Punkin Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
2,109 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: 2,109 | Ratings: 6,548
Photo of cvm4
2.83/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is from a 12oz. bottle from the 2011 release.

A - Upon pour, you get a nice amber color with just a hint of haze to it. The head was at least a good 2 fingers (might have poured too quickly) with minimal lacing. It quickly dissipates into a ring of foam around the glass.

S - With all the spices listed on the label, it's hard to discern individual smells.

T - Overloaded with spices and very little pumpkin taste, which disappointed me. The cinnamon is somewhat muted along with the pumpkin but I did get tons of allspice. I was hoping to taste more pumpkin.

M - Great medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation.

O - I was really let down. Too many spices going on in this beer and not enough pumpkin taste.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
2.83/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. It is the 2015 edition.

L - 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.

S - 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 dried fruit would probably be a culprit.

T - There really isn't a taste to it. It's obviously in my glass and it tastes like a beer, but not a whole lot of flavor in it. The pumpkin is coming through very discreetly, but it does not shine.

F - sessionable beer for being 7% ABV. Very easy to drink and not to harsh on the mouth. Seasoned beer drinker would down a glass of this stuff no problem.

O - Disclaimer: this is my first pumpkin beer. That being said, I've had pumpkin pie, but this is nothing like that. Since it being a beer, this isn't a pumpkin beer that tastes like pumpkin spice. It has sour beer taste but the pumpkin is not there at all, but that could be from the lack of spices in the beer. So, that being said, this could be the anti-pumpkin spice beer for the anti-pumpkin spice person. Cheers!

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Photo of cbutova
2.84/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Murky orange-brown with a large off-white, frothy head. Good retention and a ton of fine lace.

S- Smells like typical pumpkin ale spice and a bit sour actually, lacto-esque for sure. "Bottled in 2010 5E" Mostly nutmeg with a little bit of pumpkin behind it.

T- One thing that jumps out at me right away is the alcohol, not hidden at all for 7%. The nutmeg stacks with the alcohol to make a slightly offensive flavor. The cinnamon is also highly present, too spicy. I get some nice pumpkin notes but they seem random, having to get past the spiceahol. The more I drink, the more I get that "wet dog" vibe.

MF- Light creamy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Pretty warm from alcohol. Huge coat of spice coats the palate.

DB- Between the alcohol and the spices, I would prefer to split even the 12oz. A good pumpkin flavor masked by way too much spice flavor and alcohol. I probably should have been ready for this. I guess unbalanced is most appropriate here.

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Photo of TastyFoodAndDrink
2.84/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

On sight, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale pours clear, pale gold, hinting toward a caramelish brown. The scent it gives off is comprised of brown sugar, slightly caramelized, with hints of vanilla, allspice, and cinnamon. The smell is vaguely creamy, with a hint of pumpkin. On the palate, it starts off slightly sweet, with a moderate mouth feel, and a delicate carbonization. Flavor wise, it’s full of brown sugar, light caramelization, cinnamon, allspice, and a touch of nutmeg. The pumpkin element is subdued, but still present, in a distinctly squashy kind of way. It finishes on the spicier side, with touches of butter and a hint of bitterness.

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Photo of BeerCheese
2.85/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Crystal clear and light brown. Big white head with big pillowy bubbles in it. No head retention to speak of though. Smell of ginger and a bit of pumpkin. Taste of pumpkin pie and beer blended together. No carbonation to speak of, and medium body. Not something I would ever buy again, but worth trying once.

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Photo of dmb13nd
2.86/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this on tap, unfortunately, after trying a different pumpkin ale that performed much better. The pumpkin taste was too subtle, allowing the spices to slightly overpower it. Hoppy aftertaste, which I normally don't mind had a small twinge to it that I can't quite put my finger on right now.

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Photo of InsolublePancake
2.87/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Clear golden orange with a decent but short-lived white head

S- Very spicy, but tough to pick out any individual spices. Some malt and maybe a little pumpkin, but not much.

T- Once again, lots of spices. Allspice and nutmeg are prevalent. Some caramel and toffee malt flavors as well. Pumpkin isn't especially noticeable, only coming into play on the finish. Alcohol is surprisingly noticeable. I know this is 7% abv, but it tastes stronger. Finish is dry and surprisingly bitter. Pretty harsh.

M- Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and pretty nice.

D- Not so good. Flavor and alcohol presence are pretty strong. I wouldn't want more than one, if that.

My first pumpkin ale, and kind of a letdown. The flavor is just not what I was expecting at all. The spices and alcohol were too much, and I didn't really enjoy it. It wasn't horrible, but I wouldn't get it again. Not recommended.

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Photo of Vancer
2.88/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Clear amber brown, with a decent, but wimpy, ivory head that pops off some weak lace rings.

Rest is all disappointing, aroma is of weak pumpkin and clove. Taste trys to make it, but lacks any real commitment to the Punk. This is just a brown with some spices thrown in. And an average pumpkin, but for the freaking high dollar cost ($13 a four pack) – the drinkability really lacks. Local beers at a lot better cost whip this ones’ ass.

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Photo of FriarMickOnThePlateau
2.9/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

9/15/15 Poured from a 12oz bottle packaged on ?/?/15. No date given other than 2015 edition, but hopefully recently for the Fall season. I'm primarily judging this beer from comparison to other Pumpkin beers and from DFH's own description on the bottle, which follows:
"A full-bodied brown ale" NOT! It's a light-bodied, overly carbonated at that, pale-amber ale.
"Brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg." Tastes like it too - MUDDY.
Why all three spices? There is a lot going on just with the malts, pumpkin and brown sugar...
The Look is brilliantly clear like all other mass produced crap. This is a specialty ale, why filter so?
Smell... I didn't care for it, but maybe it is suppose to smell that way.
I saved the worst for last - the label.. They've changed the look from the traditional, tried and true DFH classic (see this webs pic below) to a half naked nimph covered in ink... The marketing department just jumped the shark on this one!

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Photo of Doomcifer
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark amber color with a decent head with good retenton. Smells of light pumpkin pie, all spice, nutmeg, but not too overpowering at all. Some hop spice in the aroma as well. Tastes of maltiness, all spice, nutmeg, and once again not too overpowering on the spiciness and pumpkin flavors. It's all really kind of "meh" to me, to be honest. I don't get what the big deal is with this beer, and never have. Mouthfeel has lots of carbonation, medium bodied, and crisp finish. One is enough for me on this one.

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Photo of wangbruins
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Semi-dark orange that was translucent with a two inch head that settled to one very quickly

S- Pumpkin (what else?)...well, actually, not much else

T- Pumpkin and a hint of ginger, not much though, so that made it pretty disappointing

M- Very light and bubbly, almost like pop, with no aftertaste

D- It's like drinking water so it's really pretty easy to drink

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Photo of sfprint
2.94/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A hair dark rose (wine) soda. Uniform rising carbonation like an aquarium pump. Quickly disappating head.
S: Kind of musty, but peachy too. Artificial peach, rose water, dandylion. Very weird. Like a strange yellow squash soup. Not exactly appealing.
T: My first pumpkin beer, and it is unlike anything i've ever had. Certainly strange, but not as weird as the smell. I'm not really getting any of those ingredients listed on the bottle. Strange pepper, rootbeer, odd bitterness. Planty. It tastes sort of like a plant you're not supposed to eat or a plant that you're questioning whether it's edible or not. Odd.
M: Tart, slighty astringent. very light carbonation.
O: Interesting, and I'm drinking all of it but I doubt I'll have it again.

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Photo of claspada
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The beer looks appropriately amber with a thin head that dissipates to a thinner film. The liquid is fairly translucent and looks oddly like a thin honey amber.
Smells of brown sugar and cinnamon escape from the surface. Dont get any of the other likely spices. It's more sugary cinnamon like a cookie than pumpkin pie, which I do not enjoy as much.
The prevalent brown sugar makes it seem more India Brown like its cousin than Red or Amber like it is supposed to. This beer is just too over the top sweet, "standard Pumpkin" and a bit boozy for me to be impressed. (And I can say this because 2 of my favorite pumpkin beers, Weyerbacher Imp Pumpkin and Southern Tier Pumking are also high in ABV while not tasting like a thick sloopy mess). It's just not quite as pumpkiny as it should be, cinnamon and clove alone do not make it a pumpkin beer.
Overall this is more like cinnamon toast than pumpkin (or even pumpkin pie); this is far from the go-to for the style for me, and this is a style I have had a lot of.

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Photo of harrymel
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Vint: 2011

A: pours an orange ale with no head production and a thin, broken sheet of white foam culminates around the edges forming a rim. No lace. Excellent clarity.

S: It's actually tough for me to smell much here. Some faint hints of clove and nutmeg, and some sweet malts.

T: Sweet, nutmeg, and I can't help but taste a hint of lemongrass on the finish.

M: Medium on light bodied with high carb and semi dry finish.

O: A little more subtle than some of the other pumpkin's I've had, but again, nothing special.

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Photo of laintringulis
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served in a pubglass

Pours a bronze-orange color with small loose foamy white head. Large amount of tight carbonation.

Smells like a good herbal tea. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger. Vague sweetness, vanilla, maple, light oakiness. No real pumpkin smell.

Very mild/vague pumpkin taste. If I didn't know there was pumpkin in it, I don't think I would have tasted it. Malty sweet, nice spicy blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, giner. Tastes like you brewed an herbal tea bag in a beer.

Mouthfeel too syrupy at first, finishes with a spicy and hot alcohol finish. Starchy in the middle.

Light plus bodied, nicely carbonated. I would have rated the drinkability higher if I liked the taste more.

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Photo of jaketaz
2.97/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Newly interested in Dogfish, I've tried a few great ones including the excellent 90 min IPA and had high hopes for this. I've been drinking every pumpkin beer I can find lately seeing how they stack up to each other, favorite so far being Cigar City's "Good Gourd" or perhaps Big Top's "Pumpkin Stiltskin". This one's among the less impressive so far, it's labeled a Brown Ale but tastes more like a musty Pilsner with some IPA tang on top, not what I'm looking for in either a sweet n spicy pumpkin beer nor a round mellow Brown Ale. The danger with pumpkin beers is sometimes they don't taste like pumpkin, just a regular beer with potpourri added. That's happening here a little bit.

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Photo of AndoBrew
2.97/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

*i did not like and will not buy*

app: orange with gold hints, neat lookin .. like halloween. lil cream head.

smell: pine smelling hops. nutmeg.. smells more like a good candle flavor .. if it smelled stronger.

taste: lotsa odd hops, little bit of nutmeg in the finish.. not much punkin.. it is a rude beer, so I can see how the name came about, it seems un balanced, almost like a medicine for a second or two. not for me. to un blended and balanced, to harsh, not enough warming malts to give it a good backbone.

mf: fine

drinkable?: kinda, its not really good though.

keep on trying DFH I love the intresting efforts, and when you get them right, its such a treat

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Photo of Trilogy31
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a classic brown ale amber with a thin collar of eggshell white foam leaving light lacing. The nose has allspice and cinnamon upfront, faint hints of banana custard and clove - the pumpkin is almost barely there to me and not sure i could pick it out had i not known thats what the beer is. The mouth is full of baking spices along with yeasty esters, the pumpkin is a bit more noticeable but so is the alcohol leaving a drying, astrigent feeling in my mouth. Far from an upfront pumpkin beer almost more of spiced belgian ale to me, really not a huge fan. 2011 release.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 9/19/2006 (12oz bottle):

Pours a clear brown-light brownish colored body, with a huge head, white, and lasting. Has a malty spicy aroma, some cinnamon, and nutmeg, weakish though. Has a nice taste of pumpkin, light malty taste. Somewhat bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of predikit
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Pours amber turning to auburn with a small white head with no retention, leaves no lacing behind.

Smells very nicely of pumpkin spice, nutmeg and cinnamon.

The taste isn't as good as the scent here, sweet and spice of front which quickly gets overwritten by an odd flavor, not a pleasant one either. The alcohol really shows up at the end, which I can't say I enjoy either.

Medium bodied, sticks around for a long bit after a swallow.

A good start to an unpleasant finish, left slightly disappointed.

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Photo of Kudashov
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought a 4 pack at Marty's in Newton . Just to let you know , they have a kick-ass glass section now . To go with their kick-ass beer section . This brew was poured into a pint glass with the Red Sox on the tube and Joe Jackson on the hi-fi .

When opened there was very little pumpkin aroma than what there was from the other 2 pumpkin brews I had over the weekend . Spice & gingerbread comes to mind . The smell was just average . The appearance was average too . Clear with a small head that did not last long with very little lacing . For flavor , the brew was as weak as the aroma . It was a bit watery and a tad bitter . I am a fan of DFH brews and I enjoyed their other offerings but this may be the last time for this . Not when I had 2 brews of this type . ( which were head and shoulders better than this ) .

Cheers .. C'Mon the Hoops !!

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Photo of seedsofchaos
3.01/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the few DFH beers that I hadn't had before so I decided to try one of their 2010 batches. I wasn't impressed with the first but now, here with a fresh palate, I shall review the second.

Copper with some hints of ruby pours with virtually no head. Lacing is non-existent.

Nose is of pumpkin with a smell that is suggestive of light spices and a bit meaty, oddly enough.

Malts up front but are balanced with hops and spice. Everything plays together nicely with none outdoing the other but a mediocre balanced beer is still mediocre even when balanced. I don't get any cinnamon but more on the spectrum of light allspice and nutmeg. No discernible hop flavor as I would expect from a typical pumpkin, but since there is no strong spice flavor I would want a little more. Definite malts and pumpkin without a whole lot else backing this up...

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Great for the style.

I have to say that I'm very disappointed with this brew from DFH overall. There isn't anything that makes it stand out from other commercial offerings and with the flood of pumpkin ales for the holiday season this beer is little more than lackluster for my taste buds.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.02/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into snifter. 2010 edition.

A: Pours a bright glowing orange with a thin short-lived fizzy head that vanished into a faint film and collar around the glass. Some streaks of wispy lace present.
S: Smells strongly of allspice, nutmeg, and maybe cinnamon. As I swirl the glass around I can pick out notes of pumpkin pie filling, but not much.
T: Again, lots of spices dominate a touch of pumpkin flavoring. Alcohol and a touch of hop spiciness rounds out the finish. Good flavor, but not great.
M: Fairly slick not quite watery mouthfeel over a medium-thin body. Carbonation is prickly and sharp and the alcohol isn't hid very well.
D: I was disappointed by this one. I could have sworn I loved this beer last year, but then again my palate has matured immensely. I'll lay down one or two bottles and see how they do with a little age.

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Photo of marvin213
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The beer looks appropriately orange. A thin head dissipates to a thinner film. The liquid is fairly translucent and looks oddly like an amber. A pumpkin beer that looks orange is purty cool in my book.

Brown sugar and cinnamon escape from the surface. That's really all I smell. I don't know exactly what allspice is, and I struggle to get the nutmeg. It's more sugary cinnamon like a cookie than pumpkiny. Even if the aim is more pumpkin pie-like, the nose has less substance from that which it claims as namesake.

The prevalent brown sugar makes it more Indian Brown like its cousin than Indian Red like Thanksgiving...and autumn, and everything else we're supposed to associate with pumpkins. It's not quite as pumpkiny as it should be. Only the cinnamon makes it seasonal. Maybe the real pumpkin makes it look orange, but pumpkins don't exactly smash my taste buds. Perhaps I wouldn't want them to, but I'm left wanting more pumpkin from this pumpkin ale.

The cinnamon provides my cheeks a pleasant tingle and, as always, sugar sits well. The nutmeg presents a tad in the aftertaste, and more at the forefront would enhance this beverage. Again, I'm underwhelmed by the pumpkin effect. It feels more cinnamon toast than pumpkin (or even pumpkin pie).

Pumpkin ales are such a niche market--a definitively seasonal style. As such, I have relatively narrowed expectations. This one falls short. It's too sweet to sip multiples, and too strayed to serve seasonally. Though I have enough respect for DFH to keep trying every year, this is far from the go-to for the style.

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Photo of normZurawski
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks ok, nothing special, thin amber. Smells like beer I don't really care for. Over-spice is all you get. Tastes like it smells. Light bitter finish, not in a good way. Lacks bite in the mouth. Finish lingers but is hurt by over-spiced imbalnce. So-so drinkability. This is the kind of beer that makes people not like DFH so much.

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Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.91 out of 5 based on 6,548 ratings.
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