King Don's Original Pumpkin Ale | Catawba Brewing Co.

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86
very good
32 Reviews
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King Don's Original Pumpkin AleKing Don's Original Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Catawba Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-06-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
32
Ratings:
96
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
27.39%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
13
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 96
Photo of chinchill
2.9/5  rDev -25.1%

12 oz can poured slightly hazy; deep red-amber body; good size bubbly head quickly dissolves.
Aroma: nice malty and spicy mix with a hint of pumpkin.
Flavor: Over-spiced with little sign of the pumpkin, although the malt base is still evident.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich rad amber in color with a frothy tan head that dissapears very quickly, leaving the beer looking rather flat and lifeless.

The nose has all the requisite spice, lightly sweet brown sugar malt and no real discernable pumpkin character. One thing about pumpkin brew is very deceiving, the spice almost always smells good and often masks any shortcomings or mistakes.

The flavor is decent but very predictable. Lots of spice, a decent malt back, but where's the pumpkin? Not bad at all, but kind of blah.

Body is thin, flat, and definately contributes to the snooze factor.

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Photo of oberon
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Alas I have broken my rule of drinking pumpkin ales so early in the season.....Pours a clear burnt orange with a thin quick to vanish head atop.Graham cracker,mace ,and nutmeg in the nose,very spice forward.Too spiced for me to really enjoy flavor wise really,alot of mace and alot of nutmeg,I am more into the more pumpkin forward lesser spiced beers of the style.Not horrible and it may cater to alot of people 's tastes but not mine so much.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Creature Comforts slim pint glass.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains decently before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a small center patch of sheer surface foam. Minimal lacing.

S- Vanilla, cinnamon and tons of nutmeg.

T- Yeah, definitely way too much nutmeg.

M- Dry from the nutmeg with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- Should've known better when I saw the decent rating and somewhat hardcore following of this beer: it's just another Catawba failure. "Let's just dump a ton of nutmeg in this and call it a pumpkin ale." Done with this brewery.

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Photo of finepaws
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this as a sample on tap at Flying Saucer. Had a suspicion it had something to do with Don Richardson, so I tried it. Seems everyone loves Don's old recipe, so I had to taste for myself. Poured a clear reddish brown. Small white head. Smelled very spicey. Allspice and cardamon maybe. The taste was definetly spices. Not much pumpkin flavor. Kind of watery feeling on the mouth. It was drinkable, but not for me. I really like pumpkin ales, but prefer more pumpkin, and less spice. Wish it hadn't of been built up so much.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clearish, reddish-brown body with a thin, off-white head.

Smell: A fragrant aroma filled with inviting toasted spices, but pretty meak when it comes to the actual pumpkins.

Taste: Mild pumpkin flavor that's lightly sweet. The addition of fresh spices adds a measure of earthy spiciness. Slight hint of lemon near the sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's one of those pumpkin ales that lays emphasis on spices and not pumpkin flavor. Still, though, it is a pleasant Autumntime brew.

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Photo of barczar
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%

Specialty malt fruitiness, ginger, pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon form the aroma. It's very spice forward, but the pumpkin character comes through. Flavor is ginger dominant, which sucks for me. Pumpkin comes in mid palate, along with cinnamon, and the finish is nutty, toasted malt. Aside from the ginger dominance, an alright pumpkin beer. Could use a lighter hand with the spices, in general, and especially ginger and nutmeg. There's a tangy character that I associate with aged squash that emerges late.

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Photo of Deuane
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep brownish copper with a thin white head that quickly reduced to a wispy veil and left spotty lace.

S-Nice aroma of a freshly made, caramel coated gingerbread. Nice, pleasant aroma of real pumpkin spices.

T-Strong pumpkin pie spices come off a bit too harshly. Caramel malt needs more beef to counteract the spice punch....good but more than I prefer.

M-Medium bodied, fairly sharp with good lingering spicy bitterness.

D-Good but...see above. I think with a bit of tweaking this would be outstanding.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: The orange colored liquid wears a nice crown of foam that drapes a few strands of lace

Smell: Pumpkin pie spices galore

Taste: Pumpkin pie spices dominate the flavor profile, too; this is one of those pumpkin beers that is all about the spicing so it is hard to taste any pumpkin in the mix

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I like a bit more balance in my pumpkin beers but this is a very nice example of the spice-forward aspects of the style

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours orange with a fairly thin head that fades all too quickly. Pumpkin pie spices and sweet malt dominate the nose. No real pumpkin detectable in the aromas. Still, the spice blend is quite pleasant with cinammon, nutmeg, and allspice. The taste is somewhat sugary and grainy with more of the pumpkin pie spice. The pumpkin makes an appearance as a slickness, but not much flavorwise. Creamy mouthfeel, and overall pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of cwguy5
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this growler from Brawley's Beverage in Charlotte, NC. Poured into a Unibroue Becker style glass.

A - medium-dark reddish brown color; slightly hazy; white head consists mostly of a ring around the glass and faded to nothing; no lacing that i noticed
S - clove and nutmeg, light vegetable
T - right off the bat you taste clove, cinnamon and nutmeg; the nutmeg tastes very fresh and is almost a bit peppery; not dry by any means but not as sweet as i expected; honey and toffee in the finish; would have liked a slightly maltier backbone maybe
M - light-ish carbonation; body is medium and slightly coating; linger consists of pumpkin spices - mostly nutmeg
D - very drinkable as it is light and crisp despite a medium body and slightly coating mouthfeel; spices are pronounced but not too heavy; sweetness level is in the right area - not cloying like some pumpkin beers; would seek out again for fall sessions

 922 characters

Photo of rangerred
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

12oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear deep copper with a tiny fizzy head that quickly disappears. No lacing at all. Appearance is less than stellar.

Aroma is really really good. Loaded with nutmeg and cinnamon with some nice light caramel undertones. Almost a little creaminess in there.

The flavor also hits the spices really hard and closely matches the aroma with cinnamon and nutmeg. A little caramel and toast along with whipped cream. Very light hoppiness in the background and a slightly chalky mouthfeel.

Overall, this is a very nice pumpkin beer that hits the spices really hard. While not the best out there it is certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Color is a brownish orange with some amber. Small tan head that left before the party was over. Spotty lacing.
Smell was full of brown sugar and some spices. And finally a pumpkin beer that actually smells like pumpkin.
The flavor was like a pumpkin pie. Spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg being the most prominate. Again there was some pumpkin flavors that I've found to be rare in pumpkin ales.
Mouthfeel was a bit flat and boring but not so much as to harm the beer.
Overall it's a good beer that could easily be sessioned.
Recommended.

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Photo of blackie
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: gorgeous color...deep orange-red-brown, lacks much head and doesn't retain well what it has...the only fault here

s: Decent malt presence, and I have to say it smells really good, but the spice seems quite out of proportion to the squash. Moderate-high sweetness and very gently hopped. I really want to like this a lot, because the spice is excellent, but it certainly needs more pumpkin.

m: medium carbonation, full medium body

t: Pretty much the same as the aroma, but I get even less depth here. Cleans up pretty well, with spices lingering.

d: enjoyable

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Photo of ncvbc
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour was a dark orangish amber with a thin head that was gone quickly. Not much of a looker but it gets better...

Smell is great. Spices abound, cinnamon being the most obvious. A true pumpkin pie essence in this one.

Taste is even better than the smell. Cinnamon, nutmeg, hazelnut, pumpkin, a spot of brown sugar. Very bold considering the low ABV. I am surprised at how much flavor this one packs. It's more on the spice side and less on the pumpkin, though.

Mouthfeel is somewhat bland following this tasty brew. A little thin and light though not to a serious extent.

Overall I would say I enjoyed this greatly. Quite the drinkable beer we have here. I don't believe I've tried it in the past unless it was just a sample at Barley's. Either way, you should try it if you have the chance!

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

This pours hazy dark amber with a off wihte head laces well. Aroma heavy on spice, nutmeg, light on cinammon and pumpkin flavored malt. Taste is strong on spices nutmeg cinammon flavors are lifted thru out by good carbonation finishes with cinnamon and light hops in aftertaste. All of this is on decent malt background flavored with pumpkin. Mouthfeel is a solid medium a great pumpkin brew. Drinkability is good almost like Cottonwoods maybe touch more spice here. Worth trying, if you like pumpkin beers you should find some today.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4/5  rDev +3.4%

A - A nice deep copper/orange color with a 1" head.

S - Very nice spice with some cloves and nutmeg. Faint pumpkin in there too.

T - All sorts of spice and everything nice but no pumpkin. not bad though.

M - A little thin on the finish. Good carb.

O - Solid autumn brew. Worth a shot for sure.

 311 characters

Photo of Graebner
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes collected at the 2006 Southern Brewer's Festival:

Pours a red/amber with no head.

Loaded with smells: cinnamon, pumpkin, pumpkin pie, butmeg, lemon, and more. An olfactory feast.

Tastes wheaty, but in a unique way. Difficult to describe. Nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon, lemongrass, and cream. Very good.

Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Lots of flavor, slightly lighter than I like. Not bad.

Very drinkable, smooth, wouldnt sour after a session.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%

A: Pours a crystal clear golden reddish orange in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation rising slowly from the bottom of the glass and moderate copper + ruby + brown highlights. The beer has a half finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of moderately sweet pumpkin pie spices - cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. That is combined with moderate aromas of roasted pumpkin and caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavors of moderately sweet caramel and toasted malts with some lighter notes of brown sugar and maple. That is followed by moderate flavors of roasted pumpkin, The beer finishes with slightly stronger than moderate flavors of pumpkin pie spices - cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. Minimal amounts of bitterness in the finish which fades very quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Hints of dryness from the spices in the finish.

O: A more pumpkin pie than squashy pumpkin example of the style but definitely an enjoyable example of the style. Pretty easy to drink and really makes me think of autumn.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer was hazy dark orange with a good head. The aromas were of roasted caramelized pumpkin and spices. The flavor is caramel and allspice. Aftertaste is dry allspice. The body is a little light.

Notes from SMA Holiday Beer and Bluegrass Festival:
"Brewed with select spices to produce a smooth festive beer."

It is my understanding that this is Don Richardson's recipe he used to brew at Cottonwood. In fact Don was standing at the tap serving the beer when I walked up.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep orange color tinged with brown. Very thin wispy white head that quickly fades but leaves moderate lacing on the glass.

S - Wow, it smells just like my wifes gingerbread. Lots of clove, allspice, and cinnamon in the nose. DOnt pick up a whole lot of pumpkin, but I'm not sure pumpkin really has the strongest smell.

T - Strong taste of pumpkin pie spices including allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. A little light breadiness to it as well provides a nice backing.

M/D - A little thin on the feel but it goes down real easy. Good carbonation level and one of the better pumpkin ales I have tried.

 604 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

on draft at beer study in chapel hill, into a snifter.

pours a very dark orange with a typical inch thick head. smell is of a lot of cloves and nutmeg...extreme amount of spice on the aroma. the taste is also filled with spicinees, but its lacking the typical super sweetness that you usually find in pumpkin beers. this definitely helps and is a big plus...you still know you're drinking a beer! light body though, but this is lower in ABV so expected.

overall one of the better pumpkin beers I've had. recommended.

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Photo of homersimpson
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear and copper with a very light head.
Heavy nose of nutmeg and spice.
Long smooth medium body.
Heavy nutmeg and malt hit you immediately, a bit of pumpkin, then it moves to a lingering cinnamon sweetness.
This is the original recipe from Don Richardson who started the Cottonwood Brewery, and now supports the boys up at Catawba Valley.

 343 characters

Photo of Enola
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint on-tap at Barley's in Spindale.

It doesn't get any more pumkin like than this beer. Catawba Valley has nailed this one. The beer is a nice orange and the head is fair. The smell is like a nice pumkin pie. The taste is obviously pumkins and there is a hint of spices. The mouthfeel is smooth. This is a beer that would be very good with Thanksgiving supper. I would certainly drink this again.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

I have had this one on draft, years ago. It was great then. Pretty much turned me onto pumpkin beers. Then I had a lot more and they were not all that great. This year they are canning it. Maybe they began last year. But this is a fairly new thing for me. I love the fact they are canning it!

Color: Dark, caramel, like an Oktoberfest, brown ale color. The color of autumn.

Smell: Lots of fall spices going on. Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon. This is pumpkin pie in a can. I guess you get some pumpkin flavor in there. But what you get mostly are the spices. Which is what I like about it. But seriously do pumpkins have all that much flavor anyway. Its the spices that make the pie.

Overall: I still think this one is one of the best pumpkin beers out there. I plan on trying a lot more this fall. I have a few really good ones (supposedly) stashed away.

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King Don's Original Pumpkin Ale from Catawba Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.
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