Punkin Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
2,108 Reviews
Punkin AlePunkin Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with.

Punkin Ale is named after the seriously off-centered southern Delaware extravaganza Punkin Chunkin (check out some of these Discovery Channel videos of Punkin Chunkin, you gotta see it to believe it!). In fact, Punkin Ale made its debut as it claimed first prize in the 1994 Punkin Chunkin Recipe Contest. Yes, that was a full 6 months before we even opened our doors for business!

28 IBU

Added by NeroFiddled on 09-26-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,108 | Ratings: 6,543
Photo of 49er
1/5  rDev -74.4%

Regardless of the label, this beer showed no flavors of pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice cinnamon or nutmeg. The color was the only thing I liked about this ale, light brown.

 172 characters

Photo of 7out
1.17/5  rDev -70.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Bad. Really bad. Tastes nothing at all like pumpkin and there are no discernible spice notes. Nice rich copper color but no head. Smells very alcoholy. Tastes just like diluted Jagermeister with a little farmhouse funk thrown in. I had high hopes for this one but was quite disappointed.

 287 characters

Photo of deaconoflove
1.57/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

ap. color is a beautiful coppery golden brown with no head at all. Could be too cold?
sm. Immediate hit of spice, punkin and/or squash insides.
ta. Spice! punkin pie gone south. Reminds me of the compost can under the sink. More closely resembles a burned punkin pie. Sourish finish.
mf. A little thin, little carbonation.
dr. I am such a tightwad that I'll finish it, but this is one offensive beer. It's the third bottle (three different days) of a four-pack, so I've given it a fair chance I think.

 501 characters

Photo of livingregret
1.63/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Serving Type: Standard 12 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a "dirty" orange w/ no head and no lacing

Smell: Very mute smell....Biscuity malt, no pumpkin and very little spice

Taste: Very light spice, light hops, no pumpkin. Nothing to great here at all. You taste more alcohol than anything else

Mouthfeel: No carbonation...goes down quickly. Not that much there. I feel more alcohol than anything else

Drinkability: Horrible. To much alcohol...no pumpkin. I enjoy Pumpkin ales when they actually taste something like pumpkin and spice. This one really has neither.

 565 characters

Photo of schwansmantr
1.72/5  rDev -56%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Dogfish Head Pumkin Ale 7% ABV. A medium dark orange color with a amber hue. Has a clear body with a hint of fog. Not a whole lot of head from the pour in fact next to none. The aroma is difficult to point out, but I would compare it to some of the sours I've had, like a light sour beer scent. No pumpkin but maybe allspice or cinnamon posible . The pumpkin is coming through very discreetly, but it does not shine with cinnamon and nutmeg arriving on the scene fast and furiously. I have tried a number of Pumkin ales now and for me this one rates towards the bottom with a D- and yes thats not giving a shit what other reviews might say. I don't care about other reviews and won't let them sway my outlook

 708 characters

Photo of Mitchster
1.79/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Pours out to a sparkingly clear orange(pumpkin)-amber, forming a soapy off-white head with good retention and average lacing. Aroma is spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg, reminding me of a Xmas ale which I brewed many years back (I hated it so all my friends drank it)..no real pumpkin aroma. A touch of smoky ham becomes evident when swirled, and is the best part of this brew. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Mouthfeel is soft with a medium-dense body. Taste starts with off-putting herbal hops, followed by the nauseating spices, followed by amber malt husk bitterness, brown sugar alcohol bleh, and nasty Dogfish Head ruddiness. Aftertaste is limited to wet cardboard, diacetyl yuck, a mouthfull of copper pennies and sickening spice.

This beer sucks pumpkin ass.

 767 characters

Photo of phattysbox
1.86/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle stating that it has been brewed with real pumpkins and spices. Poured into regular pint glass. Initial 1/2 inch head dissapears into a whispy thin lace. Nice dark orange color however.

Smell took me back a bit. No pumpkin in the nose and and odd spice smell that seemed to fail around. I could not tease out individual spices such as allspice, nutmeg or cinnamon. A pungent maltiness also got in the way a bit. Hoping the taste would pick up the smell but unfortunately was even worse. Spices were were chaotic and produced strange twang followed by a strange malt backbone. No pumpkin that I can tell and the fusel alcohol further confused the palate. The brew gave me a puckering effect that was not due to hops.

A strange brew indeed that misses the mark in my opinion of what a pumpkin ale should be. No balance whatsoever and had to drain pour. Interesting, many of the DFH unique brews go this unbalanced route for me since the DFH 90 Minute is so fantastic. Seems like the beer was trying to do to much. Still waiting for another showstopper from DFH besides 90.

 1,083 characters

Photo of nickhiller
1.9/5  rDev -51.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: copper, little head, no lacing.

S: spice, clove, smells a bit like a Pilsner, malt.

T: punkin [sic], spice, some vomit, it's kind of like an elementary school classroom during Halloween. Or Bath & Bodyworks.

M: well carbonated, leaves a sickly sweet taste in the back of your throat that is rather unpleasant.

D: gross. That's pretty much all I have to say. I'm huge fan of almost everything DFH does, but this is unacceptable. I'm not sure who they're trying to appeal to here (the Blue Moon Harvest Moon crowd maybe?) but I'm not buying it.

 550 characters

Photo of moebeer385
1.96/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

While I've never had a bad Dogfish Head brew (no matter how experimental), this one takes the cake, or pie rather, pumpkin pie. And I really don't want to leave a negetive review, but I almost couldn't finish this one. This has never happened to me before.

At the pop of the cap, I was refreshed with the scent of a decent IPA. Not bad, but I had hoped for a more spicy aroma. I cought a very, very slight hint of pumpkin and spice behind the bitterness.

On to the pour...NICE! Good look, and a nice head that stayed around for a while, without leaving a lacing on the top of my glass. When looking through it, I saw a not to dark/not to light amber with a extra hint of red/orange to it. Looked beautiful.

That first mouthfull...felt good, thin but not watered down. Decent carbonation. Then the taste...sadness overcame me. I was quickly brought back to my teenage years, when the "dirty-30" pack of Keystone Light was a great deal. Unfortunatly- it was the "funneled too many", hurled over the toilet till the sun came up, I need my toothbrush! taste I was reminded of. Honestly, this was the first thought that came to mind.

As for drinkability, I'll leave it at that. Maybe I just had a bad bottle, but I wont risk wasting another beer that somebody else may like to try it again.

 1,290 characters

Photo of johndrinkspliny
2/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I can't understand why this beer is described as a "full-bodied brown ale" on the box. Coming from one of my favorite breweries, and one that excels at Brown Ales (see Indian Brown and Palo Santo Maroon), I was thoroughly disappointed. Subtlety is not a word that I'd use to describe Dogfish Head, but this beer was so disappointing. I bought three 4-packs today out of sheer excitement and I've never been more let down with a beer.

 433 characters

Photo of Givekidsmeth
2.02/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Terrible example of a pumpkin ale. One of the worst.

Appearance - nothing special.

Smell - Not bad. I'm getting some of the spices, but there's something off-putting about it. kind of a cleanser-ey smell that lingers as you withdraw.

Taste - Terrible. There's not a hint of pumpkin as you'd wish. It seems like they just mashed raw pumpkin into the beer and expected pumpkin pie. There's a tiny bit of spice, but it's immediately buried under a thick pile of bitter hoppiness and alcoholic burn. It's like someone put cinnamon sticks in a badly made IPA. You don't want hoppiness in this kind of beer, you want warm malts to compliment the warm spices.

Mouthfeel - Even worse. This stuff is carbonated beyond all belief. You literally cannot drink it from the bottle. Mixes very badly with the astringent alcohol taste/burn and just amplifies it.

Overall - This stuff is flipping expensive for a severely disappointing beer (paid $10.45 for a four pack of 12oz bottles.) It's a drinkable beer, don't get me wrong, but I could never in good conscience suggest this to a friend or buy it again myself.

Don't know how anyone could rate this highly. I love pumpkin beers and this, considering the price, is as bad as buffalo bill's cheap swill.

 1,247 characters

Photo of JMoney777
2.04/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.25

2015's version out of a bottle doesn't compare at all to older versions. Hardly any pumpkin or spice flavor. Quite bland comparatively. Not a bad beer overall, but it's more like a regular old beer than Punkin Ale. If you want a decent brown ale, it's fine, but since I was expecting the old Punkin Ale, I rated it according to my expectations from the past. I was not paying for a plain old brown ale with a hint of pumpkin and spice, I was paying for a full flavor Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - but all I got was Punk'd. Breweries should not change a beer's character so much that it no longer IS that beer - that's a form of deception. If you change the beer, change the name.

 675 characters

Photo of liquidnoise
2.2/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A few years ago, a friend got me interested in pumpkin ales after telling me he drank one and it tasted just like pumpkin pie. Since then, out of all the seasonal beer styles I've probably tried more pumpkin ales than any other in search of this mystical liquified pumpkin pie, and each time I am let down.

This one was unique with respect to others I've tried, basically because of the high alcohol content and the prominence of alcohol in the flavor. Hardly any "pumpkin" was recognizable, and the alcohol stood out so much it felt like I was drinking hard liquor at times.

Drinkability was low, I had to take my time.

Not a very enjoyable pumpkin ale, I'll pass on this in the future.

 690 characters

Photo of mjc410
2.31/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The pour into my Fuller's nonic raises a one finger creamy light tan head over a clear copper body. It looks thin. Lacing is sudsy but still somewhat substantial. The head falls slowly to a glass ring. The nose is all about the strong pumpkin pie spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. The pumpkin scent also comes through strongly, and I can easily pick out the brown sugar, too. There's also a dry toasty aroma that doesn't jive well with the rest of the nose. The taste is fairly dry, and dominated first by bitter toastiness, with the spices and pumpkin flavor in the background. The artertaste is fairly clean, too. There's nothing stand-out about this here. The body is medium, with sharp carbonation. I feel that a smoother and sweeter beer would be much better than this dry mess.

 789 characters

Photo of monkeybutler
2.36/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5


I have to stop here. I love Dogfish Head. I love their beer. I've been down to their brewpub in Rehoboth, and it's a very long drive from my house. I admire and respect Sam to no end.

Okay. Appearance: poured a flat, almost still red-orange with no head. It really has nothing going for it in the appearance department. If I drink another of the 3 out of the 4-pack and it is carbonated, I'll come back and change this portion of the review. Also, before I get too far. A 4-pack? Really? That's...um...lousy. It's not WWS. It's not even 90 minute. Give me a whole damn 6 pack.

The smell is all spice, with a smidge of sqash/pumpkin, but mostly clove and cinnamon and... allspice, I guess. A slight alco-pop aroma of malt is somewhere in there too.

Taste is okay, really. I'm getting some cinnamon all over my mouth, and a little pumpkin essence, but mostly, it's essentially another pumpkin soda with some alcohol. Except of course for the complete lack of carbonation.

Mouthfeel. Yeah. Whatever that may be. I'm getting some cinnamon grittiness on top of a pile of "punkin". Maybe we've been punkd?

Oh god. I'm not going to drink another one of these. I will crack another one open to see if it's carbonated, but the rest are going to my mom who happens to like alcoholic pumpkin soda.

 1,327 characters

Photo of rembrant
2.38/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Look Slightly hazy amber with a little head
(no,the head does not look like a dogfish)

AROMA Some lager type yeasts,some various uncertain spices. Really not a Pumpkin Pie scent

Taste- Nutmeg dominates after a little caramel tease. Pumpkin shows up in the aftertaste and in that context comes off more as underbaked unsweetened pumpkin than pumpkin pie. I happen to like nutmeg a lot but here I don't think it works,the choice of a German tasting yeast and a rather blunt wooden German type hops killed off the subtle sweet touch of the Nutmeg and amplified it's bitter side. I guess the idea was to merge pumpkin and malts,and merge the nutmeg and hops,but the whole never seemed at all in balance. I don't know if "cloying" can apply when there's hardly any sweetness but I had just 2/3 of the bottle and even so that last gulp was a bit forced

Mouthfeel- Body,texture,carbo,no problem.
Aftertaste....unsweet pumpkin,some yeast that hit my belly like a brick,and a harsh underbuffered,overdone nutmeg blast accented by a hops that brought out the wrong things...just not for me.

Drinkability Low

I LOVE Pumpkin Pie. I hand grate a lot of nutmeg when I make egg nog....somehow DFH missed badly if I found it hard to handle.

My sister in law isn't generally a beer person,but I've been giving her small samples of beers. She's liked some big stouts and handled some hoppy IPA okay. She liked Saranac's sweet but uninspired Pumpkin Ale. This...was the first beer she handed back to me...could not finish a 3 oz sample.

 1,523 characters

Photo of ajm5108
2.39/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Pours a rich copper with delectable, fluffy head. And that's about where it peaks. Aroma has a noticeable fusel alchohol not that really overpowers the rest of the nose - not that there is much else besides some Munich malt & just very distant cinnamon. The flavor is very weak, with only the cinnamon showing any signs of life - the rest is a very bland germanic base that borders on the dreaded cardboad, with that fusel peaking in too. It is also a thin & under attenuated, which isn't what I look for in this kind of beer.

 527 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
2.4/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Dogfish Head- Punkin Ale

Appearance- light golden amber with a thick lacing head.
Smell- Light Pumpkin with hazelnut and nutmeg.
Taste- Alcohol is the first thing tasted!? Followed up by a roasted hazelnut, blended with light pumpkin, nutmeg, and vanilla.
Mouthfeel- Alcohol burns at first, Flavors come through in the middle, and more alcohol in the end.

Overall- Not a good 1! I don't know many people who like Pumpkin Ale's, (I personally enjoy them) but this is a huge disappointment. Alcohol is too present and the pumpkin is too weak!
Give me a Post Road!!

 572 characters

Photo of doppelmeup
2.41/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass.

Not a bad looking ale. Medium amber colored. Half-inch thick creamy head and a bit of lacing all the way down. Unfortunately, this was about the only good thing I could say about this beer.

Aromas of spice and alchohol. Not much pumpkin. Most of the other pumpkin ales I've tried have smelled better than this.

Taste was quite disappointing. Very bitter alcohol taste. Some spiciness. Reminds me of cheap malt-liquor. The more I sip this beer the less I like it.

The mouthfeel is simultaneously sticky and dry and watery.

Overall, I really didn't care for this beer. It is one of the worst pumpkin ales I've tried. Quite disappointing. I may pour it down the drain instead of fnishing it. I hope people who try this as their first pumpkin ale will not give up on the style. There are many other ones out there that IMO are much better--Cottonwood, Edenton, and Post Road all come to mind.

 929 characters

Photo of PDXHops
2.42/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottle poured into a La Chouffe tulip. A frothy off white head builds through the narrow part of the tulip to an impressive height, but mostly disappears rather quickly. A little scattered lacing. Slight haze to the amber body.

Nose is somewhat reminiscent of the carmelized stuff on the edges of a pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, any real pumpkin flavor seems to be drowned out by a wave of the usual suspect pie spices. Enjoyable bready malts aplenty underneath it all, but there's a certain metallic quality to the spiciness that just doesn't mesh well with the malts. And again, actual pumpkin flavor is rather lacking.

Overall impression: Enough with the gimmicky pie spice beers. I hope to find a decent pumpkin offering this year (Weyerbacher and Smuttynose, here I come). In the meantime, I'll pass on this one unless I find it on tap with the brown sugar rim that is apparently all the rage.

 907 characters

Photo of MaximalC
2.42/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Pours a mostly transparent copper color with a finger of off-white head that settles slowly. Active carbonation bubbles can be observed ascending within the glass. Aroma smells of pumpkin spices, a vague, caramel sweetness, and some pumpkin as well. The taste features prickly nutmeg, cinnamon, et al. on the front end, which is soon superseded by a nasty, watered-down, metallic juiciness. This is accompanied by a peculiar, chemical bitterness that is neither resinous, floral, peppery, or any other acceptable adjective one might normally attribute to hopping. The finish, which is unmercifully prolonged, features the taste of wheat followed by cloying cinnamon-water. Some alcoholic heat can be detected on the back end as well. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy but overcarbonated, which exaggerates the spices. I finally caught some pumpkin on the vapors that linger between sips. It could very well be there in the middle as well, but if it is, it's buried under so much garbage that it can't be appreciated.

I'm not normally this harsh, but I'm calling a spade a spade--this beer is totally unrefined and borderline amateurish. Don't know that I've ever found anything by Dogfish Head I enjoy, but even by that standard this is sub-par.

 1,245 characters

Photo of TinusTime
2.45/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Im usually a fan of DFH beers and enjoy their beers that push the envelope, but this beer IMO was a train wreck.

Pours a medium brownish with some golden ruby highlights and a sort of khaki head. Smell is of spice and a bit of vegetable and pumpkin. The taste is pumpkiny up front and then just melds into a spicy malty mess followed by a drying hop finish that just jumps the train off the track. Drinkabilty was low as i was able to finish the beer, but wasnt going begging for another. Not one of the best pumpkin beers I had last year. Cottonwood was by far a more well rounded beer IMO.

 594 characters

Photo of beer1018
2.45/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, nice 1 inch head. Color is amber with a touch of red. Smells of Cinnamon and nutmeg, getting some sort of smell rotting vegitibles as well. Taste is mostly nutmeg with alltile cinnamon, i am getting no hints punkin flavor. Really this taste more like some winter warmers to me. Mouthfeel is slightly creamy but nothing to write home about. Though the flavors are not offensive this beer let me down and after i finish the rest of my pack i doubt i will buy this again let alone taste unless this is included at an event i attend. Not reccomended, so far the best i have had for the style is Punking.

 622 characters

Photo of JDV
2.48/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Light, transluscent amber color with a light offwhite head. Smell was lightly metallic, mild pumpkin spice, and fucking alcohol. assholes. Taste was dry, very lightly flavored of standard pumpkin pie flavor, with noticeable alcohol present. Why the fuck make this 7% so you can taste the alcohol, and leave the base so weak, and mildly flavored? Christ. Not even as good as the Shipyard pumpkin beer which I hear is simply their summer beer with pumpkin spice added. This was a huge disappointment coming from DFH when they usually at least put out some creative, good beers. Very bland, dry and tastes, smells and looks like this was the recipe:

1 part water
1 part light beer
1 part vodka
stingy dash of pumpkin pie spice.

 726 characters

Photo of ajilllau
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was a hard beer to sell for us and we had it on the same time as weyerbachers imperial pumpkin (which was no competition). It was much lighter and not nearly as spiced as Weyerbachers. To me, this beer lacked anything to stick out in my mind for next year.

 261 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.91 out of 5 based on 6,543 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.