The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Flying Dog Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
83
good
138 Reviews
The Fear Imperial Pumpkin AleThe Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States | website

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by taylor714914 on 09-25-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
138
Ratings:
565
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
27.25%
 
 
Wants:
46
Gots:
120
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 565
Photo of smakawhat
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Flying Dog goblet. Best before Jan 12th 2017.

Dark mahogany brown, nearly dark walnut in color with a bit of clarity from the edge of the head. Very light tan colored head only about a finger with a creamy collar.

Subtle sensing pumpkin and spices with limited mild sweetness. A good sensing dry pine bitterness it seems, slightly earthy too, but definitely pumpkin forward, and not sugary so.

Palate takes some surprising if odd turns. Tree bark and bitter mixing caramel sensations with some hot hop phenolic spices in the mid palate. Hot clove really gets amplified by the hop presence on the aftertaste with a near burning sensation. Wet bodied for an IPA quite a bit, light bodied sweetness of malts and a pumpkin flavor that washes away pretty quickly.

Not the biggest pumpkin fan, but even prefer slightly subtle flavors, but this sort of misses on each character for me.

 918 characters

Photo of Guppy314
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle, pours a dark clear brown with a tan thin head. Aroma of a sweet malt. Taste is mostly of spices within a malty slurry. So let's see, to me, cinnamon ginger and cloves are most pronounced, with a bit of nutmeg. Decent carbonation, moderate mouth-feel, and good flavor "sustain" all make this very satisfying.

But it's curious that this should be classified as a "Pumpkin Beer" when it has no actual pumpkin flavors. I'd have thought it would be an "Herbed / Spiced Beer".

 491 characters

Photo of MrWonka
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok, folks. let's get this straight right away, this is NOT your typical/average pumpkin ale. While yes, it clear-as-day says on the bottle "imperial pumpkin ale", but the title doesn't do it justice. This particular imperial pumpkin ale looks like a barley-wine/brown ale. It includes a chocolate/mocha-like note that most pumpkin ales do not. It figures, because again this particular beer is very dark for a pumpkin ale (and trust me, I have had so many different pumpkin ales I never want to think of how much $ I have spent on them). Is it unique? 100% And for that reason alone you should try it if you come across it. Make no mistake, this is not a "sessionable" pumpkin ale, in the sense that you can/are able to crush several and still be coherent. No, this is a sipping beer to be savored and experience the depth of the flavors. Would I recommend it, no doubt. Cheers everyone.

 899 characters

Photo of crisis1290
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm am not one who looks forward to pumpkin beer. There are a couple reasons why and most important , it marks the end of summer. The second reason is that the market is loaded with garbage pumpkin beers , but this gem , does not disappoint. On the other hand , when the pumpkin beer rolls in , it marks the start to the college and NFL season!! This beer is a winner ! Lots of pumpkin pie spices , malty goodness. A nice creamy mouthfeel. A dark pour for sure ! Super easy drinking for a beer that is 9%. Over all , nice job by Flying Dog. Would love to taste this on draft or Nitro !

 585 characters

Photo of Boto
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught @ Headkeeper: In a tulip glass. This one pours a dark, opaque reddish-brown. There was a thin tan head that left some lacing. Lots of malts to the nose, along with some pumpkin pie spices. The taste is very good. Lots of malts, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices. Some slickness in the mouthfeel.

 300 characters

Photo of jzlyo
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is pumpkin, spices and medium sweetness. The flavor is spices/cinnamon, malts, slight pumpkin, slight sweetness and a mix of sour and coarse heat in the finish.

 167 characters

Photo of 11-52_4hops
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly dark brown -- in the glass looks more like a weak stout; small head that lingers. Almost no smell (which is one of my favorite parts of pumpkin brews). Taste is caramel, slight pumpkin and spice, and in true Flying Dog-style, a hops punch in the mouth to finish. Overall, not bad, however I prefer more balance or even a lean toward the pumpkin flavors. Was given this bottle last week, so can't rule out that being late in the pumpkin season, perhaps this lost some of its kung-fu.

 491 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, coded bottling information on the label. A new one to me from Flying Dog, this one their Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

Poured into a Southern Tier Warlock beer goblet.

A - Pours a dark mahogany - cola color in the glass. One finger of creamy khaki tan head. Minor thin spotty lacing. Looks good for what it is.

S - A cola forward aroma. Subtle indistinct spicing, notes of chocolate / barley malt, ginger, spice rack. No overt notes of pumpkin / gourd, pie crust, or buttery diacetyl.

T - Flavor has a prominent burnt barley roast character to it. An herbal, earthy, grassy flavor in there also, not exactly spice rack, but herbal. Burnt roast / chocolate malt, sweetened notes of caramel. Notes of earthy pumpkin / gourd are in there, but on the tame side. I might not know that this was a pumpkin ale just by tasting it blindly.

M - Feel is smooth, crisp, creamy. Medium-fullish body, with good carbonation. Easy-drinking stuff for the moderately high abv.

Overall, an alright stab at the style from Flying Dog.

Flying Dog The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale -----3.5/5

 1,086 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Clear and medium brown pour. Off white cap is foamy and half a finger and fair retention. Medium frothy ring and a few sheets of lace.

S- Spicier here than in the taste with plenty of ginger, nutmeg and allspice; the usual pumpkin spice blend. Deep caramelized sugars, nuttiness and a hint of roast as well as dark fruit fermentation tones.

T- Lots of squashy pumpkin and toasted caramelized veggie flesh. Slight roast barley cocoa and a medium level of the pie spice blend overall with ginger, nutmeg, allspice, clove and cinnamon. Vanilla sweetness really gives it that pie effect in the finish.

MF- Medium-heavy bodied overall thickness with a slick and creamy texture. Carbonation at a medium level and a hint of boozy warming in the finish.

Immediately struck me as on of the better pumpkin beers I have had in quite some time. The actual pumpkin flesh flavor and the use of some dark grains helps boost this effort above many of the straight spice bombs out there.

 978 characters

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a damn near black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of pumpkin, some spices. Taste is pumpkin, alcohol, subtle spice, malts. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall, a bit boozy for the style, but a solid beer.

 257 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark, mahogany colored body; thick, dense, rocky head. Aroma exudes pumpkin pie notes; pumpkin; cinnamon; allspice; cola and root beer. Dark malt flavors with a pronounced alcohol presence; chicory; spicy, anise-like taste; phenolic aftertaste. Rich and warm mouthfeel; fairly heavy in body.

A pretty decent and relatively unique pumpkin ale. The pumpkin presence only revealed itself in the aroma while the flavor didn't really deliver much pumpkin flavor but did offer a rather rich and unique dark grain and unknown spice character to the palate. A little boozy, rich and malty flavors with an interesting spicy twist on things. Good stuff...

 646 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Best by 11/27/15.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon gum, and toasted malt aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, molasses, and pumpkin pie spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty, but the pumpkin pie spice aspects are slightly better in the smell to me.

Serving type: bottle.

 684 characters

Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Lush looking two fingers of tan head, dark brown with garnet highlights. Big pumpkin pie aroma with a drizzle of brown sugar is what this beer smells like. It has somebody, girth, oomph. Great set up with its hearty malt back bone, reminds me of a strong winter warmer but with all of the pumpkin and spice. Nothing mind blowing but certainly much better than the usual pumpkin ales out there.

 439 characters

Photo of bman13
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The best pumpkin beer I've ever Had. I'm not one to hop on the whole pumpkin beer bandwagon, but i do like flying dog and can appreciate what they did here. Very nice REAL flavors, not fake like every other one I've had. Flavor is full of fall (pumpkin, pie, nutmeg, allspice ect.) Yet everything is well ballanced, with nothing being too dominate over the others. I really do like this and would actually buy this again. Good job flying dog.

 442 characters

Photo of Marraybay
4.14/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Whoa: big beer here: Definitely not what I anticipated. Very "Belgianesque," from the moment the pour hits the glass; very dark chestnut brown color, with a rich 1.5" of opaque foam on top; (more could've been had with a harder pour.) Nose is pure belgian strong dark ale; sweetness comes thru with some spice. Truth be told, I don't know that "pumpkin" would ever come to mind in a blind sniff or taste test for that matter. Starts off with abundant sweetness and quickly transitions into some spice-burn and bitterness; Again, those "layers" being quite reminiscent of a good belgian. There's no "halloween mask" on the 9%. It's there pretty much from beginning to end, although I didn't feel overwhelmed by fogginess.

 727 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a perfect pint.

4.0 A: Clear deep amber color. Two fingers of foamy beige head. Retention is pretty good and a good finger of interrupted lacing is left.

4.25 S: Big potent pumpkin in this. Spices are just as strong with cinnamon and nutmeg leading the way and allspice and clove just underneath. Maybe a hint of ginger as well. Molasses and dark caramel. Toasted malts lead a sweet aroma. Very nicely done.

3.75 T: This is an in your face type of brew. The spice mixture is really potent, perhaps even a touch too much. The allspice flavor is the most aggressive and really hits you hard. Again, there's a strong pumpkin component. Toasted malts, molasses, and dark caramel malts make a formidable malt base. I'm not sure if it's the hops or the spices, but this has a bit too much bitterness in it. Still, it's pretty damn good.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Decently creamy with a tinge of booze on the finish.

3.75 D: Great nose and good otherwise. This is an aggressive pumpkin beer that does a lot of things right and does a few things a touch too strong.

 1,117 characters

Photo of RyanK252
3.89/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at BC's Pizza & Beer

A: Pours dark copper brown with a creamy khaki head that settles to a light layer and laces well.

S: Spice jumps out up front, toasty malt, toffee sweetness, mabye a hint of pumpkin.

T: Toasty bready malt, followed by plenty of spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, a bit peppery, light pine, some caramel toffee sweetness, and a touch of pumpkin.

M: Towards the heavier end of medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Surprisingly drinkable for how big a beer it is. Darn decent pumpkin ale.

 522 characters

Photo of hman43
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours dark brown with a brown head and plenty of lacing. It has aromas of pumpkin, allspice, spices, and hints of coffee and roasted malts. It has roasted malt and coffee flavors with pumpkin, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices. It has a moderately bitter coffee aftertaste.

 287 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flying Dog Brewery, "The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, coded but not freshness dated
$2.49 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

I hate to say it but it's getting to the point that I dread "pumpkin season" (which is now what... early July through the first week of September before everything is sold out?) as there are just so many bad or mediocre ones out there. I tell myself I'll stick with the tried and true, but I can't help sampling new ones. Fortunately I have tried them, because this is not one of the bad ones!

There's a fruity and almost cola-like aroma and flavor to it that's unique. Then the usual pumpkin spice kicks in, but I'm quite pleased to say that it's not overdone. It's there, it's certainly there - there's enough spice that it actually leaves a bitterness at the back of the throat - but it's not screaming "PUMPKIN!" with cinnamon, or ginger, or whatever spice the brewer has overdone leading the way. The fruitiness is like apple and softly sweet red berries, and it has a roast edge to it, and an almost piney note, which I'll assume might be coming from hops, but maybe not, and which in combination with some clove probably leads to what I'd initially found as "cola"... and it's also slightly minty in that way. And let's not forget the malt. There's more malt here, and that's probably helping to dampen and round the spices (although I have had other Imperial pumpkins that were harshly over-spiced). It's also dark, gently roast, and caramelish, which would be the other side of what that makes up a cola - and yet it's not a "cola" beer, it's simply not a completely pumpkin-spiced beer. The alcohol generally remains cloaked although there is a light flicker at the end, and the spice adds to the dry finish as well so not a lot of bitterness is needed. It lingers with a bit of golden honey, some mint, and a dusting of clove, cinnamon, and dull anise.

In conclusion, although "The Fear" is a "pumpkin" beer it appears to me more as simply a malty-strong spiced ale. I could easily see finding its spice profile in a Christmas beer and not questioning it. If they'd used a Belgian yeast it would have become simply a spiced Belgian-style ale. It's nicely done all-around, and this is definitely one that goes on my "pumpkin" list, but I also intend to grab a case to throw in the cellar and enjoy through the winter until the snow clears. Unique!

 2,415 characters

Photo of Beermeow
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Really enjoyable while still being unique...what flying dog does really. I really like the color and nose. It looks like a stout and smells like pie. The taste though is truly what sets this beer apart. It is bitter while having a sweet overtone. Some compare pumpkins by saying that is like pumpkin pie in a bottle, well this is like burnt pumpkin pie in a bottle. And I burn a lot of pies so perhaps I'm partial.

 419 characters

Photo of Chicken_bear
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Good color, good body.
Taste is a little too raisin-y for me, although the taste is balanced nicely. Taste more of the spices than the pumpkin. Doesn't taste like a 9% beer.

 173 characters

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look - An awesome dark brown / black color. A finger of head that dissipated fairly quickly.
Smell - Roasted malts, spice, cloves, yams
Taste - An abundance of spice, tons of roasted notes, cloves, spice, sweet maple, has a smokiness to it, pumpkin, slight booziness

A nice beer to sip on, sitting by the fireplace on a cold night.

 334 characters

Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very dark pour with a frothy head. Smells of caramel and various fall related spices. Good pumpkin spice flavor with a lot of robust porter background. Finishes roasty. After a while the roast kind of takes over most of the other flavors that were previously detectable. (this may be the only downside to this beer) The 9% abv is hardly noticeable. This is a good and unique rendition of a pumpkin ale. Worth seeking out.

 423 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.16/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber vs. porter, mellow pumpkin vs. assertive American hops, rich and boozy vs. light and drinkable - a beer that effectively bridges any of those gaps could be called a hybrid. Here, FD takes on all three. The result? My favorite fall beer in a long time.

Pours muddy brown with a beige microfoam head that quickly deflates. Aroma is sweet and nutty, with notes of almond, nutmeg, and cinnamon. A bit of warm pumpkin puree in the backdrop gives it a hint fresh-baked pie, but it's only barely there (honestly, if I didn't know this was a pumpkin beer, I might not have even picked it up). Taste is all malt at the start, an interesting (and surprisingly satisfying) combination of pie crust, maple sugar, toasted wheat cereal, mocha, and toffee flavors. Think brown ale with a shot of imperial stout dropped in the glass. As soon as the grain bill piques your interest, though, the palate tightens to a bitter, spice-and-hop finish: crisp, hoppy pine tastes rise quick, but they're soon overtaken by the more traditional cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Pumpkin is, once again, in the background, but there's much more of it in the palate compared to the nose - the fleshy, nutty flavor of roasted pulp is ever-present, and especially apparent under the bitter hop character. Carbonation is velvety-smooth, propping up a body that's just a hair on the light side. Overall, this is a wonderfully easy drinker.

It's been a while since I've had a FD brew, but they certainly have my attention again now. What a way to start the pumpkin beer season.

 1,547 characters

Photo of soupyman10
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, amber highlights when held to the light. Just a bit of head, no real lacing. Light to medium nose of pumpkin spice, cloves, caramel malt. Toffee on the front of the tongue. Cloves and spice, like the nose. Dirty hop bitterness in the background. A touch of alcohol, but fairly well masked. Body is actually fairly thing, especially for the high ABV and busy, high carbonation, some warmth from the alcohol. Drinkable, but not really up to some of FD's other "big" offerings.

 492 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
3.67 out of 5 based on 565 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 FestĀ® 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!