Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale | Buffalo Bill's Brewery

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Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin AleBuffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale
1,201 Ratings
Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin AleBuffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Buffalo Bill's Brewery
California, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-01-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,201 |  Reviews: 639
Photo of byrd
1.76/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I’ve got to admit; sometimes I have a sweet tooth when it comes to beer. I saw this beer in a local store, and after reading some of the reviews for Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale, I thought it would be real treat of pumpkin pie in a bottle. Instead I felt as though I was drinking a watered down lager that had some spice thrown in as an afterthought. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed.

The beer poured with a small head that dissipated very quickly to a thin ring around the glass and a couple lace spots on top. The color was a nice clear orange-amber. Aroma was primarily of spices, but seems a bit off to me. There are some faint hints of hops in the nose. There may be some malt in the aroma as well, but it was pretty well hidden by the spice. This held true for the taste as well. Tastes of spice – cinnamon and nutmeg – were noticeable more then any malt or pumpkin flavor, but over all the beer was rather bland with a fairly light and a somewhat watery mouthfeel. As with the aroma, the taste seems a bit off. I can't quite figure it, but the flavors just don't meld well with one another. Carbonation was moderate, and there were hints of hops in the finish.

Some have said that this beer is too sweet and even cloying. Didn’t seem to be in this case. Maybe it has changed a bit this season? It was more like a cheap spice candle to me then a pumpkin ale. The store I bought this from only sold it in six packs. Now I’ve got to figure out what to do with the other five...

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Photo of moulefrite
3.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I enjoy trying this beer each season. This year the beer pours an amber orange kind of pumpkinesc color. Little head and minimal at best stick. Aromas are all pumkin pie spice and even some fresh pumpkin way in the background. The flavors are all pumpkin pie spice as well. A little malt adds an all most pie crust complexity to the total package. This is not a sweet spicy over the top brew, instead, a fun beer that is worth grabbing to usher in the season, and perhaps a super choice to match with your warm punkin pie.

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Photo of kgmurphy13
3.37/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice golden-orange hue with an admirable head that recedes to a comfortable film by the glass's end.

Smell: Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and far off in the distance is the pumpkin.

Taste: Good carbonation, but the flavors (i.e. spices and bit of pumpkin) don't make there present until the finish.

Mouthfeel: Was hoping for a bit more body.

Drinkability: The best part of this beer is that you could definitely sit back and pound a few of these without it getting to you.

Overall: A good brew, but in my opinion it can hold a candle to Post Road Pumpkin Ale.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.52/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a copper orange color and pours with a cream colored thin head. It smells strongly of pie spices, strong nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice aromas. Quite a dry beer, not much sweetness at all. The spices in the beer are mostly evident as an aroma as one is tasting, though they also come through a bit in the finish. A fairly light beer, which is basically a vehicle for the pumpkin pie spices. The spices seem to add a bit of astringency in the finish.

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Photo of Mustard
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. brown bottle; no "bottled on" or "best before" warning; purchased as a stray single for $1.39 from the West LA Whole Foods on National and Barrington.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, orange-tinged gold; fine, two-fingered head; not much in the way of lacing; fairly good head retention.

Aroma: Predominantly of pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon; faint hints of orange and grapefruit.

Taste: Lightly sweet with a mild hop bitterness in the finish; primary flavor characteristics are of pumpkin, grain, nutmeg and cinnamon. Poorly carbonated; thin bodied with a sallow, watery mouthfeel.

Notes: Will happily seek this out as a Thanksgiving seasonal. Not for everyone, though.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ok saw this in my local grocer bought one 12 ozer in the brown bottle says on the label "Brewed and Bottled by Portland Brewing Co., Portland ,Oregon".
Nice enough beer to look at..a darkish orange colour witha medium sized pure white frothy head.
A beer with a most strong aroma of pumpkin pie thats highly spiced..I liked it.
Taste is a big let down after the tremendous aroma..very weak and with a strange astringency at the back of the tongue.
Very watery and somehow over carbonated mouthfeel.
Pretty easy to drink but a severe dissapointment after the great aromas.

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Photo of Quaffer
2.29/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: This beer was copper colored with a slight orange glow to it. A fizzy, off-white head rose up to two fingers, but disappeared very quickly. An extremely heavy bead helped to sustain a thin cap of foam on top of the beer for most of the drink. There was no lacing at all.

Smell: Surprising, the aromas that I expected to dominate this brew were very subdued. There were slight hints of nutmeg, ginger, and pumpkin pie. The main component of the nose, however, was an odd, cola-like aroma. Remember that candy that you had as a kid called Bottle Caps, that was shaped like a bottle cap and tasted like different kinds of soda? Well, that is exactly what this smelled like: a cola-flavored Bottle Cap.

Mouthfeel: Extremely thin-bodied but smooth, with just a hint of tingle on the tongue.

Taste: The background flavor was that of a weak American lager. This was just the foundation for the other flavors, though. True to the smell, the overriding flavor was cola. And not good cola, like Coke or Pepsi. It was like that cheap generic crap my Mom used to always buy for 12 for a dollar. The spice and pumpkin were also present, especially on the finish, but they were minor components of the flavor.

Somehow, I was able to finish this beer. But I think it was only because it brought back memories of the cheap-ass cola and Bottle Cap candy of my childhood. As a beer, this offering just sucks.

WTF are they thinking?

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Photo of beerguy101
3.06/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium gold color, medium head. Pumpkin and spicy aroma. A mild tasting ale, flavored with pumpkin, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. The malts and spices clash a little, but combine for a rather interesting taste. Would not want to drink a lot of this beer, but one once in a while would be OK. Mouthfeel is full and a little flat. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is a little sweet and spicy.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
2.67/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Spicy nose, cinnamon and cloves wafting up throughout the tasting experience, like drinking a pumpkin pie. Other than that, I found very little traditional brew tastes (hops, yeast, malt) that came through. Very much a dessert beer. Not wholly unpleasant, but not what I would describe as "beer."

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Photo of maxpower
3.03/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear bright amber-orange color, aroma of cinnamon and pumpkin. Pumpkin , ginger and cinnamon flavors, very spicy. Light body with a watery mouthfeel, has a nice malt balance, this is not bad and very different.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.36/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The strong aroma of pumpkin and ginger was really promising on this one, but the flavor really didn't deliver. With a little more pumkpin flavor and a little less carbonation I think it would have been a "must-buy" every year around Halloween. As it stands though it was like a lot of fruit beers I have tried where the bark was better than the bite. I am going to try to hunt down a Pumpkin Stout!

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Photo of Morris729
1.95/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a golden orange color with a light and foamy white head. Nose is of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Feels very thin and watery in the mouth with a taste that reminds me a lot of a shot of Goldschlager dumped into a glass of water. I’m sure that there must be better Pumpkin brews out there.

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Photo of BitteBier
2.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours mostly clear with an orangish hue between apricot and pumpkin. Head is minimal, though fed by light, persistent carbonation. Smell is that of pumpkin pie spices such as cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. Taste is rather monotonous, particularly considering the lively sell. Pie spices again dominate, along with a sweetness that subdues any crispness. Mouthfeel is fine; drinkability is limited by the fact that this seems little more than a novelty beer rather than something I generally would reach for.

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Photo of mjohn27603
2.32/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I don't think this style is the favorite for many. However, it usually only offered during a limited time of the year. I usually get it just to be different. This particular pumpkin ale has a lot of cinnamon taste - kinda like a red hot candy. I've had half a six pack sitting around for 4-6 weeks just because I haven't been inclined to drink any more. I think this is less appealing than an average beer. I would seek out another beer of the pumpkin ale variety if looking for this style.

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Photo of John
2.91/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber appearance, minimal head. Not much nose for a seasonal spiced brew. Some mild flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon. Other would be flavor contributors (malt, hops, etc.) are rather bland. Thin mouthfeel. Relatively dry finish. Not bad to try once, but not one I'd go back to.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 version:
LIttle to no carbonation. Spicy MEDICINAL and almost plastic aroma and flavor. light bodied and hard to drink ...

Nothing like it was a few years ago....

Tasted: 12/03/04


2002 version (old ratings: A 4.0, S 5.0, T 4.5, M 4.0, D 5.0, O 4.5):
Great Orange color with a low lying head but nice carbonation. Big Cinnamon and Nutmeg SPICY aroma a la pumpkin pie. A great SPICY flavor (almost too spicy if possible) on top of the light body make this easily drinkable. Delicious ! I can't drink just one !

Note: this beer was #43 in Stuart Kallen's "The 50 Greatest Beers in the World"

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Photo of Mick
3.09/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice deep orange amber color. Perfect tones for fall. The beer pours with a better than average head. Nice aroma, spicy pumpkin scents. Clean and airy. Spicy and pumpkin flavors are all that is available to the taste. Not much beyond that. This is not a complex brew. It is an average beer. Take it or leave it.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.65/5  rDev +56%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

All the bad reviews made me sign up just to write an opposing view! I had a 2001 edition of this beer, thought it was outstanding. Got about a half dozen converts inside of a week. I'm not real big on colors, the orangey appearance is neither here nor there. The aroma made me expect a sweeter taste, but happily, you don't get that. However, there's not the pumpkin flavor I was expecting, either. Here's the deal: If you like cinnamon, and you like beer, this is for you. Don't buy the 6-pack if it's un-refrigerated. I could see the spices breaking down in a very short period of time at room temperature.

If you are the type that has to psychoanalyze a beer for every component/ingredient it contains, you may be disappointed. I don't think that's what Buffalo Bill's Brewing intends for this beer. Just drink it, let the fall/holiday memories take you away, smells in the kitchen, the turning of the leaves, childhood Christmas remembrances mingles with the present. This beer was an experience as much as a flavor.

And I promise future reviews won't be so corny. Really. :-)

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Photo of Murph
3.68/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange color with a decent white head that leaves a nice lace down the glass. Incredible spicy pumpkin pie aroma that is spot on what a pie should smell like. Quick crisp malt flavors jump out at first before the pumkin flavors come out. As the beer progresses it is like drinking pumpkin pie. Great spicy and pumpkin flavors. Rather crisp and not as cloying as you would think with the sweet pumpkin pie tastes. This is definitely a rather drinkable brew that, seems to me, is only slightly overdone on the pumpkin flavors.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a nice almost pumpkin-orange color with a thin white head. Lacing is quite decent.

Aroma: The aroma is pumpkin pie spice-like, but also with an odd almost medicinal herbal scent in the background. There are also pronounced notes of pink bubblegum, and of sassafras.

Taste: Tasting yields a slightly sour or tangy malt flavor overlaid with fairly strong, though not overwhelming, pumpkin pie spices, notably cinnamon and ginger. As with the aroma, pink bubblegum and sassafras present also. These flavors linger into the aftertaste and become more distinct.

Mouth feel: A bit thin and soda-like.

Drinkability/notes: An interesting, off-the-beaten-path example of a pumpkin beer with its own unique characteristics. All in all, if you like pumpkin pie or pumpkin ale, this is worth a try.

Presentation: packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass long neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Jordan
2.28/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Artificial cinnamon/nutmeg aromas and flavor. Soda-like peppery & prickly abrasiveness on the tongue. Head-less shortly after pour. Had this last year and it was enjoyed, maybe I was too new at tasting, maybe it was actually a superior brew, probably both. I am not fond of Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale.

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Photo of bditty187
3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear tawny-beige hue, active white head that formed well, fades at a steady pace to a soapy collar. No lace. I could, surprisingly, smell the pumpkin in the nose but it is dominated by spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and some all encompassing spiciness. The sharpness of the bouquet is intriguing, maybe even inviting in a Curious George-type of way. Well, the palate is not as flavorful as I’d hoped, the pumpkin tastes like it came from a can. “Spices Added” is the governing feature on the tongue. More pumpkin and more malt would be ideal. This is not a bad beer; it might be the most widely available pumpkin beer in the United States. It does remind me of fall and that’s nice. The carbonation is firm, medium-light body, okay mouthfeel. The aftertaste is cinnamon; it sticks to your lips. It is more drinkable that you might think… worth quaffing one bottle of this a year.

I’ve seen these going for $10 a 6-pack, way overpriced! I snagged a single for $1.75 in Omaha.

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Photo of zerk
3.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Light amber / peach with a thin head. Highly carbonated, somewhat thin. Aroma of malt and pumpkin pie. Flavor of malt, quite a bit of pumpkin and spice, finishing with a touch of hops bitterness. This wasn't as disappointing as I expected, after having read so many negative reviews on here. Maybe that's because it's the first pumpkin beer I've had, so I'm not sure how it stacks up against others. This wasn't a great beer... or even one that I'll see out again however. Also not something that I could drink more than one of.

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Photo of marc77
2.66/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Light amber hue w/ a slight haze. The ivory white large bubbled head settles into a dense, 1/2 cm. head. Respectable lace is left down the glass. The assertive, borderline cloying pumpkin pie spice aroma comprised of cinnamon and nutmeg initially overpowers malt notes, but trace buttery malt and light caramel becomes discernible as the beer breathes. The initial flavor mirrors the aroma and is dominated by cinnamon, but mellow allspice and clove surface and provide some depth in flavor. Malt nuances are completely overpowered by the assertive spicing, but malt backbone makes its presence known in the relative full body for style and smooth mouthfeel. The paltry hop bitterness serves only to offset malt sweetness. Finishes w/ a snap of turpentine like sweetness and light breadiness fading quickly. Although Bill's Pumpkin Ale grew on me as I drank it, it still suffers from the plague of most spiced beers... the malt profile was overshadowed.

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Photo of Suds
2.85/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This beer pours a cloudy, light-orange color with a puffy white head. Head fades quickly, and produces no lace. Smell is unquestionably pumpkin, but also fruit-like (seemed to smell apricots?). Soft, full mouthfeel. Foretaste is sweet. There are some spice tastes that seem to confuse the overall pumpkin character of the beer. Could have been better, but I always seem to recall pumpkin beer (almost all pumpkin beer) tasting better the previous year....

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Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery
Beer rating: 2.98 out of 5 with 1,201 ratings