Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Punkin Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
2,092 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 brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg.

28 IBU

Added by NeroFiddled on 09-26-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,092 | Ratings: 6,494
Photo of karst
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a few floaties to remind you that the brewery uses real pumpkins in the mash. Two fingered head that has some persistance. Fresh September 1, 2005 release - the pumpking beer you will love. Purchased from the Sams liquor behind Goose Island's Clyburn BrewPub. ( where the 4 packs of Matilda are $19 less than from the brewer!)

More about a good malty pumpkin brew that is flavored with caramel malt and brown sugar than those over-spiced Pumpkin beers that are hard to down.

A medium full bodied with solid mouthfeel. Subtle flavors from cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.

The beer has a well hidden 7.0 % ABV and any caramel sweetness is well countered by the 24 IBU hops.

 708 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Color is a light amber that resembles maple syrup. The head pours big, but fades quickly.

Abundant citrus notes on the nose with a little bit of all spice and pumpkin. Am I smelling a beer?

Oh yeah. That’s a beer. There’s an initial dry hop flavor along with some currant. There’s a good sour brown ale base and what I believe may be pumpkin. This fades into nutmeg and an odd yeasty sourness.

Very slick mouthfeel. Medium body and light carbonation.

 463 characters

Photo of phnphilly
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured an amber color, very clear, with about a one-inch head in my pint glass that dissipated very quickly

The aroma of this beer is fantastic with clear pumpkin, cinnamon, and many other spices coming through.

I was surprised after the first sip because I was expecting something sweet and this is far from it. I could taste a ton of spices but they were tough to distinguish. There is a pumpkin taste throughout but more in the background.

This beer reminds me a lot of the Raison D Etre but I find this one much more drinkable.

I haven't had many pumpkin ales but after drinking this one I am very eager to try more.

 645 characters

Photo of CJfromPhilly
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark coppery-orange color with a pillowy white head that quickly dissipates into a thin covering. Good carbonation, lotsa bubbles rising forth. I smell a malty pumpkin aroma. Taking a sip, I get a lot of spice (cinnamon & allsipce), malt, pumpkin and a hint of brown sugar. Nice medium mouthfeel. Overall, a nice harbinger of fall, brings on thoughts of football, Thanksgiving dinner, and changing leaves. Dogfish Head goes out on a limb and scores another winner!

 472 characters

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While I consider Dogfish Head's Punkin to be the best pumpkin ale I have ever had, I must say that this year's batch does not stand up to the fantastic 2004 Punkin.

This year's Punkin seems to be a lot less "bold." The flavors and spices are a bit quieter - no so upfront & in your face. However, this year it has a luscious mouth to it - very mild, low carbonation, with a creamy head. This is unlike all the other pumpkin ales, as every other one I've had has the carbonated bite in the mouthfeel. A very pleasant, pleasing difference.

The brown sugar is very present, without making the beer overly sweet, if that makes sense. Punkin is a bit darker - more of a deeper, healthier orange, compared to Smuttynose Pumpkin's bright orange glow.

Well, like I said, I dont think this year's Dogfish Head Punkin is as good as last year's, but it is still the #1 pumpkin ale, as far as I'm concerned, and well worth the $7 / 4-pack.

 936 characters

Photo of BitterBrian
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First had this as a single from Blue Dog Tavern in Lansdale, PA. I had to buy a case as soon as possible after trying this one. The pumpkin ales go fast around here. I didn't want to have to wait until next year.

Pour/Appearance - Medium body pour with fairly heavy carbonation. Carbonation is tough to see though due to cloudiness. Color is a warm amber. Head disappeared quickly.
Smell - Slight hint of alcohol through the hearty spiced pumpkin smell.
Taste - Yumm. Ever had a seasonal gingersnap cookie? Mix in some pumpkin there you have it. Nutmeg, ginger and, of course, pumpkin overtones.
Feel - Hits the palate evenly and the spices linger on the sides. Feels like a light beer, but the warmth makes it seem heavier. Very smooth.
Drinkability - Due to the spicyness, not to be drank all day/night. It is a seasonal to enjoy when the time is right.

Much warmer and heartier than the other pumpkin ales I have had - which tend to be more watery. This makes it an ideal start to the fall season.

 1,011 characters

Photo of barknee
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Punk is an impressive deep cedar-copper color with a soft foamy off-white 1/2" head. Warming certainly kicks the aromatics up somewhat, but I feel the "punkin" essence, as well as the accompanying spices, are somewhat unwilling to emerge from the glass. This understated style, done purposely, rewards the recipient of this fine seasonal with great drinkability and never the feeling of being overwhelmed by what could be easily overdone enhancements. From the glass, essence of root beer and sarsaparilla are most prominent with a touch of nutmeg as well. The flavor is well balanced with a fine bright acidity that really makes for a lively mouthfeel; and a fine effervescence accompanying this taste sensation. The balance of negligible sweetness and the underlying acidity, team up together in perfect harmony. A very pleasant malty-marshmallow aftertaste finishes off just short of dry.
An impressive offering that is highly recommended!

 943 characters

Photo of mynie
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice dark red with a small head that goes away quickly. The bottle doesn't have an apostrophe after the final "n."

Deep spiced balanced almost perfectly with deep malt. Allspice and nutmeg are the most present, but pumpkin and brown sugar are there, too. Nice.

Big on nutmeg and malt in the front, fading into a sweet malt with hints of pumpkin in the back. Warms me up like a hug, like a good autum beer should.

Nice, is all I can say. Wish I had bought more than one.

 484 characters

Photo of malty
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear burnished orange with a hint of copper. Visible carbonation rushing upward forming a thin beige head.

Aroma of cinnamon, pumpkin pie & nutmeg wrapped around a nice toasted malt backdrop.

Bright flavors of the aforementioned aromas. Nice balance of the sweet side: brown sugar & roasted malts AND the spicy side: nutmeg, allspice and the generous amount of dry, prickly hops.

Mouthfeel is very vibrant thanks to the healthy amount of boisterous (but not overdone) carbonation. Medium bodied with a nice spicy, somewhat faint dry and long finish.

Drinkability is good. Very drinkable for a spiced beer, where usually it's ONE AND DONE - but not here.

Overall this is one sturdy and well crafted pumpkin ale. I'm starting to look very much toward seeing this ale surface in my town this time of year - well worth the wait. This is probably the best bottled pumpkin ale I've had in my 10+ years of drinking craft brew.

 943 characters

Photo of nriech
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap and bottle in September 05, both tasted the same so DFH has some consistincy on this batch. Bought the 4 pack at Total Wine and Beverage on Midlothian in Richmond, VA.

Poured with about 1/2 inch head, great aroma of the spices. Not overpowering with any of the spices on taste, just enough of each and pumpkin to make it a good seasonal brew.

Would be good with a big dinner served this time of year of Turkey and stuffing.... :-)

 453 characters

Photo of rousee
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This thing blows away the 04 version. There was a recent thread about the best pumpkin beers and I know the longbeach one (darren not snoop) hates them as he has made quite clear. Both Darren and Snoop need to try this one. It is not overly pumpkin-ish or pie spices laden. Clearly the best of the 05 lot locally available here in the bottle. The CBC version is a little too flat and the Smutty is a tad to pumpkinny. The BBW one is real good too. I think this one is better in drinkability.

Tasting notes-- pumpkin color, taste and smell but there is clearly a good amount of those familiar dfh hops. They do a good job with their hops/ malt balance as I believe they use ringwood yeast which I am not a fan of. They do well as far as I am concerned, so no need to fix something thats not broken.

I do believe that DFH is/has expanded too quickly as I think they can be inconsistent. But when you get down to it or not, DFH is a prety good brewer. This pumpkin is very good-excellent for the style.

 1,006 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

finally found these things in Madison, although I hadnt been the to the beer store in a week and a half so they may have been here since then

appearance: much darker than most of the other pumpkin beers I have had this season...pours a rich dark orange color with minimal head/lacing, pretty clear

smell: not overpowering, mild pumpkin, typical spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar) noted in the nose

taste: pumpkin seed, nice pumpkin pie taste, alcohol definately present in that DFH way, the nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar balance out the pumpkin quite well, which is usually the downfall of most pumpkin beers

mouthfeel: medium bodied (as opposed to the very light bodied new holland and ofallon), slight alcohol tingle

drinkability: good enough to drink a few, but for the price (8.99 a 4) they need to be spread out

all in all, above average pumpkin brew....had been wanting to try this for a while so I was excited to find it

 953 characters

Photo of ColForbin
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale pours a clear redish orange with a thin off-white head. Small bubble rise throughout. Aroma is heavy on the nutmeg, with some cinnamon and allspice as well. Taste is slightly sweet, with more of the above spices and some slight (maybe imagined) pumpkin flavors. Spices are not overwhelming, however. Amazingly, this beer has a hint of hops in the finish - much different from other pumpkin ales I have had. Fuller bodied than most others as well. Quite drinkable, but maybe a bit strong to have more than a couple in an evening.

 553 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Starting to like pumpkin beers... a lot. Pours a vibrant and glowing brown color. Slim head. Nose is full of pumpkin pie spice. Feel like I am at my momma's Thanksgiving Day table. Flavor is full of the same and quickly followed by some plump pumpkin tones. I am gonna have to put a few bottles of this away for Turky Day and momma's pie. Mouthfeel is light and very pleasant. Very drinkable, nice dessert beer.

 411 characters

Photo of Bumpon10s
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours an incredibly thin reddish, amber. No head and almost no lacing.

S - I am picking out many spices, but all are mixing pretty well. The allspice and nutmeg are the predominates.

T - A little pumpkin, a lot of spice. Nothing like cinnamon and brown sugar in a beer to make you smile. It has that Spaten Optimator sweet note to it.

M - Very thin and watery for texture, there is very little carbonation, but still lends a tingle on the surfaces. Typical ale as far as mouth feel is concerned.

D - Drinkability is middle of the road, it goes down easy and smooth, but afterwards you won't be amped for another. It is good, but you either need a fall gathering or be really in the mood for it.

 710 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured a medium copper color with moderate white puffy head that fell to moderate ring. Left some clinginess to the sides of the glass. Smell is a mixture of spiciness and alcohol. Taste is very dissapointing because there seems to be more of the pumpkins spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) prrsent than actual pumpkin taste. Finish is also too dry for my liking with an odd taste present that seems almost like seltzer water?? The taste hides the 7% alcohol very well, but this was not what I was expecting.

 499 characters

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.54/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison. Comparing it to O'Fallon's Pumpkin Ale. It's Halloween in September up in here.

Pours an attractive ruddy amber/brown with a short khaki bubbly head. Smells delicious, sweet and spicey, caramel malts maybe a little bubblegum. Taste is much more like genuine pumpkin pie and less like pumpkin puree compared to O'Fallon's offering. Caramel malts lay down the brown ale backbone, with well-integrated infusions of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie filling. This is a desert of a beer. On the sweet side, but does so quite well. Mouthfeel is full for a brown, but still velvety smooth. I could drink a couple more of these no problem, but probably not more than that. This is a damn tasty brew, easily superior to O'Fallon. Just like Grandma used to make. Try it if you can find it.

 829 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a four pack thanks to Chadbrew at the Dogfish Brewery in Milton while playing w/ balls at the bocce tourney.
Pours a dark amber color w/ less than a half finger of bright white head...disappears very quickly w/ very little lace.
Aroma is what you may expect from this one...pumpkin spice w/ a nice sweet maltness in the background.
Taste is a nice blend of pumpkin, allspice, and ginger...a hefty dose of malt and a bitter hop finish.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly dry in the finish...no lingering "off" flavors which makes this offering from DFH highly drinkable. I should know b/c I drank this one among others all day and night this past weekend...and it still tastes great.

 699 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 edition. 12 oz bottle pours a clear orange/copper amber with a small beige head. Good retention and some patchy lacing. Cinnamon and allspice fronnt a bold array of pie spices that assault the nose. Not at all timid. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with strong carbonation and some spicy bite. Tastes like pumpkin pie, with some essence of fresh pumpkin, caramel malt, and aggressive pie spicing. Some mild heat from the 7% abv adds to the fresh baked pumpkin pie effect. Spices dominate all the way through, however, and are a bit overdone. Still, nicely drinkable and always one of the better pumpkin ales to be found.

 620 characters

Photo of rowew
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz longneck with a bottled year notched on the side. This one is from last year, but it has been well kept.

Appearance: Pours a red-brown color with a light haze. Head is thin, but resiliant.

Smell: Pumpkin pie in a glass - heavy on the spices, with just a hint of alcohol coming through as well.

Taste: Again - pumpin pie. Starts off with a very creamy mouthfeel and an almost buttery taste. The spices come in and blend well with the malt sweetness.

Overall impression: This one was a Monday morning post-Oktoberfest hair of the dog. Very tasty - great for desert (or breakfast!). Definitely one of the best pumpkin beers I have tried.

 666 characters

Photo of weeare138
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark amber with some faint bubbles working their way up to the top. Thin off white head drops to a small film and leaves tiny traces of lace.
Smell is of cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, pumpkin, along with a touch of allspice.
Taste is of all the aforementioned aromas in a chewy mix.
Mouthfeel is light-medium carbonation with a mildly sweet and bready feel.
Drinkability is decent. One of the better pumpkin beers out there.

 439 characters

Photo of ClearDog
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served out of a bottle into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance -- Pumpkin orange. The pour produces little head, that doesn't stay around for long. Very thin lacing.

Smell -- Pumpkin. This is the first pumpkin beer I've actually smelled pumpkin. Weak scent of pumpkin pie spices and cloves.

Taste -- Not bad. This is probably the best pumpkin beer I've tried this season (I've also tried Lakefront and New Holland). It faintly reminds me of pumpkin pie. You can definitely taste the pumpkin here.

Mouthfeel -- Medium and slightly astringent. Slight carbonation.

Drinkability -- Of all of the pumpkin beers I've tried this year, this is the most drinkable. I could probably handle three bottles at most in one sitting. The pumpkin style is not one you can stick to all night. There is a slight possibility I may buy another four-pack before the fall is over.

 872 characters

Photo of Padron4KM
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle, "packaged in" date on side of bottle not marked.
Assuming it is this years release since DFH is new to AZ this year.

Pours a rich clear amber with a thin tan head.
Aroma is nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar. Pumpkin is barley evident.

Pumpkin is more evident in the flavor. Tastes of canned pumpkin pie mix, with lots of cinnamon added.

Finish is heavy on the cinnamon. Not as sweet as I thought it would be, (that's good), But the cinnamon kind of overpowers everything in the end. One is enough for me.

 528 characters

Photo of futaboots
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My favorite pie with my favorite, uh, fermented beverage.

This tastes much better than I remember it tasting last year. I don't know why. Anyway, I liked this beer when I had it last year, I really like it now.

The overall impression here is that this is a beer first and foremost. A tasty and slightly strong brown ale, with some spiciness from the alcohol, and strong malty flavor. Aroma smells faintly like pumpkin pie filling. The pumpkin and spices are always creeping around the edge, blending well with the traditional malty beer flavors of raisins, grape juice, chocolate and caramel. This is a sweet beer, but never overwhelmingly so. I can't detect much hop flavor or aroma, but the bittering hops are certainly doing their job to keep the other flavors from getting out of hand.

Mouthfeel is very creamy. Carbonated to perfection I think. I also dig the light brown color of the beer, which seems to have a tinge of orange.

My favorite pumpkin beer. Well, one of two that are distributed in my town, so I guess that's not saying much. But it's still an excellent beer, as far as beers go.

 1,112 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly clear, ruby-amber color and is topped by a frothy, large bubbled tan colored head. The aroma is lightly spiced with notes of nutmeg, sweet brown sugar and allspice. The beer has a certain satisfying fullness to the palate, a far cry from the thin wan limp body on the Buffalo Bill’s version, which lightly coats the mouth as the beer goes down. The beer is lightly sweet with a brown sugar like note and a bit of caramel. The spices are evident, yet at a bearable level, such that they don’t dominate this beer. I get notes of nutmeg, allspice, perhaps some soft cinnamon, caramel, molasses, slight ginger in the finish, and perhaps a hint of pumpkin-like vegetal flavor. Because of the spices, this beer finishes with a light astringency, and perhaps a bit of hotness.

The spicing level and the fullness of this beer designate this a bit more than a quaffing brew, slow sips seem mandatory, and I would be hard pressed to down a glass of this beer. This is all ok though, as I don’t mind savoring the interplay of spice and caramelized sugar notes. Where is the pumpkin? I am not too sure, as is typical in spiced versions the pumpkin is really not noticeable. This beer is quite enjoyable and is one of the better examples of the style that I have had.

 1,280 characters

Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.91 out of 5 based on 6,494 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!