Pumpkin Down | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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very good
103 Reviews
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Pumpkin DownPumpkin Down
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by DoubleJ on 10-31-2013

BEER STATS
Reviews:
103
Ratings:
450
Avg:
3.82
pDev:
19.63%
 
 
Wants:
33
Gots:
147
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 103 | Ratings: 450
Reviews by DoubleJ:
Photo of DoubleJ
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

On-tap at Ballast Point itself. This beer is a combination of their Piper Down Scottish Ale and pumpkin ale, so it should be an interesting tasting. On to the beer:

Ruby amber colored with an orange hue, topped with decent head retention and a few spots of lace. The aroma is pleasant and brings fall to the air. Pleasing pumpkin pie spices dominate the nose, including nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Initially, the tastes started off strong with a pleasant smokiness of the base beer. Pumpkin pie filling is next. Allspice. The pumpkin spices don't show much in the flavor of the beer as they did the aroma, which means I'm left with a Scottish ale with spices. The malt has a note of astringency and some squaw bread. Could be better I think. It's a medium bodied beer with an acceptable level of carbonation.

Decent stuff. A few aspects could be smoothed out, but on the other hand, I haven't tried Piper Down in its virgin form, so I wouldn't know what could and what couldn't be worked on.

 998 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of gibgink
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting and successfull take at a Scottish ale with pumpkins. The pumpkin flavor does not over take the Scottish ale aspect. Well made, but not sure if it the correct style to mix with pumpkins.

 202 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.

Look: The clear body has a dark red-brown color. Pours with a good tan head but this reduces to partial coat too quickly. Spotty lacing.

Aroma: Caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon with hints of vanilla and pumpkin pie spices. Enticing. Approaches 9.

Flavor: Toffee, molasses, spices, dark bread, dates and other dark fruits, and roasted grains. Cooked pumpkin emerges in the finish and aftertaste. Enough hop bitterness for good balance. Likewise for the spices. While the spice complement is clear in the aroma, upon tasting, its more subtle and does not overwhelm the malty flavor.

M: Medium bodied. Near medium carbonation. Inexplicable mild harshness.

O: This modified Piper Down Scottish ale is indeed an excellent choice for a seasonal pumpkin treatment. The Scottish ale is provides a solid, malty base for the pumpkin and spices, and differentiates this beer from less interesting or over-spiced alternatives.

 966 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. This is a clear dark red amber colored beer with a small off-white head. The aroma is a nice fresh blend of pumpkin and cinnamon. The flavor matches the aroma. An outstanding pumpkin ale.

 241 characters

Photo of chrishiker1409
4.16/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark brown copper. Poured with very little head which quickly recedes. Hardly any lacing.

S: Light scent of pumpkin.

T: Scotch ale with pumpkin. Some caramel, roasty notes with the pumpkin. Not much spices. Maybe some nutmeg.

F: Thin bodied and lightly carbonated. Goes down easy.

O: I'm about pumkinned out. So I'm glad this is one of the last ones of the year. It's different and it's well done.

 416 characters

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A nutty, and toasty tasting pumpkin beer. You taste pumpkin and a bit of spice, but definitely more on the brown ale side of things. A bit different for a pumpkin beer.

 170 characters

Photo of gshak
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This combination works!
Of all the beers that they could throw a pumpkin in, the scotch ale is clearly one of the better fits. The maltiness and low hop bitterness is a fantastic platform to showcase the spiciness and flavor brought on by the pumpkin.

 251 characters

Photo of ranger7
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From bottle to pint glass. Small white head rising from the bright orange/amber body; almost pumpkin in color which is kind of creepy. Says "pumpkin and spices" on the bottle, which I would say is accurate; exactly what it smells and tastes like. More the former than the latter, which suits me fine. One of the best pumpkin beers.

 331 characters

Photo of Urk1127
4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

-dark. Deep brown almost black
-sweet dry malts, tiny bit of toffee, nice fall spices, roasted pumpkin
-Sweet caramelized sugars, very nice pumpkin, dark fruits, roasted smoky malts
-A bit thin, but its nice its not super heavy, carbonation is light, dryness is perfect

-One of the best pumpkin beers ive ever had if not the best. Holy shit it was that good.

 360 characters

Photo of sjdevel
4.66/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look:
Pours a dark reddish brown that lets a little bit of light through. The head retention is decent with a 2-finger head of khaki colored foam.

Smell:
Strong smells of dark roasted caramel malts, chocolate, and toasted nuts. There is a slight fruit/vegetable note soon afterwards. There are also hints of spices.

Taste:
At first there is a blast of pumpkin, sweet caramel, and spices. A little evidence of bittering hops in there also. Once the spices die out, there is still an herbal, vegetable, and toffee flavor. This is s great dessert beer that's rich and sweet throughout. At the end, you are left with a smokey wood and roasted malt after taste.

Feel:
Full bodied and quite thick. Remains effervescent throughout and finishes sweet and syrupy.

Overall:
I really liked this one. It is unique in the sense that it is a Scottish Ale - Styled Pumpkin Beer. I prefer Darker Pumpkin beers like this one and Pumpkin Porters. Many Pumpkin Ales are brewed with too many spices and are too sweet. Many of these overly sweet Pumpkin beers taste fake and like there is just a flavored syrup added. I highly recommend this one if you are sick of the same 'ol pumpkin beers year after year!

 1,206 characters

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - Copper, with no clarity, head or lacing, or much carbonation

S - Big step up on the aroma. Lots of sweet malts, pumpkin, brown sugar

T - Slightly sweet scottish ale with hints of pumpkin and spices. Definitely not drowning in any specific flavor.

F - Medium carbonation and well balanced.

O - Definitely an enjoyable and drinkable fall brew.

 355 characters

Photo of beveragebattle
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Pumpkin Down Ale coming in at $1.67 per 12 oz. bottle with a 5.8% ABV.

Round 1-Value
Ballast Point @ $1.67 per 12 oz. bottle with a 5.8%

Round 2-Aroma
Ballast Point: Caramel and pumpkin

Round 3-Flavor
Ballast Point: Malted toffee and roasted pumpkin, with a caramel-y finish

Round 4-Finish
Ballast Point: 30 seconds

Round 5-Packaging
Ballast Point: On the Necker is Ballast Point’s quintessential sextet, with a Scottish skeleton in a kilt with a bagpipe falling on his face on the main label.

Ballast Point Pumpkin Down is a solid value and super-drinkable.

 583 characters

Photo of 911CROFT
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

355ml bottle into a Tulip. Paid £3.50 for a single bottle.

Pours a clear, dark, mahogany coloured body that turns to a bright crimson when held to the light. Despite a reasonable amount of visible carbonation, the thin, one-finger in height, off white head reduces quickly to a patchy film without leaving so much as a smidgen of lace on the glass.

The nose leads with mild aromas of roasted pumpkin and moderate amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Also noticeable, but less dominant are traces of sweet pie crust and caramel malt. The taste closely follows the nose. Earthy roast pumpkin and the accompaniment of warming spices slowly fade into light notes of caramel and toffee as the malty Scottish Ale underneath is revealed. In the mouth a light to medium body and modest carbonation start out reasonably crisp and smooth, drying out towards the finish to become lightly astringent, as a small amount of earthy, woody bitterness combines with lingering warming spices.

Overall this is a decent beer. The pumpkin and spices balance well together, and neither overshadow the Scottish Ale base. The aroma, however, isn't hugely inviting, the body is a little lacklustre, and the flavour needs just a little more complexity, intensity or sweetness. It’s worth a try as an interesting take on the style, but not worth seeking out especially to do so.

 1,362 characters

Photo of DrStiffington
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Good new beer. Very pumpkin flavored without being pumpkin pie flavored. Most pumpkin beers I've had have the pie taste, which I like, but this is a nice change of pace.

 171 characters

Photo of Tiernan
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Andnkuhn
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dandaugherty1221
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A dark red/brown color. Small tan head that retained.

Aroma of pumpkin spice (nutmeg, cinnamon) and graham cracker.

The taste followed the nose, but in a more diluted sense.

Overall OK

 187 characters

Photo of Werewoof
4.48/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am a sucker for a good pumpkin beer. I am also a huge, huge sucker for Scottish ales and wee heavies.

This beer is like the idyllic crossroads of the two. Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale is not. I could taste the difference from memory alone, and with one bottle, Ballast Point has replaced Schlafly's as my go-to guys for pumpkin beer. And I still love the latter.

The look, as far as the bottle goes, is great. A Scottish Skeleton pipe regiment in the middle of a disaster or slipfoot accident or something. I actually don't know what's going on, but it's lovely, and that's partly why I tried this beer without reading any reviews first. (I drank this straight from the bottle, as I do every beer. I have no word on the pour, but I'm sure it can be achieved.)

This beer smells like pumpkin beer, with hints of the obvious Scottish ale. If you like pumpkin beer, like I do, you will probably like smelling this. Maybe you'll put it in front of your vehicle's airvents and let it tantalize your appreciative nostrils, it's your call.

The taste is fantastic, I say more so than Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale. It has a malty, biscuity, undertone that reminds me of my favorite "standard" beer, Belhaven Scottish Ale. It does feel and taste much smoother than a Belhaven (perhaps, less of a "sharp" bite), and leaves the palate more satisfied in one sip. It goes without saying that the pumpkin taste is present here, though I would say it's less so than in a Schlafly's, probably because the folks at Ballast Point wanted to balance out the primary tastes at play here. Whatever combinations they threw in to make this is a hit on the nail's head.

I wish I would go out and get more, because I really like this beer, and I'm ready for this 80-100 degree weather to die to the season where things die. This beer introduces the warm, biscuity tones of a Scottish ale and the seasonal joy of pumpkin ale to each other. This beer is that lasting friendship.

9 / 10.

Put it in your mouth after you buy one.

 2,000 characters

Photo of warnerry
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of alarmclock314
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Doomcifer
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of JakerLou
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange-dark brown in color with 1/4 inch head and medium-low carbonation. Taste is very much a good pumpkin beer--cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, pumpkin, and heavy--brown sugary, malty backbone. Not sure I get much Scottish ale here, but this is a really good pumpkin beer. It drinks bigger than it is. This will be on the yearly must get pumpkin ales.

 356 characters

Photo of jamesmk48
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Pumpkin Down from Ballast Point Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 103 ratings.
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