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The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale | Flying Dog Brewery

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BA SCORE
83
good
145 Reviews
The Fear Imperial Pumpkin AleThe Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States
flyingdogbrewery.com

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:
145
Ratings:
582
Avg:
3.68
pDev:
27.17%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
122
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 582
Photo of jfmorey
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Whole Foods in Vienna, VA

Very dark, almost opaque rudy-brown

Swell is all malt, black cherry

Taste is only fintly of pumpkin and spice; perhaps the reason for the generally low reviews? Just enough piney hops to balance the sweetness, with none of the metalic taste the is an issue for me in higher alcohol beers.

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Photo of MrOzNthePumpKings
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I wanted to give this one an overall of 3.8, but I rounded it up to 4.0 by default of the rating options. This one is real fun, I LOVE the description on the label about fear and Halloween, really makes for an exciting journey into my stomach. The main thing that stands out in, or maybe I should say Jumps out, of this Pumpkin Ale for me is the extreme spice received when washing it down. I personally enjoy it, and the slightly higher alcohol content helps make it something more special and provides a pre-winter warming bite to it. It has delightful mouth feel, very frothy and sort of thick, coats the inside of your mouth with all that autumn spice. I drank this with a Pumpkin whoopie Pie from Whole Foods and I tell you, the combination of the pumpkin dessert washed down by the Fear was so delightful I almost keeled over with joy! I think this is one of the BEST pumpkin beers to drink with pumpkin related desserts (cookies, pound cakes, pumpkin butter battered croissants)seriously, drink this one with your favorite pumpkin sweets!

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours a fudge color with a two finger tan head.

Aroma: Cinnamon raisin crumb cake, gingerbread, brown sugar, dried fruit and chocolate layer cake. Alcohol is noticeable on the nose. Smells like spiced rum.

Taste: Boozy... sugary upfront with flavors of chocolate and sweetened coffee with some fruity esters of figs, plums and raisins. Bitter, spicy hop resin and alcoholic heat takeover midpalate. Very subtle flavors of clove, cinnamon and gingerbread on the finish, but it's very faint. I wish this was more pumpkin and spice forward.

Feel: Approachable and sweet, but boozy. A one and done / desert beer. Dry, alcoholic and sugary. Mid Heavy feel with low carbonation.

Overall: Pretty interesting beer. This is like a brown ale/pumpkin ale hybrid. For those of you familiar with southern tier Warlock, this is similar. Decently malty, fruity and bitter with moderate notes of spice - but I need more pumpkin in my pumpkin ale.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of John_M
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I can't say I was hugely impressed with this beer on tap when I had it at Frisco's, but when I saw it on cask at Max's, I just couldn't resist.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with minimal head retention and very little lacing. The nose is spice filled, with considerable clove, allspice and nutmeg. The flavor profile replicaates the nose in this fairly sweet beer, and once again I'm impressed by the amount of spice in the beer. The cask condition tones it down somewhat, but this is still a clove and vanilla driven seasonal from FD. Mouthfeel is fairly soft with the low carbonation, and the alcohol seems a bit more noticeable as well. Nevertheless, this is an spice infused, interesting interpretation of a pumpkin ale, though a little bit goes a long way. I'm thinking one and done with this one.

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Photo of Arenbeer
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle thanks to Finewinemike!

A- Pours a deep dark blood reddish brown with 1 finger of off white head. Splotchy lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Tons of fresh pumpkin, bready notes like pie crust, spices such as allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a slight bit of alcohol in the finish.

T- Very bready and malty up front that brings out the sweet pumpkin and pie crust. As it finish's and goes down the throat you get lots of spices and a bit of alcohol.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice slight bitter coating finish.

SkÅL!

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico's OktoBEERfest 2011. Served in a plastic pint. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a fairly-dark brown color with a light tan head. Moderate lace. Nose brings forward some nice pumpkin spice and a bit of chocolate and roast. The flavor blends the pumpkin and porter characteristics quite well. A bit of booze, though not much. Medium body with good roast and spice. Well done; I like this pumpkin "sub-style."

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Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Actually got this right as it kicked, but the bottom of the barrel was still good. Poured a dark chestnut brown, hazy, with a large, rocky, tan head. Aroma of grains and pumpkin pie spice; quite earthy. Taste more of the spice than the pumpkin, with a good amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and even a hint of basil, I thought. Thick with malts, and a bit earthy, with some bitterness in the finish. Medium mouthfeel; chewy. Not too bad overall.

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Photo of kevinv
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my New Belgium globe.

A: Pours a nearly opaque black with some brown/red-ish hues when held to the light. Only a slight head which quickly dissipated. Seems to be fairly common with most of the heavier Flying Dog stuff that I've tried.

S: I had the beer a little too cold when I first poured it - this one becomes much better as it warms. Lots of spice in the smell, mainly nutmeg and cinnamon. That distinct pumpkin smell comes through nicely as well. No presence of alcohol which is pretty surprising given it's 9.0% ABV.

T: The taste is largely spices with a light presence of booze coming through. The pumpkin seems to come through on the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. Mildly bitter and not overly sweet. Actually tastes/smells like a real pumpkin pie and doesn't seem artificial at all. The taste is quite big here.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a mild carbonation. I would have like it to be a little heavier.

O: Overall, this really is one of the better pumpkin ales that I've had. Pumpkin ales aren't among my favorite styles, but I will definitely buy some more of these if I come across them.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of begforme4484
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tyler's Taproom in Apex, NC. Served in a Flying Dog pint glass.

The beer is a very dark mahogany brown with copper hues. About 1 finger's width of tan medium head that laced all the way down.

The smell is of many different spices. Notably what I believed to be coriander being the strongest scent. A nice doughy and bready malt leveled out the spice scents.

A plethora of spices take charge of this beer almost like a harvest ale. There is a slight hint of pumpkin that is really hidden behind the strong spices.

Mouthfeel was medium to heavy with good carbonation.

Overall I thought this beer was good. I think it could have used more pumpkin to be called a pumpkin ale, but it was tasty.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: dark brown, kind of clear (insofar as a dark beer isn't clear by nature). Sustaining head with real good lacing
S: notes of pumpkin spice (shocking) - nutmeg, allspice, but also a nuttiness
T: slightly bitter nut up front combined with a sweet ginger taste, which is probably a combo of the alcohol and spices. Alcohol makes a presence throughout, although its bite comes closer to end. Mellows a little in the middle as the sugars gain hold.
M: the end is a little alcohol and resin and is a little if a turn off from the rest of the taste
O: I think this would be better toned down a notch on the alcohol. There are good spice flavors on top of a brown ale back that I enjoy. The ending dropped the rating a notch.

Edit: upped feel as a 2015 tasting wasn't nearly as alcohol laden as my original review indicates.

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Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not for the faint of heart, Flying Dog's Halloween themed pumpkin ale isn't afraid of no spice. In fact, this imperial ale piles on a host of spiciness to balance the residual caramelized and toasty sweetness that the yeast leaves behind. The Fear only applies to those with an aversion to spice-heavy beer.

Dark amber with with a hazy crimson tone, even its rusty froth sells its ominous halloween presence well. Cinnamon, ginger and clove tingle the nose with its spicy spell. A sweeter tone strikes the tongue with a burst of succulent caramel, toffee, brown sugar and toasted spice cake.

And that spice cake taste rolls across the middle palate in a hearty and dessert-like fashion. As the sweeter and cakey tone seeps deeply into the tastebuds, its seared sugars and toasty edges apply a peppercorn spice to go along with the strong spice medley of the nose. Bitter and with a spicy tannic bite, the finish balances toward the spice.

Full, sweet and prickling on the throat, the ale simmers with a billowing heat- partly of rum-like alcohol, partly of cinnamon bite. Mild astringency provides a drying sensation to the after-palate while the ale trials with bullying spices broadly and long on the palate.

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Photo of stakem
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kegatron for gifting me with this after a recent discussion about pumpkin ales and how I wanted to try this one. Many thanks Heath!

Poured into a pub glass, this brew appears darker than anticipated reminiscent of a more fluid version of molasses. When held to the light, it displays perfect clarity and a deep ruby coloration. A finger of tan froth sits atop the brew and slowly recedes to a thin layering across the top. Fingers of lacing stretch up the sides of the glass.

The aroma of this brew includes pumpkin flesh initially that is sweet that gives way to the anticipated spiced quality. Cinnamon and nutmeg are present with an earthy and toasty quality of malt meets pumpkin flesh that displays a bit of greenness about it but doesn't get offensive or veggie like some takes on the style can. Maybe a light touch of clove or ginger brightens the spiced character up across the back. As the brew comes up to temperature, a scent somewhat like licorice is noted.

The taste includes toasty pumpkin flavor mixed with some malt flavoring that is a bit like toffee however it never really gets a chance to get sweet as it is immediately contrasted with a modest amount of herbal hoppy bitterness. A bold amount of spices like cinnamon and earthy nutmeg are at the forefront that persist through the profile and into the finish. Just like the aroma indicated, there is a depth to the spice that goes off in different direction almost like clove and ginger. This brew is bold not only with the spices but also the alcohol inclusion which quickly warms up the throat.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Overall a very big and bold take on the style. It flirts with disaster as far as being too spiced for my liking but it overall ends up being enjoyable because it is balanced. The aggressive spicing was needed to keep the bold character of this brew in check. While I really appreciate the opportunity to give this one a try, it wasn't easy to finish the full 12oz. It is something that you should try if you get the chance but I think it would be much more enjoyable if it was toned down just a bit.

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Photo of larryi86
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Black with a two finger off-white head.

S- Brown sugar, pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg, lots of spices.

T- Pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, burnt sugar, alcohol, some bitter earthy hops in the finish.

M- Medium body, fairly smooth.

O- A tasty pumpkin beer but the burnt flavor brings it down some. Worth trying and I will pick this up again.

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Photo of mntlover
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep tarnished penny color, almost brown head is a finger and a half off an aggressive pour. Head falls to cap some lace left behind. Seems a little dark for pumpkin must be the extra malt.

Aroma is malty only hints of pumpkin, some pumpkin spice and light alcohol esters. Seems kind of tame for a regular pumpkin might less an impy one. Nose isn't bad just figured it would be more powerful.

Taste is big on malt to start bready notes nice body then the pumpkin appears light in taste also, but liking the heavier malt as most pumpkins seem lighter then this. The spice kicks in with malt and lasts through out the finish. Light alcohol noted n the finish but does not distract. Taste much bigger then the nose and I am liking the heavier body on this one makes for a malty treat.

Mouthfeel is big medium defiantly bigger then most pumpkins and I and enjoying that tonight on a crisp fall night. Carbonation is about average and does not distract at all.

Overall after smelling this one thought eh average but after sipping on it found myself enjoying the fullness of it. Not sure why the nose is not bigger might pick more of these up for a heavier pumpkin brew.

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Photo of cjoc83
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a tulip glass a ruby-hued brown color with an initial fingers worth of eggshell-white head that fades quickly to a ring. Lacing is pretty good for the style and abv.

Pumpkin and allspice are the dominant notes in the nose, with a nice dose of brown sugar, some cinnamon and sweet, bready malt.

Some nice pumpkin flavor hits the palette at first, but competes with the spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon) and notes of caramel, brown sugar and almost a little toffee flavor. Some underlying sweetness hits the middle of the tongue with some biscuity malt before this beer finishes off with a nice, and quite unexpected, hop bite on the back end. There are definitely beers that taste more like pumpkin than this, but this is a nice medley of flavors. There's a small amount of heat in the throat, but not much. The hops linger, along with a spicy pumpkin pie crust taste.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard for the style. Medium bodied with the carbonation of a typical brown ale (on the high side of low, or the low side of medium). Pretty easy drinking for the 9% abv.

Not my favorite pumpkin ale out there, but this just might earn a spot in the top 5. This brew doesn't knock you over the head with pumpkin flavor, but how well Flying Dog managed to execute all the other flavors (especially the nice hop bite in the finish) makes this definitely worth at least a try. It's like someone mixed a pumpkin ale with a harvest ale and then added some more hops. Which isn't a bad thing.

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Photo of maxk
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An undated bottle from a limited Autumn release, a part of the Wild Dog Series. Poured into a contoured pint glass.

A rich looking brown liquid with a creamy, light tan colored head. A good amount of lacing to this one.

Smells heavily of pumpkin and spice. There is cinnamon, all spice and a little bit of nutmeg, fairly common pumpkin pie spices. There's a bit of vanilla and brown sugar tying everything together.

There are bits of pumpkin and spice initially. The pumpkin is both sweet, but also tastes fresh and vegatable-esque, with some interesting bitterness. There's also a brown sugar sweetness. Bourbon warmth and mouth feel cut through all of the flavors. The spices seem to add a tiny bit of astringency. The body isn't quite as big as it seems it should be, the beer feels a little watery as it goes down.

An interesting pumpkin beer, lots of spice and a multi-dimensional pumpkin flavor. The spices and sweetness are good. Not my favorite, not entirely suited to my tastes but I still appreciate some of the complexities here.

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Photo of Suds
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An imperial pumpkin...these are becoming popular. The beer is a rich brown with a thin tan head...soapy. Clear. The smell is of pie spice and booze. Malt comes out in a big way...slightly roasted, and a little breads. No pumpkin in the smell. In the taste, however, there are pumpkin favors, nestled within a serious alcohol warming, big spice bite, and malty sweetness. Full and thick in body, huge booziness. Long and spicy finish. Great pumpkin beer.

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Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness info

Flying Dog's beers seem to get better and better with each new one I try, so I was happy to find this new seasonal at Yorktown, Beverage, in my home town of Yorktown, NY.

Pours dark mahogany, moderate height on the medium tan head, leaves a trail of fine lacing here and there.

On the nose I pick up some cinnamon, some vanilla and a hint of some dark bread.

On the palate it’s more of the same, again, cinnamon, again vanilla, darker malts, some of the 9% rearing its head, yeah a wee bit boozy, but I tend to like boozy, and hey it is 9%. Tastes sort of like Double Bastard, infused with a hint and a half of fall spices and with less hops and less body. Not really getting much actual pumpkin flavor or character.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours a dark brown with a ruby hue, two-finger off-white foamy head retains long after the pour, leaving behind some nice lacing.

S- big malty aromas of sweet bread and some fig, some toasted notes in there as well that simulate an aroma of pie crust. Pumpkin spices are well balanced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

T- the big malty notes follow the aroma with lots of sweet bread and dark fruits, the sweetness continues and becomes a bit cloying, pumpkin spice notes are there, but overpowered by the sweetness

M- Heavy and thick body with low carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel and ends with a velvety finish, just a bit of alcohol warmth at the end

O- This one nearly hit on all cylinders, but the overpowering sweetness made this one difficult to finish. Other than that, everything else was on point

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Photo of Brenden
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Fear is darker than night, very close to black but allowing some red and brown to peek through at the edges. It develops a small tan head that has pretty good retention and leaves some craggy islands floating on top, which in turn leave firm patches of lacing in moderation.
I'm enjoying the pumpkin on the nose; it's sturdy and fleshy with a very good level of spicing, enough to add a nice aroma without overpowering the rest. There's also what I assume is an intentional buttery note that adds to the pleasantness.
The flavor differs just a little, but not in a bad way. The main difference is the stronger presence of herbal and floral hops bitterness. It does kind of come out over the pumpkin and spicing, though the spices make their way out a bit more than the pumpkin does. There's a peek of alcohol into a lingering finish.
The body is medium, and pretty full at that. Crispness is light and constant, balancing nicely with an equally constant smoothness. Dryness pulls into the finish.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, vibrant, crystal clear, toffee-brown coloring with a thin, sparse, very light tan surface coat of head. Great looking brew. Aromas of pumpkin, candied sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, bubblegum, and toasted grains. Very rich, but avoids any heaviness in the nose. Flavors are roast forward, with a rich, tangy caramel and toffee blend leading a roast pumpkin character and a healthy kick of booze. Very rich throughout, and there are hints of chocolate throughout the palate, as well. The spices fall a bit out of focus, allowing the rich, sweet, and heavy characteristics to run rampant on the tongue. Heavy, on a smooth, mid-body, with a tangy sweet and rich aftertaste. This one stays strong throughout, even into the slightly cloying, slightly boozy finish. Slight warming as you drink. Solid flavors, big beer.

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The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 582 ratings.
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