Pumpkin Down | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Pumpkin DownPumpkin Down
Very Good
660 Ratings
Pumpkin DownPumpkin Down

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 660 |  Reviews: 157
Photo of Marraybay
2.3/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Interesting conceptually, but rather failed in its execution. The scotch ale portion alone was noticeably underwhelming. Perhaps a slight / subtle roasted pumpkin note in both the nose and taste, but desperately needs sweetness and more overall depth. Would not revisit.

 273 characters

Photo of CoryIanShafer
2.4/5  rDev -37%
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 tsgooch79
2.45/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of porters4life
2.53/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of microbrewlover
2.53/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep brownish-red color with a small white head which dissipates quickly. Little to no lace; some of the head remains as a collar.

The smell is mostly graham cracker with some pumpkin, anise, cinnamon and allspice however nothing is dominant nor overwhelming; there is nothing that makes me want to dive into this beer.

The taste is mostly graham cracker with a little pumpkin, anise, allspice and cinnamon but unfortunately, nothing really pops. There is some malt sweetness but I would have rather had a regular Scottish Ale than this. The feel is thin and the finish is kind of flat. This tries to be both a Scottish Ale and a Pumpkin Ale but falls short in both categories.

 687 characters

Photo of Gurliegirl86
2.54/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Scotty_Karate
2.57/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of hoppyhoppy
2.58/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of jsh420
2.59/5  rDev -32%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Photo of kinggimp
2.74/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Cotton_27
2.74/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.81/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a tawny, toasted amber body, fairly clear, with a very thin, fleeting, off-white head.

Smell: Spicy, lightly sweet-scented nose of toasted dark bread, brown sugar, maybe a hint of roast. Meager pumpkin with more of a dark fruitiness.

Taste: Darkish caramel and brown sugar atop a dark bready malt profile, though not all that much sweetness coming forward. Splash of black tea with cardamom and other such spices (a wee bit astringent). Slight pumpkin. Some dark fruitiness on hand. Medium bitterness. Drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Disappointing.

 679 characters

Photo of teromous
2.85/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Dark brown with hues of red that is very clear but only allows shadows through. The head is short, fluffy, and eggshell white. The head fades and doesn't leave much in the way of lacing.

Aroma: I get a decent amount of pumpkin pie spice, notably clove and cinnamon.

Taste: It has a pretty faint caramel flavor along with some slightly burnt pie crust with cinnamon.

Mouthfeel: It feels very light, a bit watered down and thin.

Overall: It's not a very impressive beer. This is a scottish ale from the start but it just has a weak body and doesn't have enough base-beer flavor. I won't pick it up again based off the bottle I bought. Pumpkin let-down is a better title.

 684 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.88/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

The nose of this hints at a typical pumpkin spice bomb - at first. Letting this open up will unfurl some of the caramel and brown sugar notes endemic of a Scottish ale. Some hints of toffee and earth also appear. Regardless, this isn't a very interesting aroma. And the taste is typical pumpkin ale - sweet gourd flavors at first transition into a slightly harsh cinnamon finish. The malt backbone seems well-attenuated, providing more in the way of pumpernickel bread and toffee flavors (rather than brown sugar and caramel ones), as well as a fairly dry finish. After quite a few sips, the pumpkin qualities evaporate for the most part, leaving a drinkable and light-feeling Scottish ale. My problem is how dull this one drinks. I'm glad BP didn't overdo the pumpkin, but they didn't have to underdo everything else about this one, either. A last resort beer at an otherwise craft-devoid location, and that's about it.

2.88/5: You don't have to get up anytime soon

 967 characters

Photo of Richardbeerlover
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of aztraz
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of ricknelson
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of mwckiltedsavage
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of sweemzander
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of mpenske
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Kuges
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of retry4z
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of bkwhoppa66
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of logicalparadox
3.01/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

An interesting take on a pumpkin beer, Ballast point brings us a scottish ale (their Piper Down) brewed with pumpkin and spice added. Me thinks that Ballast Point is trying to double down on a formula that's been working so well for them so far this year: seasonal modifications and additions to an existing brew in their line up as they did this summer with Grapefruit/Habanero Sculpin and just recently with "Calm Before the Storm", their Cream Ale version of their "Victory at Sea" porter.

I like the concept, but ultimately, Pumpkin Down suffers from the same problems besetting so many other pumpkin offerings. The spice is on the heavy side, the pumpkin itself subdued, and the base beer is one I'm not familiar with and which seems to me to get smothered beneath the weight of the adornments. I might want to give this another try before casting final judgement, but my initial response to this beer is that I'm not a fan.

Digresion (perhaps even a diatribe):
I've never really understood the reason that "pumpkin" beer always seems to equate to "pumpkin pie", rather than, say, roast pumpkin or pumpkin ravioli. I don't really love the classic American pumpkin pie any more than I love the classic American sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. I'd like to think we've come a long way from those unfortunate culinary legacies, but maybe not. In so many spice-forward pumpkins beers the nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove are too harsh and dominate the beer. While focusing on spice doesn't have to be a bad thing, I was excited by this beer in that I hoped it would take the pumpkin beer concept in a fresh direction. A scottish ale with just pumpkin, and maybe something else like a hint of oak to round it out, could have been a truer and more welcome change from the norms. But maybe this is a first step in the direction of breaking the October mold for the craft beer scene and getting back to the basics of the ingredient.

Just my take. End of rant.

 1,974 characters

Photo of Karibourgeois
3.06/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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Pumpkin Down from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 660 ratings