Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
87
very good
1,022 Reviews
Imperial Pumpkin AleImperial Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
weyerbacher.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,022
Ratings:
2,723
Avg:
3.89
pDev:
13.37%
 
 
Wants:
162
Gots:
481
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,022 | Ratings: 2,723
Photo of jamie2dope
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I will admit that I am not such a big fan of pumpkin flavored beers, but I had always been a little curious about this beer, so I decided it was worth a try. It poured a copper/ruby color, with a healthy white head. The spices are what hits the nose first with aroma. Lots of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and perhaps some pepper. The pumpkin really comes through in the taste, along with the spices mentioned above. It is very similar to a piece of rich pumpkin pie. One thing I will definitely say is that the heightened alcohol does lend itself to the quality of this beer. It is not in your face, but is there enough to compliment the other tastes that are present. I would sip this brew all night long. This is by far the best pumpkin beer I have ever had the opportunity to taste. Maybe it will inspire me to sample others. Also, it is beers like this that make me look forward to the cooler weather of Fall.

 908 characters

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

Weyerbacher is getting me in the mood for fall. This beer poured a bright, translucent pumpkin orange into a tulip glass with a thick, chunky white head. There was a distinct cinnamon and pumpkin aroma, along with a sweet toasted caramel.

Taste mirrors the aroma, with cinnamon and nutmeg as the dominant spices. There's also a sweet, burnt caramel malt profile to go along with it. Hints of pumpkin can be detected, but they're faint. The alcohol is masked exceedingly well, and was not noticeable at all. The spices began to become more pronounced as the beer warmed. Mouthfeel is a touch thin, but not bad overall.

I'm impressed with this beer, since it doesn't try to be a big beer just for the heck of it. It seems like there's a purpose for everything here, which makes it much more interesting. If you enjoy the pumpkin style and want a little extra kick, this is the perfect beer for you.

 903 characters

Photo of chimney
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bomber

A: very dark amber, almost a brown. poured with a nice head.

S: right away a noticeable spice smell which slowly developed to pumpkin pie. other smells are along the lines of red ale or oktoberfest.

T: light taste of spice that lingers nicely to a long after taste. for as strong as it is the alcohol is well hidden when cold, but slowly becomes noticeable as the beer warms.

M: almost creamy and not overly rich. when warmer the alcohol combines with the spice to leave a nice light burn.

D: very easy to drink, enjoyable as a fall beer alternative to the regular oktoberfests and other red ales.

 614 characters

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

picked up a bottle at First Capital Dispensing Co. in York
Poured cold into a goblet.
A - Burnished copper w/ good clarity and a tan head that becomes a ring of foam on the sides of the glass.

S - Pumpkin pie spices are the initial smell. It is hard to pick them out individually, but I would probably say ginger is a dominant one. Nutmeg and the fruitiness of ale yeast are other odors.

M - A gentle malt w/ abundant spice and a sweet finish w/ ample carbonation.

T - A vegetal taste is followed by a bevy of spice and a nuttiness. Caramel sweetness is up front w/ out much flavor of alcohol.

D - A tasty brew, but might be a bit cloying with the sweetness and spice if multiples are attempted. Very tasty spiced pumpkin flavor - Great choice of seasonal.

 770 characters

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

A: Pours a nice brownish-orange with a little bit of head. Not much retention.

S: Pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, and a hint of alcohol. Pretty inviting overall.

T: The taste matches the smell as all of those flavors converge on top of a nice malty backbone. Not much hops presence, but it's not really to be expected from this style. The pumpkin and spices really shine, and despite being 8% ABV, the alcohol is masked well.

M: Smooth, velvety, good carbonation.

D: This is the first time I've had this, and it's jumped to the top 3 of my favorite pumpkin ales. Really well done.

 612 characters

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

Thanks to MuenchenerKindl for the brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice two-finger plus off-white head, nice sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is malty, spicy, and some caramel. The taste is awesome, malty, some nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and some caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, a really tasty Pumpkin Ale, recommended.

 371 characters

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

After browsing my local beer store, I found a couple of these still sitting on the shelf (it's July!) Figured, eh, what the hell. I have had this many times in the fall, both on tap and bottle.

I love this lable. Great cartoonish "king" pumpkin holding court.

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a pint glass.

A- A mildly brown color- think a dark iced tea color with a thin tan head. No lacing on this one and head diminishes with the first few sips.

S- Smell might have been the best part of the beer. Fall flavors and spices- think pumpkin pie, cinnamon, cream, sugar, cloves.

T- Yum. Tastes exactly like it smells! The alcohol is masked beautifully by the strong vanilla and pumpkin flavor. After sitting a while, it wasn't as potent as I remember, but still wonderful nonetheless.

This is probably my favorite pumpkin ale and the best that I have ever had. It takes me back and reminds me of my favorite season of the year. I can't wait till the fall for another batch to come around.

Recommended.

 1,020 characters

Photo of hunteraw
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep orange/garnet in color, good clarity, big head with good retention. Lots of lacing. Really very nice looking.

Smell: Lots of big pumpkin flavor, with spices in the background - ginger being a standout. Hint of brown sugar.

Taste: Acidic pumpkin, toast, caramel. Spice - ginger finish. Aftertaste is interesting - caramel/pumpkin. 8% abv is well-concealed.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body, smooth, carbonation seemed a little light.

Drinkability: You can only really drink one pumpkin beer at a time, but this one isn't a bad one.

 549 characters

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

Poured from a 22oz. brown bomber bottle into my Dogfish Head shaker "pint" glass. Appears a clear deep amber color with about a finger of off-white foam. Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and caramel malt. Tastes as good as it smells. The sweet baking spices in the nose are also very dominant in the taste. I know it's been said to death but this is liquid pumpkin pie. Period. Medium in both body and carbonation. Rich and satisfying, I'm content after just one bomber. If you like pumpkin beer, this is one of the best.

 522 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours a slighty cloudy dark amber color with a small head.

Aromas are quite spicy. A lot of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon spells coming from this one.

Flavors are dominated by the spices. But there are not many "beer" flavors coming from this one. There is a slight roasted sweet and creamy maltiness on the front, then the flavors settle into the pumpkin flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon. There is a slightly tart dry quality on the finish.

Mouthfell is pretty good. It is a thick and well rounded beer.

Drinkability is pretty good. These pumpkin beers usually seem to just "miss" to me. This is a good beer, but nothing special. Worth a try though.

Thanks for the extra bottle mymrnngjckt.

 709 characters

Photo of mjc410
2.65/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The pour into my Trois Pistoles glass raises a a thin layer of light tan foam that quickly bubbles away. The slight lace manages to stick a bit. The body is a hazy ruby-copper. The nose has a lot of the usual pumpkin pie spices floating around, and they're definitely leading the pumpkin aroma. The taste is highly spiced, with cinnamon and nutmeg being primary. Again, the pumpkin is mild. The mouth is too carbonated. I've really had much better pumpkin beers.

 462 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours an orange/red/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are OK. It smells very spicy, like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pumpkin. Taste is pretty much the same way it smells, but that's not a bad thing. Mouthfeel is medium, with a good amount of carbonation (not too much) but still going down smooth. Drinkability is good too, it's pretty easy to drink. The alcohol is well hidden. Overall, I think this is a pretty decent pumpkin ale. I'd definitely buy it again.

 535 characters

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

From Notes...one of the best labels I have ever seen!

So this is what I think of when I think of pumpkin ale....a pumpkin pie in a glass!
A- Dark red orange amber color with a brown sugar like head...bubbly and translucent.
S-Big Pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice(all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon), even a bready pie crust like aroma...all backed by a nice sweet roasted malt base.
T-Sweet malty body, with light bops that make it surprisingly drinkable....very pumpkin pie....all the you smell can be tasted in this beer from the pumpkin to the the crust...wonderful, and followed by a smooth silky pumpkin finish with long lingering cinnamon....may be a little sweet for some, but I love it.
M/D- Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, and the alcohol is entirely hidden. I look forward to next year!

 800 characters

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.

 923 characters

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:
http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/392/25880/?ba=kpantz

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.

 1,940 characters

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.

 650 characters

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!

 629 characters

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.

 458 characters

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!

 1,137 characters

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.

 680 characters

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.

 1,045 characters

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.

 556 characters

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.

 925 characters

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.

 625 characters

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.

 336 characters

Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 2,723 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe