Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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1,009 Reviews
Imperial Pumpkin AleImperial Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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: 1,009 | Ratings: 2,691
Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.97/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Color was deep reddish amber. Creamy head that reduced quickly.

Smell: Spicy pumpkin, malt, and alcohol.

Taste: Malt and pumpkin pie spiced heavily spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Mouthfeel: Rich and creamy. Warming after it goes down.

Drinkability: Excellent. Will purchase again in fall of 2007.

Tried Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale for the first time during the fall of 2006 for my 2006 round of Pumpkin Ale tasting (Shipyard, Saranac, and Weyerbacher). While Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Ale was the best of the fall 2005 round (when compared against Post Road’s, Blue Moon’s, and Smuttynose’s offerings), this year’s lot of Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead fell a bit short. Saranac’s Pumpkin Ale and Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale were similar in style (versus Shipyard’s which is lighter wheat ale), but the Weyerbacher’s was by far the BEST pumpkin ale I have ever tasted.

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Photo of kpantz
4.67/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Executive Summary: My hometown brewery, Weyerbacher is one I can always count on to have something interesting in the portfolio. This is the second iteration of the Imperial Pumpkin, and this time we find it older, wiser and even tastier than its predecessor (which was pretty damn good itself). With the 2006 revision, Weyerbacher, in my honest opinion, has justified the image on its label - they are the king of pumpkin ales, hands down. My only request now is that they work on the head retention - but don't mess with the flavor!

Here's last year's review for reference:

Interestingly enough, it's nearly a year to the date I reviewed it the last time around. My only regret is not reviewing it at a time when most are drinking or considering purchasing this beer.

Appearance: Reddish amber pour from the bomber into my Weyerbacher pint glass. Moderate lacing. Head is off-white and creamy to start, but reduces to nothing. Would like at least a lacing to hang around.

Smell: It's coming at me before I even get my nose over the edge of the glass. Nutmeg and clove, with a bready malt aroma just lightly painted with pumpkin. Like last year, it's the spices, not the pumpkin that defines this one.

Taste: Malt-heavy at first, with the nutmeg, cinnamon (didn't capture this flavor last year) and cloves quickly joining the dance. This is, in my honest opinion, the best tasting pumpkin ale available. I don't see any room for improvement here.

Mouthfeel: They did it! The one thing with which I was disappointed last year was the hypercarbonation. Made the thing seem more like an alcoholic pumpkin soda, if you know what I mean. This time, they boldly beat back the brazen bubbles and have a tremendous result on the tongue.

Drinkability: Over and over and over. Not too heavy, and doesn't trapse into "novelty" territory like some other seasonal beers.

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

Just got this in the mail today; much thanks mymrnngjckt! 12 oz bottle with no date, but i know it's from this past fall. Great looking ale; deep reddish brown, with a creamy, fluffy, off-white head. Big nose with pumpkin pie spices and carmelized malts. Creamy texture. Loaded with pumpkins. Spicy with the likes of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, maple sugar, vanilla. Full sized ale body. IBUs maybe in the low 20s, so hops don't play much of a part here. Pumpkin sweetness is dominant in the aftertaste. Man I love the beer and pumpkin combo, a match made in heaven. Great for anyone regardless of beer drinking experience. Cheers!

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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 jjayjaye
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

S - Aroma comes first in this experience. Aggressive pumpkin and spicy cloves.

A - Pours a true medium-dark amber with a light tan colored head that fades to a thin surface layer. Small infrequent bubbles through tiny bits (?) suspended from top to bottom. Not a lot of lacing.

T - This is my second attempt with this one and I'm trying to keep and open mind. The smell and appearance and 'imperial' nature appealed to me, but the taste didn't match-up to what my other senses were telling me.

The taste is not timid. I can't put my finger on the 'big flavor" that i first get, but it quickly moves on to a spicy-clove and that lingers a bit. There is a distinct hop tingle in the mouth when "that flavor" hits. I can only associate it with those little black licorice candies from the sixties that always hit me like "soap".

D - This one's hard for me. I favor something more like Dogfish Head "Punkin' Ale" in this style. I won't be buying it again, but i seriously celebrate the Easton PA creativity on this one. If your attempting to dignify your pumpkin experience then you can't stop 'till you've done this one. Cheers!

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

This beer pours a slightly clourd orangish brown color, with a thin off white head. The head fades quickly, leaving few laces.

This beer smells mostly of spices. Some cinnamon, and nutmeg. Some cloves are also present. Behind that, I smell some pumpkin aromas.

This beer tastes spicy. The pumpkin, although present, is quite a bit more mild than I would have expected. I mostly taste cloves. Some cinnimon is also present.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a clovey aftertaste. It is carbonated well for the style.

This beer might not be the best session beer. It is a little overspiced I think.

Overall: Thanks ggaughan for giving me the chance to try this beer.

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Photo of Risser09
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage • 22oz. bomber bottle poured into a wine glass

Appearance: Golden brown-orange color pours fast and creates modest head. After subsiding, lace rests at the top of the beer. The color just reminds me of a pumpkin pie. Ample carbonation forces its way to the service.

Smell: Sweet and spicy. Cardemum, cinnamon and nutmeg. No pumpkin aroma in the nose.

Taste: Powerful. Spices are bold but I can actually taste the pumpkin. I think it contributes to the mouthfeel. With the rise of imerials and BIGGER beers, this style is appropriate. I can always appreciate the added intensity of more alcohol by volume. Better yet, I can't tell its there. Finishes clean.

Mouthfeel: Feels like an ale. Alcohol doesn't come through the way I expected. Pleasant and easy to drink.

Drinkability: Great. I put back this bomber with ease. Best pumpkin ale I have had yet. I thought it was great fresh, on-tap as well but I'm willing to cellar a few bottles to see what they do. This beer is pretty hard to get so get it while you can.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Appears cloudy rusty orange in color with some particles. Nice off-white head quickly receeds to a thin spotty layer of lacing. Smells of pumpkin spices, mainly clove with some nutmeg and cinnamon hinted in there. Taste is all spices, mainly the clove. Cinnamon and nutmeg also present, but in less of a direct way. Just a touch hint of pumpkin. Medium in body with some good carbonation, not too overpowering. Very easy to drink with its alcohol being masked nicely. Overall has a great flavor, but really cannot be sessioned.

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Photo of mentor
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber provided by BeerBeing, ala BIF33. Thanks a million! Pours a 1.5 finger head over a very cloudy dark copper-orange liquid. Smells zingy pumpkin pie spice. Clove and nutmeg mostly. No malt or fruity esters to speak of.

Tastes wet with strong clove and nutmeg to start with a drying woody coming in late. Cinnamon comes to play, but fails to tame the sharp spice. Is there pumpkin in here? To me, tastes all just spiced and no pumpkin. Give the spice a bit more of a phenolic edge and tame the darker spice character and this would be any Biere de Gaarde. I'm enjoying it for what it is, but the flavor profile is pretty simple. As it warms, the aftertaste dominates of all-spice, and overall the beer tastes like a spice cabinet that's been stuck closed all summer in the baking heat.

Thick body and heavy carbonation. I don't need another. Disappointing offering from a brewery I've developed an appreciation for.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling this brew at room temp poured into a snifter. the beer exudes a deep chestnut to mahogany color with a fluffy beige head of 3 cm foaming up easily. Aroma is pumpkin pie with cloves and nutmeg and a hint of cinnamon. A general sweet maltiness is present as well.
First sip reveals an avearge body with silky texture and very fine tingly carbonation. there is a slight stickiness on my lips after each sip. Flavor is sweet malt and spices with cinnamon and nutmeg dominant but a bit of doughy yeast as well. Easy drinker with no hint of ABV. Worth a try in the fall. maybe a good pairing for Thanksgiving dinner.

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

Poured a deep orange color with massive white puffy head.
Smell is a nice mixture of pumpkin and pumpkin spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves)
Taste follows through on the smell with a taste similiar to a liquid pumpkin pie.
Nice taste retention at the finish with no alcohol evident.
Very nice beer. Went well with Thanksgiving dinner.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is medium copper thick with good Carbonation. The head is huge, 3 fingers & rocky, off white and leaves some nice lace.

The smell sweet spiced malty.

The taste follows spices with notes of pumpkin and lots of chewy bread.

The mouthfeel is thick and sticky, big body and good carbonation.

The drinkability is good, but one bomber is good. MK

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. This brew is a very deep copper color with a 2 finger off-white head with a steady carbonation evenly bubbling up through the brew. Clarity is very nice on this one as well. The aroma brings a solid blast of allspice and nutmeg with a little fleashy pumpkin giving me a solid sense of pumpkin pie. It seems to hit all the highlites for a pumpkin beer. The flavor strong in the spicing with nutmeg, which is followed by an alcohol solventyness. I feel that the alcohol covers up the fleshy pumpkin flavor that I get hints of, but find hidden. Its okay. The mouthfeel is thick with a light carbonation. It really feels full. I feel that this one suffers from the high alcohol in both the flavor and the drinkability. It just brings our characters in the beer that I think are not the highlites of the brew.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A - Pours a cloudy orange (almost pumpkin orange of all things) with a 2 finger off white head. The head has a unique orange tint to it that I have not seen in other pumpkin beers.

A - All spices, cinnamon and nutmeg are the most dominant with some nutmeg in the mix. Reminds me more of a holiday spice beer than a pumpkin beer but still very pleasant.

T - Wow, it sure is Imperial. A slap in the face of spices with the clove being very powerful. Nutmeg and cinnamon are also very detectable.

M - Nice medium mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation. Very easy drinking.

D - I like the Imperial take on the pumpkin style. The 8% ABV is well hidden. This one tastes like an Imperial version of Great Lakes Christmas in my opinion, very similar but much bigger. The clove is a little overpowering in the taste but a very nice seasonal.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at 50 degrees. Thanks to George at Westy's for the sample bottle!

A - Pours a clear orangish/brown with a lot of carbonation and a medium-sized head.

S - Cinnamon and nutmeg represent the spices that accompany the powerful pumpkin aroma. A sign of things to come in the taste...?

T - ...amazingly, no. I was expecting pumpkin to be the dominant taste, but it's more of a side flavor. I tasted more of a brown sugar/pale ale combination with pumpkin flavoring. I thought it was a good flavor combination, but not a very good representaton of a pumpkin ale.

M - Bubbly, medium body with a crisp finish.

D - I was disappointed, but it was still a good beer nonetheless. I saved it for a few months, and after one whiff, was expecting more from it. I'd still definitely suggest picking one up if you have the chance.

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear and copper with a good size tan-cream head that slowly recedes. Aroma is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, cinnamon and spices on top of an underlying soft sweetness. A nice bready and malty sweetness hits the tongue followed by a yeastiness and finished with a mildly dry hoppiness mixed with cinnamon and spice. There is a nice tingly pepperiness that comes in mid taste and mixes with the dry finish and a small alcohol burn at the back of the throat. Pretty tasty although one is enough for me with the pumpkin pie spice flavors, can't help but enjoy the 8% abv imperial factor as well.

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

Thanks to witbier for the opportunity...12 oz. bottle poured in a mug.

A: pours an amber color. One inch head dissipated in about 30 seconds.

S: smells like the most delicious pumpkin pie ever. very sweet.

T: smelled better that it tastes. That first smell is deceiving. Can taste brown sugar and cinammon. Would like more pumpkin taste.

M: Not as smooth as I would have hoped. kinda thin....for a pumkin ale.

D: couldn't drink more than two of these. Wait, i just realized, this is 8%? How did they do that? It tastes like 5-6%. Hmmm...impressive.

All in all, not a bad pumpkin ale, but there are a few others I would drink first.

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Photo of AaronHomoya
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, orange-amber color with fairly little head and carbonation.

Smell is a great mix of sweet pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg with some other fruitiness as well. Smells like homemade apple pie with some pumpkin pie sitting next to it.

Taste is fruity, with more apple and a lot of spice presence. A little too much spice and not enough pumpkin for my tastes.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a drinkable pumpkin ale, the ABV strenght is well-hid, but I just wish it had more pumpkin flavor.

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

Pouring this ale produces a large, slightly creamy head that lasts for most ofl a glass. The body is mainly a glowing ruby red with a few deep brown shades. Very nice head retention and lacing throughout.

The nose is loaded with pumpkin pie smells. By far, the closest of any pumpkin ale I've tried. Spice presence is strong yet sweet with cinnamon and brown sugar. Very rich and natural on the nose.

Initially, smooth pumpkin provides a bland start to this ale. Quickly, a huge cinnamon presence takes over. Cinnamon flavors entirely dominates the rest of the tastes in a love/hate relationship. The spice presence is quite possibly too strong. The finish holds a few brown sugar flavors, hints of hops and more cinnamon. Additional cream and vanilla flavors balance things slightly as it warms, which really makes this enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is relatively flat throughout although delightfully buttery and creamy.

Drinkability is slightly above average. The spice presence is a little overwhelming to drink more than one of these. A very solid pumpkin ale that I will certainly buy next year.

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Photo of clvand0
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours an amber color with a medium head that falls slowly and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of spices in it, mostly nutmeg and clove. Some pumpkin aroma, but I can't tell if it's just from the spices or if it's from pumpkin. The flavor has a sharpness that I don't care for. One of the spices is a little too strong, overpowering the others. The spices are very upfront, perhaps a little too strong. Tastes like pumpkin, but it could use a lot more balance with the spices because they are just too much. Has a medium mouthfeel but the drinkability suffers from the overspicing.

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

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" dark tan head over the clear burnished copper brew. Head fades at a reasonable pace, leaving solid foam coverage on the glass sides as it recedes. I really cannot imagine how it could look better. Intense aroma makes me think "gingerbread cookie," take that for what you will. Hard to knock a beer that provides what it advertises on the labels, even if I think it's a bit over the top.

Flavor exhibits the spices upfront, but not as full-on as the nose was making me expect, but then the taste is overpowered by an apple peel tartness, coupled with lots of alcohol burn. Mouthfeel and drinkability are just limited by the same issues that I have with the taste. Not something I would revisit, but I still have to admit it looked and smelled great.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.92/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - a good two fingers of flat tan head on top of a glassy burnt orange brew. Not much covering left after it settles but there is a thick solid ring of lace stuck around the edge.

Aroma - intense pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Aroma stays intense, very good.

Taste - a rich flavor of cinnamon, pumpkin and clove. There is a background grainy element, and a good little hop bite on the swallow. Not much, but just enough to give more of a beer profile to what is typically a highly-spiced category. Even a little touch of alcohol warmth on the finish. Top notch.

Mouthfeel - full-bodied, not excessively heavy. Carbonation does not get in the way of the flavor, complements it quite well.

Drinkability - pricy but ghoulishly good, heh heh. The hands-down winner of this year's pumpkin/fall beer Halloween 'taste-off' and the newest 'must-buy' for my annual October fix.

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

Pours from the bomber a nice ruby red with a beautiful white head.

Smell is pumpkin and heavy spice with a little alcohol. Very appetizing.

Taste is very heavy on the spices. I can definitely taste pumpkin, but the spices are almost overpowering. As I drank more, the spices seemed to calm down a bit, but they are most definitely at the forefront in this brew. A warming alcohol is also present, but in a good way. The mouthfeel is medium, but the spices fill the mouth and burn in the swallow, making it feel fuller.

This beer is drinkable, but with the heavy spicing and alcohol, it may be a little too much for some. The bomber was more than enough for one sitting. I love pumpkin ales, and this one is top notch, and definitely recommended. If you're not big spice person, I'd think twice though.

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Photo of DrJay
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, coppery orange with a big, fluffy head that left behind considerable lacing as it receded. Pie spice aroma (cinnamon, nutmet, allspice) with a little fruity sweetness that gives it a definite pumpkin character. The flavour starts off malty, but not overly sweet, with a fair bit of fruit and some grassy hops. Pie spices kick in towards the end and clove lingers in the finish with a fruity sweetness. Medium to full bodied with soft carbonation. Alcohol is completely masked. Quite nice. Whether it's by addition of pumpkin or a wise choice of yeast, the fruitiness in this beer really carries the day. A lot of pumpkin beers rely completely on spices for their character - things seem better balanced here than in most. Still, if you're not a fan of pie spices, this isn't going to work for you. Well done!

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Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,009 ratings.
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