Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Punkin Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
2,092 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 brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg.

28 IBU

Added by NeroFiddled on 09-26-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,092 | Ratings: 6,494
Photo of SmashAdams
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The smell is very light spices and slightly vegetal. The taste is decent and a bit spicy and boozy. Pretty disappointed with this. I get no brown ale qualities and no brown sugar. Based on the description I was expectiong something closer to Indian Brown with pumpkin and spice. nb

 281 characters

Photo of FriarMickOnThePlateau
2.9/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

9/15/15 Poured from a 12oz bottle packaged on ?/?/15. No date given other than 2015 edition, but hopefully recently for the Fall season. I'm primarily judging this beer from comparison to other Pumpkin beers and from DFH's own description on the bottle, which follows:
"A full-bodied brown ale" NOT! It's a light-bodied, overly carbonated at that, pale-amber ale.
"Brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg." Tastes like it too - MUDDY.
Why all three spices? There is a lot going on just with the malts, pumpkin and brown sugar...
The Look is brilliantly clear like all other mass produced crap. This is a specialty ale, why filter so?
Smell... I didn't care for it, but maybe it is suppose to smell that way.
I saved the worst for last - the label.. They've changed the look from the traditional, tried and true DFH classic (see this webs pic below) to a half naked nimph covered in ink... The marketing department just jumped the shark on this one!

 985 characters

Photo of donspublic
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into a pint. Nice 1 1/2 inchcream coloredhead dissipates to a light foam coating on the top. Dark copper gold in color. Pick up a little pumpkin in the nose along with a bit of spice. Like this beer. A toned down pumking. Will be looking for some of this come October

 288 characters

Photo of JohnnyB
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I feel like Mick Jagger every time I try Dogfish..I try and I try and I try..I can't get no satisfaction..The Punkin ale..has no bite,no sting no wallop. Kind of neutral, not bad not great. Good? Yeah, it was good. So is a hot shower on a cold morning. Nice, but you can have another one anytime you want. I mean no harm to Dogfish,Total hear the wonderful reviews,but,give me something "Un-Middle-of-the-Road.

 410 characters

Photo of Buck89
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Great looking beer - dark amber orange with a generous tan head. Smell is pumpkin up front, like the smell of a carved jack-o-lantern, followed by subtle spice and caramel notes. Taste is the best part - a not too sweet pumpkin pie flavor with a great malt balance. Big flavor but not cloying. Full bodies with a good feel -moderately carbonated. My favorite pumpkin beer this year (so far).

 414 characters

Photo of dd43
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is just a straight up good ale from Dogfish Head. The first aromas that hit me were a vegetal smell of the pumpkin, and a baking spice medley (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg). This beer looks great in the glass, nice creamy off white head and a hazy appearance that makes you think you're about to drink a meal. The brown sugar and pumpkin pie spices are nicely attenuated. This beer is not a spice bomb like so many seasonal pumpkin beers are relegated to. The finish is really appealing, mouth coating but not too heavy. That said I think I'd only have one of these in a session. It's a nice thing to start off with as the mercury drops and Halloween approaches.

 662 characters

Photo of Jaysauras
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: What a beauty. Nice bronze color with a two inch thick head. Changes from a lighter gold color to a pure bronze near the top. Excellent lace, foamy, thick. Appetizing.

S: Caramel malt with a toasty hint of holiday sweetness. Brown sugar and nutmeg. Faint floral/piney smell, perhaps coriander.

T: Wow. Absolutely outstanding. You get a very warm spiced flavor right up front, like a warm biscuity alcohol flavor. Then it slowly mellows into a soft yet still spicey blend of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and, of course, pumpkin. Wraps up with a crisp hint of malt and pine. Very well blended flavor, good drink through with a melange of flavors to enjoy.

F: Unique feel to it. Very warm, sometimes dry and tingly, but also soft, delicate, sweet, and a bit chewy. Complex no question. I usually don't consider feel all too much, but this one stood out.

O: Phenomenal pumpkin ale. I am exceptionally impressed by this one. Pumpkin ales are pretty hit and miss, and this one is definitely a hit. Surprisingly complexity that is well blended. The alcohol taste up front might set a few people down, but when worked in as a whole from bitter, to spicy, to sweet, it makes for a tremendous drink through. Definitely a good seasonal beer to pick up and try if you want a Pumpkin Ale.

 1,282 characters

Photo of RyanK252
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at BC's Pizza & Beer

A: Pours golden orange amber with a creamy off white head that settles to a light layer and laces well.

S: Toasty bready malt, caramel toffee sweetness, and nice spice notes.

T: Bready toasty malt, caramel toffee sweetness, almost Marzen like, backed with nice spice, nutmeg, clove, a little cinnamon, with a light fruitiness, and a kinda floral note on the back end.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Very nice fall beer, not spiced to death. Though, I remember previous batches having the pumpkin be light but noticeable. I can't say I ever picked that up this year.

 611 characters

Photo of Ari_B
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2015 Batch. First time trying this beer. Pumpkin flavor is subtle. First sips had all the flavorings associated with autumn but as I continued to drink those flavors became harder to detect and it tasted like a standard brown ale.

 230 characters

Photo of Pete_2112
3.24/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I'm a little disappointed by this one, because I had heard such good reviews of it from years past. The smell is quite weak. I didn't detect any pumpkin spice or pumpkin in the nose. Just a malty smell, that was still a bit weak. The taste at first had a slight pumpkin spice flavor to it, but now I'm not picking it up at all, really. It has a nice sweet, malty taste, but not that pumpkin flavor that I'm craving. Overall, I'm just disappointed by this one.

 459 characters

Photo of SometimesIfart
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

DogFish Head Punkin Ale.

This one is officially the oldest on my wants list as it sits. Wanted it years ago before I took a break from the crafts but never wanted to pay the $15 four-pack price. Now that they have dropped the price quite a bit and I found it in a single, I am quite excited for it.

Look - Pours a true amber copperish color with a two finger slightly off white head that jumps down to a well kempt cloud formation on the top of the drink, leaving a thick well retained ring around the perimeter. Carbonation appears to be on medium with this guy. Looks pretty much as you'd expect for the style thus far. Lacing is not a factor as the head didn't end up retaining as well as I though it would. 4.

Smell - hmm...well this is new. The malts are all there and dominate over the pumpkin and fall spices. Almost smells like a Graham cracker pulled fresh from the packet. Moderate tinge of cinnamon upon the embrace of a hard whiff, but overall remaining dominated by the malt and cracker levels. 3.75.

Taste - Doesn't change much in this aspect. The Graham cracker notability dominates the majority of the flavor. Not really getting a ton of pumpkin but that isn't necessarily a bad thing as too much can OD your taste buds. As it warms, you are introduced to a new flavor you won't find anywhere else. Ever have roasted pumpkin? Well if not, here it is. All those malts are still there though they take a back seat and even ride shot gun for a few moments upon the inhaled sit. Should also mention that this is one alcoholic heavy pumpkin beer. Only 7%? Coulda fooled me for a 12-14% honestly. 3.75.

Feel - Body is very, very full and highly carbonated with more alcohol upon the tongue than the ABV with let you on to believe. Flavors remains mostly the same although the cracker aspect becomes more pronounced without the burning sensation of overly-spicyness from the fall spices. 3.75.

Overall - Well.......This is one of the toughest rates I have ever had to do. Very solid and different, though perhaps a bit too different for the pumpkin ale traditionalist. Better than a lot of the weaker offerings, but I certainly cannot say it is a favorite. Weyerbacher did the complex boozyness and pumpkin flavor balance farrrrr better than this one. But, that one pulled a 4.45. So again, very solid, but not amazing. 3.75.

This one was a direct split between a 4 on everything and a 3.75. After much thought and discussion amongst the friends, it receives the 3.75 For most categories

 2,503 characters

Photo of kielykyaa
2.82/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

This years (2015) Punkin Ale is quite disappointing. I was expecting more cloves, spices, and more pumpkin like the previous years. This year it is more of an alcohol heavy (mouth) Brown Ale this year with a roasty flavor and very minimal smell and taste of pumpkin and spices. Somewhat sweet aftertaste. Pours a medium to dark orange color. It isn't bad, but if you call it a Pumpkin Ale it needs to have a little more pumpkin. I would not buy another pack of Punkin Ale this year. There's always next year!

 508 characters

Photo of justinp444
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip it has a clear amber orange body with a thin half inch off white head. Smell of pumpkin, nutmeg, brown sugar, all-spice, and some bread-y malt. Taste is of brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and pumpkin. You can really individually make out the flavors in this, not just as a round about pumpkin pie flavor. It is much lighter and not as flavorful compared to other pumpkin beers. The flavors dissipate in seconds on your tongue leaving behind a kind of dry pumpkin bread flavor/feel (with no small amount of nutmeg). Small amount of carbonation, slightly sweet, light to moderate body (mostly light), and a moderate mouth feel. Pretty smooth and maybe a tad watery. A pumpkin beer you can drink quite a few of before getting sick of.

 761 characters

Photo of gchristner
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not as good as it used to be in previous years. Still a decent beer, less of a pumpkin beer. Great color, slight pumpkin smell, mild pumpkin flavor, but more of a brown ale.

 173 characters

Photo of MarkQ617
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this out of a pint glass. Nice rich brown color. Aroma was mostly pumpkin with a touch of molasses. Flavor was mild pumpkin and brown sugar. Mouthfeel was just the right of smooth, very drinkable. Good stuff.

 212 characters

Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a beautiful dark hue of Orange, completely clear. The smell isn't overwhelming, but I can pick up notes of pumpkin, slight clove, and just a little touch of sweetness. The taste is a bit light for my liking, but refreshing. Very light pumpkin, some cinnamon, allspice, and a clove flavor hitting in the finish. Nice light carbonation, good fizz on the first sip. This is a good pumpkin beer, but besides pumking I'm yet to find a pumpkin beer that stands out.

 475 characters

Photo of DrSchnitzengiggle
4.82/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Great orange color. The smell is awesome - reminds me of cool weather, fallen leaves, and Halloween. The taste is very balanced; not too much spice, but enough to give you that pumpkin-pie vibe. This has been my favorite pumpkin beer for a while now, so I may be a little biased. Overall, I recommend this to anyone interested in beer (not just pumpkin beers).

 361 characters

Photo of JMoney777
2.04/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.25

2015's version out of a bottle doesn't compare at all to older versions. Hardly any pumpkin or spice flavor. Quite bland comparatively. Not a bad beer overall, but it's more like a regular old beer than Punkin Ale. If you want a decent brown ale, it's fine, but since I was expecting the old Punkin Ale, I rated it according to my expectations from the past. I was not paying for a plain old brown ale with a hint of pumpkin and spice, I was paying for a full flavor Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - but all I got was Punk'd. Breweries should not change a beer's character so much that it no longer IS that beer - that's a form of deception. If you change the beer, change the name.

 675 characters

Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great beer I forgot while drinking this that it was a pumpkin beer don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. The pumpkin taste is there and the spices are not one note and overpowering .

 188 characters

Photo of rpjterp
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I am not usually a fan of fruit in my beer but pumpkin is about as savory a fruit as you will find and it is the exception. This is my favorite take so far on a pumpkin beer.

Best described as an above average amber ale but the pumpkin flavors take it to another level.

Bubbles keep it lively and it feels light 7.0% abv.

Smell is just right for a quality amber ale with an overtone of pumpkin.

Perfect at Thanksgiving. Great gift to bring instead of the usual bottle of wine in the Fall.

 497 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours speckled orange gold color with a ton of sediment floating around in it and a 1 finger cream off white head that faded on the fast side and left decent lacing.

Smells like pumpkin pie with a mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, bread crust, brown sugar, nutmeg, yeast, bready malt, earthy notes and some more light spices. The ingredients used and listed on the bottle all show up front and center and smell quite good. Really good take on the pumpkin beer style, it smells like a real pie.

Tastes like it smells but the spices are more pronounced as the allspice comes out and joins the cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and brown sugar; seems like coriander and cumin join the party too. Very bready with the pie crust/biscuit/wheat bread and wet cardboard yeast notes following the spices, then shifting to tea leaf, dry flowers and hops which add some balance yet let the spices and malt continue to trick your palate into thinking that this liquid bread is a pumpkin pie.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery with fizzy carbonation and a body that's a little lighter than average; it hides the ABV completely with the spices and flows down easy, finishing spicy and full of malt and pumpkin.

Overall a really good beer...I found this bottle in the back of my beer fridge, and even though it's over 6 months old it was still very tasty and I don't like most pumpkin beers in general. Dogfish Head nails it with this beer.

 1,409 characters

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

2014 Fall bottling. Drank 6.20.15. Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Tulip.

A: Pours a hazy, orange tinted amber with a half finger of medium khaki head that quickly fades to a tall halo and transparent cap. Some suspended particulates, but I am guessing that might be from the age. I can't remember what it looked like when I had it fresh.

S: Spiced gingerbread cookies with a dash of brown sugar. Strong malt. Subtle and appropriate for a fall seasonal.

T: A light brown ale with some baked pumpkin, brown sugar, winter spice, and nutmeg. No bitterness whatsoever. Reminds me of brisk fall evenings.

M: Medium bodied, but feels lighter due to the carbonation. This really prickles at your lips and tongue. Has some after stick to it. A touch of alcohol, but not boozy at all.

O: I hate pumpkin beers. They all usually taste over processed, vegetable-y, or have had way too much spice and nutmeg added to them. But Dogfish did none of that, instead finding balance in subtlety. As a result, this is a beer that I actually like, one that come fall time, I routinely grab.

 1,073 characters

Photo of Ancalagon
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am a huge pumpkin beer fan, and this is one of my top three. Pours a beautiful hazy orange color with a finger of head. Smell is amazing. Nutmeg, clove, allspice, along with pumpkin, dominate the smell. Tastes almost like it smells. Along with the spices and pumpkin, there is a caramelized vanilla taste. I would have preferred just a little more pumpkin flavor. Ends with some malty hop bitterness to round out. Feel is medium-full with a little carbonation. A very well rounded pumpkin beer. Perfect for fall/autumn.

 521 characters

Photo of beerme626
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I generally don't like the feel of pumpkin beers, because they are a bit too sticky for me. However, despite that, Punkin is a good drinkable beer, with clear pumpkin without overwhelming pumpkin spice. Some pumpkin beers are too sweet. This doesn't overdo it.

 260 characters

Photo of poppollutesminds
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Older varieties were much tastier. The current seasonal that is being put out is still good but no where near as good as it was when DFH really kicked off distribution.

 169 characters

Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.91 out of 5 based on 6,494 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!