Pumpkin Down
Ballast Point Brewing Company

Pumpkin DownPumpkin Down
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Pumpkin Beer
Ranked #70
Ranked #21,157
3.83 | pDev: 9.66%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Pumpkin DownPumpkin Down
Notes: Some might think we’re out of our gourd for making a pumpkin ale, but our Pumpkin Down is not like the others. The caramel and toffee maltiness of our Piper Down Scottish ale is the perfect backdrop for a boatload of roasted pumpkin. Just before bottling, we add a subtle amount of spice to complement, but not overwhelm, the earthy flavor. It was a smash at the brewery, and we think you’ll agree.
Reviews: 160 | Ratings: 675 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GarrettB
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

September 23rd, 2015 - Very curious to see what Ballast Point can do with the national hunger for pumpkin, and at first blush it's one of the better pumpkin brews flooding shelves. The aroma has a somewhat generic profile with spice and canned pumpkin guts, but the flavor is big and bold. Imagine pumpkin pie with the custardy innards, but the slightly burnt crust on the edges, good and balanced and absent of off notes. The pumpkin flavor itself doesn't blend as well, unfortunately, and fails to match the attractive notes in the nose.

 539 characters

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

2015 vintage; drank 9/7/15 @ the Yarchives.

Brown/purple appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice khaki head which quickly dissipated; almost no lace.

Pumpkin & allspice notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Pumpkin flavor up front; dry cinnamon bite on the finish.

A slightly above average pumpkin brew, giving you the flavors advertised but little else.

 365 characters

Photo of CoryIanShafer
2.4/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Deep ruby copper, bordering on brown, lacy on the sides, little head, light tan, dissipates quickly, bloody brown color, smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, perhaps some allspice, pumpkin is present although not on the front, vegetable smell and taste, taste of raw pumpkin, some light, very light malt, way too bitter and hoppy, the bitterness ruins it. Haven't found a pumpkin beer done right yet

 392 characters

Photo of colts9016
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a pint glass at 45 degrees. The appearance of the beer is a one finger light tan beer with poor retention. The head diminished to a ring around the glass. The color of the beer is SRM 24 a beautiful ruby brown. The clarity of the beer is mostly opaque.

The initial aroma of that beer is pumpkin caramel, nutmeg, and toasted malt. Additional aromas are molasses, peat, earth, bread, and a touch of floral.

The first impression of the beer: a rich pumpkin, caramel, nutmeg, and toasted malt. Additional flavor is bread, a little peat, earth, floral, and citrus.

The mouthfeel of the beer is medium, the carbonation is medium, and this finish is medium.

Honestly, this beer is a letdown. For a scotch ale, I have had way better. Ballast Point is becoming a let down lately. Watermelon Dorado was complete garbage. Sculpin was great. How the hell does a brewery achieve both ends of the spectrum?

 914 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

9/10/17...dark caramel brown with almost no foa. Nutty bready pumpkin nose. Sweet. Soft vanilla nutmegged pumpkin flavor. Some earthiness balanced by sweetness. Light carbonation, almost like a bock. Just ok.

 208 characters

Photo of tone77
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty dark auburn color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of pumpkin, light sweetness. Taste is pumpkin, cinnamon, a bit of brown sugar. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer, with less spices than many pumpkin beers.

 284 characters

Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber in color, with a small tan head, which soon fades to a dusting of foam, with excellent rings about the glass walls.

Aroma: Lots of pumpkin spice and dark caramel dominate the aroma. Rather like pumpkin pie, even with crust aromas.

Taste: Opens with lots of dark caramel and pumpkin spice, and even pie crust. The pumpkin pie vibe is there from start to finish, The Scotch Ale plays well against the pumpkin pie, the spices complimenting the earthy notes quite well.At an ABV of 5.8%, the alcohol is not tasted, though there may be a slight warming sensation. There is no discernible hop presence at all. Finishes with a lingering wave of pumpkin pie spices.

Mouth feel: Very full and smooth, with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Really nice, very festive and drinkable.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown bottle, with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Sourcing: Purchased at World Market in Austin, Texas for $8.99 plus tax.

 1,017 characters

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

Despite only rating it 3.5 across the board... I liked this beer enough to go back for a second six pack. I like that it was not overpowering with spices. I found it easy to drink and smooth. I wasn't expecting much because I think they felt the need to join the Pop-Pumkin crowd, but it exceeded my expectations for what I invested. I would buy another six pack next year in the spirit of the season only.

 406 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-Scottish ale with pumpkin served in tulip.

A: Sandy khaki head is thin and quick to dissipate over a rustic orange colored body that appears more burgundy in the vessel. Effervesce is hard to pick up.

S: Scotchy-caramel and crystal malt sweetness. Some cinnamon, nutmeg spices along with pumpkin bread aroma. Strength is moderate with final scents of caramel syrup, toasted cereal grains and baked dough crust.

T: Flavor was sweet caramel and cinnamon spicing upfront. Pumpkin pie spicing, but kept well in check, without being obnoxious or intrusive. Spicing of nutmeg, toasted munich malt sweetness along with toasted apple peel. Some toffee and pie crust with a bit of cola and slight smoky caramel, and dry spicing occuring on the finish.

M: Edgy carbonation, spicy malt base, medium body depth, slighty slick in texture.

O: I liked how this was presented. The pumpkin spice was kept to a minimal in influence and it retained its natural scotch ale appeal. Good accents of the pumpkin blend well with the scotch ale flavor, and spicy sweet caramel malts.

 1,069 characters

Photo of Bombelsky
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper, clear. White foam, diminishing. Spare lacing. Aroma of chocolate brownie, some fruity esters. Medium sweet, malty bready flavor. Pumpkin notes. Medium hoppy flavor. Light body. Watery and slick. Dry finish, medium lasting.


 245 characters

Photo of BeerSexLove
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I went to a blind tasting of pumpkin beers and out of the five we tried I liked this one the most. I concluded I'm not a pumpkin beer fan. The clove overtakes everything for me.

 177 characters

Photo of Jenni4beer
4.48/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Okay...Here it is. My first review. Wow. I'm so excited.
Look, I'm not a major beer aficionado or super knowledgable, but I do like and drink several types of beers, and for all the pumpkin beers I've had - this one made me finally sign-up on this site. To me, this is a seasonal 'flavored' beer that can be enjoyed by both purists and those that enjoy the 'fruity/other' category of beers (my beer lingo no bueno - sorry).

Great on the nose. Maybe a tad thinner and/or less 'punchy' in the mouth than the nose would indicate, but I think that's a good thing. This is a very drinkable pumpkin beer and not overpowering like some can be (I didn't feel like I was sucking on my pumpkin pie spice shaker).
It still drinks and tastes like a nice fall season beer while it delivers a balanced amount of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkinny goodness.
....How'd I do on my new zoo review???

 883 characters

Photo of haines710
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decided to try a bottle and glad I didn't get more. This beer poured nice and looked good with a decent smell but the taste was very thin. When I drink pumpkin I want something with a little more character not a session beer. With so many other options in this category I won't be looking for more....I do love the IPAs from this brewery and will keep trying their stuff.

 373 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pumpkin Down has a thick, beige head, which fizzes away, quickly, a semi-translucent copper appearance, tight bubble streams, and lots of powdery sediment. No glass lacing. Aroma is of pumpkin pie spices and maybe some faint malt. Taste is of mild pumpkin pie spices, light malt, and a touch of background bitterness. Mouthfeel is rather thin, and Pumpkin Down finishes medium dry. RJT

 385 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brilliant amber color and a clear consistency. There was a half inch of off white, foamy head that lasted a below average amount of time. Not much lacing here.

S: A decent, if somewhat underwhelming, aroma of pumpkin, caramel, and some spices.

T: Tasted of a tinge of caramel and toffee (not nearly enough), a fair shot of pumpkin, a bit of malt, a hint of spices (cinnamon and nutmeg, mostly), and a lightly earthy quality. The flavor, like the aroma, is kind of underpowered. None of the ingredients - especially the spices make an impression. Not bad, but it needs a bit of everything.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a vibrant finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This beer is a little disappointing. Not the worst pumpkin ale out there, but far from the best.

 803 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with no date that I can ascertain. Sampled on October 8, 2017.

Attractive looking reddish-amber pour under a modest off-white head that fades.

The aroma brings out cinnamon, sweet toffee malts, and All Spice.

The body is medium-full and smooth.

The taste was a little bit of a letdown as I got a whole lot of cinnamon, a big bitter finish but little in the way of pumpkin. I also get nearly no peat moss, which I expect in a Scotch style.

 471 characters

Photo of ThrewRedButter
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L - Mahogany with a finger of yellowish head

S - Subtle pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Scotch base beer adds sweet malts.

T - Caramel malts are more prominent here, but base beer is hidden in the back. Pumpkin and squash are subtle, but muted.

F - Light/medium body. Calm feel. No alcohol.

O - Not offensive at all, but there's plenty of other pumpkin beers that deliver more on the promised flavor. It's OK.

 413 characters

Photo of Gajo74
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

With the Indian Summer seemingly coming to a close, October has brought on slightly chillier evenings. Time to pick out those Pumpkin Ales and Marzen. I chose a Scottish Ale/Pumpkin from the wonderful Ballast Point.
Pumpkin Down pours a dark amber and caramel brown color. A quickly dissipating head nevertheless yields a silky white film that retains all the way through.
The nose is dynamic as it goes through several phases. At first it is more cinnamon and nutmeg than pumpkin. Next, its malty backbone is unlocked with bready goodness, amber malt and mild caramel. As the malt aroma develops, so does the pumpkin concurrently. It is redolent of pumpkin pie crust.
Served cold it was rather clean at first. Medium bodied but with a rather thin mouthfeel not consistent with the aroma. However, as the drink warmed it truly began to catch up to the nose. Again, pumpkin was not so much the star of the show as much as the spices. There was even a nice ultra minimalist hops spice and bitterness in the finish. Relatively dry palate with a smooth malt base. Flavors of bread crust, caramel, light butterscotch, along with pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg create a nice hybrid of the Scottish and Pumpkin Ale styles.
I thought this was pretty tasty and a delightful early fall treat. I think it is slightly better than the average aging in here.

 1,347 characters

Photo of KomodoDragon
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Crystal clear burgundy pour - moderate head with wonderful lacing. Lots of bubbles.

Distinct pumpkin smell, little else. Toffee, nutmeg, spice. Sweetness- perhaps a bit too much, making it feel unfinished. Light feel to this. Hefty, overpowering carbonation.

What it lacks in density, this beer makes up in sensible restraint in flavors. The pumpkin pie smell and taste comes thru. A nice entrant in this crowded pumpkin field.

 435 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Though this brewer gets a lot of love, I haven't had much luck with them, until now...

This might be the most visually appealing pumpkin brew I have had. A dark copper-ish color that is slightly opaque. The smell sweet, a tiny bit hoppy, and of course it had a scent to pumpkins but very muted. Mouthfeel was quite a bit carbonated too much for my taste but not so much it took away from the overall experience. Solid taste of pumpkins, but again, muted. A decent pumpkin beer offering, I would pick from it again and certainly would share with friends.

 559 characters

Photo of Spikester
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown with three fingers of rapidly falling tan head. Nice splatters of lace as the head falls.
Smell is pumpkin spice and some sweet caramel like malts.
Taste sweet pumpkin pie spice with just a hint of hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is light with modest carbonation. The finish is mildly sweet.
Overall one of the better pumpkin beers around. Give it a try people.

 372 characters

Photo of Tim_G
4.14/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the best pumpkin beers I've had. I am not a huge pumpkin beer fan but if it has the right spice and flavor it can be great. Tasting this one made me want to try everything ballast point makes.

 201 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Ballast Point Brewing Co. "Pumpkin Down"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, coded "PK 34 17189 14:02" (whatever that means)
$2 @ Shop Rite, 2800 Fox St., Philadelphia, PA

Notes via stream of consciousness: "Scottish ale with pumpkin" - that sounds good. And it looks like a Scottish ale with a clear ruby & mahogany body beneath a short head of creamy khaki colored foam. The aroma isn't too pumpkin-spicey but there's a hint of it. I get dark sugar and a bit of cinnamon. Unfortunately the head has dwindled before my eyes and now I have only a thin collar of creamy lace. That's not good, and the lacing doesn't seem like it will be that great either. The flavor follows the aroma with a very nice dark sugar maltiness; and I'm finding it to be a fairly low-key pumpkin-spice ale. But does the spice do anything for the base ale? Does the base ale do anything for the spice? I'm not sure, but it occurred to me that if this was not listed as a "pumpkin" beer I might find it to be a good spiced ale in and of itself. There's a light fruitiness to it that I can't quite pinpoint, and some underlying almost-chocolate and very light roasted malts. It's a decent Scottish ale with some pumpkin spices, and it's a refreshing change from over-spiced pumpkin ales but there's nothing great about it, and the lack of head retention and lacing is disappointing. Otherwise it's pretty nice. Medium-light in body and moderately carbed for a gentle caress on the tongue. Moderately bitter with a semi-dry finish that leaves some dark sugary malt and cinnamon and earthiness lingering. It's interesting and enjoyable in and of itself, but I think the "pumpkin" tag can be distracting; and at the same time I think the Scottish ale underneath is probably better on it's own without the added spice.

 1,785 characters

Photo of Ob512316
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle into beer glass.
Look: dark brown with no head.
Smell: Pumpkin, cinnamon, and some malt.
Taste: light pumpkin and cinnamon notes, followed by toffee, caramel. No hop presence.
Feel: Average, middle of the road.
Overall: was expecting more pumpkin taste, the sweetness threw me off. Then again it is based off of a scottish style beer. Strange combination. Recommend for people first trying pumpkin beer.

 422 characters

Photo of bbtkd
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Pumpkin Down, 5.8% ABV, 22 IBU. Pours medium viscosity and dark brown with a slight off-white head that left no lacing. Nose is pumpkin and maltiness, taste follows with some spice, some pumpkiny sweetness, almost no bitterness. Decent moutfeel, overall excellent. One of the better pumpkin beers I've had, like that it's based on their scottish ale.

 368 characters

Pumpkin Down from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 675 ratings