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Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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very good
1,017 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: 1,017 | Ratings: 2,708
Photo of kirok1999
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cloudy orange/red, nice head and lacing.

First smell is nothing but pumpkin. Further inspections reveals some cinnamon, cloves, hops.

Taste is a blow out pumpkin bash. Very noticable hops in the finish. Dry yet sweet?? Lush mouthfeel.

Very drinkable but not something I will stock up on. Definitely a seasonal drink.

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Photo of plaid75
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a copper hue with a one and a half finger pillowy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a strong fresh pumpkin aroma with a compliment of allspice, nutmeg and cinammon.

The taste was upfront pumpkin flesh. The heavy spices were picked up mid way through and the very good grain bill at the finish.

The mouthfeel was full and thick.

Overall a tasty pumpkin ale. For me, the ABV is a bit high for this style.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another thanks to Tyrawlings for the bottle. Cool artwork, it looks like this pumpkin means business.

Appearance: The beer has a red body (maybe a hint of orange) and an off white head.

Smell: All of the spices listed on the bottle are more than apparent. Lots of cinnamon and cloves, very pumpkin pie-like. I do get some hops coming through, also.

Taste: Boozier and hoppier than most pumpkin ales. The spices mix well with the higher alcohol percentage, but are still a big part of the flavor. This is the first pumpkin beer that gets over the novelty of making a pumpkin beer and goes for something a little different. Still has the character of a pumkin beer, but definitely bolder than many in the style.

Drinkability: Takes some getting used to, but this is one of my favorite pumpkin ales.

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

This brew pours a deep reddish-copper color with an average-sized white head. The aroma a mix of spice (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon) and alcohol. Behind the initial smells, there’s also some lightly roasted malt, caramel, and pumpkin. The taste is strong with spice and a strong hop bitterness, mingling with pumpkin and spice. It’s not bad really, and is a lot more intense than most pumpkin beers. Lots of clove, which seems to fit the beer appropriately. The alcohol has a little warming quality after a while. It’s full bodied, and quite drinkable. The pumpkin quality could be stronger, but overall I was impressed.

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

A: Pours an extra cloudy dark copper with reddish hues. Slight white rim of a head with film on top.
S: Bold clove notes with a spicy nutmeg and sweet cinnamon supporting cast. Slight baked pumpkin seeds. Slight smokeyness with a big whiff.
T/M: Nice nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove infusion up front. Toasted grain malt underneath. Slightly dry finish with an earthlyness on the palate--almost as if you can feel the nutmeg (a bit powdery). Smooth, but yet spicy across the palate. Cloves become more dominant as it warms up. Not overly spiced up or sweet, but just enough for you to enjoy the flavors. Above average abv goes unnoticed. Medium body with a good level of carbonation at first that blends well and difusses the nutmeg and cinnamon chalkyness.
D: Highly drinkable pumpkin. Top three for me this season. Glad I grabbed a few of these. Another hit from Weyerbacher.

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

Bomber into a pint. Pours a medium red with about a finger's worth of head. This beer is all about the smell - cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg - it's very strong, but in a good way. This is an Imperial, remember. Follows through nicely in terms of taste and mouthfeel, especially when compared to most pumpkins. Pretty much everything I'm always looking for in a pumpkin beer and never quite seem to find. Wrap it up in an 8% ABV package, and I find it difficult to complain. Perfect for those chilly fall nights.

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Photo of barknee
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale pours a majestic reddish-copper color with a magnificent mocha colored fluffy-meringue like head that lasts forever. Pure essence of natural pumpkin, allspice, nutmeg, and a touch of gentian root waft from the glass. An olfactory playground of seasonal-autumnal fragrances. This brew has the flavors up-front, not hidden behind the sweet malts, which seem to take precedence in other similar recipes. Reading some of the other reviews, I thought I might have had a predisposition to perceive this brew as over flavored or over enhanced with spices. This is absolutely not the case here. This brew has the proper components in the proper quantities to make this a superb example of the style. Moderate bitterness from nutmeg and spices and the fantastic lip-smacking qualities of the sweet malting makes for a fine seasonal beverage of pleasure. A bit more hedonistic than many others, the weight and mouthfeel of this fine brew is in perfect harmony with itself and the season of which it represents.
Kudos again to Weyerbacher!

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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 taez555
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

With all the Imperial-izing of beer you knew a pumpkin was bound to happen eventually. Love the evil bennybrew style king pumpkin on the label.

This beer poured a clear amber/reddish brown body with a small white head.

Nose has a strong cloying clove, nutmeg, mild cinnamon, clovey pumpkin pie spice smell. Mildly potpourri esque. Some whiffs of alcohol come through giving it the impression of the bigger beer.

Medium to full bodied. Strong cloves, loads of nutmeg, an alcohol vanilla flavor and some rough cinnamon dominate. One of the freshest and clearest spice flavors I've ever tasted in a pumpkin beer. Caramel malt flavor with actually some pumpkin meat taste. There's an odd citrus hop taste that fights against the spices and seems a little out of place. Hop bitterness is also rather strong and again seems a bit out of place. As it warms the clove flavor comes out even more with a medicinal band-aid flavor.

This beer is odd in that it has so many positive aspects and at the same time a whole bunch of unflattering touches. A bit heavy handed in the clove category and the hops seem a big much as well, but overall a nice attempt. It makes me think if other's are trying the imperial pumpkin, aiming for more of a big pumpkin malty beer might be better than overdoing the spice.

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Photo of gpcollen1
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Pours a rusty brown with not much head to speak of.

Smell – Not any pumpkin in the nose, only spice, cloves maybe or just a combo of everything with nothing standing out.

Taste – Flavors exploding in my mouth – mostly spice – Where’s the pumpkin? This brew is certainly Imperial but not tops I the pumpkin department.

Mouthfeel – Very spicy with a very dry finish. Carbonation a bit under whelming.

Drinkability – Oh I can drink this, it just isn’t the best out there. One of these a night could be nice!

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

This offering from Weyerbacher pours a deep orange leaving a clear body that has a thick tan head that leaves pretty quickly. The aroma is exactly what I thought this brew would offer cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pumpkin, very spicy similar to pumpkin pie. The taste starts bitter upfront, it has a little spicy twang that you get if you taste powdered cinnamon.

It then moves to a sweet malty cooked sugar syrupy feel on the palate that is balanced by a bitterness of acidic tart hops. The finish is slightly boozey but not as strong as expected from a 8% brew. This is a great "Imperial pumpkin" delicious and satisfies my fall beer cravings.

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Photo of treehugger02010
4.34/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

IntriqKen most certainly got this right. This beer certainly tastes like a homemade pumkin pie. I poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass, getting about an inch and change of head. The head dissapeared quickly, and didn't leave much lace except for the side I poured towards. The smell and the taste are pure Fall, this has to be one of the greatest aspects of this season, great beer like this one. Don't drink and review.

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

i am a poor west-coaster and never get to experience pumpkin beers like this.
Poured a crystal clear dark amber orange with a respecible 1/2 finger head that melted to thin lacing.
Aromas are cinamon, nutmeg, typical pumpkin spices but fresh and real...nothing synthetic in the aroma.
Taste is again real and honest...cinamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spices...a little fresh pumpkin pie....nice bite on the end...again, nothing synthetic here.
This is GOOD pumpkin beer. An honest fall treat.

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Photo of jwc215
2.96/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours deep amber with a thin, slightly off-white head that almost immediately disappears to oblivion. Okay color, disappointing head, even for the abv. (which, though not listing, I assume to be above average considering how the alcohol was so prominent).

The smell is just as the front of the bottle lists - cinnamon, nutmeg, cardemom and cloves over pumpkin. The aroma is pretty strong, helped by the spices and alcohol.

The taste has the same characteristics as the smell, but the pumpkin is almost lost among the spices and alcohol. The little bit of pumpkin is true, not the fake pumpkin flavor that some use, but it's a shame that it is so overpowered. It's not as good as the smell had me believe. It's imbalance becomes more apparent as the drink progresses. On top of that, a slight chemical-like taste enters in as the beer warms. The spices aren't bad, but they mask much of the pumpkin taste.

This beer loses it's potential as it progresses. It's a bit more watery than I expected. The aftertaste is not so pleasant - Where did the pumpkin go? Only a fleeting memory remains, as it becomes lost in the shuffle.

It's not an easy one to drink. I thought of dumping it several times, but decided to be a trooper...
Better pumpkin ales out there...

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Photo of techdiver
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep amber, a very modest head which dissipates quickly. Some spice smell that leads to surprise as the taste is much more intense than one would expect. Not overpowering, but full of flavor. Not much carbonation, but more drinkable than other Pumpkin Ales.

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

A: Dark mahagoney amber with just a touch of haze. A nice solid, oatmeal colored head towers above the body of the beer. As it falls, swiss cheese like lace is left behind around the sides of the glass.

S: Lots of seasoning in this one. Obvious cardomon with cinnamon and nutmeg in the secondary. Touch of soapiness and pumpkin trail off.

T: Begins with spices on the tip of the tongue. Thank god this beer isn't overspiced, its balanced and fairly delicate. Pumpkin is quite pronounced at this point, fresh and fulfilling. Finishes with some apple cider, yellow pear and honey. Aftertaste is almost all apple with a touch of hoppiness.

M: Medium body. Carbonation is neither distracting or necessarily appealing.

D: They did a good job making this beer balanced. It could have easily been overspiced or too cloying. Flavor still leaves a tad to be desired.

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Photo of EStreet20
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber, 20 ounce nonin

A - A nice translucent red color with a two finger off white head

S - A lot of spice on top of a malty brew

T - A nice sweet pumpkin ale with definite hints of cinnamon and nutmeg as the bottle states. Some alcohol flavor blended in nicely. A great vanilla character as well

M - Medium bodied and some lively carbonation

D - Not my favorite style but this one drinks nicely.

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Photo of maek228
2.52/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: amber colored ale with a decent looking head...some cling...but not much

Smell: smells of fall spices....kinda bready smell

Taste: starts off good...it tastes like a heart old school ale with pumpkins spice but let me tell you - the aftertaste is brutal. the aftertaste is that of a steel reserve 40. it leaves you with a skunked and sour taste in your mouth. awful

Mouthfeel: just doesnt feel right

Drinkability: ehhh no this is not easy to drink. that aftertaste is a mother. avoid this one

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to EPseja for sending me this beer. Hope to trade again soon!

This pours a very pretty golden brown amber color into my pint glass. Much more brown than golden. The head slowly builds.as if it's a stout. I end up with an inch+ thick head, that slowly recedes to a layer of foam. Not much lacing, rather the head leaves bits of foam attached to the glass as I swirl it. Very nice looking beer.

A very sweet spicy aroma of cardomom prevails, with hints of allspice in the background. Not much on cinnamon or nutmeg aromas.

The taste has a spicy bite to it, along with a definite alcohol flavor. It is definitely an "in your face" beer. Nohting subtle about it. Don't taste a lot of pumpkin. More of a spicy pale ale flavor. Definite alcohol bitterness.

Mouthfeel is quite carbonated. Moderately thick, and it leaves a spicy aftertaste with a strong alcohol warming

Overall, a decent brew. It's not my favorite Pumpkin Ale, (Cottonwood still reigns supreme in my book) but it is an interesting take on the style. A good choice for someone looking more for spice than pumpkin flavor.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
2.66/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22oz. brown bottle, no date information, but it is the 2006 release.

Shimmering flamed amber. Towering, dense head of fine washed caramel colored bubbles. Settles slowly, leaving bands of thick lacing. Two lonely carbonation streams laze towards the surface. Ample aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves dominate, and there is a faint hint of some toasty malt. Hints of cinnamon and cardamom open things up before the alcohol arrives in a distinctly noticeable way. The alcohol is raw and adds an astringent aspect to the finish which also has some nutmeg and a bit of clove. The malt is barely noticeable. Nutmeg and cardamom flavors linger on the tongue, and in general the spices add a raw heat and do not seem to hang well together. Medium body with a thin mouthfeel, this beer does not strike me as “imperial” anything. There is nothing rich and full about the body and it is on the dry side overall. The spices were also kept on the minimal side which would have worked in a beer not labeled as “imperial”. Compared to this year’s special release of Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale, this beer pales in comparison. The body is on the weak side and the alcohol lends a hot, astringent note. It was a struggle to make it through the entire bottle.

I don’t understand what all the hype is about with this beer. If you are looking for an Imperial Pumpkin, pick up some Schlafly.

Thanks to sacfly for the DFH bocce weekend trade.

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Photo of froggyfrog
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Pours a dark molasses-like orange color with an impressive frothy head with a half-life of several minutes.

Pumpkin pie spicy in the nose, with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. There is also a strong ginger-like component and, of course, pumpkin.

The taste continues the spice-filled pie-like flavor but adds dimensions of melted caramel, cinnamon toast, and green noble hops. Sugared pumpkin and cloves are the closers.

Mouthfeel seems slightly thin. I think maybe for the fullness of the flavor a fuller MF would be a better match. But then again it drinks very smoothly as is without being overly filling.

At 8% ABV we have left the realm of the session beer but nonetheless I could enjoy several of these fine brews in a row. In fact I might do just that tonight.

A final note: At first I was concerned when I caught wind of the spices used in this brew. For I feel that sometimes brewers of spiced ales (including our friends at Weyerbacher) get too heavy handed with the spice schedule and the quality and enjoyability of the beer suffers. This is not the case with Imp. Pumpkin, this is a very enjoyable beer even for someone who fears "over-spicing" like myself.

Also notable: I enjoyed this beer and an apple sconce in tandem and the flavor interactions were fantastic.

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

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

Pours a red/amber with tiny suspended particles throughout. 3 finger offwhite head.

The smell is all spices that the beer is brewed with. I can definitely make out the cinnamon, nutmeg and the cloves. I don't recognize the cardamom. Some sweetness comes through, but the spices dominate.

The taste of this starts off with a sweet, syrupy pumpkin flavor that is quickly taken over by the cinnamon and nutmeg. There is a tartness in the finish that is hard to describe, but I guess I'd call it cider-y.

Mouthfeel is slick with light carbonation.

Highly drinkable pumkin ale. I love the fact that they're pushing the envelope with respect to abv compared to most pumkin ales. Though not listed on this site at the time I write this, the Weyerbacher site says it's 8%. Weyerbacher continues to come up with great unique beers.

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Photo of nvsblman
4.49/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with highlights of copper. A little more than a finger of off-white head. Smells like a spicy pumpkin pie. Loads of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon... Also noticing a little black pepper it seems. Great pumpkin flavor! The spices are all working well together. Full and creamy mouthfeel. Almost seems like you should put some whipped cream on it and enjoy it for dessert! This is right up there with a local pumpkin porter (from Four Peaks) as my favorite pumpkin beer.

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Photo of
3.01/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle. Brewed with pumkin and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon & cloves). A clear very dark copper/orange ale with a large light tan head. Aroma was all about the spice, mainly clove and nutmeg. The pumpkin was hiding quite effectively until almost the end of the beer. Hops were fairly strong, and the malt was barely noticeable with everything else going on. Finally, you got a definate whiff of alcohol. Taste moves away from the aroma, in that the malt was quite prevalent - a sweet dark bread type of flavor - this was easily the sweetest of the 4 pumpkin ales I tried in this session. The hops were secondary, but quite present at the finish. This, combined with the spices and a peppery aftertaste gave a pretty good bite at the end. Other tasting notes included alcohol/medicinal flavors, clove, and mint. To me, a pumpkin flavor was not really in the mix, but you picked it up a little in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was medium in body, fairly light carbonation, and creamy. Alcohol made for a rather drying finish. Overall, I didn't care for the alcohol/medicinal notes and I think they tried to do a little too much with this one. Not sure we need an Imperial Pumkin Ale, but hats off to them for trying.

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Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 2,708 ratings.
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