Pumpkinhead Ale
Boston Beer Works - Canal Street

Pumpkinhead AlePumpkinhead Ale
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Style:
Pumpkin Beer
ABV:
not listed
Score:
86
Avg:
3.94 | pDev: 14.47%
Reviews:
29
Ratings:
48
From:
Boston Beer Works - Canal Street
 
Massachusetts, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  9
Gots
  2
SCORE
86
Very Good
Pumpkinhead AlePumpkinhead Ale
Notes:
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 48 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Oct 01, 2003
More User Reviews:
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: On tap.

Appearance: Burnt orange in colour with a thin creamy head.

Smell: Mellow pumpkin, pie spices mix with a slight malt aroma.

Taste: Smooth mouthfeel with pleasing pumpkin and pie spices that were brought to the prefect level. In the background is thin malt which has a semi-tart crispness and hop bitterness is very subdued.

Notes: This is the most beautiful spiced / seasonal ale brewed in the late summer - fall season. It is a must try, brewed to perfection.

Sep 04, 1998
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is an obvious copperish pumpkin orange with a sparkling clarity, creamy white lace wraps around the inside of the glass.

Smells and tastes of a level amount of pie spices, none really pop out more than any other. Soft pumpkin flavour with in the light toasted malt flavour. Hopping is light as well and merely keeps the brew in balance.

This is a damn good pumpkin ale.

Sep 19, 2002
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doerickson from Virginia

4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amber-orange coloring with a thin white head. Nose is spicy; nutmeg and cinnamon are the predominant smells. Taste is full of pumpkin pie essences (more cinnamon and nutmeg); malts and hops are hard to find (but definitely present) behind the spiciness. One of the few highly-spiced brews that I can drink more than one of. Very, very nice.

Oct 04, 2002
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Jdiddy from Rhode Island

2.06/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer was awful! I am a big fan of pumpkin ales and this just didn't cut it. The first sip was ok and then it tasted like weak water. No good. There is virtually no spice. The balance was way off. Horrible beer.

Oct 11, 2002
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RBorsato from Virginia

4.92/5  rDev +24.9%
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%

Oct 07, 2005
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LiamStLiam from New York

4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Oct 03, 2003
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mschofield from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -1%
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.

Mar 18, 2005
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OldFrothingSlosh from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Nov 12, 2004
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Puddleglum from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Jun 16, 2004
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taez555 from Vermont

3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Oct 13, 2003
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SunDevilBeer from Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Oct 30, 2013
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ark57 from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Feb 19, 2004
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GuinnessSmurf from Missouri

3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Mar 10, 2004
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MuddyFeet from North Carolina

3.69/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Sep 11, 2005
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carln26 from Missouri

3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Sep 07, 2004
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mynie from Maryland

3.45/5  rDev -12.4%

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.

Sep 07, 2014
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WeymouthMike from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Sep 30, 2004
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rousee from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Sep 17, 2004
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harpus from Alabama

4/5  rDev +1.5%

Mar 11, 2013
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hmh from Texas

1.86/5  rDev -52.8%
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.

Oct 29, 2006
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MTNboy from Germany

3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Nov 21, 2008
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rockywwf from Connecticut

4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
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!

Aug 28, 2007
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.27/5  rDev -17%
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.

Sep 16, 2013
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brokensail from California

3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Oct 04, 2011
Pumpkinhead Ale from Boston Beer Works - Canal Street
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 48 ratings