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

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Reviews: 2,108 | Ratings: 6,542
Photo of SmashAdams
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The smell is very light spices and slightly vegetal. The taste is decent and a bit spicy and boozy. Pretty disappointed with this. I get no brown ale qualities and no brown sugar. Based on the description I was expectiong something closer to Indian Brown with pumpkin and spice. nb

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Photo of santomark
2.52/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

A - Had this both on tap and in the bottle, very little head, disappears almost immediately. Color was very amber, a dark bronze, tainted orange.

S - Definitely, getting fall/autumn smells, sometimes pleasant and unpleasant notes. Faintly sweet, boozy from the alcohol, definitely pumpkin tones throughout the smell; however, the smell ends with this rotting pumpkin smell that hits the nose going into the throat.

T - This did not taste like it smelled. I will simply list the good and the bad. First the good, malted great, very light in the brown ale taste though; however, it does make up for it in other areas. Tasting this reminded me of carving a pumpkin; very reminiscent of the good things in fall. Now for the bad, I have a big issue with the finish. Very flat on the palate, this initially smells like pumpkin, but definitely no pumpkin presence throughout the drink, no sweetness from the brown sugar, this souring spoiled pumpkin finish, it reminded me of walking into the pumpkin patch and the aroma of rotting pumpkin in the field would unpleasantly hit my tongue.

M - Nicely done in the body, a light to medium bodied beer IMO. This is not full bodied. Very light from the pumpkin, the brown sugar gives off little carbonation, and a slight burning sensation if held on the tongue. The mouthfeel is very nicely done as always from DFHB

Overall - I am very disappointed in myself for giving this brew the rating I have. I love DFHB, I love the lengths they go for their consumers and for their own quality of product. However, this was unpleasant at times. I understand what they went for here, but a pumpkin is a squash, and I know they are very floral when opened, but if you bite into a pumpkin, it is very watery, little to no flavor. I can see the purpose of the brown sugar, but I would have liked to have tasted more of a sweetness throughout the beer. This was completely unbalanced. All in all, I will not be having this again. This beer needs to figure out what the hell it's aiming for.

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Photo of lester619
2.53/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep orangish copper/brown. Bubbly head that settles at a thin film after about ten seconds. Very strong pumpkin pie spice smell. Clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, anise, all these and probably more are in there. There is also a fresh pumpkin smell like when you carve into a jack-o-lantern. Flavor is malty sweet and fruity at first. More of that fresh pumpking smell/taste comes out. The spice takes over every other flavor quickly. In the end, the only other flavor is a hint of booze on my lips. I've never been a fan of the spiced pumpkin beers. Every fall I try to keep an open mind, but the spices always turn me off. It was hard to finish the bottle. If you are into pumpkin beers, this is a probably a great one. It's just not for me.

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Photo of velkyal
2.53/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

ight - light amber, almost no head to speak of

Smell - very spicy, lots of cinnamon and a slight cideriness

Taste - syrupy, caramel and spices

Sweet - 3.5/5

Bitter - 1/5

This was very sweet, but not cloyingly though sufficiently sweet to be sickly if you drank more than a few ounces. Not what I would have expected from Dogfish Head.

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Photo of JackRose
2.6/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Not impressed and probably the weakest of Dogfish Head's offerings (with the exception of the Namaste' which I feel bad about reviewing). Sam and his team of brewers are super creative and have done much to promote and grow craft brewing, but I do not always like their beers.

I tried this beer for three seasons in the past four - always wondering if it was just me or maybe I had purchased a beer leftover from the past year and not in the best shape, but alas it has always disappointed. Fans of it tell me that it is unique in that their is a significant hop presence. I just find it muddled and murky with regards to flavors, although I like their clean lines/packaging with regards to the bottle. I will stick with my choices of The Bruery Autumn Maple (not truly a pumpkin beer), Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, and Southern Tier's Pumpkin (although it is not as good as past years and it seems that it is has much more vanilla flavor this year). Trying hard to get a friend to buy some CCB Good Gourd.

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Photo of Treebs
2.62/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my DFH signature glass. Bottled in 2011.

A: Pours a perfect amber, leaning towards the darker side, with a small half finger very light khaki head that that fades into a thin ring and small pillow of film in the center from the etching.

S: Pretty disappointing. It's hard to pick up anything. Slight pumpkin and a slight cinnamon, but that's about it.

T: Very light pumpkin and then the spices take over. The allspice is leading the way with a slight cinnamon. Malts are the backbone for this. So far my expectations have not been met.

M: Nice mouthfeel. Good carbonation, medium bodied. Slight spice left on the palate.

O: Wow was I let down. After having Pumpking I was very happy to get a 4-pack of this and try them side-by-side. Punkin did not show up at first and when it did it left with its tail between its leg. Very disappointing.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.64/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance looks great! A clear crisp and inviting brownish orange with a thin foamy head with a strong lacing. Smell is strange and sour with pumkin flavors. The taste is very sour pumkin rind flavor with the sweeter pumkin aftertaste, I'm not fond of this style I don't think. Mouthfeel is a bit watery and light bodied with much carbonation. Overall this was a bit dissapointing and I don't think I'll ever try this again.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
2.68/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Clear orange/copper colored brew. The head was a half a finger width that stayed to play for a while.

S- There is a nice roasted nutty/earthy smell coming from this beer. I'm also getting some of the 7% abv though the smell as well.

T- The roasted nutty/earthy smell is there in the taste as well. The taste is sharp and almost feels like a shot of cheep vodka was dropped into this beer. The after taste is bitter and not appealing.

M- The bitter after taste is not what I was wanting in this beer and it has its way with your tongue.

D- I've had much better pumpkin ales such as Night Owl from Elysian.

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Photo of charlesw
2.7/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Perfect light amber color with a small whitish head that is gone within the minute leaving nothing. I suppose this isn't surprising given the light and fizzy body. Smells like sweet maple syrup - maybe a touch or coriander thrown in for good measure. Tastes, ah, shucks. Bummer. Well, you know, I read the bottle and I was expecting a horror like the Shipyard. Thankfully, it's not that. The spices are light and easy. Ok, half way through the bottle I now get a whiff of pumpkin pie spice on the nose. But the flavor... It's awfully dry (and crisp) - which I find very surprising. Then there are these Thanksgiving spices floating around, and all, but there is an overwhelming sour note to it all. Is that the hops? Do I have a bad bottle? I don't know! I don't know what it's supposed to taste like! I'll certainly be fair and give this one another go at some point, but, whoa.

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Photo of mrunseen
2.7/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a Leffe glass.

Appearance: Poured a golden / bronze color with an initial head of about two fingers which disappeared during the session. Very little lacing.

Nose: There is some spice in the nose, which I was able to detect in the taste as well ... sweet and spicy smell with a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Not as spicy as the nose would allude to, although, admittedly, I am not a pumpkin ale fan. I did not taste pumpkin in this beer.

Mouth: Thin and a bit watery. The alcohol was detectable. Overall, I was unimpressed.

Drinkability: If you like the taste, this would be a drinkable beer. However, as it's not quite my type of beer, I will not be having this particular beer again.

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Photo of MisterClean
2.7/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap at pacific beach taphouse.

A - Poured copper-golden with 1 finger of head that dissipated fast. Left no lacing.

S/T - Honey and subtle notes of cinnamon and clove. Where is the malt complexity and the hops?

M - Light bodied and malt dominated. I could not get a smidgen of hop goodness out of this beer.

D - Sam needs another go at this one. For a brewery that sells beer at a premium, this one needed some help. It lacked distinct pumpkin flavors, the spice aroma was faint, and the ale was lifeless.

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Photo of Minkybut
2.7/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this pumpkin beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. I had seen it on the TV on a show about the brewery and wanted to try it as it sounded pretty good. I would have to tell you no I do not like it it at all. Poured it out in fact and will not buy again.

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Photo of Vendetta
2.72/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Original Rating Date:
September 19, 2008

Pours light brown, smells like pumpkin pie. Lots of brown sugar and ginger, pumpkin flavor. Sweet. A bit too much carbonation, some stinging alcohol there also which is uncharacteristic for a DFH brew. Average at best.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.73/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Bailey's Taproom in downtown PDX.

A: Pours a clear coppery color (like pumpkin juice... SORPRIZE!) with moderate head, decent retention, and a few rings of lace down the glass. Pretty nice.

S: Pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and biscuit. Pretty decent, but after having had a better pumpkin ale the night before, it's not pungent enough to wow me.

T: This tastes like spicy pumpkin soda. An artificial pumpkin flavor to it (which is weird, because I know this is brewed with real pumpkin), finishing with cinnamon, nutmeg, and biscuit. A malty finish. No burn.

M: Fizzy and overcarbonated, which may explain the soda comparison; it's light-bodied and even a bit watery.

D: First and probably last time having this.

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Photo of jed
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a light orange, amber color with a small head, no lacing.

Smell: Very sweet and spicy aroma. Clear nutmeg, cinnamon scents. Punkin' smells much spicier than other pumpkin brews and less like the actual dessert.

Taste: Initially sour with very strong allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors, almost like Old Bay. A hint of hops, and more brown sugar as the beer sits. The sourness fades about halfway through the beer, but you still get a weird, yeast/vegetable aftertaste that spoils the brew.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with light carbonation. The aftertaste lingers a bit.

Drinkability: I can't see having more than one of these. Taste aside, the 7% alcohol is pretty formidable, especially for a pumpkin beer.

I'm a huge fan of Dogfish Head, but I can't say I care for this beer. It needs more malt or hops to balance the spices, which overpower the brew's taste. If you're interested in this style, I'd suggest trying Post Road Pumpkin Ale instead.

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Photo of mlazzaro
2.76/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

bottled in 2010. fresh pumpkin beer.

I was kind of surprised to see the ratings on this beer. I remember liking it a lot more. Being 7% ABV, it would certainly age well. But this time I found it to be boozy and somewhat spice dominant rather than actual pumpkin flavors.

a- More of an amber ale than a brown as the bottle states. Some head retention issues, maybe due to the alcohol content. I will say it is remarkably clear.

s- Smells like a spiced up barley wine.

t+m+d- It tastes rather young. Boozy and sweet. I kind of find the spice dosage to be overpowering. There is notable pumpkin flavor, but it is masked by so many other stronger flavors. and although I love my high ABV beers, it just doesn't seem to fit into this beer. The harsh booziness is distracting from the pumpkin, which is the reason I bought this particular beer. Kind of a mess. Maybe its too fresh/young.

I am usually not so critical. I love Dogfish Head and don't mean to rip on them. Just being honest with this beer.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
2.77/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5


Toasted grain color with tints of blonde and clean chestnut, with a creamy head of 3 fingers. 20% opaque. Lighter than I thought it'd be as it's advertised as a brown ale.

I'm getting some nuttiness, with lots of clean aromas of malts and grain only slightly dirty by the brown sugar and faint spices that may or may not be detected depending on the depth of the breathing. Kind of detecting the cinnamon now as I breathe deeper.

And again I'm perplexed by another Pumpkin beer flavor profile. It's not even good. Very malty flavors dominate, with some nuttiness and hay following; some paper; leaving a pale, chalky and bitter chemical finish. Some light toffee or molasses sweetness towards the finish. Honestly if I didn't pay for it I'd probably dump it on the grass (yes this is outside on a balmy, beautiful fall night).

The feel is slightly creamy, but with a bump of carbonation, and hell I guess it ends up finishing slightly dry. Whatever.

Overall, I feel this overwhelming urge to get up and dump it in the sink. Like, my body's moving but my heart isn't committed yet. I've got two more bottles. Any takers?

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.77/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Beer emerges a very light amber color, certainly not indicative of a brown ale. No brown to speak of. Head is white but has nice retention. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Aroma is weak. Not much if any pumpkin or other pumpkin type aromas. Sweet smelling. Not much hops in the nose here either. Possibly some molasses but otherwise, a very average beer, aroma wise.

Taste is overly sweet and completely unbalanced. I taste small amounts of cinnamon and cloves, but otherwise, just a regular ale. Certainly not a brown, maybe closer to a light red ale. Very dissapointed here as well.

Overall, not a good beer. Mouthfeel has some redeeming qualities as it is close to medium bodied. I do like the spicy cinnamon that pops all over the mouth, almost like strong pepper or pop rocks. Some astringency detracts and deters. I purchased a four pack of this, and it will probably be the only four I ever purchase.

I dont know why it is so hard to make a good pumpkin beer. I have had two pumpkin beers (Post Road and Cottonwood) that are actually pumpkiny and balanced and the whole nine. I love this style and wish there were more offerings that tasted like pumpkin and the fall season, etc. Sigh...

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Photo of beagle75
2.79/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with peripheral ring of white foam. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Very spicy smell, featuring cloves and nutmeg; also with faint cola and cornmeal.

T: Begins mildly spicy, displaying flavors such as cinnamon and nutmeg, with distinct corn tortilla that is re-asserted at the end of the surprisingly bitter finish.

M: Medium viscosity with prickly carbonation that seems to interfere with the depth of flavors present.

D: Although referred to as a "full-bodied brown" ale on the label, this is more like a pale ale with aggressive spices added. The unpleasant flavors here may lend themselves more acceptably to the company of mild savory dishes, but taken alone they cannot help but be called into question.

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Photo of rohrbachsfan
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Clear amber orange, little head, no lacing on glass.

Smell: Smells like sweet alcohol with a hint of spice.

Taste: Weak pumpkin flavor, nutmeg is the spice that stands out, and it's just a little too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Thin.

Drinkability: Wouldn't buy this one again.

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Photo of gonzo46and2
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Had this as a side by side comparison with the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Also, I'd like to make it clear that I am a very big fan of DFH's IPAs and Brown Ale.

Pours a copper red color with good clarity and a small white head.

Aroma is pumpkin spice with a huge emphasis on the nutmeg. Other spice was detectable like cinnamon and there was a bit of hops.

Taste was pretty flat to me. Mostly wet hops and pumpkin spice. Not very good. There wasn't a good beer taste. It just didn't seem to have a backbone.

Mouthfeel was stingy and watery. Very one-dimensional. Won't get this one again.

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Photo of Stubbie1
2.81/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A beer that pours a deep copper color. A slight copper-ish/tan head on top. Fades to a thin lace then spotty patches. So far so good but after the appearance, this beer falls apart. Aroma is of spice, nutmeg cinnamon a bit of malt but very little pumpkin. I found it (the pimpkin) hard to find. Taste matches the aroma. Where is the pumpkin? I was hoping for a gritty earthy tone of the pumpkin to complement the spices but was let down. Medium body and carbonation. Drinkability is great if you’re into spiced beers but as for a pumpkin beer goes…there are better

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Photo of DrJ
2.81/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Not having had a chance in the past to taste pumpkin-inspired ales, and given the strong (positive) reviews associated with this product, decided to try.

Color is attractive with good head retention, notes of cinnamon and squash on the nose, palate is very odd to me, with notes of spice and gourd, strangely vegetal hops flavor with unpleasantly sweet malt notes reminiscent of artificial maple-flavored syrup, long aftertaste is also unpleasant, with strange vegetal notes.

Would not recommend, which is disappointing given the excellent products made by Dogfish (I enjoy and recommend both their 60- and 90-minute IPAs).

At issue is whether or not my (unpleasant) experience is style-centric or product-centric; nevertheless, based upon this experience, I will not be tasting any pumpkin-styled seasonal beers for a long time. Perhaps I can exchange the unopened bottles for some strong IPAs or hop-centric Pilsners...

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Photo of kielykyaa
2.82/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

This years (2015) Punkin Ale is quite disappointing. I was expecting more cloves, spices, and more pumpkin like the previous years. This year it is more of an alcohol heavy (mouth) Brown Ale this year with a roasty flavor and very minimal smell and taste of pumpkin and spices. Somewhat sweet aftertaste. Pours a medium to dark orange color. It isn't bad, but if you call it a Pumpkin Ale it needs to have a little more pumpkin. I would not buy another pack of Punkin Ale this year. There's always next year!

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.83/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean orange-ish yellow color, with a white head. Aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. In the taste, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and a brown sugar sweetness. A spicy mouthfeel, with a dry brown sugar aftertaste. Nice spices, yet a bit sweet. Not much of pumpkin presence, yet still nice.

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Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.91 out of 5 based on 6,542 ratings.
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