Night Owl Pumpkin Ale | Elysian Brewing Company

very good
368 Reviews
Night Owl Pumpkin AleNight Owl Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Elysian Brewing Company
Washington, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with 150 lbs. of pumpkin in each batch. Made with Pale, Munich and Crystal malts green and roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin in the mash, boil and fermenter. Bittered with Horizon hops. Spiced in conditioning with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-11-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 1,251
Photo of kytashie
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this last night. Pours an orange/ruby somewhat hazy color. Looks very tasty! Finger width head that disappears quickly with minimal lacing. Smells AMAZING. Not overpowered by the spices, they are just detectable, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin..(.i think my stomach growled). Wow this is delicious! Awesome balance of can definitely tell you are drinking a pumpkin ale...but so not overpowering. It's tasty! Great carbonation, refreshing, crisp and clean. I could drink this all night. 4.5 across the board on this one and added to my list of fav's.

 570 characters

Photo of heybrewtiful
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spiced with flavors more typical of apple pie than pumpkin--caramel and mild apple notes emerge from the typical spice profile of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg--this beer is smooth, balanced, and a must try for anyone who has a penchant for 'pumpkin' brews. Definitely among my top five for beers with autumnal drinking in mind.

 322 characters

Photo of ladyweapon
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

One of the better pumpkin beers available. On the first taste, my only thought was "This actually tastes like pumpkin!" I may just be used to terrible pumpkin beers, but this is absolutely fantastic - which is par for the course for Elysian.

 242 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Alright, so I've had this most of the time out of a pint glass but decided to switch it up for this review. This is out of a snifter, and honestly, there isn't even a difference.
Anyways, here's my take on this wonderful beer.
In the snifter, hazy dark orange to brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute leaving some light foamy lacing here and there around the glass.
The smell was 30 x better than pumking as this had a slight element of the pumpkin pie - ness but still offering more of a pumpkin spice sampling. Along with that, light ginger, allspice, nutmeg involve themselves in the aroma.
The taste took all of those previously mentioned flavors and combined them wonderfully - spicy yet sweet.
The mouthfeel had a slightly light spicy harshness to eventually allow a sweet gentle softness rolling over my tongue.
Overall, this should be everyone's standard for pumpkin ales, not pumking.

 952 characters

Photo of SnoopBobb
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

This is an awesome pumpkin beer. Very pumpkiny and spicy, but not overwhelming. Also, not too bitter. Also, it's from Seattle which is cool, because Seattle is awesome. Also, it's available in 12oz bottles, so you don't necessarily need to drink a massive pint-sized beer. Also, the label is pretty tight. Highly recommend.

 323 characters

Photo of cbutova
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Chunky medium copper body from the bomber to a few becher glasses. A small off-white head rises up to half a finger high with decent retention and a foamy texture. Lacing is rare but a few small sheets and spots form.

S- A Pumpkin Ale aroma with both big spices and big pumpkin; the balance is spot on and the individual aromas all shine. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, pumpkin, pie crust and a moderate sweetness.

T- A strong start with the spices specifically the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg leading the way with clove and allspice just beyond that. Balances in with pie crust, pumpkins and caramel sweets.

MF- Silky and certainly smooth medium body. The carbonation is fluffy and extremely smooth at a medium-high level. It finishes with spice flavors lingering on the palate for a long time. Really suits the flavor.

Had this on draft some time ago and was really impressed. This bottle serving has only backed that up and this is really one of the best heavily spiced Pumpkin Ales out there. A style that many hate but this one showcases great spices, pumpkin flavor and an amazingly smooth body.

 1,120 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had a pint at Elysian Fields on draught, where it's listed as 6.1% ABV.

Appearance is burnt brown with the slightest haze, a thin khaki collar and light lace.

The smell is sweet, and when colder, is exactly like Pez candies. As it warms, it goes from cotton candy to more sticky, caramel malt and spicy aroma. Weird, but awesome!

The taste is more restrained then the nose, making for an incredibly tasty balance of malt, pumpkin and spice, coming across like a smooth american style ESB or brown. This is the best pumpkin ale I've had (of granted, only maybe 5 or 6 ), and the fact that the emphasis is more on the actual pumpkin rather then the spices is probably the main reason why.

Mouthfeel is very creamy, with a medium body. There is a lager like crispness, although the fruity esters suggest otherwise.

The most drinkable pumpkin beer I've ever had, two pints in this sitting was no problem at all. Very apropos for fall, a great seasonal for sure!

 965 characters

Photo of J30wang
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heavy cloves when you take a whiff of the bottle lips. Smells a little burnt, but in a good way. Pours a brilliant brown with an amber/reddish tint, this beauty is a lot more spice than pumpkin. Cloves, cloves, cloves, all the cloves! The pumpkin appears when you breath out after the actual drink--the purest pumpkin flavor, none of the modified stuff. This is a great pumpkin ale, very grounded and without all the fluff like the Pumpking from Southern Tier (which tasted quite like medicine, by the way; not a hater here). It essentially captures what a hearty, grounded pumpkin ale should taste like.

I'd recommend this as a solid pumpkin ale alongside Greenport's Leafpile Ale.

 683 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Warmly glowing rustic orange-bronze with edges of ripe pumpkin. Night Owl is richer and classier looking than the usual garish, bright orange. The head looks good as well, with its contrasting shade of pastel orange and its firm refusal to deflate. The edges of the cap are beginning to resemble a pie crust with what looks like a series of thumb depressions around the entire circumference of the glass. Minimal lace is the only negative.

I was immediately impressed with the nose as soon as beer splashed into glass. That was nothing compared to my first, concentrated, up close and personal sniff. Without question, this ale has the most perfect freshly baked pumpkin pie-like aroma ever. It simply isn't possible for beer to smell more like the classic dessert than this one does. Actually, it's probably more brown sugary than pumpkin pie, but that only makes me love it all the more. Outstanding!

If only the flavor and the mouthfeel could have matched the one-of-a-kind nose, Night Owl would have been something truly special. That isn't to say, however, that it isn't one of the best pumpkin ales that I've ever had. Not surprisingly, it tastes like pumpkin pie, albeit one drizzled with caramel and brown sugar syrup. It's sweeter than most, but that's more than fine with me.

Spices take a back seat to actual pumpkin flavor. Most brewers try to get by with dumping a truckload of spices into the kettle to cover whatever flavor faults might be present. If done right (as this one is), keeping the cinnamon, nutmeg, et al in the background is the way to go. For the record, all of the usual suspects are present... the two mentioned above, as well as allspice, clove and ginger. It's hard to know what was gained by adding green and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Hop flavor is entirely absent, although the Horizon hops provide enough bitterness to keep the sweetness from becoming too candy-like and cloying. The biggest disappointment for me is the mouthfeel. It's far from light, but a more full, chewy mouthfeel would have put this beer into orbit and may have allowed it to be recognized as The King Of All Pumpkin Ales. The flavor demands, and deserves, more.

Even though the aroma is beyond amazing, I still have to give the slight nod to Smuttynose's version as the absolute best. I'm amazed at the quality of this beer and I'm becoming more so with every mouthful. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised since I love Elysian's IPA and ESB. If you like pumpkin ales and you have the chance to obtain Night Owl, you won't be sorry. Trust me.

 2,558 characters

Photo of bminor7
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 from Half Time. Reviewed on 11/17/09. Bottle expiry was 29JAN10.

A - deep mahogany brown. no head remains. cloudlike lacing across the top.

S - best smelling pumpkin ale for me. tons of spice, and fresh malt.

T - fluffy malt, sweet clove spice. pumpkin. a good balance of the three. sweeter and more accessible than pumking but not as bready.

M - light on the carbonation, thickness is good

D - good, could drink 2 more. alcohol virtually undetectable

a highly rated pumpkin ale that is worth trying if you can find it

 527 characters

Photo of IronLover
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep copper orange in color with a thick, unfiltered, viscous look. Poured with a short off-white foam that reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet earthy pumpkin aroma with cinnamon, nutmeg and the perfect touch of spice at the back end for balance. Soft, delicate lager-like feel with slightly creamy carbonation. A wonderful balance of spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet pumpkin from top to bottom. A light tangy bitter hoppiness in the middle finishes off the spice leaving a clean sweetness at the finish. This is a fabulous pumpkin ale. Very impressive.

 549 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured beuatifully with lots of carbonation and a small white head. Nose is big pumpkin and spices right away. Taste carried a strong hint of cinnnamon, nutmeg and allspice but the pumpkin is king and lots of it. Mouthfeel is sweet and warming. Damn good brew.

 260 characters

Photo of jslice99
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a re review for me. I gave it a great rating two years ago i hope it lives up to the hype. Look: dark orange, kind of cloudy great looking pumpkin beer. Smell: pumpkin pie. Pie crust, graham cracker, all spice, nutmeg, clove. Great smelling beer. Taste: pumpkin pie, vanilla, nutmeg, clove. All of the ingredients of a pumpkin pie. A great session pumpkin beer. Like a lighter version of their great pumpkin. Feel: medium bodied, decent carbonation, smooth, a little spice but very pleasant. Overall: flavor and aroma is spot on. If you're a pumpkin beer fan you'll love this. Its like a light imperial made for sessions. I could enjoy a few of these at a bonfire or a crisp fall Friday night.

 701 characters

Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours slightly hazy amber with fizzy white head that dissipates to a thin cap. Wonderful aromas of mulled apple cider, pumpkin pie, cinnamon pie crust, clove and allspice. Flavor echoes much of the same with the cinnamon and clove lingering and mixing with a subtle hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but works well with the flavors given There is also a vibrant effervescence that gives the beer a feel of ginger beer. One of the best pumpkin beers I've ever had.

 479 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of the Elysian Halloween spectacular. Split all three of these with multiple members of my family over the house on Halloween. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 10/31/2009.
The last of the trifecta for the evening, it was really fun going through all of these during the course of the day. Really just fun stuff. Poured out the lightest of the three with a hazy orange tinted amber color and a nice soft off white head that reached a height of around an inch or so before it settled down with some nice lacing on the side that really just surprised me with how well it hung in there to be honest. Really quite the solid look. Nice aroma of pumpkin spice, hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, all the usual characters here with a touch of a west coast hop flair to it, especially as it warms. Crisp and super clean flavor here. Starts with a touch of a light malt note and then swoops in with a big hit of cinnamon and nutmeg which dries out the palate very nicely. Very even consistency I have to admit as it comes together very nice. Light drying of palate leaves a touch of light spice and the lightest hint of hops on the back of the tongue. Super drinkable, in fact out of the whole night I enjoyed this one the most out of all of them.
Overall a very solid light beer for the evening. Fit in very well with the rest of the lineup and I would have no problem at all with going after all three of these again. Great job from the boys up north.

 1,491 characters

Photo of minterro
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought from a secret stash at Little's Wine and Liquor

Poured into a pint glass, not paired with anything.

A&S: Easily the best smelling pumpkin beer I've had the opportunity to try. Smells like I stuck my nose in pumpkin pie (crust and all). This isn't a store bought pumpkin pie either, it contains all the spices (nutmeg, corriander, and a touch of brown cinnamon) and copious amounts of pumpkin. Lively semi-transparent reddish orange colored beer. With a creamy off-white head that is retained around a half an inch (some lacing).

T&M: The taste isn't nearly as intense as the aroma. Still very enjoyable, and debatably more enjoyable then a super intense pumpkin taste (eg. southern tier pumpking). More malty then the aroma with less pumpkin flavors and a similar amounts of spice. Crisp, but not too much of a bite, smooth as it goes down.

Overall: the best pumpkin beer I have ever had, easily the best. If you can get your hands on one I would highly encourage you. Incredibly affordable less than 5 bucks for a bomber!

 1,034 characters

Photo of Yellolab2010
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%

Fantastic pumpkin ale! Pours a dark amber color with great pumpkin and spice nose. First sip tastes like your drinking a liquid pumpkin pie. Very well priced and well worth seeking out if you enjoy this style.

 210 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've enjoyed this ale both on-tap and from the bottle. This is a 22 oz. bottle pour, early October 2007. "Ale brewed with Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds & Fermented with Spices". Listed currently on the website at 6.1% ABV.

A: Pours a fairly murky-looking amber, a thin veil of cloudiness. Head pours full and fizzy , at one point over two fingers, but fades quickly to a thin ring of tightly-knit bubbles. A few streams of carbonation, but fairly dull otherwise.

S: Nothing artificial or overtly spiced about this one: it's all about the pumpkin. Fleshy, earthy, hinted with nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon, but respectfully subtle. Faint aroma of gingerbread.

T: Quite earthy, even a little sour/tart. This is a pumpkin ale that focuses on the dirty & musty "gourd" taste of pumpkin, rather than on the sweet and spicy taste of pie and spice. Malty in the form of lightly toasted nuts, but with an interesting citrus bite (orange?), tart fruit follow-up. Is that sourness in the finish? Yes, certainly a fruit/tart sourness...

M: A medium-bodied pumpkin ale, subtly carbonated but with a fuller, more-clingy, medium-full mouthfeel. Not quite velvety, but certainly one that sticks on all parts of the mouth...

D: Not too heavily spiced, well-balanced between malty and earthy/hoppy traits, and with some heavier bitter backing notes. All in all, an ale I'll look forward to, year after year. Certainly recommended - although, with a caveat: this is NOT for everyone - will be way too tart and earthy for the spicy-sweet pumpkin ale lover.

 1,539 characters

Photo of scootny
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff is the real deal. A gorgeous reddish amber with good clarity. Two fingers of frothy head with good retention and copious lacing. Beer stays covered as I imbibe. Smell gives a preview of the excellence in the glass. A big slice of pie with a healthy malt backbone that acts like a graham cracker crust to the lovely gourd caressing my nose with sweetness. Taste is full boat wow. This is without a doubt the best "pie style" pumpkin ale I've had to date. Imagine a perfect slice with a light sweetness. Now add the graham in the nose to cradle it as it fills your mouth. The swallow is bittered well by the hops combined with ginger in such a way that the hops never draw attention to themselves. Some how while being the perfect slice in the glass it is dry and quenching. Crisp light feel with a creamy fullness that is satisfying and sessionable at the same time. This is one easy drinking beer that still manages to be a full on "style" beer. No shirking the pumpkin here. At the same time you just keep filling the glass and draining it. You don't get overwhelmed or tired of it. Wish I had another growler. Superb beer.

 1,135 characters

Photo of kirkmichel
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle purchased at Oak Tree Discount Wine & Spirits in S. Plainfield, NJ. Label was not the same as in the photo on BA, but still had Owl and correct title. Date stmp said bbd 29 Jan 2010.

A-reddish amber, suspended sediment, not much head (off white)
S-stupendous spicy pumpkin; just like fresh pumpkin pie filling (not the garbagy canned kind); also sweet and fruity, almost raspberry with a browned sugar
T-wonderful & spicy - lots of cinnamon and clove, and though it is prominent, it is not overpowering. It is also balanced nicely with a lemony citrus tone. I love it.
M-Very Good - evaporates quickly and not overly carbonated.
D-Very well-balanced. I could drink a lot of these, but it is definitely a fall beer.

 728 characters

Photo of loren01
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a copper color, small white head with slight lace down the glass.
S: Smell is great...reminds me exactly of a pumpkin pie. Nutmeg and clove as well.
T: Slight pumpkin taste but the pumpkin pie spice taste is the part of this beer that is real nice. Slightly sweet, but not too much.
M: Medium bodied, I would say mouthfeel is pretty decent however, could be a bit heavier in my opinion.
D: I normally don't like fruit or veggies or really anything "extra" in my beer but this is very tasty...perfect fall beer.

 519 characters

Photo of Docer
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

MaltBombPete brought a bottle of this...

- Yeasty bubbly amber... really dark copper... half a finger of fizzy fluffy white head.

- Lots of spice and sweet caramel pumpkin goodness... light clove, and grassy spice. Nice amber grain aromas and a banana Belgian-like yeast scent.

- Lovely smooth and balanced pumpkin brew... light pumpkin.. spice, clove and cinnamon.. amber caramel malts... grassy hop... loving the clove and cinnamon touch...

- Light to medium bodied... plenty well carbonated.... watering the palate... not sticky or chewy really.... smooth.

- I am impressed, a very drinkable brew... tasty as all hell, and one I wish I had a keg of.

 658 characters

Photo of AyeMito
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%

Without a doubt one of my favorite pumpkin beers I have tried this year! It has a very ripe pumpkin aroma with softer notes of nutmeg, clove and brown sugar as well. I was so happy to taste it and get those fresh pumpkin flavors up front. It is still flavored with spices but they are there supporting the pumpkin flavor as opposed to overpowering it and covering it up. Truly well done!

 387 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. This offering obviously wasn't available when I spent a summer afternoon at the brewpub a few years ago, but today, while generally warm, was blustery enough to engender in me the desire for a well-wrought seasonal ale. Enter stage left.

This beer pours a hazy medium bronzed amber hue, with one flabby finger of tightly foamy, and mostly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some decently chunky iceberg floe lace around the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells of rich, pungent, toasted pumpkin flesh, semi-sweet pie-crust caramel and pale malts, dark turbinado sugar, cinnamon buns, spicy nutmeg, ginger, and clove, a touch of black pepper to taste, and a subdued, perfunctory earthy, leafy hoppiness. The taste is more of the same - a big roasted pumpkin mash sweetness, brown sugar, gingerbread, spicy cinnamon and clove, earthy nutmeg, subtle white and black pepper dust, and some understated citrusy floral hops.

The bubbles are softly ebullient, gently frothy, and little more, the body a heady, enveloping medium weight, genuinely smooth, and more than a tad creamy. It finishes off-dry, the pumpkin and pastry-akin malt doing well to overshadow the heretofore show-stealing spices.

A rather pleasant, and fulfilling pumpkin ale, full stop. Though I'm at a bit of a loss as to what contribution the pumpkin seeds added to the mix, I'm sure it's there, in a dutiful supporting role, under the radar and all that. Everything else simply puts out beyond expectations, providing a stellar drinkability, one irrelevant to seasonal affectation (guilty!).

 1,571 characters

Photo of t8s8l8
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look- a dark cloudy brown with a reddish, amber tint. Decent head retention on this beer that holds together quit well. the lacing held together as especially well for a beer with so many added items.

Aroma- nutmeg, some cinnamon some ginger as well. spices are apparent but refined compared to some other pumpkin ales. slight alcohol aroma and also an interesting vegetal scent. also some bakery scents as well.

Taste- a medium body. a creamy, smooth mouthfeel I get some of the spices but also a beer taste as well. Its not a pie its a beer. A nice tingling sensation on the tongue very sweet, slightly dry in the middle but even after a sip the taste lingers (in a good way).

Overall Experience- a great pumpkin beer, first time and is creeping its way up the ladder. the beer itself was very reasonable. the flavor is not to over the top. The abv is appropriate and just a great tasting beer.

 899 characters

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,251 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.