bring extra bitterness, as well as lemons and grapefruit zest. But the spruce tips definitely remain throughout the mouthful as the dominant flavor, and even dominate the aftertaste, which lingers in sprucy oils and fading hints of coffee and chocolate malt for quite some time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is certainly interesting beer, though I'm not sure if I would have ever guessed that pumpkin had been added had it not been so noted on the label. Instead, the spruce dominates with its oily, anise-like presence, and while the flavor is intriguing and nicely nuanced, it does tend to overly color the flavor profile, and does not let the other flavors come through as much as they should. The beer is still worth drinking, but as the label notes, one should "not think this is going to taste like pumpkin pie," and should expect instead a more Christmas-y flavor than a Thanksgiving one.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber bottle into a Newport Storm snifter glass.

A: Black with root beer highlights beneath a two-finger thick head of dense, creamy, espresso-colored foam that leaves some nice lacing an a bit of sediment in the glass.

S: Roasted licorice, tobacco, hops and chocolate with a salty, pumpkin seed smell to go along with some pine needles.

T: Rich, anise-tinged and roasted malt beginning with a slow building, fruity, bitter flavor that pairs up with the bitter, piny hops and bitter, roasted pumpkin flesh. Washes back with a lingering, roasted pumpkin bitterness and some charred, piny hops to go along with a clingy, alcohol finish.

M: Big, bold and complex with loads of charred malts, roasted pumpkin and booziness to cling to those oily hop resins in the aftertaste.

O: A very good stout with an interesting addition of pumpkin and spruce tips, this 8% brew warms up nicely and pairs well with the flashier, peppery spices in my vegetarian chili, as per the label's recommendation. Not a pumpkin ale by any stretch, this stout takes the natural bittering qualities of pumpkin, then marries the bitterness of spruce to the carefully selected piny hops.

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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout from Rock Art Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 201 ratings