Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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very good
1,016 Reviews
Imperial Pumpkin AleImperial Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
We set out to make a bold monument for The King of the Pumpkins!
This 8.0% ABV pumpkin ale is the mother of all pumpkin ales. It is heartier, spicier and more “caramelly” and “pumpkiny” than its faint brethren! We have added lots of pumpkin along with cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of cardamom and clove, giving this beer a spicy, full-bodied flavor.

This truly is an Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Perfect finisher on a cool autumn night or match it up with a slice of pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream.

Added by cbl2 on 09-17-2005

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Reviews: 1,016 | Ratings: 2,705
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Off-the-chart tastes, thanks crwills. 2006 edition. Very orange, a little crowning head, and lace in the glass. All kinds of spice aroma. 8% alcohol. Significant malting but still on the spicey side with nutmeg, cardommon, cinammon, ginger. Altogether too much.I had it again a couple months later and it was OK.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 7/13/15. Best by 3/13/16.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of cinnamon gum, pumpkin pie spice, and slight pie crust aromas. Taste is much the same with cinnamon stick, cinnamon gum, and pumpkin pie spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is very cinnamon forward all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: quarter finger head, murky amber color with a little lacing.

S: musty hops and pumpkin spices.

T: Nice pumpkin flavor. Not too bad on the alcohol being overwhelming with this one. the pungent hop flavor lingers in the aftertaste.

M: Semi-dry in the finish. moderate carbonation and medium body.

Overall: This was my first imperial pumpkin ale. I was expecting an overwhelming alcohol flavor as I thought the pumpkin wouldnt quite over-ride it but it covered it well.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle came from halfP1NT today. This review is based half on my personal taste and half on style guidelines.

Pours orange, very clear, decent head, decent retention, not a lot of lacing. No sludge at the bottom.

Smells of bubblegum, cinnamon, and cloves. Interesting but heavy on the bubblegum and no real pumpkin smell.

Tastes the same as it smells except that I might reoder those spices. Bubblegum is definitely prominent but the cinnamon is the most apparent. Again, no pumpkin flavor. No alcohol anywhere in the flavor or smell. The aftertaste was possibly the best part of this beer. The flavors that came out in the aftertaste were balanced a bit better than the initial taste and were cinnamon and possibly nutmeg and cloves.

Body is close to heavy. Ample CO2 and very drinkable. Enjoyed by most, appreciated by all, sneered at by only a few beer snobs.

As a pumpkin beer this would probably score a 3.5-3.7 but as something that I would like to drink I'm thinking 4.3ish. I enjoyed this one a lot.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

not my favorite pumpkin beer, but maybe its past its prime not in february. dark rusted orange color without much head at all and some cloudiness. the nose is spice forward, with cardamom being the prime mover. i love cardamom, and its use here contributes a lot, but i dont get much of the pumpkin itself in either nose or taste. it comes across as a spiced strong ale, more of a winter warmer than a pumpkin because the vegetable just is so far back. not much sweetness, and not enough body either, but its interesting layers of flavor, clove and cinnamon too. had this been fuller bodied and more pumpkin heavy, i would have loved it, but the 8% abv seemed a little exposed given its thinness, and the spices, while done well, had nothing to hang on to. something was missing.

Edit: this is leagues better on tap, with many if the issues resolved. Maybe they changed the recipe this year? Much much improved

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Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I look forward to having at least one bottle of this every year. This brew pours out as a really deep amber color with a tan head that sorta fades away quickly. The aroma on this beer is super spicy, lots of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in here mixed with a booze like aroma too. The taste is near perfect the whole flavor comes together with the mixture of pumpkin and spice. The mouthfeel is a little heavier than medium. Overall this is probably a top 5 on the pumpkin beer chart for me.

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Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured clear amber in color and has lacy patterns of bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of pumpkins and spices in the nose - cinnamon and nutmeg really stand out in particular.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell but is stronger and has lots of flavors of pumpkins and spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate. Not much carbonation is noticeable.
D: I would definitely try this beer again because it is easy to drink and has a good balance between the flavors.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll start off by saying that this is the best pumpkin ale that I have ever had. There is enough real pumpkin fruit flavor and aroma to make me buy-in to the style. A pronounces spiciness (cinnamon, nutmeg) to stimulate the nose, and offers a snap and a bite to the flavor and feel. What makes this beer is a very solid 'beer' base. Malty enough to substantiate the dominant pumkin spice flavors and aromas. The beer remains full and rich throughout without watering or allowing the spices to bite. Finsihes with a clean and challenging spiciness with a hint of spruce hops. Very pleasant and easy-to-drink beer without sacrificing body or character.

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Photo of brentk56
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a nice, frothy head that persists as a film and leaves some lacing around the pint glass

Smell: A bit of pumpkin, but mostly the pie spice, with nutmeg and cardomam being most prominent

Taste: The spices dominate from the outset, with cardomam and nutmeg being the most apparent; there is a little pumpkin flavor that appears by mid-palate; after the swallow, the bready, spicy flavors blend to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, but surprisingly aqueous for the ABV; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: An interesting concept, but I would like to see more pumpkin flavor to match the spices

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a deep orangey/brown cloudy color ale with a nice foamy head with average retention and lacing. Aroma of cinnamon and cloves are dominant but some pumpkin is also noticeable. Taste is a well balance mix between cloves and cinnamon with some subtle pumpkin. Body is above average with adequate carbonation and some light warming alcohol. Very interesting take on the style and probably the best pumpkin beer I ever had.

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Photo of emerge077
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a rinsed snifter glass. Color is dull copper. Scant foam, a little ridge line of lacing at the edge. Nutmeg, clove, and a faint pumpkin aroma.

Slightly bitter flavor, dry like a stick of gum from a pack of baseball cards. Sort of astringent even, not really holding my attention. Earthy vegetal pumpkin note, however the drying finish isn't very pleasant. No malt sweetness, more straight up squashiness. It's ok, not one i'd return to. Pumpking is still the reigning champion.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nabbed this puppy in Brooklyn.

8% ABV. Brewed 07/20/16. Best before: 03/20/17. "Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves).

HEAD: Pale khaki. Poor (~30 second) retention. No lacing.

BODY: Clear deep amber of average vibrance. No yeast or particulate is visible.

AROMA: Pumpkin gourd. Clove, nutmeg, cinnamon. (I do have to draw the line at identifying cardamom).

Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE: Has the usual pumpkin spice (nutmeg, clove, some cassia but not true cinnamon). Malty sweetness/amber malts. Shallow pumpkin gourd. It's decently balanced but lacks depth of flavour. I do like it and it hides its high ABV well, but it's wanting in terms of complexity, subtlety, and depth of flavour.

Sweetness is a bit high if we're nitpicking balance.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, light to medium-bodied, sticky. Well-carbonated.

OVERALL: Drinkable and approachable fare, especially for its high ABV. But it feels a bit flat in terms of both undercarbonation and depth of flavour, lacking the expressive evocative flavours that make one fall in love with a proper pumpkin ale. As much as I adore many a Weyerbacher brew, this isn't one of their stronger offerings and I don't know that I'd purchase it again. More than competent, but it can't quite compete with great style paragons like, say, Whole Hog.

B- (3.40) / WORTHY

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Have a few bottles of this in the cellar; hoping it ages nearly as well as Pumking does.

Pours a somewhat hazed orange color with a light head and a bit of lacing. The nose is fairly balanced between pumpkin sweetness and some fall spicing, although the sweetness tilts ahead in the end. The taste brings a lot more pumpkin sweetness with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in the background. A bit faint. Mouthfeel is medium and a tad bit cloying. Drinks pretty well, although I hope it'll mellow a bit with some age.

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Photo of oline73
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. This bottle has a year of age on it.

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber with a few floaties in it. There is a layer of off white head that fades to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Pumpkin spice dominates. Malty with cinnamon, nutmeg and some pumpkin.

Taste: Not very sweet at all. Some pumpkin with stronger flavors from the cinnamon and nutmeg. The finish is smooth and full of spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: The age did this beer well. Fresh, I think the finish is a bit too bitter. The time smoothed things out nicely.

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Photo of oberon
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Its getting to be that time of year again,I am not a fan of pumpkin pie but I enjoy the fall pumpkin brews.This poured a clear rich amber/copper with a tight formed slight off white 1/2 finger head that held some good retention,pumpkin pie spice mainly in the nose cardimom and mace with big nutmeg notes,that spice to me is just to big flavor wise the pumpkin flavors as light as they are are just overwhelmed by spices nutmeg and mace mainly with notes of cinnamon and clove as well.The point is the spice flavor are just a little to big for this beer everything else...the nose and appearance are top notch,damn its so close to being great.

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Photo of nickfl
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Copper-brown with good clarity and a small, light brown head. Decent retention and lace.

S - Perfume like spices; coriander and ginger with some cinnamon. Caramel malt balances with notes of brown sugar.

T - Sweet malt with caramel and molasses. Pumpkin flavors mix with cinnamon and clove in the middle. Finishes with a slight hop flavor; spicy with moderate bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body with moderate carbonation and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Pretty nice; we tasted five different pumpkin beers this evening and this one was the best, and just about the only one that was any good at all. It is a solid, well balanced base beer with pleasant hoppiness. The spices add to the malt, but the beer doesn't depend on them and they aren't over the top. A better than average example of the style.

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Photo of jlindros
2.49/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Just coming off the Autumnfest beer, I'm a little worried about this one, but here goes.

A: Clear dark brown copper colored with decent 1.5 finger head that slowly fades (similar to Autumnfest but a little darker)

N: Eh, lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, spice, a little pumpkin, and sugar, that's about it

T: Blech! Again, lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, some pumpkin, artificial flavor taste, extract taste, some malt background at least, a little watery again, however, the more I drink it the more it's becoming drinkable. It's still very spiced and watery.

M: Lots of carbonation and pretty light and watery

F: The strong spices linger for a while and just won't go away, I'm almost tempted to chug it so I will only have to taste it for a few seconds, slight bitterness, semi dry but still kinda sweet

Final thoughts: Another one of those wicked (yes I'm from MA) overspiced pumkin beers. It's pretty water, spicey, and extract tasting. Another beer from Weyerbacher I'm not very happy about. I should write them and complain! Better yet, I'll start a BA thread!

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

Thanks to fbm115 for this one. You da man Steve!

Poured into Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours about a finger of light tan head. Head fades to a ring around the glass. No lace. Color is a hazy dark burnt caramel orange.

Aroma: A ton of spices going on here. Cinnamon, nutmeg are very dominate. The obvious pumpkin is present. Has some earthy hops hidden in the background.

Taste: Wow, this is one boozy pumpkin ale. It is imperial, I know, but I didn't expect this. This pumpkin is all up in your face! Big pumpkin flavor with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other random spices thrown in. For how strong it is, it isn't too bad.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth, and spicy. Medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. This thing is quite filling. Ends with a spiced, fairly clean, a little dry aftertaste.

I think this is a one and done for me. It is big, that is for sure. I am not the biggest pumpkin fan, but I try them all and I can respect this one for being unique in its ways. Thanks Steve for the opportunity to try this one!

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/10/2013. Pours slightly hazy reddish copper color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of pumpkin, brown sugar, caramel, toast, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, brown bread, light raisin, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, pumpkin, and spice notes; with solid strength. Taste of big pumpkin, brown sugar, caramel, toast, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, brown bread, light raisin, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spice bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of brown sugar, caramel, toast, pumpkin, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, brown bread, light raisin, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, pumpkin, and spice flavors; with a great malt/spiciness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light dryness from bitter/spiciness as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice imperial pumpkin ale. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, pumpkin, and spice notes; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm so glad I bought this beer. I'd had it on cask at the Grey Lodge and didn't find it very much better than good, but I guess by then it had lost carbonation and was warming a bit too much. Anyway, I passed it by in the store but then went back to it. Something told me that I needed to try it...

It pours a hazy, ruby-tinted dark copper with orange highlights beneath a full head of frothy light tan foam. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves some initial rings of lace followed by fairly solid walls of spotty lace.

The nose is all about pumpkin pie (nutmeg and cinnamon), but something different happens in the flavor... it's cardamom! It lends a "cola" like note that's really quite nice! And maybe it's just that I'm more familiar with it as I've used it in brewing before, but jeez, it just jumps out at me! It makes the beer all that more exciting and fresh. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove are still there, and the lightly caramelish malt underneath, but the cardamom just pops with what I can only describe as almost 'juicy'. It's spicy from the outset, and it lingers in the finish, but somehow that's OK. It never builds too much on the palate, and it never overwhelms. And it just screams HALLLOOOWWWEEEN!

Without a doubt - my favorite pumpkin ale!

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Photo of chinchill
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark red-amber, ever so slightly hazy, with a tan head of moderate size and duration.

Aroma is mainly clove and nutmeg, lightly floral with hints of some other spices.

Clove and nutmeg also dominate the taste The high ABV is largely camouflaged, probably by the spicing. Some trace of sweet malt, but there is little flavor besides the overpowering spices.

Medium-thin body; decent carbonation; slight burn and warming from the alcohol.

High ABV -- kind of a Pumpkin tripel -- but otherwise rather average quality pumpkin ale.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Candlelight bright, glowing, grinning jack o' lantern orange with butternut edges. The orangish beige cap is both dense and creamy, leading to a leisurely departure. I love the contrasting colors. The foam looks just tacky enough to lay down a respectable amount of lace, although the head hasn't fallen far enough for me to be certain. Quality all around.

The powerfully aromatic nose is heavy on pumpkin and is absolutely bursting with pungent spice. The label indicates that cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves are present. The warm spiciness of cinnamon and the distinctiveness of cardamom are especially evident. You have to like the style in order to like the aroma on Imperial Pumpkin Ale. I do, on both counts.

It was bound to happen. Styles that no one had previously thought to imperialize are now starting to be imperialized (doubled, tripled... whatever). I've been waiting for a jacked-up pumpkin ale and Weyerbacher has kindly obliged. There are no surprises on the palate. It pretty much hits the mark, pretty much tastes like what one would expect from a full-throttle beer of this style. Oh yeah, it's good.

The sturdy malt backbone provides plenty of sweet, toasted caramel flavor. The star of the show, however, is oven-baked chunks of candied gourd rolled in a potpourri of pie spices and splashed with pumpkin-infused brandy. Thankfully, it works. I can imagine a better beer along these lines, but this one is pretty damn good. If you despise pumpkin ales and big beer for the sake of big beer, steer clear.

Warming brings out no real changes. At first I thought the spices were becoming more bold, but I think they're just building up on my tongue as I drink. The 8% ABV, while not completely camouflaged, is well-integrated and is easily managed. The mouthfeel is medium-full and is firm rather than lush or velvety. In other words, it fits the rest of the beer very well.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale won't be everyone's cup of pumpkin juice, but it's mine. I applaud the willingness of the brewery to aim high and to give those of us interested in this style something to chew on. Pushing the envelope sometimes results in nothing more than paper cuts. In this case, it works. Thanks to BeerBeing for the bomber. Happy Halloween.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So, I got to sample various pumpkin ales last night. Right now, let's just focus on Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

Appearance: Pours a deep, vibrant amberish orange with a biege-colored head.

Smell: The aroma here is generous, and very enjoyable, leaving the beer a perfect candidate to just be slathered the hell over anything you can think of - it smells that nice. Malty, with plenty of pumpkin, and a significant amount of cinnamon spiciness.

Taste: The flavor is a blend of spices (cinnamon foremost), with caramel malt, pumpkin, vanilla, and a light hoppiness. The initial taste is deep with cinnamon, with the fresh pumpkin and spicy tang adding several other dimensions, leaving not a tastebud without something to do and enjoy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a slick mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A more delicious pumpkin ale, I am having a hard time thinking of.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a light orange-brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is mostly of cinnamon and nutmeg with some caramelized malt and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is full of the flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg, just like the smell and is very malty and sweet. There are also some flavors of caramel and I’m even getting some intermittent touches of mint in there along with a background of pumpkin. There’s a mild hops presence but it’s enough to provide the right balance for the style. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, kind of filling, good kick, good representation of style, it isn’t quite the best Pumpkin Ale that I’ve had but it’s not bad. The fact that it will fill you up would make it difficult to put away more than one bomber, especially since Pumpkin Ales are pretty difficult to drink more than one of to begin with.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured into a pint glass, a burnt orange with just less than a finger of off-white head that receded to almost nothing after a moment. Nice aroma of fresh pumpkin and nutty grains. Taste...was what a pumpkin ale should taste like. Rich caramel malts to start, followed by yummy pumpkin, cinnamon and spice. Not subdued. It's pumpkin, and that's how I like it. Ends a little bitter, with some finishing hops easily detectable. Medium bodied, and smooth enough to keep you coming back for more.

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Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 2,705 ratings.
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