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: 6,541
Photo of dblinkhorn
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Somewhat soapy but creamy on top eggshell head. Leaves little lacing as you drink and the head eventually settles at a thin layer of patchy lace with a ring of creamy head around the edge of the glass. The color is honey/orange with a hint of amber. It is very clear with moderate carbonation visible within.

Smell - Crisp citrusy/bitter hops of usual pale ale strength and character. Lots of faint spice behind this: cinnamon, nutmeg, and some molasses/brown sugar aromas in the middle. A background scent of fresh pumpkin innards with little alcohol detectable.

Taste - Tangy/bitter (and somewhat oily) hops right away with a barrage of the spices mentioned above. The nutmeg really picks up here. Pumpkin flavor throughout, again. Finishes with some spicy, sweet, and slightly roasted/smoked malt character. The aftertaste has strong caramel/brown sugar sweetness and lingering spicy malts. Mild earthiness is also present in the finish and aftertaste. Little alcohol throughout.

Mouthfeel - Pretty close, if not all the way, to full-bodied. It has some excited/biting carbonation up front, but only for a moment. The edge of this quickly dies down and it takes on a suble, massaging structure.

Drinkability - The flavors aren't terribly strong, but the overall complexity of the beer from the spices, etc. to take their toll on your buds. Still, this stuff is pretty easy to drink...I could make four or so of these dissappear without too much effort (and I'm not talking about pouring them down the drain!)

This is a good pumpkin ale, though it is my first one. I was expecting the spices to be somewhat "too much" but they were right on. They were sublte and balanced yet easily detectable and pleasant. A very fun ale overall. Recommended.

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Photo of Bones54
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one went quick here in the Cleveland area. Thanks to fellow BA kolch for snagging some up for me when he visited the brewery a few weeks back!!

Now this is what I'm looking for in a pumpkin brew. Strong nutmeg and spice smell, a "gentle" thickness, and a unique pumpkin spice flavor. To many brews in this difficult to make style are either to watered down or have too much going on- DFH finds a nice balance. I wouldn't exaclty call it a session beer because of the strong spices and pumpkin, but it's easy enough to enjoy a few of these in one sitting. Perfect for an afternoon of football watching.

Cheers to you DFH!

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Photo of GregBrewski
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don’t have much experience with pumpkin ale's. I figured if there is a good pumpkin ale out there, DFH would be responsible for crafting one.

The brew presented it self well, with a golden/copper color, but with little head that diminished quickly in my glass. It smelled mostly of malt with some hints of spice and hops. Once enters the mouth a spicy overtone is present with a light presence of the alcohol. The sweetness is noteworthy and the proper balance of carbonation to mouthfeel. One thing I have not mentioned yet is the pumpkin taste...I find it hard to distinguish pumpkin amongst all the other tastes.

Don’t get me wrong, this brew is well balanced and highly drinkable on a cool autumn day!

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear golden orange with a nice bit of lacing that coats the rim the entire length of the drink.
Aromas are amber malt and pumpkin pie spices.
Taste is sweet amber malt that has a hint of hops then a nice cinammon-pumpkin pie filling kind of taste on the end...the kind you get from the pie filling after its prepared but before it goes into the oven.
Mouthfeel is creamy smooth and thick but with a nice tingly carbination and slight alcohol warmth as you swallow.
Jason said, "this isn't another pumpkin soda pop beer"...he's right.
This is serious (note the 7%) craft brew for autumn.
Great stuff. I love it.

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Photo of rabsten
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass, pours an autumnal amber with a fluffy, inch thick head. Good lacing. Handsome beer. Pretty to look at.

Aroma: Very spicy, with nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.

Strong, sweet, alcohol-y, spiced, "punkin'"...It's all here. Well, everything but malt and hops. If I didn't know this was a beer of some kind, I wouldn't be able to tell by the flavor. Most original of the pumpkins I've sampled in '06. Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and pumpkin. Like liquid pie filling.

Thick mouthfeel, lingers all over the palate. Drinkability: "Only" 7% but hits like a 12# pumpkin thrown off the balcony. "One and done" kind of ale.

Bottom line, an original entry into the pumpkin beer category. Not as good as the Post Road, but tasty indeed. DFH rocks.

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

a - pours a one finger thick head into a tumbler. head is the color of toffee while the body is a very clear amber color. lacing is decent until the last fifth of the beer.
s - sweet with all of the spices (brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice) listed on the bottle. they don't falsely advertise! the spices come through more than the pumpkin but it is there.
t - medium hoppiness. it starts out sweet and spiced but the pumpkin really comes through in the finish.
m - slightly creamy with a nice mouthfeel.
d - medium carbonation. this is a well-balanced beer with a lot of nice flavors throughout. great fall beer and one i enjoy.

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Photo of benito
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

DH's fall seasonal is a wonderfully balanced and full-flavored version of an original American style--a New World beer of the highest order. It is a brownish amber with a fluffy white head. The nose shows a strong pumpkin flavor, but it is offset and balanced by allspice and cinnamon. Despite this brew's obvious pumpkin pie scents, the sweetness is spot on--not cloying or overpowering.

The flavor strikes this same kind of balance with good sweetness across the middle of the palate, and a nice, brown sugar-flavored finish. It has enough of a dry, hoppy (this is DH after all) backbone to give some body to back up the beer's other sweet flavors. A beer that begs to be drunk in the fall months, and possibly the best example of this style in the U.S.

Kudos to the crazy folks at Dogfish Head for putting out a tasty pumpkin ale that's more than just a marketing gimmick.

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

A and I picked this up at Downtown in Davis Sq. We are trying as many pumpkin ales as we can find, and when we saw a Dogfish Head we knew we had to try. The beer is a light amber tea color with a head that does not last long enough. The smell starts off with a nice bublgum/pumpkin spice/alcohol presence.

The taste has a high maltiness followed quickly by a bit of pumpkin and spice and then hop flavor. The 7% abv gives the mouthfeel a nice sharpness. This is the best bottled pumpkin ale I have tried this season. I would like to taste this in draught form to see how it compares with other pumpkins I have had on tap.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Unlike my other favorite pumpkin ale (Cottonwood's own, NC), DFH's Punk doesn't focus primarily on the pumpkin flavor. Lots of other spices come into it, somewhat clouding the pumpkin flavor but overall coming through as a super-good spicy autumn seasonal.

Pours a glassy burnt orange, an appropriate autumn shade. Small head doesn't remain long after the pour.

All spices/flavorings listed on the label show up in the aroma, each easy to pick out but mingled very well too.

What the aroma gives, the flavor brings out X 10. A well-balanced, complex flavor array. Truth in advertising...just read the label and know the flavor. Nutmeg? Check. Allspice? Check. All others present and accounted for too.

The finish leaves a lingering spiciness on the tongue, while the mothfeel has tingle, heft and smoothness all at once.

Maybe not an everyday beer, as the flavors are on the wild side, but certainly a must at the Thanksgiving table, and an overall excellent seasonal brew. Could probably even appeal to beer drinkers who usually don't go for this sort of thing.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber orange color. Dense head of orange hued white foam. Nice lacing.

S: Rich pumpkin aroma, doused with full malts and spices. The essence of burning leaves. Autumn bottled. Nice.

T: Malted pumpkin flavors with a touch of molasses and earthy spices. Some peppery notes. Rich flavor. Very nicely done. It's obvious that this is "brown ale" influenced, and it works exceptionally well.

M: Slightly dense, with some chewy feeling. Still rather sharp, making it go down easily.

D: Rather good. Even though it's a higher ABV pumpkin, i'd have no problem having more than one.

Notes: A solid pumpkin ale. Will be on the look out for it next year.

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Photo of zjungleist
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've never had a pumpkin beer before, and I figured if there is one to try it would be DFH. Pours coppery orange with a nice head that faded to nothing is 10 seconds flat. The smell is not spicey and stong the way I expected, though I am getting some nutmeg, but mainly it's just a malty smell. The taste is slightly tart, with a suprising amount of cinnamon, along with nutmeg, and malt. There is a slightly bitter finish, but not hoppy, more a combination of bitter barlery and some kind of tannin from the spcies. This whole time I'm wondering if there are actually hops in this. I can't really taste them, but sometimes I think I can smell them. And this leads me to the question of the hour... which flavor is the pumkin? This certainly does not have the hearty and rich character of a pumpkin pie, and even then, what do you taste more in a pumpkin pie... the pumpkin or the spices? I've got to attribute the sour/tartness to the pumpkin, but having no experience with pumpkin brews, its complete speculation. The mouthfeel is pretty typical for a DFH brew, that being a full medium body with a watery, dry finish. Overall, this beer probalby left me with more questions than answers, and for that reason alone I enjoyed it. On top of that, it's a drinkable beer with unique flavors.

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

Bottled 8/30/06
Pours deep amber with fine white lacey head. Better head retention and more impressive colour than most pumpkin brews.

I hate to repeat what the label says, but it smells immediately of brown sugar, allspice, and a little sour pumpkin.

More pronounced and richer malt character than most pumpkin beers, sour and rich kilned pumpkin character come through. Doughy and chewy mouthfeel, makes you feel as though you were tasting some nice pumpkin bread. Spices are not overwhelming, they play around in the background unlike a lot of other pumpkin brews. A little bit of a drying barky effect present due to the cinnamon.

Props to the 7% ABV on this one, a very distinct approach at pumpkin beer in my opinion. One of the necessary drinks in the genre.

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Photo of mmcave
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Once again I'm not a Pumpkin beer guy normally, I've reviewed one and thought a counter point would be a good idea, especially when its a dogfish head. Poured an orangey amber color with golden high lights. The head is a white foam color, leaving some lacing, with decent retention. Smells just like it says subtle, but real pumpkin, brown sugar, spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Smells more like an ale with pumpkin/spicing added sparingly, not an over powering smack in the face of synthetic pumpkin pie. Honestly the the smell is not terribly enticing, but its equally not dispelling. The flavor is not as sweet as I expected, its got a bit more tartness and a nice tinge of bitterness. It maintains a nice crisp flavor, some malt complexity and a mellow pumpkin spice finish. For me I'd prefer this type of pumpkin beer to others that use a syrup to flavor and are more forward front with their over sweet pumpkin flavor. Personally this is not as good as some of Dogfish heads other seasonal brews (aprihop) but its definitely not bad. If some one wanted a pumpkin brew, so far I'd say this is the way to go.

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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.

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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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Photo of lpayette
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, bottled on 8/23/06, enjoyed on 9/14/06. Label states: "A full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg."

Appearance- Pumpkin in color, crystal clear. 1/2" white head. Some lacing.

Smell- Allspice and nutmeg are quite strong. Caramel and a hint of smoke (not sure why, but yeah, I got smoke).

Taste- Pumpkin flavor plays a much bigger role here than in the smell. Lots of spices... too much in my opinion. Roasted malts- very fresh tasting.

Mouthfeel- I'd call this close to full-bodied, good carbonation, and fairly smooth.

Drinkability- More flavorful than most pumpkin ales, but the flavor choices to me were a bit odd. Not sure if I'll seek this out again or not. It's certainly decent, but maybe it needs to grow on me.

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Photo of Greggy2Crazy
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle dated 9/13/06 into a pint glass, purchased from Zeno's in State College, PA

Pours orangey-amber with a small white head. Definite pumpkin pie spice aromas. Has a lot more pumpkin pie flavor than other pumpkin ales, but without sacrificing drinkability. Has an interesting subtle caramel finish. A great change of pace for the season, will definitely be having a few more this fall.

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

Use your imagination.

Served from a 12 oz bottle with no "packaged in" date listed.

A: Pumpkin orange and a thick fluffy head.
S: Pumpkin and spices
T: Cinnamon and pumpkin and spice flavors.
MF: Light to medium bodied. Smooth drinking.
D: This is a great pumpkin beer, very drinkable.

I am going to get a load of these to bring home for thanksgiving for sure.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a pint glass from a 12 oz.bottle, dated "09.06.06". Bought at Whole Foods in Portland, OR.

A: A warm and clear copper/amber with a creamy 1 finger white head, almost no lacing.

S: Smells of mild cinnamon and nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar and caramel malt. A pleasant aroma but not very strong nor lingering.

T: A slightly metallic "brown ale" taste with hints of the spices and a slight sourness. Not as sweet as expected, somewhat bitter with a tangy bite, hinting at citrus.

M: Fairly smooth and slick and with a relatively light body. Moderate carboantion with some earthy bitterness in the aftertaste. Flavor is a little clingy and sticks in a gummy way; some alcohol warming. Generally average and not terribly likable mouthfeel.

D: A decent beer, pumpkin or otherwise, but not one I'd have to drink again. Spices seemed subdued, less than I'd hoped for; I was underwhelmed. Worth a try, I guess...

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

Thanks to jwc215 for sending this in a trade. A nice pumpkin ale. Poured a very slightly cloudy orange colour with a white foamy head that faded away very quickly leaving a ring of frost around the edges of the glass. Smell is sweet malts with a muted but present portfolio of pumpkin pie, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a maple syrup smell hidden way in the back. Very nice. Taste is more of the same, finishing mildly sweet and leaving all these flavour profiles in your mouth many seconds after you've swallowed a sip. Mouthfeel is a bit heavier than I was expecting. Not offensive, simply heavier than I thought it would be. Another pleasant offering from DFH.

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

At this point, the best pumkin beer I have tasted. I often like the first few sips of a pumpkin, but then I get sick of it. Not this one. Smooth and delicious, it has a nice copper hue with incredible aromas- just like on the bottle- allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. But it is not overpowering. I think this due to the hops. This is not a bitter beer at all, but there is hint of it,which keeps this beer crisp.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange/amber color with a descent off white that leaves a nice top lace all the way to the end. The nose consists of sweet malts, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The first sip shows a huge peppery spice ester character, toasted malts, and considerable hop addition. Roasted barley, yeasty. The alcohol presence is fairly potent and mixed with a high hop content it seems to blend the pumpkin pie spices almost too well. Its difficult to discern between all of the spices. Moving down the glass I found some more notes of caramel, cinnamon, and smoothed out roasted malts. The alcohol strength fades a little making way for some pumpkin pie flavor.

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Photo of jrdegriselles
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark orange/copper color with a nice head to it that soon vanished. Nice and creamy. The smell is a wonderful nutmeg and cinnamon with a taste of pumpkin. Not overpowering though. It has a great after taste. I highly recommend this pumpkin ale, it is one of the best I have had.

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Photo of jwc215
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 8/18/06 (less than two months drank it)

Pours orangish copper with a decent head that soon went to a lasting cover. Some lacing was left.

The smell is of pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg. Smells similar to a homemade pumpkin pie.

It's nearly a pumpkin pie in a bottle, with some warming alcohol. The taste is spicy - cinnamon and nutmeg especially, but they do not overpower the solid pumpkin taste. There's a brown sugar coating.

It's on the lighter side of full-bodied, more solid medium bodied. Creamy and smooth, though the alcohol is just a tad more noticeable in the feel than it should, but still acceptable.

Bottom line - it's a nicely spiced pumpkin ale. It's not as over-the-top, or unusual, as other offerings from this brewery. It's just a well-done, enjoyable pumpkin ale. It's one worth considering to accompany a pumpkin pie dessert on Thanksgiving, or just to have when in the mood for the style.

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Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.91 out of 5 based on 6,541 ratings.
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