Punkin Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Punkin AlePunkin Ale
Very Good
6,649 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,649 |  Reviews: 2,141
Photo of masterbruewer
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an orangy copper color with minimal head and adequate lacing.

The smell was like a spice cake. Pumpkin, nutmeg and maybe a little carrot taste.

The flavor was great, like drinking a spice or carrot cake. A wonderful mix of spices, pumpkin and cinnamon and nutmeg and other related flavors. The only complaint is a strong nutmeg and allspice aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is smooth with the flavors introducing themselves gently and fading slowly. If not for that little aftertaste, it would be perfect.

A nice beer for something different, as with many other flavored beers, I wouldn't recommend consuming more than one or two. The flavors aren't good in large amounts.

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Photo of ark57
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color is a cloudy orange. It is warming for those cool fall nights and has a pumpkin spice aroma. The taste was of nutmeg and cinnamon finishing off with brown sugar. The alcohol content was too overwhelming. The spices were not well balanced with the maltiness. The aftertaste was great, but the beer itself was just okay.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a hazy glowing orange. Backlit, it turns a fiery shade of cinnamon, brightened by the suspended yeast pour, topped with a thin, scattered, off white mist. I poured the beer into a belgian style tulip goblet, which usually creates a healthy froth of head, but this quickly dropped into a medium sized collar, with a tight swirl of mist in the middle. No lace. I suppose the lack of head retention could be attributed to the alcohol and lack of hop presence. The color is spectacular, easily a 5 if there was a better head.
The aroma is very spicy and rich. Plenty of toasty caramel malt is boosted by a well spiced pumpkin pie blend. The ginger is very apparent, along with nutmeg. Some cinnamon adds a whiff of fireball candy, with perhaps a bit of brown sugar. Not too much in the way of actual pumpkin, if anything, more or less just the spices. No apparent hops. It reminds me of going to my grandmother's house when i was little and opening the spice cabinet, just standing on a chair inhaling the cacaphony of exotic aromas and looking at the strange little bottles and leaves wrapped in paper. Bright oranges, dull greens, and earthen browns.
The flavor starts with a pleasantly toasty caramel maltiness, riding all the way through the sip. The spices come in immediately, with cinnamon and brown sugar lending a spicy sweetness. Perhaps a bit of squash in the middle, with a slight ginger tang that grows steadily into the finish. Just a hint of cookie dough yeastiness. The brown sugar remains throughout, somewhat like belgian candi sugar in it's placement. A bit of ginger spiciness, along with a mild nutmeg bite, make up the finish. It blends nicely with the caramel malt, creating a feel not unlike liquid pumpkin pie. A fog of boozey alcohol adds a slight tingle to the finish, numbing the tongue slightly, reminding oneself of it's rather potent alcohol content. A faint saccharine sweetness in the aftertaste, coupled with assertive ginger, creates an almost artificial flavor. Similar to a fireball candy after a plate of sushi. The beer is fairly big bodied, I'd say on the portly side of medium, but easily carried by a sparkly, boisterous carbonation. A bit cloying overall, particularly in the finish, with a sugary feel throughout. One bottle of this is quite enough for me.
One of, if not the biggest, seasonal pumpkin ales out there. Perhaps a bit over-wrought, with too much spiced sweetness. I feel like I'm drinking a candy store, especially when it warms up. Perhaps a bit more punkin and grainy malt, and less allspice and brown sugar. I can appreciate the effort and laud the inventiveness, but it's not for me. Well worth the money for the pack, for the experience alone, but I'll stick with marzens come september.

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Photo of marburg
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Allspice. Fascinating stuff.

The first thing I did after opening this beer was to go sniff a bowl in my sink. That might seem kind of an odd thing to be doing after opening a beer. But it's not: This evening I made chicken shawarma sandwiches.

That probably doesn't clarify much. So let me explain: In the marinade for the sandwiches, I use allspice, cardamom, yogurt, and vinegar. And the sweet, balanced, spicy aroma that marches through my nostrils after leaving the marinade bowl is the same damn thing I'm smelling in this beer. Must be the allspice, even though I only use like 4 friggin granules of spice in the recipe. Quite an astonishing comparison though.

So that gives you an idea. The spices really shine through here -- pumpkin pie, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. (Duh.) One might think that such an infusion of those types of flavors would lead to an overly sweet, unbalanced, undrinkable brew. Really, it's the opposite. The sweetness is matched, harnessed, and played upon beautifully. And it results in one of the best, easiest-to-drink beers I've had in a while.

Second best pumpkin beer I've ever had -- the first being Kuhnhenn's bottled take on the style.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer in my fridge for about 4 months. The aroma is dominated by nutmeg and pumpkin, maybe even some clove. Off-white head leaves a little lace as it fades to a film. Transparent amber colored beer with an orange hue. The pumpkin pie aroma carries over into the flavor, but isn't as strong. There's some hops down there that can't quite make it to the surface. It's not as thick as the aroma suggests, the flavor is pretty strong but doesn't stick to your tongue, I wouldn't call the finish clean, but it doesn't hang around long either. It definitely leans more towards the pumpkin pie end with spices present. Loads of flavor and aroma are probably too much for half the beer drinkers out there. If you don 't like pumpkin pie stay away, otherwise I'd say drink it closer the bottling date so the hops have a fighting chance.

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Photo of Crosling
3.09/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is going to be a quality taste test meeting. I have a good feeling about this one. This Punkin ale pours a mixed fall season leaves. The head is a light tan.

Huge Root Beer aroma. Sudbtle nuances of pumpkin and nutmeg illustrate the nose as well. This also kind of smells like a coke/vodka combination. It is quite wierd. It smells...just not great at all.

Blah. I'm struggling to get this stuff down. This stuff is total destruction to my mouth. No lack of flavor just bad flavor and this stuff is way too carbonated.


Down the Drain

Not So Fast

This stuff is beginning to taste alright. It calmed down quite a bit. More spices are starting to come about. More pumpkin in the front palate. The mid-palate is still pretty gross but the finish has calmed and grown to be quite complex and lovely with banana creme pie cast as the most prominent "actor" in the play called "To Please My Mouth."

The mouthfeel has also grown to be quite lovely. Very full in the mouth.

Quite "alcoholic" in its linger.

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Photo of sideshowrob
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew was a big surprise in the Pumpkin ale style. The line I shall plagerize from another reviewer (Ale Street?) is that "It is the only Pumpkin beer I'd have twice".

Dogfish did a great job with this brew. The pumpkin is well balanced with a strong sweet backing (brown sugar?). The combination works well. Very easy beer to drink, though even at a holloween event, it was hard to drink more than two. This is far more than a simple "me too" beer brewed with pumpkin, it's a beer that very well might define this niche style. Though not really something I'd normally do with a brew, I have discovered that this a great beer to cook with!

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Photo of mntlover
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Good looking burnt orange brew with white head that falls to ring of ever rising bubbles. Smells wonderful pumpkin, nutmeg, allpice and touch of cinnamon, Thanksgiving in a bottle had a couple of bottles with Thanksgiving dinner went well, saved a couple for review as you can see I tend to procrastinate. Only got to try three pumpkin brews this year due to my location in Budwiser is King land this one tasted the most spicey of the three. Great fall brew but, wouldn't drink on regular basis, as I would the other pumpkin ale I reviewed. Tastes like it smells mouthfeel is on light side of medium good spice beer for the occasion.

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Photo of babyhobbes
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours an orange color with a small white head. It smells fantastic, spicy like pumpkin pie. There's allspice and cinnamon and even some clove I think. The taste is similar to the smell. There is a definite spice taste with a hint of pumpkin. The mouthfeel is thin and bubbly. This is a good spiced, drinking beer in my opinion. There is a good spiced drinking beer.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt orange in color with a light tan head.
Aroma of sweet, toasty malt and lots of spice including nutmeg and allspice.

Taste shows a sweet, toasty malt body. Brown sugar adds to the malt sweetness and flavor. Huge spice flavor. Allspice with a hint of nutmeg and pumpkin.
Mouthfeel seems a bit thin.
Sweetness and spice become just a little cloying IMO and hurt the drinkability.
Overall a solid pumpkin ale.
Thanks to TwelveVoltMan for securing a 4 pack for me!

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Photo of TinusTime
2.45/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Im usually a fan of DFH beers and enjoy their beers that push the envelope, but this beer IMO was a train wreck.

Pours a medium brownish with some golden ruby highlights and a sort of khaki head. Smell is of spice and a bit of vegetable and pumpkin. The taste is pumpkiny up front and then just melds into a spicy malty mess followed by a drying hop finish that just jumps the train off the track. Drinkabilty was low as i was able to finish the beer, but wasnt going begging for another. Not one of the best pumpkin beers I had last year. Cottonwood was by far a more well rounded beer IMO.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle, in a pint glass. The color is a dark amber, with a film of white head. The smell is mostly cinnamon. The taste is mostly cinnamon, though the malt keeps the cinnamon from dominating, and keeps the balance enough to make this more than a mere novelty. Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability-wise, could have a few more, though would be too sweet after a long while.

Definitely the best pumpkin ale out there. Leave it to the mad geniuses at DFH to make a pumpkin ale that is only not a novelty, but is a damn good beer! Delicious, and absolutely one I'll have next year!

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Photo of benmiliron
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I know we're supposed to review "within the style in mind", but does anyone really enjoy pumpkin beer? I remember enjoying it, but each and every one I had this year (this was the last) tasted like, well, like pumpkin. It just doesn't do it for me.

As far as pumpkin ales go, this was one of the better ones I had. Good cinnamon/nutmeg scent to it. Looked beautiful in the glass, orange-amber color. Taste was pumpkiney, but a good dose of hearty malt along with it. Due to the taste, I doubt anyone is downing a bunch of this all night.

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Photo of marc77
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy tawny bronze. Thin, but stiff and dogged head leaves sparse lace. Aroma comprised of buttery caramel and nutmeg, with medium toffee and nutty brittle tones. Understated cinnamon and ripe fig esters as well. Very well rounded and appetizing aromawise. In flavor, a browned butter drizzled toasted biscuit impression is the dominant malt presence. Stately, slightly herbaceous allcpice and citric hop combination is an undertone. Lightly bittered, with balance skewed towards caramel, but sweetness never becomes cloying. Subtle bubblegum esters emerge as it breathes, helping facilitate a candyish overall suggestion. Well calculated and integrated pumpkin spice presence. Full dextrinous body and viscous, but not syrupy in mouthfeel. Finishes with soft alcohol warmth and brown sugar sweetness, lending a lingering spiced hot toddy impression. An excellent "pumpkin" ale, with judicious spicing and a simple malt backbone with girth. Very tasty and well crafted.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This may not be the best Pumpkin brew I have had, but it's damn near close. It's almost as good as the Cottonwood and had a high alcohol content to keep you warm. It's appearance was a very pretty orange color with a creamy head. The head was big for a few minutes, but then died out to a thick laceing. The smell was it's best feature for me. This had so many different things going on at once, it was mind boggling. There was the always present smell of allspice, but then it gave way to a real pumpkin smell, which isn't present in most brews, and ofcourse it was big malty. The taste was similar to the smell, but stronger in the malt catagory, as well as the actual pumpkin taste. The mouthfeel was nice and creamy, which is something I really dig. Drinkability was put to the test today with NFL football and it passed the test 3 beers later!!!!

I'd like to give big props to my bro Mikey up in CT. Thanks for the eye opener man!!!

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Photo of jed
2.75/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a light orange, amber color with a small head, no lacing.

Smell: Very sweet and spicy aroma. Clear nutmeg, cinnamon scents. Punkin' smells much spicier than other pumpkin brews and less like the actual dessert.

Taste: Initially sour with very strong allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors, almost like Old Bay. A hint of hops, and more brown sugar as the beer sits. The sourness fades about halfway through the beer, but you still get a weird, yeast/vegetable aftertaste that spoils the brew.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with light carbonation. The aftertaste lingers a bit.

Drinkability: I can't see having more than one of these. Taste aside, the 7% alcohol is pretty formidable, especially for a pumpkin beer.

I'm a huge fan of Dogfish Head, but I can't say I care for this beer. It needs more malt or hops to balance the spices, which overpower the brew's taste. If you're interested in this style, I'd suggest trying Post Road Pumpkin Ale instead.

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Photo of dmarch
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with orange hues and an impressive white head. The aroma is cinnimon with nutmeg. A lot of brown sugar comes through in the taste along with the spices. At 7% alcohol, it's pretty strong for a pumpkin ale, but it is one of the best on the market right now.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours crystal clear amber orange with hardly any head. The spice aroma, while present is fairly muted. Just a slight hint of clove/cinnamon. The flavor is vegetal and not especially pleasing. The bitterness is fairly high and overpowers the spice. There is little alcohol burn until the finish and then dry subtle spice lingers along with some bitterness. The body is a little light.

I expected more. Dogfish is generally about more of everything. I would have expected more pumpkin, more spice, more everything...

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another Dogfish Head beer. I may have already set high expectations due to my general affinity towards their beers.
I pour this punkin into my glass. Nice white head forms rather easily but dissipates very quickly. Spicy aromas are prevalent with cinnamon dominating.
Very tasty on the first sip I notice very light carbonation which is good because the overall flavor of the beer is very mild. Some body to it but definitely not heavy. Ah, on the swallow the spices come back and I might actually think i just took a bite from a pumpkin pie.
This is a very drinkable beer and could be finished very quickly. 7% alcohol? Sure dont taste that. This is a beer that could sneak up on you. Definitely a nice spice beer, but could use a little more boldness in the front end.
I would imagine drinking this beer while watching football or other relaxing activities, watch what you eat though as many foods will quickly overshadow this beverage.
If you like pumpkin beers give this one a shot!

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Photo of doho95fu
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generally I am not a great fan of the pumpkin spiced brews, but this one was really good. The color was a deep amber with a thick creamy head, the beer had little cloudiness. The smell was clearly spicy with the pumpkin pie smell. The taste - again spicy and hoppy - I think nutmeg was the leading flavor driver for this beer. It almost tasted rum-like at the hoppy finish. Drinkable as far as bold spice beers go.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

not quite clear, amber orange ale with a thin white head. smells of pumpkin pie with the spices and nutmeg especially, being most evident. not very strong smelling, but what's there is really good. big malty taste, the nutmeg and brown sugar are very apparrent, nice pumpkin flavor underneath it all, some hops balance the taste out rather well at the end. good reasonably full mouthfeel. my first pumpkin ale, and i'm really impressed. hope there are others equally as good. for anyone who hasn't had one before, start here.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured producing a nice dense cream-white head. Head coated the sides of my tasting glass in one continuous sheet, slowly returning to the surface of the beer.

This ale has a nice clear pumpkin colored amber-read hue.

The nose is spicy with unmistakable notes of nutmeg and allspice, behind which sprites of cinnamon make themselves known here and there.

The flavor is spicy indeed! It’s almost like enjoying a nutmeg laden slice of pumpkin pie. In my opinion, the spices are a bit overpowering-- easily overshadowing the underlying ale character. Perhaps this is what a “Pumpkin Ale” is all about. As to the “Pumpkin”, I’m not certain my taste buds could detect a definite pumpkin flavor, but I’ll take Dogfish’s word for it, it’s there (I still hang on to the image of a fine pumpkin pie). Through all of the spices a bitter hops character emerges, producing an unmistakable ale signature on the flavor profile.

The finish seems to be somewhat short but clean, leaving a wash of hops and “bitter” on my palate as the ocean tide washes sheets of foam and sea water upon the shallows of the beach, with the ocean being the spices, and the drenched sand being the ale flavor.

Mouthfeel is “comfortable”, with the “forward character” of the spices producing the bulk of the sensation.

I have to be honest in that I have not sampled many Pumpkin Ales. Therefore I’ll continue to regard these beers as a seasonal treat, somewhat off the beaten path of traditional ales and lagers.

An enjoyable libation for the Halloween time of year maybe?

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap version:
Clear bright deep orange amber color. Head is a light orange-tinged tan with decent retention and plenty of lacing.
Definite malty pumpkin pie nose. Allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Great balance of pumpkin, spices, and sweet malt.
Taste and mouthfeel: A smooth, silky mouthful of liquid pumpkin pie... subtle, semi-dry, followed by a warm alcohol finish.
Best of the pumpkin ales. Even more enjoyable from draught.

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Photo of erica
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Even though I haven't had many, this is the best pumpkin ale I've tried. The color is a nice dark orange/amber, fall color, which puts me in a pumpkin/autumn mood. It smells and tastes like spicy pumpkin, almost like a pumpkin pie, but not as sweet- it's got a good balance. I love pumpkin flavor, and the spices that go with it, and this beer met my expectations.

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Photo of pheurton
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

clear autumnal reddish brown. small, white frothy head. sweet baking spices on the nose. full textured body, smooth and creamy. huge spicey, sugary flavor...finishes dry from a gentle hop bite. quite different than most pumpkin ales, and is better for it. spice profile is interesting without being overwhelming. a great fall treat.

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Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 6,649 ratings