Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
2,729 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,729 |  Reviews: 1,025
Photo of siege06nd
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint...

A: Pours an opaque orange copper color, like an old Lincoln penny. Two and a half fingers of cream colored head. The lacing and retention on this are very nice, a half finger of head provides a fluffy and delicious cap on this one. One of the best looking pumpkins I have seen.

S: Holy cinnamon, Batman! The nose on this is just loaded with the stuff. Smells like a fresh package of Big Red bubblegum. I get some nice allspice, clove, and raw pumpkin behind the cinnamon. Smells fantastic, but I dinged it a little for the overbearing cinnamon.

T: Meh. Following the nose, this beer is plenty spicy. I get a ton of allspice, some clove, light cinnamon, and a bit of roasted pumpkin on the back end. All the flavors are there, but they don't meld particularly well. This beer is spicy, burns the back of my throat spicy. It also has a curious, bitter finish that isn't altogether pleasing. Color me confused...hits all the right notes but in an oddly discordant way. Oh well.

M: A little light on carbonation and a thick, cloying texture. Creamier than I am used to from a pumpkin beer. This one lacks balance.

O: I thought I was in for a treat based off of the appearance and smell of this brew, but the taste and mouthfeel let me down slightly. That's not to say this isn't a good pumpkin beer. It most certainly is. But it isn't the most focused I have had and it's definitely a little over-spiced. Could have used a touch more malt to level things out a touch. All the same, I love me some pumpkin beers and this one is enjoyable. Weyerbacher continues to produce some of the finest brew in the country. If you see it, grab it!

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

Poured into my DFH snifter. Reddish-orange color with a thin ring of light brown head. Fairly clear with tiny sporadic bubbles. Smelled strongly of pumpkin, nutmeg, and spice with traces of banana and vanilla bean. Taste contained lots of malty character with hints of pumpkin and nutmeg, but not nearly as much impact as I expected based on the smell. Still, the taste is fairly well-balanced, and the ABV is well-masked as there is no alcohol taste at all. Great mouthfeel; the carbonation level is pretty low but there is still a great deal of creamy smoothness which goes well with this style of beer.

Overall, a great take on a pumpkin beer- a good deal of pumpkin taste but not overwhelmingly so. I still like DFH Punk'n better, but this is also very good.

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Photo of cneville
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap, in a pint glass.

Hazy orange in color, with a thin head that disappears quickly. Aroma is malty, with the prerequisite pumpkin spices, in a nice blend. Spices come heavily in the taste--nutmeg, cinnamon, and the pumpkin later. The alcohol is hidden well at this percentage. Not my favorite pumpkin beer, but definitely a good example of one with more alcohol.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall very good beer, rivals punkin by dogfish head for me. The appearance is great in a nice frosted glass, nice head, amber/orange color. Smells heavenly of pumpkin, I didn't pick up many other scents. Immediately your hit in the mouth with a ton of pumpkin taste, cinnamon and allspice follow. The beer is super drinkable at 8%.

Decent mouthfeel, gets slightly spicy after a little while

Overall awesome beer for the season

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fine trace of offwhite head, orangey amber body.

Creamy pumpkin on the nose, quite sweet, with a trace of cardamom. Delightful.

Pumpkin in the taste, faint undertones of star anise (not mentioned in ingredients). Some nutmeg on the finish. Probably will improve with aging. A bit tart.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth, fine.

It's a nice pumpkin beer. Not super rich, definitely pumpkin-y, and not just pumpkin pie spice.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, it's October, and I feel like pumpkin! Got a couple others in the fridge, but tonight the maniacal king pumpkin on the label caught my eye.

Every time I pour a pumpkin ale, I halfheartedly hope it will come out bright orange. And I'm always (unreasonably) disappointed. This one is pretty - a deep slightly orange copper color, with one finger of cream-colored head. Head fades fast, just a bit of lacing.

Smell is really nice - rich, sweet, yummy roasted pumpkin. It's flanked by a lovely blend of spices and a sweet malt base. One of the better pumpkin beers I've had the privilege of sniffing.

Taste is spiced-up. The pumpkin is there, but the cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon come through, bringing a little tingle. Tastes kinda like pumpkin chai with bite. I like it. Finish is quick and clean.

Mouthfeel: medium-bodied, though it feels rather light for the ABV. Carbonation is on the high side; could do with a bit less. Finishes dry, with a little watery feel hanging on.

This is one of the better pumpkin ales I've had. Everything about it works together really well, and while the pumpkin flavor is present and potent, it's complemented well by the rest of the beer. A winner.

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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 womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Picco

A: The beer pours a clear dark amber color with a kinger of khaki head.

S: Smells of pie spices. Lots of nutmeg and cinnamon, with, strangely, a touch of anise. There is a bit of pumpkin as well as some of the usual bread and caramel, maybe a touch of toast.

T: Starts off with sweet caramel and toffee with a fair bit of spice. As with the aroma, plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg and that same little bit of anise. An almost powdery spice flavor. Tons of bread, too.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Despite the little bit of anise (which I'm not the hugest fan of), this was still pretty solid.

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

Review from notes: 9/28/11

A - A clear orangish amber color, half inch of off-white foam settles to a ring of bubbles after a couple of minutes.

S - Immediately I think of Big Red gum. Cinnamon comes out nicely, while nutmeg and cloves also make an appearance. Thick rich pumpkin pie with whipped cream comes to mind. Malts and hops overshadowed by the spices here, which I've come to expect in this style. Pumpkin comes out more as it warms.

T - Quite spicy. Lots of cinnamon and cloves mingle with earthy pumpkin flavors. Some sweet Big Red initially, with a nice spicy pumpkin-like finish. Malts make a short pitstop. Alcohol is noted, but I'd blindly put it in the 6% range. The cinnamon and spices help tame that, I'd say.

M - Moderate carbonation and body. Somewhat spicy on the tongue. A slight dry finish, and relatively warming in the gut.

O - To date, this is one of my favorite pumpkin beers. Be prepared for a lot of spices, but it has a nice earthy pumpkin characteristic to it as well. If you aren't a fan of cinnamon, I'd stay away. Otherwise, this is a beer I'd recommend to any craft drinker.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark copper/amber color with a solid finger of off white head. Decent retention, decent lacing

A - Lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and clove.

T - Fairly heavy combination of the spices mentioned above, nice sweet malt backbone.

M - Medium body, kind of light for the abv/style, in a good kind of way. Appropriate carbonation, quite drinkable

O - Very spicy/fall like. Really enjoy this, and at a drinkable 8% I'm quite happy with it

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Photo of hardy008
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper color with a one finger tan head which quickly settles down to a small disc of foam. The aroma has a lot of cinnamon, as well as nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin, and cloves. Smells like this should be sweet.

The taste is sweet with a lot of cinnamon, as well as nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, pumpkin, and some biscuit malt. Tastes like pumpkin pie with the crust. This could be a little heavy on the spices for some, but I like it.

Medium bodied with average carbonation. The aftertaste has a lot of cinnamon. A nice beer from Weyerbacher.

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Photo of harrymel
3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled: 17AUG11

A: Pours a nice semi hazy dark burnt sienna colored ale with under a finger of fine white foam which falls to a broken sheet with a central cap. Spotty lace.

S: This one seems dominated by nutmeg. Second fiddles cinnamon, cloves. A hint of a sour squash nose.

T: Spicy. Wow. Tons of cinnamon with some dry toasted bread flavors. The nutmeg falls through here for me. Pretty sweet, but earthy.

M: Moderately heavy for me with a lively carbonation that rounds out fine, but the finish is also wet with a waxy coating.

O: Of the pumpkins I've had, this one is pretty middle of the road.

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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 KenC
2.71/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Dark orange/brown, cloudy color. Aggressive pour to a pint glass revealed a half finger of tan head that disappeared immediately. Zero lacing as expected by style & ABV.

S- Cardamom. That’s it cardamom. Where is everything else?

T- Cardamom and pepper. There is just nothing else to say. From start to finish, one boring taste. All the spices that go into this style and nothing came through.

M- Feel is medium to heavy. It’s the one redeeming quality in this bottle. An imperial should have stand-up mouth feel and this has it. Right on target.

O- I hope that this batch or bottle was just no good. All the complexity I had hoped for was dashed. It was just this side of a drain pour. I’ll try another bottle, as Weyerbacher, in general, usually brews something I like.

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Photo of bum732
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

S: Strong pumpkin spices with a prominent malt backbone.

L: Fairly clear, reddish brown, creamy white head that dissipates.

T: Semi-sweet pumpkin pie with a medium light, herbal bitterness. Spices kept in check, melding with a pumkin bread like maltiness. Finishes on the light note and fairly dry with some residual cinnamon.

M: Medium full body, medium carbonation.

Very nice, bold flavors without giving me diabetes :cough: (Southern Tier). Enjoyed it, at DFH's Punkin level for me.

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Photo of travisnd
4.97/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorate pumpkin beers if not my favorate of them all. This pumpkin ale has a great smell, color, and taste. Definitely can taste the pumpkin and spice and with this being an only takes a few to get into the fall spirit!

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Photo of liamt07
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Jason, last one of the mini-pumpkin tasting. Into a tulip.

Poured an amber-copper, with a moderate film being left behind and a fairly thick collar. Loads of spices in the nose, with a weird burnt rubber/leather note coming through at times (admittedly, only once or twice throughout the entire glass). Some pumpkin pie notes. Taste has some pumpkin, spices reflective of the nose (nutmeg, allspice presumably) and a bit of breadiness. Medium body and carbonation, great flavour with a somewhat weird nose at moments. Pleasant but not totally satisfying.

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Photo of BeerFiend2002
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip glass

Dark copper, almost brown body with a one and a half finger, frothy, light khaki-colored head. I really love that dark copper color in a pumpkin ale.

Nose is very seasonal. You get big cinnamon scent, followed by nutmeg and clove. Smells delicious.

Nice flavor. Cinnamon and pumpkin up front, and then a biscuity malt backbone just picks it all up and carries it to a somewhat bitter finish from the heavy clove on the back end. The cardamon gives it a peppery palate. It has a desert type spice flavor coupled with an organic vegetable type flavor from the cardamon. Weyerbacher makes some boozy-tasting beers, but the malt and spices do a terrific job of masking the 8% ABV in this one. I really like it.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy. Its got a good sturdy feel that an imperial should have, but its not a syrup bomb. Im diggin' it.

Overall, this is probably just behind the Schlafly and a step below the Pumking. Its a heavily spiced beer, but there is enough malt presence in there to keep it drinkable even if you are not into spice bombs. I myself enjoyed this one a lot and am glad that I have 23 more bottles of it to carry me through the fall.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decent head and retention for a pumpkin beer. Dark amber color, pretty clear.

Smell is dominated by pumpkin pie spices. Clove bomb anyone?
Vivid palette of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, sweet caramel malt, etc.

Tastes like the nose...more spice than actual pumpkin flavor. Some malt, booziness suppressed. Very spicy.

Love the mouthfeel here. Low carbonation, very smooth, creamy. Almost buttery. Clings a bit to the tongue, very pleasing.

I liked this one more than my drinking mates. Definitely different than other pumpkin ales, I feel the aroma and mouthfeel are the best aspects of the beer. Taste is a bit lopsided and overly spiced. Good, definitely worth trying if you're into the style. The smooth easy drinking character of this beer makes it go down quickly...if not for the heavy hand with the spices you might get in trouble here.

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Photo of martymc
2.32/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Dark pumpkin color. Looks heavy. Thin head and lacing.
S: Malts with a hint of pumpkin. Pretty boring.
T: Allspice dominates what is a true muddling of spices. Gritty pumpkin notes. Too heavy on the cloves for me. Ever smoke a clove cigarette?
M: Thin and highly carbonated. Gone in a flash.
O: The only saving Grace for this beer is that it sports an ABV of 8.0%. I shouldn't have preceded this tasting with a Southern Tier Pumpking!:

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An amber hued ale with some ruby highs.
Poured with just an average head with little in the way of rentention.
Well carbonated though.

Aroma here is a good balance of pumpkin, spices and malts,

Taste has good flavor but is weak or light.
Like the aroama, a nice balance of pumpkin, spices and malts.
The beer has a good medium weight and quite smooth and clean.

A good drinking beer even with, in my opinion, it being weak in flavor.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a dark, rich, auburn-ruby coloring with no head. Deeply spicy nose, with heavy nutmeg and cinnamon characters, as well as a bready quality. Flavor is dark molasses and pumpkin rich, with a light spicing and slightly boozey character. The aftertaste is rich and smokey, with a slick, oily finish. Decent brew, and a bit darker and heftier than most pumpkin offerings.

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

On tap at Tylers Taproom in Carrboro.

Pours a dark orange with a decent head.

Pie spices really hit the nose quickly along with a pumpkin extract smell.

Taste is boozy and spicy. An underlying sweetness is really different. It really tastes like pumpkin pie filling. The malt bill doesn match the rest of the beer. It's got a lager type malt that is the major downside of this beer.

There is a chewy malt bill that accompanies the spices.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours medium orange, strangely opaque. Little bit o'head.

The smell begins with classic pumpkin smell, strongly backed by pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Very good, would make a good candle smell.

The taste of the pumpkin gets blocked a bit by the spices. It's really the spices, and not so much the pumpkin, which comes through. No hop presence. Which is OK, wouldn't have worked well with all the spice.

An easy drinking beer due to the relatively low carbonation, despite the higher ABV.

With all the attendant spice, this was like a cross between a witbier and a pumpkin ale. Good stuff, recommended, probably a bit short of a killer pumpkin ale, but good nonetheless.

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

This has been my favorite pumpkin beer historically, but I am eager to increase the range of pumpkin beers this year.

I poured this beer into a snifter in order to capture the maximum amount of bouquet in the glass. Because of this I get to keep smelling this beer all the way through the bottle. Off the top I get the pumpkin (of course), nutmeg, and hops.

The IPA is a reddish brown, and the carbonation is pretty minimal. There was very little head and lacing.

This beer tastes great. I always recommend this beer for hop heads and those that don't like too much pumpkin in each drink.

Fall is finally here, and I am glad to finally have this beer again.

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Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 2,729 ratings.
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