The Fear
Flying Dog Brewery

The FearThe Fear
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Pumpkin Beer
Ranked #221
Ranked #36,492
3.72 | pDev: 13.17%
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States
The FearThe Fear
Notes: Why is there only one time of the year - as goblins, ghouls and ghosts frolic on front lawns - when we embrace THE FEAR? At all other times, THE FEAR dominates us, controls us and prevents us from greatness. What is there to THE FEAR? Disagreement? Criticism? Humiliation? Whatever THE FEAR is that consumes you, embrace it. Only then will the true artist in you rise up.

Malts: Carabrown, Midnight Wheat, Chocolate, Vienna
Hops: Warrior, Willamette
Yeast: American Ale
IBU: 45
Special: 300 pounds of pumpkin added per 50 barrels
Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 659 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of dups68
dups68 from Rhode Island

3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: A dark murky brown reminiscent of late night fall swim in Camp Crystal Lake's lake. The one finger foam head quickly builds and sticks around as long as sea foam on a large sharks fin. We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Smell: Intense. The smell of malt rips through the air like a razor blade glove. The scent of alcohol lurks in the background waiting to take a bite.

Taste: Malt dominates the initial wave. Spice bites at the tongue like a Dracula preying on a unsuspecting victim. In the aftertaste a boozy alcohol flavor rears it head and rips through the profile like a texas chainsaw massacre.

Overall: Woof. Beer hits like Cujo. Big n Boozey but flavor is not what I expected. I didn't get much pumpkin. Sorta malty and some spice. Not a bad cool weather fall beer but if you're looking for pumpkin keep on looking. The after taste was off putting to me as well. Left my palate the sensation that I just took a shot of cheap vodka. Just a dry taste of gain alcohol.

Sep 25, 2020
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realJohnnyHobo from Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not only am I a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson, Flying Dog, and Ralph Steadman; I, too am a fan of The Fear. This atypical of monster pumpkin beers that come out in the fall, coming in at 9% abv with a dark rich nearly black orange color. My head is gigantic and has left a creamy off white head.

The smell is intense, off puting, and to be honest not what I was looking for when I chose 'another' pumpkin beer to review. Heavy notes of alcohol permeate throughout the esters alongside allspice and gourd.

Initial tasting notes include chocolate, it is very heavy at times, and spices. You're hit with alcohol in the mids and a sharp spicy hop note from the Willamette that is also rounded by the warrior. This is nearly at 32˚c atm and the flavors are pronunced and still similar. For 9% the ease of drinking is high perhaps due to the wheat malts. The spice levels are mild and though pronounced aren't overly in your face, I believe Pumpkin is similar but this is different.

Though there are some notes I really think are fun, and that is what this is crafted beer that is fun to enjoy I feel like the alcohol is very in your face. Perhaps Scafly's is too, as is Southern Tiers, but Flying Dog feels like a higher octane than 9%in the finish. It lingers and is very apparent alongside the spicy notes. I would love if this was aged in bourbon barrels though, that would be something special.

Sep 18, 2020
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Ernald_Elbertson from Delaware

4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A pretty interesting beer, and one of Flying Dog's better offerings in my opinion.

Look: Standard brown ale look, decent lacing and tannish head.

Smell: Put me off a bit at first. The Vienna Malt is pretty overpowering in the smell, so I initially thought of Vienna Lager, which I felt was uncharacteristic. If you look deeper you get some sweeter toffee notes and some of the Chocolate Malt as well.

Taste: I would say Chocolate Malt and spices dominate, despite the strong Vienna Malt smell. Definitely getting the roasted bitterness from the Chocolate Malt, as well as some clove, maybe nutmeg toffee, and cinnamon. Not really cloying or overly sweet which is nice. Unfortunately I really am struggling to find the pumpkin in here, but that doesn't inherently make the beer just might not be what you're expecting. I would prefer this to a very overly-pumpkinated beer. The malt bill on this is actually pretty interesting and complex if you're a malt-head. Little in the way of booziness though, if that's what you're after.

Feel: Very full bodied, but perhaps a bit too carbonated for my taste. Not watery at all though, which Flying Dog seems to have an issue with sometimes.

Overall: a pretty solid fall beer for sipping on. Depends on your local store, but maybe a bit pricey for what you get? 15 dollars for a six pack should be something a bit more outstanding in my opinion; I've had better beers for cheaper.

Aug 29, 2020
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klarcbarr3 from New Jersey

3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I poured 'The Fear' into a pint glass. A one inch head with some staying power laced the glass as I drank it.. pleasantly surprising, because most pumpkin ale heads immediately disappear. The color of this beer is kind of odd for the type, too.. a cola colored pumpkin ale, but the lacing really adds visual interest. The smell is mild, but good. Notes of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and general nuttiness are apparent. These aromas gain power upon tasting. The Fear is liberally spiced, and some maltiness and hops are also present. The mouthfeel is quite good, and the 9% alcohol seems appropriate for a pumpkin beer with some boldness. The more I drink of this brew, the more I like it. Bold the word here! Color, Texture, Taste.. strength and character pervade. It is aging nicely in the basement, and this beer tastes better than when first bought six months ago. Don't be afraid to try 'The Fear".

Feb 16, 2020
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hopsputin from New Jersey

3.81/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75


A: dark dark cherry and light brown with a nice 2 Finger creamy tan head

S: sweet malts, squash and pumpkin flesh, toffee, and some roasted malts

T: pumpkin, roast malts, sweet caramel, grains, and some brown sugar. And some creamy smoothness. Sweet finish

M: creamy nitro mouthfeel with a solid medium mouth

O: ok beer. Pumpkin isn’t so prevalent, definitely maltier and brown sugar

Oct 26, 2019
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Bluerabbitbell from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

DARK! On tap at Puccini's in Cumberland MD. A heavier IPA for sure. Borders a brown ale. Spice notes present. Average pumpkin IPA, but it separates itself with it's color.

Oct 20, 2019
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

(12 oz bottle, VINTAGE19C; purchased single off shelf... poured into

L: chestnut-brown, garnet-brown liquid with brilliant clarity; tall, tan, rocky foam on the pour with a bouncy, lasting retention... spongy collar keeps, random splotchy-bubbly cap as well, plus a bunch of thick, crusty lace

S: basic pumpkin spice, perhaps with nutmeg and clove jumping out ahead... after a moment, it's apparent the dense, brown ale-like malt construct in its foundation... maybe a dark grape-y vinous ester in the mix, but nothing overtly boozy; excellent intensity overall

T: cinnamon and clove seem to jump out immediately; phenolic front-to-back, with the spices up front, and bitter-boosted spicy booze closing it out... malt is moderately roasty-toasty, but not too sweet... roast, toast, peppery spice, woody bite, with subtle fragrant floral/spice essence hanging in the aftertaste... after a few sips, some vaguely nutty/chocolaty notes creep into the finish

F: silky, slightly oily viscosity to its medium body; bit of a carb prickle up front; fades away in its finish with little residual slickness... nice lil peppery, boozy heat slowly swells after each sip... savor territory; take your time

O: certainly an interesting, uncommon pumpkin beer; hitting a lot of my malt buttons, and wonderfully dry on top of it... not so much a pumpkin beer as it is an imperial brown ale with the pumpkin spice nicely woven in... I do believe I may actually pick up a sixer - well done! (1537)

Oct 02, 2019
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akaizer from Virginia

3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour left a surprisingly nice off-white foam head of a little under a 1/2 inch that slowly faded down to leave a bit of lacy foam. Color was deep, dark brown with a great ruby-red reflection visible where light refracted. Scent is spiced with what comes across as cinnamon and cocoa along with a pumpkin secondary. Perhaps even a bit boozy in the scent. Taste is a bit more boozy than it smells, with a bit more cocoa bitterness evident along with the robust cinnamon flavors coming across. Pumpkin is less obvious, but still comes out at times. Feel is somewhere just shy of full bodied. Would recommend as a less sweet pumpkin beer.

Sep 13, 2019
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass. 2019 fall release.

Looks like a Stout with a small tan head leaving nice lacing. When held up to the light, it's a clear deep burgundy color.

The aroma is a nice light pumpkin spice mix, favoring cinnamon.

Upon tasting, the spice mix is a little bitter, but not overly so. The abv is well nigh invisible. Rolls nicely around the tongue. Later in the drink, there are some coffee notes. No actual pumpkin taste.

Mouth between medium and full. Finish a light spice burn with a hint of coffee.

Overall, I usually prefer actual pumpkin rather than pumpkin spice, but this one is pretty good. thanks FD.

Sep 07, 2019
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teromous from Virginia

3.86/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the side of the bottle: "ENJOY BY: VINTAGE 19B"

Appearance: The beer is a very dark brown with some highlights of deep red. The head is short and pale manila. Good retention.

Aroma: There is a light aroma of toasted nuts and a touch of clove.

Taste: The beer slams the palate with coffee, alcohol spirit, rich burnt toffee, a bit of clove, and finishes with a subtle cinnamon flavor. It has very impressive malt character.

Mouthfeel: The star of the show here is the mouthfeel. It's smooth and full bodied with just a touch of heat from the alcohol. It drinks like a dream.

Overall: It's an awesome beer because of the rich and powerful flavors that bombard the palate. It is very luxurious to drink when it comes to the texture and overall feel on the palate. This isn't your standard Pumpkin Beer so I would only recommend it to those who want something much stronger and richer in malt character where the spice complements the beer rather than being in the forefront. I would drink it again.

Sep 06, 2019
Photo of Radsonnn
Radsonnn from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L. Very dark, almost stout like with hints of dark orange all around the glass. Very light colored head, great retention. Nice lacing.

S. Very sweet, cinnamon hits me very strong. Smells very boozy on the deeper notes, but all together. Reminds me of a nice fall night.

T. First I want to say, given the ABV and the strong boozy scent. This is much smoother than anticipated. A nice pale chocolate flavor with hints of something a bit sweeter. Toffee like. I am getting some "pumpkin" spice, but not much on the actual pumpkin flavor. You could say its all spice, no pumpkin but it works! Very Tasty.

F. Bigger body given its not a stout or porter. Very Full given its an american ale. But for comparison, I would considered it pretty light to a stout or porter.

O. Right off the bat. The only take away I have is, where the pumpkin? Maybe its just me, but I get no actual pumpkin type flavor. NOW other than that. This is a fantastic fall beer. Nice and strong, hearty compared to other ales. But smooth, and relaxing to drink. Amazing fall beer, but not much of a pumpkin beer. Though the spices GREAT.

Sep 06, 2019
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EnderFett11 from Virginia

3.69/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep golden brown with a couple fingers of head. Smells a bit like pumpkin, but not a strong smell. Can definitely taste the alcohol, which isn't much of a surprise of given the 9% ABV. Not too strong a flavor of pumpkin, but definitely present. Not bad, but think I prefer the Twisted Gourd as far as imperial pumpkin ales go.

Aug 24, 2019
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Lucular from Maryland

3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big and boozy - exactly as expected from an imperial ale from Flying Dog - with some nice squash/pumpkin flavor and not too heavy on the spices. Not bad but not nearly good enough to justify the 9% abv.

Oct 08, 2018
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lastmango from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a birch beer brown with a frothy tan 3 inch head. Heavy lacing was present. Initial aroma of root beer and licorice. followed by nutmeg. Taste is not exactly like pumpkin pie. Malt, caramel, licorice, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Light medium body with low carbonation. Slightly watery but for some reason, it is ok with this brew. Alcohol is noticeable.

Sep 22, 2018
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Sampled during a tasting on September 15, 2018.

Medium amber pour with a modest off-white head. It was darker than many pumpkins I have had.

This one had more of a squash-like, pumpkin-like character in the aroma with the typical nutmeg, cinnamon, and all spice characters typical for the style.

Medium body.

Roasted dark malt characters intermingles with the squashy-pumpkin spice characters. A little bolder than some. A little more character for a style that I am ambivalent about.

Sep 16, 2018
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a very dark brown with a minimal head. The aroma is predicatbly intense, with lots of cinnamon, allspice, clove, and nutmeg, with hints of banana bread, dates, and brown sugar. The flavor is dense but not very strong at first, with notes of dates and baked banana, then a strong wave of spice hits, with a huge wave of clove, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, becoming more fragrant a it warms. The mouthfeel is fairly full with soft, minor carbonation. Overall this is a solid if not exceptional spiced beer - the spice is present and tasty, but not well integrated, and the beer good but not great,.

Sep 15, 2018
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Every1sgrudge from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker brown color than most pumpkin ales, smells like your typical style, but drinks more like a brown ale with fall flavors, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, and other holiday warming ingredients. Doesn't really have that thin phony crap you'd get from Uinta or other weak pumpkin ales, and the people that are disappointed by this are the ones that prefer to drink the processed junk from macro brewed companies. One of the better pumpkin ales along with Dogfish Head and Weyerbacher.

Sep 15, 2018
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HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, almost solid brown / ruby. Just slightly thin body as well as just below average carbonation. The high abv is somewhat hidden but still shows up and affects the taste
Aroma isn't overpowering but the base beer smells great, some malt, a little cereal and grain. The pumpkin and spice show up as well. It almost smells like a pumpkin pie candle but it's actually pleasing and not artificial smelling .
Taste follows the nose, it has a small bit of sweetness but not much. The base beer is nice and the pumpkin pie taste definitely shows up .
I couldn't drink more than one but for a high abv fall , novelty beer it is worth a try

Sep 12, 2018
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Horation from Maryland

3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not for the meek of heart. My first pumpkin ale. I thought it would taste like pumpkin pie. It doesn't. Kind of strong. I think I like it. It tastes like a real ale with great body and taste, but it tastes a little like pumpkin. Surprise! I guess that's why they call it pumpkin ale. I would recommend this on a date, because you can barely taste the alcohol. Overall, an excellent beverage with strong body, smell, overtones, and hints of --- wait for it -- pumpkin.

Aug 26, 2018
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VABA from Virginia

3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a very dark brown color with a nice head and lacing
A-Aroma has pumpkin hints
T-The taste follows the nose with an overpowering pumpkin and alcohol taste
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A very boozy pumpkin ale

Aug 12, 2018
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Oktoberfest from Ohio

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not a huge fan of Flying Dog, but this one looked interesting and I'm glad I took the $3 plunge. Very dark for the style and very tasty too. The usual pumpkin and spice combination you'd expect and in a 9% brew. I'll get this one again.

Oct 16, 2017
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Dinglehacker from Oklahoma

4.19/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into dimpled seidel.

Appearance: Dark, ruby brown when held to light. Thin khaki head.

Nose: Sweet and creamy, like frosting.

Taste: Pumpkin is prominent at first, but the roasted malt and hops balance it. Nutmeg and clove prominent on the tail.

Smooth medium mouth, medium dry finish.

Unique take on pumpkin ale. A dark desert drink for the autumn.

Oct 02, 2017
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GeorgianBayPackr from Pennsylvania

2.87/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Very disappointed in this beer. Huge boosey quality and over-spiced character has destroyed yet another Imperial Pumpkin Ale by not letting the pumpkin note shine through as it should

Sep 29, 2017
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Lukass from Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If I had to guess, I would say this was a pumpkin stout with spices. Very dark pour, with a quickly dissipating tan cola head. Smell is nice and warming, with clove and fall spices. A craft shop/candle shop seasonal kind of smell. There is a lot going on in the flavor - some harshness from the spices but it give it a nice bite against the malty sweetness and some roast. Maybe even a hint of coffee on the back end... roasted barley perhaps? That would explain the color. There is a lot of complexity in this beer, and I'm digging it. This is not just another pumpkin ale. I had the privilege of trying Good Gourd last week and I honestly think this beer beats it out. Now I may need to get a few more to enjoy on a crisp fall day because it's still friggin' 90 degrees out here!

Sep 24, 2017
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ocelot2500 from Maryland

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cola color with a tight, white head that leaves little to no lacing.

Smells of pumpkin spice and some toasted malt.

Tastes of the pumpkin spice layered over a solid malt base. Spices lead off with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove. This gives way to pumpkin and toasted malt with notes of caramel and toffee. Earthy hops add towards the end along with some spicy bitterness. Finishes with some lingering spice.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a nicely done pumpkin, but definitely on the heavy side.

Sep 24, 2017
The Fear from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 659 ratings