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

638 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 638 | Ratings: 1,192
Photo of Mitchster
3.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out to a clear light caramel with orange accents, forming a modest white head which quickly recedes, leaving minimal sheets of lace behind. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is intense and rich with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and anise, and yes...pumpkin that you can actually smell, unlike most other pumpkin ales. Forget about hops and malts here...it's all about the spice. Mouthfeel is bright then mild with a surprisingly light body. Hrmmm, very interesting taste going on here. Up front, lots of spice aromatics, followed by a very nice condensed milk/pumpkin thing going on in the middle, then a tinch of pale malts and actual "beer taste" towards the finish. Despite the intense aromas, the spices are nicely balanced and don't overwhelm the palate. You start with pumpkin pie and end up with beer in your mouth. Nice twist and a delicate balancing act expertly pulled off. Bitterness is mild. Cleanly fermented with no appreciable off-flavors. Alcohol is imperceptible. Clean finish. I could actually see myself putting back a few of these in a sitting...a difficult thing to pull off in this category.

An expert pumpkin ale. Everything is in balance here, and you get the effect of both Pumpkin Pie and Beer. I wonder if these guys are using oils instead of raw spices, because the flavor is not overwhelming as is the case in so many other beers of this ilk. The best of pumpkin ales I've tried so far. Maybe "Buffalo Bill" could go the way of "Crazy Ed" and put a pumpkin seed in the bottle?! Hehe.
L=3.5, A=4.5, T=4. MF=4, O=4

-Updated review 10/12-Wow, what a difference a few years make. Looking at my original review, a world of difference! Very restrained, completely muted, nearly nonexistent spices..I smell more Cali Ale yeast character than anything else. Pumpkin flavor is muted as well. Little to no spice, but a nice authentic caramelized pumpkin flavor with a hint of biscuit malt or toast character. Bitterness is mild, which is fine. Nicely balanced, but this is hardly a pumpkin ale..this is an amber ale plain and simple. Re-rated to this most recent review.

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Photo of Furball
4.59/5  rDev +56.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Pumpkin Ale is one of the best I've had. The first impression was that it smelled and even tasted like dirt, which isn't a bad thing for me. The color is medium orange with a light head... light yet airy and foamy.
The smell is of nutmeg, cinnamon, and of course, some pumpkin. It has a fresh, earthy smell that can only be described as dirt. It's not at all like eating pie... think more of a roated pumpkin with browned butter. The taste is just like the smell... fresh yet earthy... dirty. I wouldn't describe it as chewy at all because this is still a lighter beer. There's a slight sharpness yet an underlying sweetness/spice. Definetly a very drinkable beer. I would say it's great with a rubbed, grilled pork loin for a fall grill....

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Photo of allengarvin
4.19/5  rDev +42.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: A clear copper-orange flavor with small head of foam.

Aroma: Very nice pumpkin-pie aroma, cinnamon spiciness.

Taste: Lots of cinnamon and allspice flavors, with some malt. Pumpkin flavor is only lightly present (judging by non-spiced pumpkin homebrew's I've had). Hops not evident at all, but the spices balance out the sweetness well. A little watery at the end. Dry finish.

This is my favorite of the Buffalo Bill beers, and one I look forward to every fall. It tastes just like pumpkin pie. It's not for everyone, but it's quite unique.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.47/5  rDev +18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first spice beer of the season. Not as explosive as my first sip of Holiday Spice, but not a bad intro to the season ahead. Pretty decent amber color, but not much of a head. The smell was actually pretty well balanced and not too strong, but it was pretty one-dimensional. The taste is actually very smooth and the pumpkin and nutmeg definately make an appearance. Spice beers have so much potential when brewed correctly and this one was just not anything more than average. On a side note, I used this beer and Mendocino's Eye of the Hawk as an intro to a macro swilling friend. He enjoyed both very much and looks forward to more samplings! Hopefully another BA in the making!

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.54/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The look is a clean yellow/orange/gold...all the colors of the fall (minus brown and red...ok, so not all). Has a nice bubbly head.

Smell is probably the best part. It has some natural pumpkin odors in there and many of the spices of a pumpkin pie (cloves, ginger, cinnamon).

The taste is a very mild presentation of all the flavors mentioned in the smell. It really is delicious, but a little watered down. I think if the body taste were more full this beer would be a must have. As it stands now, its still a must try.

Goes great with sweat potato salad.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
1.9/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

This was a nice deep yellow brew with a short fluffy head.

There were hints of cinnamon and nutmeg in the nose, amidst the maltiness. Not a lot of hop leanings.

The taste was of nutmeg, followed by the pumpkin. Unfortunately, it seemed cloyingly slimy, covering the tongue and basically making me want to pour it out. Which I reluctantly did. I hate wasting beer like that, but there was no way I could bring myself to take another sip of this one.

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Photo of Zorro
3.95/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one is a hazy orange/red brew.

This has a pleasant pumpkin pie spice aroma. I can't really smell any pumpkin, but there is a nice malt and caramel smell.

The taste is very much like pumpkin pie. The spices come out very nicely with just a hint of caramelized sugar. Surprisingly this beer isn't really sweet.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkable, but this is a specialty brew.

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Photo of ChimayMayDay
4.14/5  rDev +40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pumpkin Pie in a bottle. I like pumpkin pie. I like this beer. If I could drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottle, I would. The look and feel are not much different than others of its style. The fun is in the spices: nutmeg and some cinnamon. Pretty crisp taste overall. A good choice for after dinner in October.

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Photo of Boto
3.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle: This poured an amber color. It is clear, with maybe a hint of orange to it. There is a fizzy head that dissapates almost instantly. Not getting any lacing from the beer. It definitely smells like a pumpkin pie. The flavor is malty, with a good hit of pumpkin pie spiciness. Fairly crisp and dry taste. I remember this being better years ago, but then it wasn't being contract brewed.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.3/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dull dark orange color with a thin puffy off-white head that departs fairly quickly, leaves minimal spotty lace. Aroma is much like a sweet pumpkin pie, with spicy cinnamon, vanilla, some baked roastyness and is pleasant to the nose. Well the taste is about what I was expecting, kinda mild of pumpkin flavors with many hints of cinnamon spices, some light roastyness and sweetness of vanilla and molasses but is very short lived altogether, hardly makes a nudge on the palate. Feel is a bit thin, watery in some notions with hollow areas and some small carbonation texture. Not something I'd keep around or go back to again, but was hard to pass up the bomber at .99$ on sale.

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Photo of jahred
3.29/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

For some reason, I see this stuff everywhere in Chicago come autumn. Pours an orange brown color with a very thin head, and smells like pumpkin pie and nutmeg. So far so good.

At first it tastes like pumpkin pie. And then ... nothing else. I waited, and let it warm up a bit, and still got only pumpkin pie. The mouthfeel is rather disappointing, as the beer is incredibly watery and the pumpkin starts to get tiring after awhile.

Not terrible, but really only worth drinking 1 before it gets boring.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.96/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Medium orange-amber with a soft white head that quickly dissipates to near nothing and leaves minimal lace. The beer smells like freshly baked pumpkin pie (fragrant allspice and baked pumpkin). It's a wonderful aroma that holds great promise. Too bad the taste doesn't measure up to the nose.

The flavors are, again, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices, but the beer is too sweet. There's also something mildly unpleasant in the finish that I can't identify. The mouthfeel strikes me as unsupported and verging on watery.

At least the label is nice and festive. It put me in the mood for a good autumn brew. The smell is enjoyable, but beer is made for drinking. Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale doesn't quite make the grade.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.3/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Head is off-white, beer is clear red/amber. The smell is 100% pumpkin pie spice. Nothing else. Cinnamon dominates the front. It tastes like those red hot candies. Or the cinnamon-flavored toothpicks we used to chew on. Some caramel tries to break through in the middle. Maybe some fruit. There's a little bit of hop bitterness in the finish and some nice grains in the aftertaste with temperature. But really, there's just one flavor: pumpkin pie spice heavy on the cinnamon. Still drinkable, though, and I've definitely had worse spice beers.

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Photo of ZAP
2.39/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Two things jump out at me....excellent nose...horrible mouthfeel....

Pours a hazy orange...off-white head....big pumpkin pie like smell...the aroma is awesome...first sip and I can tell something is bad..very bad...feels like a light beer does in the mouth....thin...watery....the flavors don't come close to the smell but there is some pumpkin pie like notes....

Overall I wouldn't drink this again....I'd smell it again for sure though....if you want to buy it just to smell I guess I'd advocate that but if you are going to put the glass to your lips I'd stay away....Not impressive at all except for the smell...

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.52/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've always been fond of this particular brew, and have looked forward to it every fall. What's not to love about an ale style once homebrewed by George Washington?
Appearance: bright, burnished orange, looking like an autumn leaf,with a head that's slim, short, soon to depart.
Aroma: all yum, the very distillation of a fresh-baked pumpkin pie, scintillatingly spicy, vibrant, richly delicious and roasty.
Taste: nice, tasty texture, some small hoppiness, then fading....nice mouthfeel, swimming about the cavern of the senses, lip-smackingly tasty. Body is light to medium, but the flavor dominates and hides any thin-ness....for a while. Nicely spicey, though not too meaty.
It's a cute novelty, not as fantastic as I remember, but a nice treat once a year.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.22/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Aroma: Nutmeg, cinnamon, and some apple smells
Appearance: Clear orange (what did you expect?) with a minor off white head.
Flavor: The spices are very pronounced. Overall a light malt sweetness bases the taste, and the pumpkin really kicks in during the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Very effervescent. Light, close to watery body.
Overall Impression: I’m not a pumpkin fan, so I was a little worried. The taste doesn’t blow me away, but I’m not repulsed (high praise, I know). Great smell, great color, the spices are nice, but somehow I think this needs a little more beer base for me to be happy. This seems like a pumpkin spritzer.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.11/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sickingly sweet is my first and foremost thought about this beer. Way to sweet to be a beer. It poured a medium sized ivory head with fine-large sized bubbles that quickly diminished. The nose was pumpkin pie, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. The flavor was sweet, malty and of course, pumpkin. It had a smooth mouthfeel along with a thin and watery texture and it was light bodied. The lacing was sparse. Another rating down the tubes of a beer that I absolutely did not enjoy one bit.

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Photo of Dubblebock
4.04/5  rDev +37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Might just have been the fact that the season had turned cloudy and cool and my family and I were carving the jack-o-lanterns when I sampled this beer, but all things considered, this was a pretty good slice of pumpkin ale. Nice packaging, with a fat pumpkin on the label and fall colors dominating.

Looked very good as it poured. Orangish to slightly amber in color, the head was thin and faded away quickly.

The smell was spicy and fresh, cinnamon and allspice scents coming through loud and clear. VERY fragrant nose, almost like when Mom opens up the oven to check the pumpkin pie to see if it's done...

Taste was spicy, a little bit of pumpkin and a lot of cinnamon. Not at all bad, though. Unlike a lot of spiced ales, this one was not overwhelmed by the spices. I still got a lot of malt flavor, especially on the aftertaste. It struck a good balance between the spices and the beer.

Mouthfeel was average to slightly above. Very drinkable ale, and especially enjoyable on a cool, rainy day...maybe a nice piece of carrot cake to go with it. I need to get a sixer and save it for Thanksgiving.

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Photo of Dmann
2.27/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This one should just be a cinnamon beer. It poured a copper color with a small fizzy white head that did not last long at all. The first thing I could smell was the cinnamon and that's pretty much all I could detect. The taste definantly reflected the smell and was dominated by cinamon flavors with just a touch of malt flavour in the background. The thing that put me off was that there was not much "beer" flavour at all and it seemed like I was drinking something overly sweet. Will not be drinking this one again.

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Photo of winomark
2.68/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Deep copper color with a tiny head.

Aroma: All spice, with cinnamon dominant. Smells like a "Yankee" candle.

Taste: Bitter cinnamon up front, with clove and nutmeg in the back. Not much pumpkin flavors present. Can you say "Red Hots"?

Mouthfeel: Thin, but has flavor. Tannic in the finish, with the spices dominating throughout.

Drinkability: Needs some pumpkin flavors for me. Too much cinnamon. Won't be trying this one again.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.97/5  rDev +35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazey orangish brown in color with minimal off-white head that quickly faded.
Pleasing aroma is very spicey. Nutmeg and cinnamon come to mind. Sweet malty backbone under the spices. Scent comes off as a cross between heavily spiced hot apple cider and pumpkin pie.

Taste follows the smell. Heavily spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet malt backbone supporting the spice. Again, somewhere between spicey hot apple cider and pumpkin pie. Decent balance, but the sweetness and spice do linger a bit.

Good mouthfeel.
I really enjoyed drinking this one, but I don't think I could drink more than a couple before the heavy spice and sweetness would turn me off. My first tasting of a pumpkin ale has me eager to search out whatever others are available around here.

Overall, a solid spiced beer.
Thanks to Blatzman and AKSmokedPorter for the sample.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 ouncer, just like the BA Database picture. Cost me $1.79. The black, orange and green bottle label has a very Halloween feel, which even extends to the pumpkin orange crown cap. One point of interest was the fact that this beer was Brewed & Bottled by Portland Brewing Co., Portland, OR. I wondered if Buffalo Bill’s, CA is just a Beer Marketing Company that has its beers contract brewed?

Appearance: A very lucid amber body that has a distinctive pumpkin orange hue. Thin dirty white head clings to the beer at first – but eventually breaks up to reveal a mass of variable sized bubbles at the edges with a thin broken covering in the middle which still has a very thin head – but it looks like a fuzz. Pretty good levels of carbonation aid head reformation when the beer is swirled.

Nose: This beer has an extremely spicy nose – not much pumpkin, but lots of Cinnamon - most of the smells are just an all-embracing ‘All Spices’ odor. Very “spicy” indeed.

Taste: Lots of spices in the beers tastes. Sadly, the spicy tastes are equally as one-dimensional and as strong as the nose – which is a shame. I struggled to find any semblance of Pumpkin in here. Cinnamon yes, All-Spices sure, but no Pumpkin.

Mouthfeel: Solid feel, invariably aided by the good conditioning in the beer. Even with all the spices, it is still a clean tasting beer with good lines but a little thin at times.

Drinkability: I found this to be quite drinkable actually, but it is by no means a session beer. I could manage a couple, but the high Spice levels would eventually put me off.

Overall: I have only had a few examples of US Pumpkin Ales and this was probably the most highly spiced of all of them. The high Spice levels can lend the beer a very one-dimensional feel at times though.

But as to why this is a Pumpkin Ale and not just a Spiced Ale – I have no idea, maybe it is the picture of the Pumpkin on the label ;-)

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Photo of Winter
3.75/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange with a white head. Aroma has a strong spiced nose to it, consisting of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin and malt. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with decent carbonation. Initial sweet malt front. Spicy tasting middle reveals the aromas from the nose in the taste: strong cinnamon, nutmeg burst through. All of this overlayed on a malt backbone. As the beer warms the caramel malt flavor emerges a little more and it almost becomes brown sugar-like in taste with all the other spices. Finish reverberates the spiced flavors.

Overall a pretty decent pumpkin ale, albeit rather heavy on the spices. Bottle labeling is rather attractive with a large pumpkin sitting in the patch set against a black background. If you're into pumpkin beers give this one a try.

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Photo of dmarch
3.18/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Too bad for the 250 word minimum because I can sum up my review in one word: OVER-SPICED. Orange-copper in color with a fluffy white head. Taste is sweet with cinnamon and nutmeg dominating. It's basically pumpkin pie in a bottle. I love spices, but I think they went a bit overboard on this one.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.69/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours to an orangish-copper color with an off-white head. The aroma is like Thanksgiving dinner, total pumpkin pie. The flavor is like biting into a piece of pumpkin pie, with the pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon. It is light in body and easy drinking. A definite must with Thanksgiving dinner.

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Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery
2.94 out of 5 based on 1,192 ratings.
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