Imperial Pumpkin Porter
Summit Brewing Company

Imperial Pumpkin PorterImperial Pumpkin Porter
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Porter - Imperial
4.05 | pDev: 9.14%
Summit Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Imperial Pumpkin PorterImperial Pumpkin Porter
Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 157 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jackofallbrews
Jackofallbrews from Minnesota

4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was Summit's 5th foray into letting its brewers try out unusual recipes on a smaller scale. This edition was dreamed up by brewer Nate Siats and included Sweet China Cinnamon, Jamaican Allspice, Powdered Cassia Buds, Ground Nutmeg, Ginger Powder, Ground Mace, and Ground Ceylon Cloves. Released in October of 2010, I found it to be too bitter for me. I left a few bottles in the cellar (more by accident than anything) and discovered them recently, lurking behind some bottles of Bigfoot. A happy surprise!

Aroma: I get some molasses and boozy dark rum notes up front. Some nutmeg and cinnamon are present and s spicy almost chili pepper note on the nose. Strong semi-sweet chocolate aromas as it warms.

Appearance: Very dark brown with slight ruby highlights at edges of glass. Fine tan head that fades quickly.

Flavor: Complex roast and chocolate flavor, mixed with a molasses and licorice root off-sweetness. Medium bodied, but ends pretty dry. Some oxidized sherry-like notes add complexity. Spicing is mellow with just a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. There is a slight boozy warming note as it goes down. As this warms up I get more coffee notes and an earthy astringency that may be due to the pumpkin.

Overall: This is tons better than it was last year--almost a different beer. Age has added smoothness and complexity to this unusual beer. I sipped this on Halloween night in front of a fire, while sneaking chocolate from our treat basket. If you have any of these hiding in your cellar--drink them now!

Nov 15, 2013
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sprucetip from Alaska

4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5. Looks good, like a stout. A finger plus of mocha colored foam, minimal retention, and some scraps of lacing. Activity determinable by the tiny bubbles coming to the surface.

Pumpkin and spice are prominent, mild roast and malty sweetness add depth and character underneath.

Tastes like the nose with spice and pumpkin defining and even dominating, but not quite overbearing. Roasty and malty character are enough to remind you that it is beer and not pie.

Smooth, rich, moderately viscous, and only gently warming.

Really nice beer. The only one I've ever had that is reminiscent of Midnight Sun's TREAT (formerly known as Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter), which is a great beer. It is listed as retired here on BA, I hope that is not true. This is a worthy brew and you should try it if you can.

Jan 03, 2012
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pBRale from Iowa

4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes 10-19-11
Poured into a warbled mug

Appearance: Black pour, with a huge creamy cocoa head that settles slowly and has excellent head retention and a nice lacing pattern.

Smell: The smell is of roasted chocolate malts, some dark chocolate, and a bit of coffee. In the background, there are some very nice spices of nutmeg and allspice. The chocolate and coffee aromas are just nicely supported by the spices.

Taste: Deep roasted malts and lots of coffee initially, with a bit of chocolate and a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, and pumpkin. The overall taste is outstanding, and my description can't do it justice.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-thick body with low to medium carbonation and a really smooth finish. Excellent!

Overall: This is a porter first and foremost, but the pumpkin spices are so well blended that it is an incredible experience. An awesome beer. Period.

Nov 11, 2011
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Pegasus from Texas

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

Appearance: Deep mahogany brown in color, with a massive, persistent tan head, thick glass-coating lace. The head retains quite well.

Aroma: Sweet alcohol, lots of pumpkin spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, brown sugar, coffee. Sweet alcohol is also quite prominent.

Taste: Opens with dark malt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and earth. As the taste progresses, warm, spicy alcohol notes appear. Finishes with earth, bitter cocoa, and pumpkin pie spices and a little spicy alcohol.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes; An excellent pumpkin porter, its a shame that this seems to have been a one-shot, as it really is superb.

Presentation: Packaged in a short, twelve-ounce brown glass bottle, served in a Sam Adam Boston lager glass.

Oct 30, 2011
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matjack85 from Illinois

3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this single 12oz brown bottle in the discontinued bin at the Binny's store in Schaumburg, IL. for $1.79. I was a little surprised to see a fall seasonal in the discontinued bin in the middle of October, but oh well, there it was, so I grabbed it. No freshness date, but it does say that this bottle is from Batch 5 of their "Unchained Series".

The beer poured a black as oil color and made a nice 4-finger tan head that lasted several minutes and left decent lacing.

The smell was interesting, but not much pumpkin to it. The spices were there - nutmeg and clove, but very little pumpkin. I did get some sweet brown sugar and a touch of molasses as well.

Where's the pumpkin? To me this actually tasted like a chocolate porter. Nice chocolate malt flavor with some spiciness and some good hop bitterness. What little pumpkin flavor there is seems to be just an afterthought. There is also a lingering bitter aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is fantastic. It's creamy, smooth, rich, and thick with rather low carbonation.

This is a good tasting beer, but not very pumpkiny. Hard to score it cause it tastes good, but it's not what it's supposed to be. If you're going to call it pumpkin ale, then make it taste like pumpkin. Just my opinion.

Oct 18, 2011
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I allowed this one to mellow for a year before consumption. The rest of the pack was sampled last year, but my notes are largely the same. Poured into a pub glass, the dark black porter gave way to about a 1/4 inch head. Cinnamon and nutmeg are apparent in the aroma, but the pumpkin scents are lack. Initial taste gives sweet chocolate which fades to a bitter dark chocolate in the after taste. Along the way, cinnamon and nutmeg emerge from hiding at times with little obvious hint of the pumpkin. The bitter aftertaste can make one forget this is a pumpkin ale. It may take a few tries to appreciate the effort on this one. It is a good porter, but the pumpkin is lacking.

Oct 15, 2011
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lawlerj from Nebraska

3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass - got this in a mixed six pack from Beertopia in Omaha for $8.99 (for the whole sixer). What a steal!

A - pours deep, oily black w/ a nice big tannish brown head. Decent head retention, leaves speckled lacing on the glass as it goes down. Looks about right for the style. As a porter and stout lover, I like the looks of this guy.

S - roasted malt and spices, a bit of pumpkin. Honestly the pumpkin is not as prominent as I expected it would be. It seems like the malt and spices overpower the sweetness of the pumpkin, but it's definitely there. Not much hop character to speak of, but that's to be expected for the style I suppose.

T - smooth roasted coffee and dark chocolate mixed with the same spices noted above on the nose. Molasses and brown sugar perhaps? Very roast malt. The pumpkin seems to be an underlying note throughout but comes through nicely on the finish. Definitely more subtle than I was anticipating but still very tasty.

M - medium bodied. Goes down nice and smooth and the bold porter flavors are not too big for the body of this beer. Definitely more body than some other porters that I have had.

O - overall, a nice change of pace from the more traditional fall/Oktoberfest type beers. The pumpkin, as I said above, is subtle, but lends itself well and blends nicely with the other flavors going on.

M -

Oct 07, 2011
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xuptygm from Nebraska

3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pitch black. dark brown head which recedes as quickly as it appeared. Heavy spices (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon) and big pumpkin flavor are great in this heavy brew. Super smooth mouth feel. Hops balance the beer nicely. This needs to be brewed again. Pretty Please! One of the best pumpkin beers (and definitely the most unique) I've tried.

Oct 05, 2011
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MNFirefly from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I enjoy Summit a lot and looked forward to trying this. I love Porter beers myself. I was impressed with the pour in this product. I was able to smell the aroma of the Pumpkin within this beer as I poured it. I found the taste to a little light on the spicy level and didn't balance with the Pumpkin, but still enjoyed it.

Sep 12, 2011
Photo of BarrytheBear
BarrytheBear from Wisconsin

3.11/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle graciously provided by JP. So glad you're back, but I'll certainly miss your Minnesotan provisions!

12 oz bottle poured leisurely into a snifter. Black with a cola colored spotted surface and some intermittent popping bubbles and adequate stickage.

Nutmeg, cinnamon, and canned pumpkin. The underlying scents are of roast and some dark chocolate. Both distinctive scents exist rather independently, like layers on top of each other rather than a cohesive mix. What's most perplexing is the distinctive whiffs of Bloody Mary that seems to waft off with a deep pull from the proboscis: tomato juice and celery salt. Strange.

The taste profiles the dirty porter more than the nose and the spices from the nose are more muted here. The base is almost too sweet though and the nutmeg and cinnamon don't hit hard enough to cut through. Maybe time has served to temper the spicing and while most times I would say this is a good thing, this beer could use some beneficial un-cloying agents.

Mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is dialed up just a bit too much.

Overall, I'm curious how much this beer has changed over time. As is, I cannot imagine that she'll she improvement with more time.

Sep 10, 2011
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cosmicevan from New York

4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

batch 05.

a - opened and filled my snifter. poured dark and viscous. there was a thin dark brown almost grey head. this beer is 8 ball black.

s - HOLY MOLY CHARLIE BROWN, it's the great pumpkin! very nice. spicy pumpkin with cinnamon and apple pie. some caramel coated roast.

t - well, that's unique. pot pour…tastes like pot pouri, the porter is in there as well, but it is rather spicy. almost like there is chili in there. chocolatey and burnt malt. really nice.

m - pretty full bodied for a porter. more stout like to me.

o - overall, this is a beer to be tried. it is extremely unique and rather tasty. really glad i got to try this one.

Sep 06, 2011
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badboyrsl84 from California

3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola color dark brown with a sutle mocha head.

Smell- coffee, roasted malt, burnt sugars and yes pumpkin spices

Taste- follows the nose really well. Coffe and roasted/burnt malts. Pumpkin is present but I would have like a little more of its presence in this beer.

Overall- its a good little change up to a porter and would have liked a little more pumpkin in this one.

Aug 03, 2011
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GeezLynn from Colorado

4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black with a grande tan head that fades to suds.

S: A hefty aromatic mixture of pumpkin and chocolate with a sweetness that suggests lactose. Also a lesser contribution of spices, cinnamon and nutmeg being the most obvious.

T: A bit more roasted than the smell would indicate. Chocolate shows up midway. Spices are lighter and complimentary, though they seem to have faded a lot at this point. Pumpkin is well blended and is most noticeable on the finish, which ends with a light bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with full carbonation. Feels closer to a stout than porter.

Easily the best beer Summit has bottled in my opinion. Comparable to Midnight Sun Treat, only Summit went a little lighter on the spices with a bigger dose of roast. That said, I’ll make an effort to finish the last few bottles as it’s really losing the spice flavors.

Jul 30, 2011
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orangesol from Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours very dark brown, nearly black, with a small one finger tall tan head leaving small wisps of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted malt, bakers chocolate, light vanilla sweetness, canned pumpkin pulp, and pumpkin pie spices.

T - Starts off a big dose of dark roasted malt slowly giving way to a mix of sweet chocolate and spicy pumpkin pulp. The alcohol is all but undetectable. The finish is mostly just dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Full feel with plenty of dark roast sticking around through the finish.

O - Not too bad for a cross over beer. I think the dark flavors dominated the pumpkin a bit too much at the beginning but it got a bit better toward the end.

Jul 28, 2011
Photo of fdkayti
fdkayti from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours like motor oil, black and thick. Thin tan head that only hangs out for a short while.

S- a little pumpkin, heavy nutmeg, some cinnamon and maybe clovey? Malty nom.

T- Dark spiced chocolate, mocha notes. Obviously some pumpkin pie spices (unless I'm wanting it to be something its not).

MF- Creamy and medium heavy.

O/D- Would be more enjoyable in the cold but I can dig it. Easy to drink as its not overpowering. First pumpkin beer!

Jul 09, 2011
Photo of Duff27
Duff27 from Illinois

4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark, dark brown with a thin mocha head. Decent head retention and lacing.

S- Chocolate but a definate sweet pumpkin smell.

T- Roasted malts. More chocolate with a touch of coffee. Pumpkin is not as pronounced as it is in the smell, may have faded over time.

M- Good smooth and creamy mouthfeel, par for the style.

D/O- Definately worth a try if you can still find some. Bring it back sometime Summit!

Jul 09, 2011
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aepb1 from Maine

4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- black body with a small airy brown head

S- chocolate, pumpkin and spices, very inviting

T- roasted chocolate and coffee malts up front, pumpkin in the middle, spices finish this up, mostly cinnamon

M- medium body, moderate carbonation and the finish is a bit watery

O- very good imp porter and even better with pumpkin!

Jun 29, 2011
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BCGabbo from Washington

4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass.

A: Dark black body w/ medium head.

S: Roasted malts with a subtle Pumpkin nosefeel. Spices of some nature are also present but I cant put my finger on exactly what they are.

T: Very good taste, but expected more of a pumpkin taste than I got. The pumpkin is significantly more subtle than expected (although the smell should have tipped me off). The subtlety of the pumpkin flavor makes way for the roasted malts and chocolate flavor.

M: As the beer warms up, the pumpkin flavors reveal themselves even more. The beer starts to come into itself a bit more and the balance between its porter characteristics and the pumpkin/spices is near perfect.

O: Despite my initial disappointment in the lack of pumpkin flavors, it actually proved to be a blessing in disguise. The beer is served much better with the hints of pumpkin in the background rather than an in your face flavor. Easily in my top 2 favorites from Summit's Unchained series. Recommended.

Jun 24, 2011
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PerHops from California

3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark, dark brown. Like flat coca cola.

S-a lot of fruit, some coffee, a lot of cherries, a little earthy

T- carmel and chocalate moves into coffee and then a sour, bitter funky kind of carbonated finish.

M- different. Sweet, syrupy, but then carbonated and extremely long finish.

O- Good beer. For me it is a once in a while beer. Probably couldn't drink a 6er.

Jun 19, 2011
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a dark silky black body with a creamy tan head that last for a good bit.

S- The rich aroma of pumpkin bread baking and banana esters note to follow finishes with a raw crushed dark malt and fresh wort sweetness.

T- The roasted malt blends with the pumpkin spice and a a slightly dry roasted flavor finishes the beer. There is a slightly sweet wort flavor that lingers a moment.

M- The medium mouthfeel is cut by a big fizz in the finish and no alcohol heat noticed.

D- This beer has a nice solid roasty porter base wtih a fresh ground pumpkin spice flavor to compliment and blend in. This is a very nice beer to sip a few glasses of.

Jun 06, 2011
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djsmith1174 from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown with a decent head.

S - Rich chocolate, coffee, pumpkin, spices, and slight hop notes.

T - Starts bitter with the roasted malt and hops with an excellent transition to spiced pumpkin to complement the chocolate malt. The middle of the flavor profile is very well proportioned. I was quite impressed.

M - Medium body with a fairly dry finish. Creamy going down though.

O - Another great offering from Summit's Unchained series. Hasn't been one that I didn't thoroughly enjoy yet.

May 25, 2011
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birchstick from Colorado

4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark color with a one finger head

S - smells of nice chocolate malts intertwined with spicy cinnamon flavor and some other spices

T - the taste starts off with some burnt malts that's fads to a bit of chocolate mixed with pumpkin wIth pumpkin spices (cinnamon and some all spice). Ends with the roasted malts again. Pretty solid combination of flavors.

M - a little thin and dry from the spices

D - really, really good pumpkin porter here. Full of flavor and nicely balanced between the two styles

May 09, 2011
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BedetheVenerable from Missouri

3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown screw-top, with cool, minimalist label and date clearly stamped. Must say, my wife suggested I homebrew a pumpkin spice porter and I thought it was an odd idea. Then we saw this little number at Friar Tuck's, and figured we'd give it a whirl. Drink before 5/11/11.

Appearance: Pitch black. As in midnight. Obsidian. Black hole. Capped with a tan cap with fairly good retention and a bit of lace.

Smell: Dark molasses cookies, burnt malt, and pumpkin pie spice. Hint of caramel in there as well. Something a bit fruity/earthy; originally I was thinking this might be a ghost of the pumpkin in here, but it could be some fruitiness from the hops as well. Either way, overall, this is very nice.

Taste: Starts with a big hit of dark chocolate and roasted barley up front. Just a hint of pumpkin pie spice at this point; 3-4 months ago, the spice was a lot more prominent. Now it's significantly milder than suggested by the aromas. This is still quite good, but it was definitely better when there was a stronger spice kick.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-heavy

Overall: If I'd reviewed this several months ago, this would have been at least one score higher. The alcohol is well-hidden, and the combination of pumpkin, spice, and roast is awesome. Strictly on the basis of this beer, very nearly at its best-by date, the rating has to be a bit lower than what this beer really deserves.

May 08, 2011
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Sirwootalot from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick and black with a nearly nonexistent orangish off-white head. The aroma is very rusty and mild - it reminds me of freshly raked leaves with a possible hint of cinnamon. The flavor develops as it goes down; it starts with strong and incredibly rich roasted barley (yum! i'm powerless against this in any beer) with strong hints of roasted pumpkin seed and a finish of chocolate, allspice, and slight pumpkin. Hops are pretty much nonexistent. The aftertaste is hard to describe - it's strangely metallic and burnt, but in a very pleasant way, and fairly similar to the smell of pumpkin guts. The mouthfeel is excellent; the beer is strong, but nowhere near as thick or syrupy as other imperial porters/stouts.

Overall, I absolutely love it. It's got all the character and strength of more famous imperial brews with the drinkability and ease-of-access of summit's famous EPA. This may be a weakness for some (it could absolutely be more developed and you have to think hard to realize pumpkin is a part of it at all), but personally, it strikes all of the right chords.

Apr 24, 2011
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark black with a slight amber red at the bottom with light shining through. Big deep tan foam head with great retention and good lacing.

Smell: Strong dark roasted malts with dark chocolate followed by a spicy pumpkin aroma. A hint of cinnamon.

Taste: Roasted malts up front followed by chocolate and coffee. The pumpkin spices follow and finishes with a slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Very creamy.

Overall: A very good porter. The spice complements it well and is well balanced.

Apr 22, 2011
Imperial Pumpkin Porter from Summit Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 157 ratings