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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 660 |  Reviews: 157
Photo of kell50
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Budlum
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This pours with a clear reddish brown body, I'd say mahogany, with a tan head that disappears within a few seconds. The nose is excellent watm spicy pumpkin pie with a balanced presence of clove. The flavors speak to pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, slight vanilla, but not much that reminds me of a scotch ale. The sweetness is well balances, but I expected a bit more depth. The feel is pleasantly spicy and viscous, but still finishes clean. This is certainly a pumpkin ale that lives up to Ballast Point standards.

 519 characters

Photo of j0hnc2468
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of atrocity
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Cobratrooper
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of SteveB3014
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of teraflx
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer marries two styles that I love and it seems to make perfect sense. Now lets see if it worked out flavor wise.

A thick creamy pillow of toasted tan head reaches two inches. Head fades quickly and turns quite rocky and leaves claws of lace behind. Body is a deep mahogany brown and has hints of ruby red that when held to light. Nose hits almost exactly as expected with tones of big malt, dark fruits and a bit of pumpkin bread. When you take first sip you quickly see that this is a very sweet beer as many scotch ales are. You get a nice level of depth with this one with the addition of the pumpkin spice. It is very bready and dry on the backside of the palate and that adds a solid element of balance to this beer. This is a very enjoyable brew that will cut through the fall chill nicely.

 812 characters

Photo of willardt09
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a copper red, with nice clarity and a solid head. Even in my favorite tulip, the nice is a bit underwhelming, with some spices coming through and slight toffee. The taste is much better, with a slight cinnamon, stronger ginger taste upfront, followed by slight cloves, some pumpkin meat, and a nice toffee wave before a mix of spices and toffee stay on the palate for the finish. Feel is a bit watered down to me, nice light carbonation seems to fit the beer well though. I think a little more malt, and a little more pumpkin, with the same amount of spices, would do wonders for this beer.

 596 characters

Photo of DrMindbender
4.23/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheWiltChamberlainofipas
3.51/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Very ginger cinnamon forward pumpkin beer to me a bit to much spice with a residual bitterness where I feel there should be a sweetness a little lactose sugar would be nice in this. Still a good beer if you like pumpkin beers give it a try.

 240 characters

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +5%
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 baklo
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Dirtydee5
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of TCMike
4.14/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of justintcoons
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pub-style pint glass.

Reddish copper with 1 plus finger of tan head. Excellent clarity with light carbonation.

Caramel, toffee, slight pumpkin meat, and slight pumpkin spices.

Firm caramel and toffee backbone. Only has the lightest touch of pumpkin meat and spices. Finishes with hints of earth and smoke.

Medium-light bodied, crisp, creamy, and semi-silky.

This is a Scotch Ale first and foremost. It only has the slightest bit of Pumpkin Ale characteristics. Overall, it's simple and effective and makes for a good Scotch Ale.

 600 characters

Photo of Cycle69
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pumpkin Down pours a dark copper color with a small lacing head. There is a mellow and pretty weak pumpkin aroma. The taste has a nice sharp malty backbone, with noticeable hints of fresh pumpkin. Good body and good flavors. Overall its a very solid pumpkin on a very good base.

 281 characters

Photo of sgregory
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Duff27
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 South2NW
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JohnnyB
4.24/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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