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

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with packaging date (by year) on left side of label, although without a notch or marking of any kind so it was pretty much useless.

Appearance: Orange-brown in color, clear. Head formed nicely and dissipated quickly into a lace.

Aroma: Like pumpkin pie, with some cinnamon thrown in as well.

Taste: The pumpkin flavor is the most dominant feature along with some spices, an uncanny resemblance to pumpkin pie. The spices, mainly allspice and cinnamon, linger a little in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, carbonation is perfect for this style.

Overall: I have had one or two other pumpkin brews and didn't like them so I almost didn't buy this the other day; then I decided to grab it anyways and am very glad that I did. An excellent brew for those cooler late autumn evenings before the winter beers are released. Well done!

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

Burnt orange 'with a rapidly disappearing head. Nose is dominated by a bready malt scent with a touch of cinnamon (sans sugar). Taste is spicy malts, but no discerning traditional pumpkin flavor. Like a Fall Warmer if such a brew existed. Tastes like a nutmeg brew. Medium mouthfeel that is quite satisfying. This is an easy quaffer, dangerously so at 8%. I thought last year's version was much tastier.

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

This is my favorite of all of the pumpkin ales that i have tried. very nice orange, brown color, not much head and little lacing. The smell is great, tones of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice are prevalent. Flavor wise, it could have more pumpkin but the spice is still very much present, nutmeg, cinnamon, even a bit of clove. light to medium bodied, i could drink a few of these and still be loving it. Quite a vast difference between this and say shipyard or blue moon - blah!

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Photo of Marty
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep red amber/orange and transparent. Minimal head, but nice tiny bubble action. Surprisingly not much in the way of aroma, not that I was expecting it to smell like a freshly baked pumpkin pie... but man, would that be sweet.

Strong alcohol backbone, and DOES taste surprisingly like pumpkin pie. No aftertaste to speak of, for better or worse.

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Photo of becktone
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a beautiful amber/orange color. It actually looks just a shade lighter than pumpkin pie. It looks very appetizing, except for the issue of the head. It has little to no head, I'm sure that off the tap it is much different. However as I am drinking it from the bottle I can't really vouch for that.

As soon as i opened this beer I could smell the aroma that it gave off. It has a very potent aroma that can be smelled across the room. Definitely can detect the nutmeg and pumpkin smells here, there are also some other spices which add to the aroma of the beer. Really this is one of the best smelling beers I've ever had, espicially since I could smell it all the way across the room.

In addition to the smell this beer also tastes great. Matter of fact, it tastes just like it smells. The pumpkin and nutmeg are apparent in the taste. I think that this beer would really complement pumpkin pie extremely well. I think that I'll save the rest of these I have for Thanksgiving, seems to me that these would really go great with the finest fall feast in the U.S. (Just thinking about all the wonderfull Turkey Day foods is really making me hungry. It also makes me wish that I knew for a fact that I would have some of this beer on Thanksgiving to see how well it pairs with such foods, I'm sure it will be sweet.)

Feels great in the mouth. The level of carbonation is not excessive, yet this beer is not undercarbonated. The flavor of this beer lingers on the back of the tounge long after you have finished a swallow of this ale.

As to the drinkability, I will most definitely buy more of this brew. Hopefully it is still available by the time I go to pick up beer again.

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Photo of Viggo
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange/brown, virtually no head, and no lace. Smell is nutmeg, sweet rich malt, some pumpkin, rich malt, some cinnamon. Taste is sweet malt, lots of spice, little bit of pumpkin and a little alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied, medium carbonation, warming. Not bad but disappointing.

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Photo of Illinick
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Tea-colored brown with reddish hues, a bit cloudy. A thin off white/tan head dissipates quickly. Impressive lacing throughout the duration of the drinking experience.
S: A cornucopia of pumpkin and fall spice. Pumpkin pie, nutmeg, cinnamon, with hints of yeast and sweet bread. Very spicy on the nose.
T: Parallels the smell: spicy pumpkin pie with a good dose of nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet malts back up the spice with a hint of yeast. Sweet and spicy at the same time-just like pumpkin pie. DFH uses mashed pumpkins in this brew and it really allows the flavor to stand out nicely.
MF: Medium, creamy MF gives way to a spicy, dry ending. Easy to drink, but spicy.
Overall: Possibly the best pumpkin ale out there. I expected nothing less from DFH! Great fall time brew that really is an experience to drink on a nice, cool, late fall day.

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Photo of SwillBilly
3.22/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle

Appearance: A dark amber brew with a small, off-white head. Head dissipates quickly leaving little to no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet malt with hints of spices. No discernable pumpkin smell.

Taste: Initial hints of spices giving way to a slightly sweet malty middle that finishes with a somewhat dry, hoppiness, also a bit alcoholic. Aftertaste leaves slight hints of pumkin pie.

Mouthfeel: A little too carbonated for me and rather watery and thin.

Not what I was expecting and not one of the better DFH beers IMO. Didn't have any real pumpkin flavor and smell. Alcohol was fairly well pronouced as I warm up after drinking this brew. An easy drinker but not one that I will seek again.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass. Clear orange color with white head. Head dissipated into yeasty islands on the top, very appetizing looking.

Aroma was pumpkin pie, just about right for this beer in my opinion. It could have been a little stronger, but no real problems.

The flavor was nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin, and malt. It was good but could have been stronger (again).

Not bad, and I'll drink it again. But so far my top prize for this style of beer stays with Weyerbacher.

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

My boys love Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving and Christmas for all the reasons that everyone should: candy, time off from school and booty. They also seem to have a rather pronounced fondness for pumpkin pie, and I think they get that from me. So it has always struck me as odd that I don't particularly care for pumpkin beers. It's not that I think they are bad, they just simply aren't my style (kind of like capri pants).

Appearance: A lovely deep brown, almost the color of a pumpkin pie after you've loaded it to the gills with molasses, brown sugar, evaporated milk and sweet, sweet love.

Smell: A malty sweetness runs primary through my nose, and just underneath it, whispering "Look at me!" is the faintest hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

Taste: Huh. I expected the spiciness to be far more dominant than it is in this beer. It's actually almost an afterthought. The lable states that they add brown sugar along with the spices, and that's really the predominant flavor. Like the nose, there is a very faint hint of cinnamon, etc. hanging around in the background, but it's just barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: With the added sugar, I would have expected a much fuller textured beer. This is oddly thin in body, much more so than I would have expected.

Drinkability: Well, still not my style. This appears to be an alright beer, but I'm just not converted to the style by it.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had numerous bottles of this autumnal puppy and a few glasses on draught...and thus it's time to review a glass poured from the bottle in the comfort of my home. I already know this is my #2 fave pumpkin ale...when does DFH disappoint?

Pours the color of autumn, falling leaves, a crimson sunset color with a good amount of thick lacing. Bready pumpkin pie, nutmeg and raisins fill the nose. Flavor is reminiscent of Irish soad bread (could be the raisins again) and darker fruits, a hint of anise(?) to go along with a so-unartificial pumpkin flavor and spices. Hops and alcohol are present in the finish; a nice compliment to the chewy malt. Finishes slightly dry, leaving you wanting more, provided you're into the kickass pumpkin ale you're imbibing. Light carbonation, utterly smooth and easy drinking. Being that the Southampton version isn't widely available (my true fave of the style), this is the standard. Great stuff.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle. "Packaged in" date unstamped on bottle. Bottle has top label (unlike picture) that says "Punk"... very cool.

A- Orangish golden color and slightly cloudy. Minimal and slightly creamy head that doesn't last long. Gentle carbonation.

S- Roasted pumpkin, gingerbread, cinnamon, a little hoppy

T- Somewhat divergent from the smell. Pumpkin has the staying power and is most evident in latter stages of each sip. there is a tinge of bitterness, and tastes of ginger, all spice and a bit of cinnamon

M- Creamy, pleasant, flavor spreads nicely across palate

D- Very nice, a great fall brew, alcohol shows its legs after an entire bottle

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Photo of battlekow
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Punkin looks pretty average, a clear dark amber with almost no head. Lacing is fleeting.

Smells caramelly with some clove/bubblegum and diacetyl butteriness. Tastes authentically of pumpkin pie, a pumpkin flavor with spices. Countering this, though, is an odd astringency that I don't cotton to, and a dry finish that doesn't go with the flavors. I wanted this beer to be luscious and velvety, like a pie, but it just evaporates in your mouth after the initial good flavor, except for the barest hint of a cinnamon aftertaste.

I really wanted to like this beer so that I could say it was "just like Grandma used to make" and point out how subtley macabre that phrase is--USED to make? Why doesn't she make it anymore? What happened to Grandma?!--but oh well.

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Photo of phishgator
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A unique brew that has a combination of flavors that might be a little too much. The pumpkin and spices are a nice mix but, a bit over the top. The pour is a nice foam and large head. It certainly reminds me of a thanksgiving day with pumkin pie. The taste is probably the best characteristic about this brew.

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a deep amber orange crystal clear body with a very gentle carbonation. A thin layer of foam sits on top.

S- The light hint of banana is mixed with some faint spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. A nice lightly toasted malt backbone give it support.

T-This beer has a good light malt base with spices giving some flavor. A nice spicy hop finish is a good finish to this brown ale.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a bit of fizz in the mouthfeel. A slight alcohol warmth is in the finish also.

D- This is a good solid beer that has some spice added to it. Most beers in this style tend to put the spice before the beer. This also has a good alcohol warmth to support the malt and spices. The smell was a bit of a put-off but faded.

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

Appearence: A bright, clear, but highly carbonated amber body sits beneath a bubble, off-white head.

Smell: The smell is basically just what the bottle says it's going to be: pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice (a little), cinnamon, & nutmug. Also some nice clove presence, and a decent amount of hopping. Well balanced!!

Taste and Mouthfeel: Strong, mouth-puckering cinnamon, spice and clove notes at first, slowly fading into a nutmug.pumpkin flavor, with a nice amount of a malt backbone. Finishes pretty dry, with a nice hop presence. Well balanced, full bodied, and lively.

Drinkability and Overall: For this time of year (especially with it being 50 degrees out right now), this beer is quite nice. God I love fall beers, I just can't wait till winter. Anyways, easily one of the better Pumpkin Ales I've had.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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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