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Punkin Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
2,070 Reviews
Punkin AlePunkin Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

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
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Reviews: 2,070 | Ratings: 6,407
Photo of ngandhi
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This herbal American brown ale base balances well with fresh flavors of candied ginger and nutmeg. With a medium light body and dry, nearly tannic brown sugar finish, the spices clean up nicely -- this is not Christmas pudding.

The color is gorgeous with nearly no haze contributed from the starchy, beer-unfriendly pumpkin. In my head, I like to think the gourd is actually adding something to this beer because, though the spices are so wonderfully controlled, there is a long, lingering element of pumpkin pie that goes beyond the spices.

Beer first, Punkin comes to rely on the alcohol as it warms with a growing, Colheita-like emergence of toasted walnuts and almonds as well as dried berries. Though only 7%, the overall dryness of this beer leaves it open the torturesome nuance of truth -- everything that is in this beer is clearly revealed, from the spices and chocolately malt to the grassy 60 Minute IPA-like hops and dry adjunct.

If I take anything away from this beer, it's the nose so fresh of clove you'd think this were a hefe, yet so subtle and elegant that pies and reindeer never come to mind.

Relax, relax.

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

Poured this one out on a cool fall evening after raking leaves and watching college football on TV. This one pours out to a dark gold, almost brown in the glass with a slight head. The aroma is that of spice, which reminded me of a cross between a pumpkin pie baking and a pork roast loaded with thyme and rosemary. Weird? Yes, but true. The taste is quite good, with a nice dose of malt mixing with the spices. One of the best pumpkin ales I've tried.

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Photo of redmosquito
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours an awesome orange color. It's clear with not much head at all. I get a mild spice aroma off this, with malt and maybe some pumpkin, sorry punkin', in the background. The flavor is definitely sweet with a nice toasted malt flavor carrying through to a spice finish. The spices seem more of a mouthfeel than an actual flavor, without any one spice dominating or even coming through at all. It finishes a little warming. Overall this is a decent pumpkin beer.

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Photo of 99bottles
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Version. Has a neck label reading "Punk" this year. After seeing it mispelled so many times, I suppose they wanted to make known the difference between Punkin' and Pumpkin.

This beer pours a nice clear orange-copper color with a 1.5" head of off white. Head retention is slightly above average, and a tight quarter inch stays throughout the drink. The smell is of nutmeg first, then pumpkin. Lots of spices in this beer, but they don't really get in the way as in other pumpkin ales. The taste is balanced with real malts giving ground and imparting a sweetness that does very well with the nutmeg and cinnamon flavors. Very reminiscent of pumpkin pie. A nice pumpkin flavor lingers in the aftertase. Body is well carbonated, and drinks lightly. 7% alcohol is well concealed. It's easy to have more than one of these. I look forward to it each year.

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Photo of putnam
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am indebted to reca for giving me the chance to test this beer before deciding to stock a case in my very space-limited retail set.

The aromas of this orange/tawny liquid are of split, mashed and boiled grains. Starchy and beery. On the palate it is creamy-textured and admirably balanced between bitter malty beer flavors -- reminiscent of a run-of-the-mill amber or brown ale. Subtle spiciness and gord-flavors can be decoded from the experience, but it requires some effort.

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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 clvand0
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Love me some Dogfish, so I was eager to try this one. Perfect weather for it. Pours a nice amber color with a very fluffy head that doesn't go away. The aroma is wonderful - nutmeg, pumpkin pie spices and pumpkin. Smells like a pie, as it should. The flavor has a subdued pumpkin flavor that is backed by the nice mixture of spices. Well done. The drinkability of this brew is a little low because of the spices, but I could see myself drinking lots of these, just one per day. Dogfish scores again!

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting to try this one for a while. This one pours a nice amber red color with a finger of head that sticks around to coat the beer. The nose is like pumpkin pie with the nutmeg and cinnamon mixed in with nice pumpkin as well. The flavor is nicely balanced between the spice and the pumpkin. Its like drinking a pie. This beer is thick and tasty. I wish I had a few more of these bad boys for the fall.

Edit: Trying the 2004 batch here. The color is amber gold. The feel is moderate to thick. Overall, a nice beer, but not as exceptional as last years. I'm gooing to knock the appearance, taste and drinkability down.

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

Presentation was the plain jane bottle pictured. The year packaged is plainly marked on the side. I poured the cool beer into my trusty Bellevue tulip glass and began the festive beer season in style.

Pours slightly darker than lipton iced tea with a lite reddish hue. Very light tan head was hard to get going. It dissipated quickly to a sticky ring that lasted all the way through. No carbonation to speak of.

Smell was straight up pumpkin with a bit of brown sugar sweetness and the previously mentioned spices in there generally muted.

Sorry, I expect these pumpkin beers and Xmas beers to just be more spicey. I am very glad that Dogfish didn't go overboard with the hops and destroy the good malty bomb that is here. The pumpkin sets a nice chewy malty undertone that sticks throughout. It originally rushes in with the brown sugar sweetness and then finishes with a very faint wisper of cinnamon and all spice. The spices were very muted, like a pumpkin pie with a teaspoon added where there should be a table spoon.

Mouthfeel was medium to heavy given the stickiness. I would definitely have a few, even though I was disappointed in the flavors. I've had plenty worse, but there are better out there.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a clear reddish orange color with a small head. The first smell is of pumpkin goodness....just like a fresh baked pie. Cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh cut pumpkin. Fall in a glass.

Taste is quite intriguing I must say. The pumpkin and spice are well balanced and this tastes very natural. It's not a doctored pumpkin taste. It leaves a wonderful aftertaste in my mouth as well. Nice and spicy with a wonderful pumpkin taste that is not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is good and this baby goes down smooth. A few of these on a cold fall evening would be wonderful. Drinkability is good as well. This is damn tasty and I could finish the 4 pack in one night if I was in the mood. This gets me in the Fall / Halloween spirit and I highly recommend this seasonl brew to all. DFH does not fail to impress me yet again!

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Photo of BadBadger
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pumpkin ale looks and smellls better than it tastes. Being a pumpkin lover, I was hoping for a pumpkin flavor, but it really was not present. This is not to say that the taste is not enjoyable. The taste is somewhat spicy being overwhelmed by allspice, nutmeg and cinnamom. There is a pleasant mouthfeel. Given the spices, this is not a highly drinkable beer. But it it certainly worth giving a try. Enjoy!

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was sampled at the Connecticut River Brewfest. I needed convincing... I don't like pumpkin, and the only other pumpkin ale I had tasted slimy. It was a 22 oz. bottle, and 21½ oz. went down the drain. But with a little encouragement from the people working the table, I decided to give it a try.

This one was a nice light brown ale, with a short but foamy head.

The aroma hits you with nutmeg and cinnamon, like a fresh-baked pumpkin pie. Again, I don't like the taste of pumpkin pie, but the smell is wonderful.

I noticed powerful nutmeg and cinnamon flavors in the taste, but also brown sugar and maltiness. There was no bitterness to speak of. I did not detect any pumpkin taste at all, so I was pleased.

Due to the spices, though, I couldn't drink too many of these... I'd get sick of it after about partway through the second.

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

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in a pint glass. Packaged in date notched on the label for 2004.

Appearance is a copper brown with very nice sticky lacings on the side of the glass.

Smells like pumpkin, sugar, and spice.

Medium bodied with a sweet brown sugar front that blends well with a malt character. The finish focus on a cinnamon spice flavor with a slight alcohol warmth. There is also a nutmeg and fruity presence with each sip.

This is an excellent Fall pumpkin brew. I had the Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale before this and declared that one of my favorites, but the Dogfish Head Punkin is right there too.

This beer is very drinkable, fresh and full of all things Fall (pumpkin, spice, nutmeg, etc)


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Photo of oelergud
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful orange body, off-white head small to medium bubbled, head has decent retention but no to little lace, little carbonation.
Very complex scent, sweet spice, pumpkin and something else I cant determine but from the label I gather it's brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Taste is much like the smell but better and stronger, sweet spice, brown sugar very apparent, pumpkin and sweet bread. Good malt/hop balance, aftertaste is a lingering malt drifting over to the realm of hops.
Very good mouthfeel, body has just the right fullness, decent coating.
A very drinkable and interesting beer and now my favorite fall brew.


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Photo of apintofknowledge
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this after trying a couple of other so-called pumpkin ales, and when I first tasted it, I was thinking "Huh? Where's the pumpkin?" But after taking the time to savor a few sips, I realized I was making an unfair comparison. This is not like some others of this style which I had just tried which taste like an alcoholic pumpkin-pie flavored beverage. This is a nice ale with just enough of a suggestion of pumpkin and spice to remind me that it's autumn.

All the flavors that should be there are there... the malt and pumpkin combine to give a warm toasty and slightly sweet & fruity flavor, while the nutmeg and cinnamon compliment rather than overwhelm the very present hops. Definitely not a novelty creation, but a beer that celebrates the season.

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Photo of Suds
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’ve come to really appreciate and anticipate the annual apperance of pumpkin beers. This one’s an outstanding example of the class. Pours a clear, dark-copper color with a thin white head. Brown-sugar, pumpkin, and pie spices compose the aroma. The spiciness is folded nicely into a faint alcohol smell. As you work through the glass, nutmeg seems to stand out as the dominant spice. Pleasing alcohol warming (nice in the Autumn outdoors). The pumpkin taste is present all the way through the taste. Finish is rather hoppy for a pumpkin beer. Overall, this is one of the beer pumpkin beers I’ve had.

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

Pours a two-fingered white head leaving a good lace, pale amber color. Light carbonation. Sweet spicy nose. Starts sweet - the brown sugar comes through - that hints of pumpkin, smooth very easy to drink. This could be a session beer except at 7% ABV one must be wary. $2.30 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Label Lore: A full bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkins, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg." Packaged in 04. 12 oz. browner...

Steeped into me pint with a clear, we're talking crystal clear, yet dark orange almost russett hued pour under a wafer thin off white crescent moon shaped head followed by a few small bubbles.

Scents hit a "fork in the road" here. There are surely some pumpkin inside scoops mash that meet some spicey cinnamon and nutmeg notes. While deep inhalations bring nearly off phenolics and band-aids, the pumpkin pie aromas lead the show, quite nicely.

First swigs: Blasts of malty pumpkin and pie crusts take over, perhaps to the best of my imagination, but DFH has been known to pull flavor stunts before so this won't go passed them. Some estery, 7% ABV, awl-kee-hawl vinous wafts greet the tongue. Slight warming temperatures evolve into esters.

Thin to a medium at best feel. Not a heavy brew. Malts and pumpkin go back 'n forth. Hops? Helll-oooo???

Last swigs: BA thanks to GeoffFromSJ for swappin' brews. Pumpkin pie filling meets basic wine spritzer and spices. This cn be mixed with 60 Minute to make a balanced brew. Recipe props goes to fellow BA PopeDX.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of PudTinkler
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had quite a few different brands of Pumpkin Ale, but by no means am I an expert. This is one of the more unique brands I've had, and that is neither good nor bad.

The appearance is a burnt orange, very clear..the smell has a faint hint of nutmeg and alcohol. There was not much head when poured into the glass.

The taste was a bit overwhelming...maybe too strong for a pumpkin ale, at least as compared to other brands. The strength of the beer seems to drown out the pumpkin (and pumpkin-related..nutmeg, allspice, etc.) flavors.

This is coming out more "negative" than I'd like...this is a good beer, maybe too strong for the style though.

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Photo of JustIPAs
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although the Pumpkin Ale's are not typically my favorite, I have to admit that this took me by surprise. I picked this one up because I fell in love with the Aprihop that I had at the Boston Beer Summit. This beer did not disappoint me either! The nose of the beer is strong but not overwhelming, and leaves enough room for you mouth to make up its own conclusion. The finish was very nice, and not too long. Overall I would consider this ale highly in this category and would be something I look forward to having every fall!

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Photo of rdrummer
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Without a doubt, the best pumpkin ale that I have tried. This is a kick. It pours a rather ordinary, weak tea color with a nice head. The ordinariness ends there. The aroma is of an uncooked pumpkin pie. There is a definite pumpkin smell but there are hints of rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and malt all blended in a real pie-like blend.

At this point, I was almost ready to stop without tasting it, figuring that it couldn't be as good to taste as to smell. I was wrong. This a well-blended pumpkin pie in a glass but without the cloying sweetness. In fact, there was considerably more hops bitterness than I expected. With the first sip, the spices described above come through but from the first they are balanced by the presence of a decent amount of hops. The malt accentuates the pumpkin flavor and balances the hops.

This is a full-bodied ale that is very pleasant, and before I knew it the second bottle was gone.

Pours a deep beautiful orange into the glass with a note of spice in the nose. I kind of smell a slight pumpkin aroma, but don't really know if I'm reading into the beer or if it is really there. The taste is spicy. Good and strong, with the spices being mellowed out by the malt backbone. The funny thing is that I think I taste pumpkin, which I haven't been able to in other pumpkin ales I've had in the past. Consider this, the spices are reminiscent of Thanksgiving, mixed in with the hops, and the malt backbone has that pumpkin roundness so that it is like being transplanted from IPA land to the dessert table on your favorite November holiday. The aftertaste is of banana peel and cloves, but not in that Hefeweizen way, more in that bitter way that hoplovers would find interesting.

The funny thing is that it is very drinkable, actually superb, but the pumpkin thing just brings you back to that one time of year. Perhaps if it were different, then it would be different. But alas and alack.... Mouthfeel is nice. The aftertaste leaves that umami sensation in your mouth, o you really can't complain. Though some may call this a novelty beer, it could gain acceptance if people would shake their associations with Thanksgiving. All in all, another superb offering from DFH.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very clear, orange color... almost irredescent. Small head disappears pretty quickly. The aroma is all pumpkin pie spices: nutmeg, big-time cinnamon, and a big waft of allspice. Maybe even some spicy hoppiness in there as well. Taste is really great for a pumpkin ale - it's mainly a very spicy tasting brew up front, then some sweet candied pumpkin and then a nice bitter finish that lingers for a while. Like one forum poster said, "pumpkin pie in a glass." No doubt about it. This would sit perfectly against a plate of turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Mouth is medium to full, slightly oily and smooth. It's very drinkable. You're definitely thinking about glass number two right away.

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

Pours out light gold and sits a bright reddish-brown in the glass with a 1/2 finger fluffy white head.

Smells of nutmeg and cinnamon, all the usual pumpkin spices. Mild vegetal aroma of pumpkins, and a underlying layer of sweetness, notably caramel.

Tastes lightly sweet up front, lots of dark sugary backing and spices build up steam. Nutmeg and all-spice come in strong and cinnamon takes the finish with a tingling bitterness on the sides of the toungue. Pumpkin flavor is all there, well produced and easy to follow. Finishes is lightly bitter with some lingering sweetness.

Medium-full body, smooth and creamy with adequate carbonation. Nothing to the extremes, but a nice sparkling touch.

A good treat for the upcoming days of fall. Doesn't make you feel sick from the pumking flavors and is well controlled at that.

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Photo of Billolick
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, with freshness info notched onto the label. 2004 batch. Pours medium golden almond in color, clear, with a white head and leaves a decent amout on lacing. Bready malty nose. Full bodied and rich mouthfeel. Nice depth of malty body and flavor. Pumkiny undertones and spices evident but in background, adding to complexity and intrigue. Usually this is not my favorite type of beer, but this creation is a winner. Tasty brew, an obvious choice to go with hearty fall dishes, can you say Thanksgiving dinner?

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

Just tried the 2004 version. Looks like another interesting beer from DFH. What surprised me most about this beer is that for a spiced beer it is remarkably balanced. It is true that it exudes pumpkin pie smell and taste, and you can pick out lots of spicy notes, but you can also taste the malt and the hops. Wow!! As for drinkability, I tried to have two in a row, and there is no doubt this one is at 7% ABV. If I don't need to do anything after drinking, the drinkability index improves, but otherwise, one in a session is probably enough. I'll need to pick up a few more 4 packs. Good job DFH.

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Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 2,070 ratings.
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