Pumpkinhead Ale | Boston Beer Works - Canal Street

very good
29 Reviews
Pumpkinhead AlePumpkinhead Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Works - Canal Street
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by taez555 on 09-04-1998

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Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 48
Photo of mynie
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%

Sampled at the Salem Beer Works location. Served in a sugar-rimmed glass. Not a bad touch, really, but the cinnamon sugar overwhelmed the beer and I would have preferred to at least try it without blandishment. So, if you order one of these, be sure to let the bartender know if you don't want sugar.

Okay, as to the beer... pretty boilerplate. Lately brewers, especially midwest brewers, have been trying their damndest to make pumpkin beers taste like pumpkin pie. The results are tasty and often candy sweet, but they also blot out nearly all of the pumpkin flavor in favor of cinnamon and cloves. Beer Works' Pumpkinhead is oldschool in the sense that the spices and sweetness don't dominate, which allows for pumpkin nodes to actually shine through.

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Photo of tigg924
3.27/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap at Hingham location

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, orange-brown in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: cinnamon and clove

Taste: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and some pumpkin

Mouthfeel: sweet but not overly so, high carbonation, light bodied

Overall: Solid slightly above average pumpkin beer. I could no a couple of these, but there are better pumpkin beers out there.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a glass. The beer I am reviewing is new to retail in the 6-pack format, and called 'Pumpkin Works'. I believe this is the same beer, just re-branded for the retail market.

A: Beautiful burnt orange color, brilliant clarity. A quarter inch of off-white head settles shortly. A broken ring of lacing remains on the glass.

S: Enticing pie-like aroma of sweet pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Malts lend a crust-like and toasted bready aroma that reaffirms the brain's connection to pumpkin pie. No real hop contribution, but that would probably prove to be more of a distraction anyway.

T: Sweet pumpkin up front is quickly chased, letting the pie spices come forward for a while. However, rather than fading completely into the background, it creates a sort of ever-present baseline. Lots of cinnamon. Some nutmeg as well. Slight jab of oily hop bitterness pokes out from behind the spicing very briefly. Malts lend a toasty, crust-like character and fleeting hints of brown sugar. Spices linger on the palate in a long but gentle finish.

M: Medium body. A touch watery, though it has just enough substance to keep it from going south. Moderate scrubbing carbonation enhances the spiciness a bit.

O: This is a pumpkin beer that the neophyte and the more experienced craft drinker alike can enjoy. It strikes a nice balance, and though the spicing is ample, it never goes over the top. The light body and easy drinkability make it perfectly sessionable. My only real criticism is that the body does leave something to be desired. Just a little bit more of a rounded, creamy texture would do a lot for it. Still one of the best choices when you survey the other 6-pack options on the market.

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Photo of Darkbat53t
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply the best beer in town. I wait eagerly all summer for the arrival of Pumpkin Head. beautifully accented with the cinnamon sugar trimmed glass. Perfect taste, my absolute favorite by far. the only flaw I can see is that it's a seasonal beer, leaving me wanting more from January till September.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received a bright orange brew with a good head. They rim the glass with sugar and cinnamon. Nice appearance.

They rim the glass with cinnamon and sugar, and that is all you get in the aroma.

Cinnamon again, but this goes away as you get through the glass (or clear a space). Pumpkin is very mild, and toasted malt notes and some malty sweetness comes through. Bitter note is present, and helps to balance it out. You have to hunt for the pumpkin though.

Medium body, good carbonation.

Not bad, just improperly served and a bit mild in the areas that are supposed to be strong points.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at the Lowell Beer Works. Also known as Pumpkinworks.

Pours a light to medium copper amber with white foam. Was served with cinammon sugar around the rim of the glass, which wasn't as distracting as I anticipated.

Strong spiced autumn smell. Nutmeg too.

Light pumpkin flavor, too much of the rim seasoning and it alsmot gets lost. Pretty good overall.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beer Works Fenway. On the board as Pumpkinworks, but the tap handle said Pumpkinhead.

A: The glass comes rimmed with cinnamon sugar, but the beer is amber with a creamy off-white head.

S: Starts off with sweet malt and very moderate spices. At first the cinnamon sugar was all I could smell, so I gluttonously licked it all off the glass. After that just a lot of bread and some toffee.

T: Only a bit of pumpkin flavor. Not too much in the way of spices, mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. Overall, I must say it is a bit bland. Toasted malt and bread with a bit of toffee sweetness. Very mild spice character.

M: Medium in both body and carbonation.

O: Sort of a lackluster pumpkin beer. Wasn't overly spicy, though, which was kind of a nice change.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at beer works in logan airport, of all places.

Beer is copper/amber. No head to speak of. Minimal lacing. Looks fine but not too impressive.

Smell is pretty good. Nutmeg, clove and other pumpkin pie spices. More spice than pumpkin, but pumpkin is there as well. A little faint.

Taste is good- more flavourful than the nose let on. Nutmeg sticks out strongly. Clove is present as well. Like the nose but stronger. A nice but standard pumpkin ale.

Beer is medium bodied, with pretty strong carbonation. A bit irritating, but overall pretty decent.

Overall, a solid pumpkin ale. Nice way to wait for a flight.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It has hazy brown body with a little bit of and orange. There is some nice off white head and lace. The aroma is sweet but spicy at the same time. There is a lot of spice to the flavor but not overdone as with a lot of pumpkin beers. You can also taste the pumpkin in this beer which is not always possible in other beers. The mouthfeel is medium with a good bit of carbonation. It is not bad I would drink it again.

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Photo of Crazy4LegMoose
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brownish orange color with 1 1/2 fingers of creamy foam that leaves virtually no lacing

S: Good pumpkin pie spice smell with a hint of pumpkin and malt in the nose.

T: Exceptionally good beer. Very nice balance of pumpkin pie spices with a toasted malt finish. Hops are not very noticeable which makes you feel like you are drinking a pumpkin pie.

M: Lighter bodied beer with accentuated by light carbonation.

D: Very drinkable brew. Light body adds to the drinkability

So far my favorite pumpkin beer. I have been to the Beer Works several times and always look for this first. This beer is a liquid pumpkin pie, excellent.

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Photo of rockywwf
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my 1st experience with a Pumpkin Ale on tap. Every year my friends and I make the pilgrimage to Salem at Halloween time and always always eat dinner at Salem Beer Works so we could have our Pumpkinhead Ale. This is by far (to date) my favorite of all the Pumpkin Ales I have tried.

Highly recommend you give it a try!

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Photo of hmhalff
1.86/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This was my first encounter with pumpkin ale. I must confess that I could not finish the bottle. I had the distinct impression that the beer was trying to taste like something and not quite getting there. I couldn't figure out whether or not what it was trying to taste like was pumpkin pie or rotting pumpkin. Fearing the latter, I tossed the bottle after about five sips.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.92/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted On-Tap 09/30/05 at the Boston Beer Works - Fenway in Boston, MA.

Lightly hazy orange-gold color with a nice off-white head and nice carbonation. Beautiful spicy all-spice pumpkin pie aroma and flavor without being overpowering. Medium bodied. A perfect dessert beer and a great example of the style.

Per BBW website: Pumpkinhead Ale
A Beer Works Favorite! Pumpkin is added to the mash tun and kettle to give this beer its unique color and sweet palate. Vanilla, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg are added to the kettle and during conditioning to produce its wonderfully decadent aroma.
Season: all Color: orange Alc./Vol: 5.0%

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great brick red with just a slight orange tinge. Vibrant head laying on top which receded to ring the edges of the glass. Spotty lace. Nose was phenomenal. Like sticking my head in the oven when my mom is baking her pumpkin pie--loads of sweet pumpkin with some cinnamon and nutmeg. Malts are hanging out there at the back end of my nose. Unfortunately, after getting a whiff of the nose the flavor was a bit of a disappointment. Not nearly as pumpkiny as I expected. I thought the pumpkin would be rich, but the malt's sweetness comes out more and the spices are more prevalent. The beer has just a slight hop bitterness to it. Mouthfeel is rather light and has the Beer Works traditional watery feel.

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Photo of mschofield
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark mahogany to the red side, topped with a two finger creamy tan head, leaves webs of lacing.
Pumpkin pie aroma, pumpkin, cinammon, nutmeg, a touch sweet but not too sweet.
Spiced pumpkin taste, like a pumpkin cookie or what pumpkin cider would taste like, nutmeg, cinammon, brown sugar and biscuit.
Medium bodied, good drinkability but I don't know how long the taste would hold up in a session.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.29/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was very (pleasantly) surprised at how much I liked this beer. Normally, most pumpkin beers don't do anything for me, but this one was a real treat.

Brewed with lots of real pumpkin and a host of other spices I detected: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg...to name a few.

Dull and clear orange in color. Smooth and creamy bone-white head leaves brief layers of falling lace on the glass. Aromas are out of this world. Bursting forth are all sorts of pumpkin-laden spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice. Simply amazing. Flavor reminds me of my grandmother's pumpkin pie. Very flavorful and spicy. Not as boisterous as the smell, but impressive nonetheless. Spicy aftertaste. One of my favorite BBW beers.

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Photo of WeymouthMike
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am a huge Pumpkin fan since I tried the Dogfish Punkin a year ago. As the previous review state, my poor was also lacking any head. The beer gives off a light mix of nutmeg and cinammon smell. The beer is really smooth and finished with a nice cinnamon kick, not too sweet, but I never really got the pumpkin taste. The beer was dark rich color similar to a Sam Octoberfest . This is a great fall beer and a great beer to introduce to non beer drinking friends.

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Photo of rousee
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour is poor --it has no head -lousy carbonation and leaves no lace. The smell is another story. Fantastic mix of malt/hops with fresh pumpkin,allspice,cloves,nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, orange peel etc.and still not too overpowering. Taste is similar to smell and is --for this style-close to ideal. The fact that none of the flavors are too strong helps the drinkabilty but it would still be tough to have more than 2 or 3 of these.

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Photo of carln26
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It is pumpkin season and I’m trying as many as I can. This includes the Pumpkinhead from Beer Works. The color was bright clear copper/orange with a medium head. Not too much lace. I wasn’t expecting much due to the spices and malt I expected in the beer. The smell is clove, cinnamon, ginger, not much pumpkin on the nose. The taste is dominated by the spice. Not as much pumpkin as I'd hoped, but it's not bad, and has a good drinkability with a medium mouth feel. Good effort. Not great, but worth trying. It could use more pumpkin.

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Photo of Puddleglum
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I've only had two Pumpkin Ales in my life and this was the best for what that's worth. The aroma was worth the purchase. It was fruity with overtones of nutmeg, allspice and of course pumpkin. I could have just sat in Beer Works and smelled this all Autumn but alas I had to drink it. The gravity must be incredibly high and that along with the fact that it's a pumpkin ale made it far from drinkable. Yet the taste was just a subdued version of the aroma that I enjoyed. The spicy taste made for an interesting mouthfeel that I liked. Some might not. I look forward to being able to imbibe yet another of these ales some fine Autumn day when I am in the Boston area.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Consistent head sits atop this freindly orange body. Smell is more like natural pumpkin (as opposed to pumpkin pie spices). Taste matches the smell here - really bringing a sweet flavor out in this beer. Sweet pumpkin taste althroughout the drink. The finish has a festive clean/watery feel with an autumn sourness. Its a little too sweet and pumpkiny for a whole beer, but very creative in its own.

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Photo of ark57
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer smelled like pumpkin pie if you closed your eyes. It even tasted like a sweet pie with the right amount of spices. All of this does not make you forget that this is a beer. It pulls off the challenge of making you think pie without losing that it is a beer. It is really well balanced between the two.

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Photo of taez555
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm always excited to see this beer each year and was especially intrigued to see it on cask upon my most recent visit.

Unlike the normal version it poured a murky translucent amber body with a small white cask bubbly head.

The nose was almost unchanged. Pumpkin pie spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, some malt.

The taste is where this beer takes on a different life than the regular version. It's much more subdued. Cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg. But all turned down a notch. The malt and bitterness stay about the same. Present, but never in your face.
The one taste that really jumped out in this version is a distinct cider flavor. A bit of a tartness even.

Overall I found the cask version to be somewhat of a letdown. I know it's the same beer just on a cask engine, but... it's just too mellow and has this cidery flavory to it. Good beer, but much better on normal tap.

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Photo of LiamStLiam
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the great advantages of living near Salem is that I can get this beer in tap year-round.

I have had it numerous times both at Salem and at the Canal Street location.

A very pretty orange color with a whitish head and a smell that you can savor.

This one finds the right mix between pumpkin and spices and, in fact, has the best pumpkin taste of any of beers of this style that I have had.

I went into the Fall wanting to find a great pumpkin ale, and oddly enough, this one -- the only one I had relly explored before -- remains the best of the lot.

This is a good drinking beer and goes well with a meal.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: I recently drank a pint of this beer at the Post-Stammtisch BA Social held at the Boston Beer Works, North Station on Sunday, September 14th. This was the fourth beer of the session and thankfully got rid of most of the Peach Fuzz from my mouth (oooeerrr).

Appearance: A darkish, but perfectly lucid, brown color with an orangey hue when held to the light. Slightly off-white head was compact and smooth.

Nose: Extremely spicy nose, hints of pumpkin embroiled in a pervasive ‘All Spices’ odor. Has a very spicy, almost Xmasy nose. Extremely inviting.

Taste: Lots of spices and herbs in this beer, but whilst the nose was quite powerful, the tastes are never overpowering, or overwhelming. Some herbal qualities at the beginning soon make way for plenty of spices, nice hints of pumpkin soaked in cinnamon in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This has a fantastic mouthfeel, clean tasting and very satisfying.

Drinkability: Not quite a session beer, but I could easily drink several of these without much of a problem at all. Nicely balanced, and one of the best Pumpkin Ales that I have had to date.

Overall: I really enjoyed the deep quality spices, pumpkin and cinnamon character of this Pumpkin Ale. After Sundays session at the North Station, myself and xlperro paid a visit to the Beer Works at Fenway Park. Upon entering we were greeted by the fantastic odor of a fresh batch of Pumkpinhead Ale from the Brewery – it really has quite the nose, with a taste to match.

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Pumpkinhead Ale from Boston Beer Works - Canal Street
3.89 out of 5 based on 48 ratings.
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