Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout | Rock Art Brewery

Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout
202 Ratings
Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout

Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"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."

Added by Brad007 on 09-11-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 202 |  Reviews: 89
Photo of BrewinHeadBanger
5/5  rDev +40.8%

Photo of PatGreer
4.75/5  rDev +33.8%

Photo of puboflyons
4.53/5  rDev +27.6%
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.

 770 characters

Photo of WreckingBrew
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%

Photo of tdexterc
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber from Beverage Warehouse, Winooski VT, $3.99. Rock Art is always a bargain. No dating. Served cold in a chilled pint glass. I had this on draft once before but didn't take notes.

Dark as night dark brown brew gives an inch of creamy tan head that leaves good lace and settles to a thick stable layer. Smell has dark dry aspects from roasted barley/malt, a bit of candy sweetness, some mild piney hop, but overall is a bit mild. Mouthfeel is very thick and viscous, smooth and heavy with mild carbonation that cuts through just barely enough. It has a minty kind of feel that cools the mouth and tongue (from the spruce?)... very unique and interesting. Taste is a good thick malt body with a moderate level of dark malt, but is balanced well with other stuff so it isn't biting or astringent. Some light caramel sweetness, thick and bready backbone, and the awesome cool minty sprucey feel. The cool feel balances the thickness, making for a highly drinkable brew. Simply awesome, I love it.

No obvious sign of pumpkin, but it is likely contributing to the thick body. Hops are also subdued, likely play a subliminal supporting role to the dark malts and minty zing. I reallly really like this, the unique spruce/mint feel is crazy cool.

 1,246 characters

Photo of alleykatking
4.42/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. Many thanks go out to chefmonty for this bottle in the Halloween BIF this year.

A- Poured a black color which was deep in color even when held to the light. One and a half finger brown head has great retention. Nice thick streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- This has a intertesting smell. This of course is not a typical pumpkin beer. Chocoalte malts and light roasted malts come in from the start and stay till the end. The alcohol is very apparent from the middle onward. The spruce tips are very much there in the ending and that really threw me for a loop.

T- Bitter chocolate in the front of the beer. This really comes through the beer for the most part. A light spruce flavor in the middle gets covered up by a coffee ground ending before the spruce has a final bold burst at the tailend of the beer.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Bitter chocolate and light spruce left on the palate. Spruce and light alcohol left in the aftertaste with a hint of pumpkin. Alcohol is lightly drying on the palate. The flavors are well balanced and very clean tasting. The flavors are bold and in your face at times.

D- The beer is great tasting. The drinkability on this might vary depending on if you like the spruce tips or not. I personally had no problem drinking my pint of this and wanted more but I split this bottle with a friend. The ABV I think is well hidden. A delight to drink overall interesting take on a pumpkin stout.

 1,497 characters

Photo of ATPete
4.37/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle

Had a few of these this season, very well done Rock Art. First of all, it tells you right on the bottle NOT to expect pumpkin pie, it also goes on to explain how and why the pumpkins were used in this stout. It pours a deep, rich brown color with a lasting tan head. Nose of sweet malts, a hint of maple syrup and a balancing hop presence, minty and resinous. A perfect, creamy and overall medium bodied mouthfeel. The 8% is nowhere to be found, so drinkable for its size. Roasty where it should be, sweet where it should be and balanced all the way. This stout truly screams Fall to me for some reason. Great stout Rock Art.

 638 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.36/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"This ain't for no mama's boy or daddy's girl."

Pours a dark brown color with a perfect sized tan head, fades really slowly and leaves a cap for a good portion of the time, as it empties my glass, a good amount of sticky lacing is left behind.

Smell is mostly dark roasted malt with a decent hop bitterness to it, very piney.

Taste is predominately roasted malt with a strong piney bitterness, the hop bitterness is rather unique, no doubt a result of using spruce tips (quite interesting!), this has to be one of the hoppiest stouts I've had the pleasure of trying, not picking up any pumpkin at all though which is slightly disappointing but I won't hold it against it, afterall it's not a straight "pumpkin" beer, carbonation is more along the lines of a porter though.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this beer, although I bought it thinking it was an imperial pumpkin beer, not noticing the spruce stout part underneath, haha. At $4 a bomber, I think I'll be revisiting this beer often.

 998 characters

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

 1,185 characters

Photo of patrick802
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%

Photo of shockrocker65
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%

Photo of Liberatiscioli
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an interesting beer.
In a snifter the beer was a the color of a black cherry. It had a medium-sized tan head that dissipated fairly quickly, leaving a little bit of lace.
Pine aroma primarily, some roasted malt.
Mostly a pine taste, but there was some espresso there, and I'm sure I detected some pumpkin spice, even though I wasn't supposed to.
This was a rich, filling stout, perfect for fall.

 404 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch, opaque black with a 1/4 toffee colored creamy head. Carbonation is light to minimal. (from what I can see)

S - Coffee, bitter chocolate, chicory, and the pine and pumpkin I'm not detecting at all.

T - Bitter sweet chocolate and cocoa up front with some coffee and chicory blended in, dry deep roasted malt, bready with breadcrust and a "massive" pine attack on the tail end. This rates up there as one of the more bitter stouts I've ever had and I'm loving it! The IBU's are rated at 50 and it's coming through far more bitter. After a few sips the alcohol presents some warming in the throat. Where's the pumpkin in this beer? Not getting it anywhere but it doesn't matter, what is coming through is very enjoyable.

M - Thick, heavy body, and the hops bite the tongue a little bit.

D - Very good.

I picked up one bottle of this a few months ago just to try it because I didn't know what to expect. I'm now wishing I purchased several bottles or even a case of this beer. Nicely brewed and a fabulous sipper from a tulip glass.

 1,051 characters

Photo of BeerPhan86
4.18/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just recently put this on my want list. I was in Burlington for a job interview and picked this up at a local grocery store for 3.99! Didn't even realize it was on my want list until this review, must be beer fate. One thing about living in Vermont is there are so many tasty local craft beers for very reasonable prices.

A - This is very dark brown, almost black, with a one finger medium brown head. Typical imperial stout appearance.

S - Smells of chocolate, coffee, and smokiness/toasted malt. Where's the pumpkin?

T - Earthy, piney taste up front (spruce tips?) that turns into a wonderful coffee and chocolate taste. Finishes creamy with the pumpkin taste. The pumpkin taste is very subtle but it is definitely there. Very enjoyable stout that is not as intense as other imperial stouts. This does not have pumpkin ale spices, it is brewed with real pumpkin. Don't expect a pumpkin ale taste here.

M - Silky smooth, carbonation feels a bit light.

D - This is dangerously drinkable. Much lighter to me than other Imperial Stouts but I really dig the subtle flavors going on here.

Overall, not as much pumpkin flavor as I was expecting/would have liked but I did discover a very tasty stout that has a nice bitter/earthy flavor from the spruce tips yet turns into a creamy, chocolatey stout with subtle pumpkin taste. Hope they up the pumpkin taste or try their hand at an imperial pumpkin ale, though the label says not to drink this expecting it to taste like pumpkin pie. Every Rock Art big beer I have had has been outstanding, and I can't wait to try this again this weekend, along with the Rock Art mixed pack I picked up. You can't beat their big beers for 3.99!

 1,680 characters

Photo of zoso1967
4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a nice medium tan head. When held up to a light, a decent amount of color shows up in the form of rosewood like hues around the edges. The center swallows up all the light just like a good stout should. This beer has great head retention, and leaves nice lace.

The spruce shows through in the aroma, and while it is not the dominate player, it is the first thing I recognize. I would say the most prominent smell is that of coffee from the roasted malt. There is also a bit of chocolate and a nice rich malty sweetness.

The flavor is not quite like anything I have tried before. I guess this is not surprising since I am not sure how many other pumpkin and spruce stouts there are out there. First off, it has great stouty character to it. It is very roasty with a real burnt coffee character and some rich chocolate. The spruce is not as noticeable as in the aroma, but it is definitely there. The pumpkin is pretty buried, but it does seem like there is a little something something that is augmenting the malt bill. There is a good amount of bitterness in this brew, and some piney hops that accent the spruce tips.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between medium and full and is smooth and satisfying. This drinks a lot like an oatmeal stout, and the finish is pretty darn dry and a touch astringent, but still quite enjoyable.

I am really digging this beer and it's going down quickly. This is a really satisfying stout and not as out there as the name would make you think. I really didn't get any pumpkin, but who cares? This bad boy was delicious.

 1,582 characters

Photo of aerozeppl
4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice dark brown amber color. Minimal white head with nice lacing.

S: The pumpkin is subtle up front with the spruce coming in nicely right after. The combination is quite pleasant. A little spicy.

T: Not much pumpkin comes through in the taste but the spruce does. A little bit of spice and a touch of roast in the back.

M: Light mouthfeel for the style. Well carbonated.

D: Very nice beer. A totally different take on the style with the spruce. The best beer I have had from Rock Art.

 492 characters

Photo of alpinebryant
4.11/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a pitch dark brown with a thick tan head on tap. An unexpected beer at an Oktoberfest that I was happy to see. Never saw the "Spruce" labeling on the paper plate, but now I understand this beer more. Head hung out for a long time with a thick cocoa ring.

Smelled of pine, dark roasted malts, very light pumpkin pie spices, and coffee. Tasted of just that, nice chocolate and Coffee mixing with light pumpkin pie spices. There was a good body to it and it was mutedly earthy which I really enjoyed. There are not many pumpkin beers out there that remind you of the good earth without spices smacking you hard in the face .

Definitely recommended, this was my favorite beer the day I was drinking them.

 710 characters

Photo of Casey10
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer at a nice price point. Most of the flavors are in the background but they are there the pine spruce tips the pumpkin.

This is not like your typical pumpkin beer though very tasty a must try if you want something with a different type of stout style.

At $3.99 for a 22 oz bottle it is priced fairly exspecially when measured against other stouts and most may have none like this.

I rated the drinkability high as this is a smooth easy sipper and it would be easy to have another.


 518 characters

Photo of jonB
4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an opaque brown with a mocha head that dissipates somewhat quickly. The smell is sweet malts with hints of brown sugar and piney hops. The taste has plenty of malt, which gives it a full mouthfeel and finishes with subtle hoppiness. It finishes dry and even with no hint of alcohol. A very well balanced beer that is great to sip. Not at all what you would expect with pumpkin in the name, but a very nice surprise.

 430 characters

Photo of Magister_Beav
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

 1,937 characters

Photo of brokentee
4/5  rDev +12.7%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout from Rock Art Brewery
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 202 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.