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: 6,543
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: solid, opaque rustic brown color, good and chunky 1/2" creamy head.
Aroma: divine! That's my immediate thought, for after just sampling other pumpkin-themed beers, this seems to be the one that's getting it right! The spices that are overflowing and dominant in others are clearly more interested in sharing the spotlight here, it's richer, fuller, creamy, yeasty, complex.
Taste: again, just right! They hit the nail on the head here, choosing a full-bodied brown ale as the base, so you get the cinnamon and allspice, the pumpkin, and in this case, the brown sugar, but there's still a significant beer underneath, and in this case, a much sturdier, tastier, creamier brown ale than most. A most welcome flood of flavors, smooth, but substantial, thoroughly filling the mouth and washing it with warm, sweet, pumpkinny goodness. Soft, tasty finish. I enjoyed every last drop! Leave it to DfH to craft the best pumpkin ale I've yet to taste!
And cheers to 36PoundLoveChild for providing!

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a slightly hazed light brown coloring that is mostly translucent. The head started massive out of the bottle, but settles into a more reasonable half inch of off-white, big bubbled, frothy head. Aromas are heavy with spice, and I could pick up a lot of nutmeg and all-spice, with a sweet pumpkin background. Flavors are roasted, and you get a great blend of the pumpkiin and malt sweetness to balance out all the spicy characteristics. The beer laces the glass heavily, and the body is smooth and creamy, with a sharpness to it from the spicing. The aftertaste is surprisingly short-lived, with a slight pumpkin pie flavor, and the finish is spiced, short and sweet. Tasty fall brew!

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Photo of GClarkage
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/07/08- Purchased at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with an unmarked date strip...WTF good does that do me? Anyway, I know it's 2008 release because this is the first three months Dogfish has been distributed to Norcal. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Deep orange approaching copper colored pour. 3/4 inch head forms and leaves a thick creamy rim for the rest of the duration. Leaves very nice sheets and patches of lace.

Smell- Very subdued nose of nutmeg, cinnimon and star anise. Very little pumpkin in the nose. Good scent though.

Taste- Should be listed under spiced beer instead of pumpkin ale. There is pumpkin flavor, but it is overpowered by mainly nutmeg, but also cinnimon and a slight of clove. Very spicy, almost overspiced. In the Anchor OSA category of flavor without the woody notes.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation with a longgg lasting spice flavored aftertaste. Had this brew and hour ago and can still taste it.

Drinkability- Very good spiced beer with lots of flavor. Would go well with any cinnimon or spiced dessert.

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Photo of Duff27
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pour a medium/light red with a more than adequate head that stay in full for a couple minutes. Great lacing for the style.

S- Cinnamon and pumpkin.

T- Nutmeg first and foremost it seems...pumpkin, cinnamon, brown sugar. I don't know what allspice is but the label says it has that too! Haha.

M- Tame carbonation on the tongue. Light/medium mouthfeel.

D/O- Easy drinker. Wasn't ridiculously upfront with the cinnamon like another Pumpkin Ale I've had recently, which is good. Seems more 'balanced' with the flavors. DFH is famous for it's off-centered beers but this one seems to be right in the center of it's style...meaning if someone had not had a pumpkin beer, this would be the one to give them. Flagship for the style?

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Photo of Tone
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and didn't lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight pumpkin, slight alcohol, spices, and slight pale malt. Fits the style of a Pumpkin Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of spices, sweet malt, slight pumpkin, hint of alcohol, and a hint of pale malt. Overall, poor appearance, decent aroma, decent body, and good blend.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on draft in a pint glass at the DFH pub in NOVA. Almost no carbonation. Beer is bright orange and has no head and therefore no lacing on the glass. Beer is completely clear, you could read through it. Smell is mild, almost not present, slight spice character, no hops, some subtle sweetness.

There is an odd bitterness to this beer, on the backend. Spice and maltiness up front. Thin, finishes completely. Not really feeling this beer. The bitterness builds, it is not hop bitterness. Not a repeat.

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Photo of aasher
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one into a DFH pint glass. It poured a light and watery auburn in color with a quickly dissipating cream colored head and had a lot of carbonation. The smell is heavier on the pumpkin than the spices, which is appreciated. It has slight candied sweetness to it. The flavor is stronger than the aromas and has a good, bold pumpkin flavor to it with spices trailing, maybe cinnamon and a slight amount of nutmeg. The mouthfeel is interesting. It poured so light and watery but it drinks a little thicker than you'd expect. It's very drinkable. I really appreciate that the flavor is pumpkin heavy as opposed to all spices. It really gives it a nice balance. The alcohol content is also better than most pumpkin ales. This one is definitely worth trying.

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

A - Crystal clear burnt sienna with some copper-orange hues, off-white small head, settled into a foamy coating atop the body.

S - Freshly baked pumpkin pie complete with all spices (nutmeg, cinnamon and caramelized brown sugar).

T - Full-bodied, distributed carbonation. Nutmeg is up front but cinnamon is dominant after the first sip. Once the beer warms, the pumpkin in this really shines, though it's never dominant. More spices than anything but I really love the flavor distribution in stages here.

D - Whoa, 7% on a Pumpkin Ale? A bit higher than the average 5-6% so watch these. No alcohol hints whatsoever. Dangerously delicious.

Balanced, flavorful and seriously intoxicating. I've never had any previous years so I cannot compare, but this is setting the bar quite high for me.

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

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a medium orange amber with a light head and slight lacing. Spicy pumpkin aroma. Malt, pumpkin and spices. I like the finish this time better than the last review. This bottle has a pleasant mellow finish. Not as good as the Great Pumpkin or Pumking, but a nice pumpkin ale. I'll try it again next year.

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

A: poured a translucent golden orange with yellow highlights and had a thin frothy head leaving some good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I was able to detect different kinds if spices such as all spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg but did sniff out some pumpkin pie character alongside sweet bready malts.

T: The pumpkin flavor is a little bit more apparent on the palate but had cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice accents with caramel notes and a touch of toffee.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, spice, and very mild bitter finish.

D: gotta say it was a solid pumpkin and is probably one of my top five as far as the style goes. It was tasty and drank good.

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Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear amber / orange color with a thin head. A definite spicy aroma is quickly noticed. The taste is a nice balance of sweet and spice, as cinnamon and nutmeg are clearly evident. The body was slightly thin, and the spiciness lasts a bit on the tongue after swallowing. The higher alocohol content is barely noticeable. Nice beer to sip on a chilly October evening while sitting looking at your carved pumpkins, though it is not a beer to drink several of.

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

I'm not sure where this appeared from in January, but I'm not complaining. I had a pint (low-head) with my soup and pizza at Liberty St. Tavern. The hops have died down a bit since October, but this is still about the hoppiest pumpkin ale you can find. It starts with big, pulpy pumpkin meat in the aroma and flavor which is followed by a bitter burst of citrus. This isn't the most complexx pumpkin beer, the malts never really came out. But I'd say it's the most balanced and certainly one of the more pleasant to drink.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to tulip glass.

A - Dark amber colour with hint of orange and half a finger of thin white head.

S - Pumpkin and a nice balanced spice profile. Some cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice come through. The amount of the spices are perfect! Not overwhelming but certainly noticeable.

T - Pumpkin, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and cloves in a perfect balance. The spices are in perfect balance and the perfect overall proportion in the beer. One of the most balanced pumpkin ales I have had.

M - Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - A great pumpkin beer.

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

Revisit: 29 Sep 15
12oz. Bottle
Bottled On: 2015 C 20:18
2015 Edition 7th Annual

Been a long time since I've last had this brew.

Poured into a DFH glass a very nice clean/clear dark amber color, very nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger creamy off-white head, and leaves some very nice islands and sticky lacing. The nose is mostly malty, not a whole lot of pumpkin or spice going on. The taste is basically the same, malty. Medium body. Overall, a totally different pumpkin ale, but tasty though.

Pours a clean/clear golden amber color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy white head which dissappears quickly, some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, pumpkin, nutmeg, caramel, and cinnimon. The taste is malty, slight pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnimon. There is a warm feeling of alcohol in the throat on the way down. Medium body. Drinkable, a very nice pumpkin brew, will buy more next year. I do have one more bottle for later though.

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Photo of tone77
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a caramel/amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of pumpkin, spices. Taste is nutmeg and cinammon up front, some mild pumpkin, a slight bitterness at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

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

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a slightly malty scent which is overpowered with pumpkin and nutmeg aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a very smooth pumpkin flavor that goes down easy and finishes a bit warm. It has a complex array of seasonings along with excellent balance. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good pumpkin ale. This and Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale are among the best.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.05/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pumpkin ales are a rare find here in California. This offering can't be found in Cali....yet. Bought when I was in Phoenix recently. Well, on to the beer:

It's a filtered copper orange...you can see the carbonation bubbles in the body. The head is soapy, sits about a 1/2 inch high before dropping into a thin sheet. Lots of nutmeg in the aroma. Mild pumpkin sweetness compliments the nutmeg and assorted spices. The taste, right of the bat, is very spiced. Not much of a malt base, which would help this beer. The first few sips are pleasant, but thereafter it takes a little work to get down. The beer leaves a numbling feel on parts of the palate, with a strong kick of spice as it goes down the throat.

This one packs a wallop of spice. The warming feeling feels nice, but the taste could be a little nicer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is pumpkin with quite a bit of allspice. The flavor is pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar and nutmeg. The beer tastes a lot like pumpkin pie. Medium, slightly creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation. One of the better pumpkin ales I have tried.

Drinking the beer alongside a pumpkin spice cake is a great combination. The cake really brought out the brown sugar notes that are in the beer.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Nice copper color and a fizzy head that retains decently well.

s. Nose of cardamom, nutmeg and allspice. Just a hint of malty pumpkin.

t. A well balanced pumpkin beer. The spice is varied from sweet, spicy, herbal and medicinal. There is a sweet caramel malt character as well. The pumpkin is very subtle but it does make itself known.

m. High level of carbonation, medium bodied.

d. At 7% its a bit heavy, though the alcohol is not really noticable. Easy drinking, and am glad I had the oppurtunity.

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Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a strong toasted grain presence with elements of coffee and brown sugar. No detectable pumpkin or pumpkin spice.

The taste featured a solid roasted grain bill. A mild caramel sweetness as well.

The mouthfeel was average.

Overall a nice BROWN ALE. I don't really get the whole pumpkin label though.

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Photo of dar482
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a deep reddish amber color.

The aroma has tons of malty sweetness of caramel and toffee. There’s a lot of brown sugar sweetness then some spice and pumpkin in the back. Surely a beer more than pumpkin, as in it smells mostly like a brown ale than anything else.

The flavor follows with sweet caramel and brown sugar with some pumpkin in the front, then it becomes more substantial of more bready pumpkin. The finish has tons of bitterness of bark and wood, along with the spices hitting to compliment that. The finish is a big strong for me.

The beer is pretty good, but the finish did not quite do it for me and it’s a bit lacking in pumpkin for me.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite pumpkin beers. I really like the brown ale base, and the balance of sweeet, hoppy, pumpkin and spice. Pours copper with a thin head and not much lacing. Smells like pumpkin pie spices foremost, then fresh pumpkin and cream. Cinammon and nutmeg are predominant in the spicing. Taste is similar, but with the taste of earthy bitter hops added to the mix and running from start to finish. Spicy and creamy as well, and quite satisfying. Mouthfeel is full, creamy, and spicy and generally heftier than most of the other pumpkin beers out there. Delicious.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: nice orange-tinged gold with a large foamy white head and nice lace.

Smell: mild and sweet and alarmingly similar to pumpkin pie.

Taste: sweet and pumpkiny with a lot of the spices evident; nutmeg and cinnamon definitely present. I'm not usually big on pumpkin beers but this isn't bad.

Mouthfeel: light-medium body with an alright level of carbonation.

Drinkability: pretty good; actually quite quaffable for the ABV.

This fall I'm going to try to drink more pumpkin beers to get a better idea of where I stand on them. Then I'll revisit this one with a better idea on style comparison.

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Photo of biegaman
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If orange is the appropriate colour for a pumpkin ale then consider this one exemplary. Its icy, unvaried orange suit is not only a winsome colour but it is furthermore coated in a glitzy luster that shoots out straight arrow beams of pumpkiny radiance. Its head, too, is praiseworthy. A thick, soapy white collar never relents and in many places has left behind little, glinty, snowflake-like specs of lacing.

It isn't hard to figure out what spices were used - Dogfish Head lists them right on the label. Brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg were all thrown in, alongside actual pumpkin, too. Traces of all those ingredients can be found in the aroma as well as a sizable share of sweet, honeyed malt (which is good because although I like my pumpkin ales spicy, I like them to be able to have enough of a base to support all that spice as well).

The spices are appreciated in the flavour too - appreciated mostly because they aren't too overwhelming. An overly savory or excessively balmy beer can become overbearing, especially when it contains more than 5% alcohol. Dogfish Head seems to have done well integrating the spices (and the alcohol for that matter). As result, the beer is quenching and quaffable, much in the same mold as an IPA.

Curiously, I taste more of the pumpkin than I do the pumpkin-pie and spices. The flavour is discernibly squash-like, perhaps more so yam-like. In other words, this doesn't point to dessert with ice cream, more like main course with a side of vegetables. It isn't without sweetness, mind you. The brown sugar may be the most noted of all the adjuncts, despite the fact that the taste of allspice seems to be ever lingering.

It's tough for me to say where Punkin' Ale places on my list of favourite pumpkin ales. I'm noticing it's a fine line between those that are too spice-dependent, too perfumy and those that are too inhibited, too understated. I find Punkin' (this year's vintage anyhow) belongs with the latter, which, although in someways is better than the alternative, still doesn't seem to satisfy my urge for a hearty, savory Thanksgiving-time tipple.

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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.

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Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.91 out of 5 based on 6,543 ratings.
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