Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale | Elysian Brewing Company

very good
343 Reviews
Night Owl Pumpkin AleNight Owl Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Elysian Brewing Company
Washington, United States | website

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: 343 | Ratings: 1,149
Photo of jakon
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased for $3.99 on 9-24-7 at Cedar Hills New Seasons.

Pours a brightly glowing orange/amber color with an off-white head featuring tightly compacted bubbles. The foam reduces quickly leaving minimal lacing in a beer clean glass. The aroma is very nice. A lot of pumpkin and spices such as clove, nutmeg and maybe a little cinnamon. It really just smells a lot like pumpkin pie, which is very nice. The taste closely matches the aroma. Loaded with pumpkin and spices, and there's also a black tea-like aftertaste that I'm not sure what to think of. The alcohol is nearly imperceptible. The mouthfeel is soft with very little carbonation. This is my favorite pumpkin ale to date.

 695 characters

Photo of BeerFiend2002
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip glass

Dark copper in color, with a light one-finger frothy tan-colored head.

Nose is a lot of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. Very inviting.

Tastes pumpkiny as it should given the amount per barrel used, but the spices do not stand up very well against it. Dull bland taste.

Medium-light mouthfeel, kind of watery for my taste.

Decent pumpkin beer. Its not outstanding, but there are worse. Solid, but not spectacular. Its a step below the DFH Punkin and the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin.

 518 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of ramnuts. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours a hazy amber-orange body with a fluffy beige head that retains well, leaving a little lace down the sides.

S: Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar. Excellent balance, but some other beers at the tasting showed how pungent this type of aroma can be, and that's this beer's main flaw.

T: The taste is nice; it presents a good (if restrained) pumpkin pie approach of the spices noted above. It's mildly sweet (brown sugar) with a lightly vegetal aftertaste, which is probably the pumpkin. The aftertaste is lightly bitter, with an exhalation that is pure pie.

M: Medium-bodied. It helps the beer be more drinkable, but the tradeoff is that it doesn't have that dessert feel I'm looking for in these beers.

O: Pretty darn good. I'd buy it again. But if I had a request, it would be: please brew more Great Pumpkin instead of this (and send me a case of GP).

 929 characters

Photo of drumrboy22
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz. bottle into Shipyard Pumpkin Ale pint glass. Beer was a dark orange color, with a one-finger, tan head. Moderate carbonation and lacing around the glass.

Aroma was clove, allspice, cinnamon and licorice.

Taste was allspice, clove and pumpkin pie.

Heavily spiced, but pretty good for the style. Good drinkability.

 335 characters

Photo of tayner
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle that has been in my DBF for about 4 months as i was afraid to try it.

Poured a crystal clear amber color with a with whispy head that dissipated to nothing and left no lacing. Some head retention would have made this much nicer to look at, perhaps due to age though.

Smell was of nutmeg and cloves, perhaps some allspice, and roasted pumpkin seeds too.

Taste was like a pumpkin pie smoothie that was strained as the texture was a bit watery. It had all the tastes of pumpkin pie without all the over the top sweetness a real pie has. I cant believe how it tastes like real pumpkin and not pumpkin 'flavored'. nice

Mouthfeel was a bit watery on this one which maybe is good since i have to drink 22 oz of it. I think for drinkability factor if it were a bit thicker and bottled in 12 oz bottles it would be nicer.. or thicker in 22 oz bottles you could pass around after thanksgiving dinner instead of pie!

 926 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Totowa via the single bottle. Hadn't tried this before and I wanted to give a Seasonal beer like this a go before things cooled off too much. I'm not a huge fan of this style since there are so many examples of this out and I never seem to warm up to any of them that I try. This one was quite good and almost won me over but in short, this was a beer that is a good example of the style and quite easy to enjoy.

This poured decently with a fair amount of head, a somewhat radiant pumpkin hue, and no lacing to be seen. Not quite clear either as there was a bit of sediment to be seen in the beer. The aroma was good with a nice amount of pumpkin that was repeated in the mouthfeel. A good but not overwhelming amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnut were here too but this never felt too spicy or complex. The balanced was nice but if I had to do this over again, I'd tone the carbonation down a bit. This was quite sharp and not as easygoing and filling as other Pumpkin Beers that I've had before, with the bubbles clearing out too much of the heavier notes after each sip.

The alcohol was a bit strong here too but it never felt that way as took my sips down my pint glass. This would go great with a big slice of Pumpkin Pie and Cool Whip on top and for anyone looking for a good beer to celebrate the changing of the seasons with, this would easily suffice.

 1,384 characters

Photo of bigaltemple
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy, deep orange. Cream-colored cap leaves some decent lacing.

S - Huge pumpkin scent. Sweet malts and cloves are pretty strong. Small hints of nutmeg and cinnamon.

T - Taste is pretty similar. Caramel malt, sweet pumpkin meat and spices.

M - Light to medium-bodied with good amount of carbonation.

O - First pumpkin brew of the season. This one came through pretty much as expected. I'm really quite interested in their "bigger" offerings.

 457 characters

Photo of sholland119
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this one from pranaferox in Secret Halloween 2009! Thanks!

A-Cloudy amber with some light brown highlights. Lots of off white head and great retention. Some decent lacing as well.

S-Pumpkin pie! The spice blend is a perfect blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and allspice. I think the allspice makes the aroma so right on.

T-A little flat on the tongue. Mostly nutmeg; all the other spice elements are muted. Some nice malt with a moderate sweetness.

M-Medium bodied with a lot of lingering spice.

D-Nice but a bit of a disappointment after the killer nose.


 573 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go out to n8dietz for picking this brew up for me.

Cloudy, copper, burnt sienna, pumkin color. Can't really make out any bubbling. Good head after the pour, and thick film of foam lasts for all 22 ounces.

Caramel toasted malts, bread, biscuits, pumkin pie spices, and pumpkin meat.

Toasted pumkin biscuits. Flavor gets thin and watery from middle to the finish. I got some more of the spices in teh middle than the pumpkin. The finish is a little thin, but does have a pumpkin meat and bread flavor.

The mouthfeel starts chewy, then finishes a little thin and watery.

 581 characters

Photo of JizackFH
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a clear ruby orange color. It has a 2-finger off-white head on top. The head has good retention, and it leaves behind a nice web of lace on the glass.

S - It smells of bread malts, pumpkin, and fall holiday spices. There are also some notes of brown sugar, caramel, hops, and a little bit of booze.

T - Taste starts off with some bready malt. There is some pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavor, but it is more subdued than the nose suggests. There are also some flavors of caramel, brown sugar, and a mild hop presence. The flavors seem a little bit watered down.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy, and has a nice smooth feel to it. There is some tingling from the spices, and just a touch of hop bitterness.

O - This has good drinkability. It has a nice smooth feel and a nice flavor. I wouldn't mind a few glasses of this on a nice fall evening. Overall, I think this is a nice beer, and a good representation of the style. The only thing is that some of the flavors seem to be a tad watered down. Fix that, and I think it would bring this up to another level. It is still a good beer though, and I definitely enjoyed it.

 1,181 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bomber from the Potsdam NY IGA for 8$

Appearance - Clear dark copper with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts grassy, all spice, pumpkin

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel, malts, and all spice. There is only a little bit of pumpkin and a light grassiness. It ends with a malty caramel and all spice aftertaste.

Overall – A little out of season but it's held up pretty well. The carbonation is a little low and the beer seems a little watery. The spice level is good but it needs more pumpkin. A very drinkable fall beer, but nothing that has the wow factor.

 766 characters

Photo of artoolemomo
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours up about a finger's worth of head that disappears so quickly I barely got a chance to discern its color. The head appeared to be an off-white with light beige notes while the body is a translucent, medium to dark amber which glows medium amber when held up to the light. No lacing at all.

Nose- Whoa! It smells like a spice factory exploded in here. The abundant cinnamon almost burns my nose. Nutmeg is second and I get hints of clove and allspice in the back of my sinuses. I guess there's pumpkin in there somewhere but I wouldn't know- this is olfactory overload. The cinnamon itself almost excludes anything else. I feel like I took a big whiff of Big Red chewing gum.

Taste- Much more mellow than the aroma. This is very fortunate. Mild pumpkin starts the flavor profile, spices fill in the middle (nutmeg and clove seem to occupy the center while the cinnamon hangs around the edges and makes up the linger), and some pumpkin on the finish. Pumpkin seeds seem to play an integral role in the overall taste. There's a slight bitterness on the finish that I'm guessing comes from the cloves and allspice. I can't say that I've noted any real ginger as of yet. Not bad for my first pumpkin beer (I tend to stay clear of the actual gourd itself) but the phenolic nature of the cloves seem to distract. It's a dirty, earthy bitterness that doesn't seem to jive well with the other flavors. Most of the initial flavors seem to subside but that dirty bitterness seems to reside. Linger of pumpkin on the finish as well. Spices start to fade and a mellow pumpkin starts to pervade the palate. Some thinness. Definitely above average but nothing to write home about. Ginger really starts to show itself at the end to the extent I feel like I'm drinking ginger ale.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied to the point of being scrawny. At least, there is a some zip from the carbonation to give it some body.

Drinkability- Not bad. The spices make this desirable. The actual pumpkin seems to be a means of conveyance. I'm okay with that.

Overall- Above average and seems to represent the style. If you like pumpkin beers, you should try it. If you could care less (and would rather have a sweet potato pie), grab another beer.

 2,236 characters

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike aka "garagekegger" for sharing his bomber tonight,very nice pumpkin colored deep somewhat hazy pour with a fluffy white head that left a nice sheet of lace behind as it settled.Very spicey aromas cinnamon and clove really stick out in the aromas more in the lines of apple pie but still appetizing.Seemed a bit thin in the mouthfeel department and a little fizzy but the flavors were nice not overly sweet the cinnamon and clove are there there is a decent pumpkin bite in there but the spice outweighs it.Not a bad pumpkin beer to be had flavorful if not a bit thin.

 582 characters

Photo of LunaChick
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours copper with a rich cream head. Good retention and a nicely laced glass. Pumpkin in the aroma along with hints of vanilla and spice--mostly clove but some cinnamon and nutmeg. Flavor is rich with pumkin backed by spices with some nuttiness in the middle. Malts kick in--but not quite enough. A slight balance of hop spice in the end but not a "bite" The abv is just over 6 percent but the alcohol warmth is immediate and becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. Pumpkin flavors become more pronounced with warmth as well. This beer is good but slightly watery in the mouth as it seems to be in need of more malt. Its the alcohol that really gets me on this one. Its not something I can drink more than one of because its so warm. Otherwise I did enjoy it and found it to be better than other pumpkin brews.

 813 characters

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

Bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours out a cloudy brown with a reddish hue. Looks just like apple cider, I like. Off white head that kinda lingers a bit, and some OK lacing to boot.

S: Laid back and chill for the most part, but that might be the cold that I'm trying to kick. The cider comes back into play because i do sense some fermented apple, clove action, cinnamon stick, light malts too. Slight pumpkin in the background.

T: Mild in every aspect, but that mostly what I like about this brew. Its not "In your Face", like some of these pumpkin beers tend to be. Taste more like cider than beer for the most part.

M: Not quite medium in body, some looseness involved, somewhat light in carbonation, ABV blended well throughout the sipping display.

D: One fantastic beer for the foliage season. It resembles everything that goes with the season. Kudos to the brewmaster!

 884 characters

Photo of RoyalT
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – The deep, orangish-brown color of this liquid promises a malty brew. The head was white and moderate but very creamy.

Smell – The malts were thick and heavy here and mixed with some light citrus hops. It all come together nicely to form a classic, pumpkin nose.

Taste – The pumpkin flavor was solid here with a nice spicy hop compliment.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied Pumpkin Ale has some light tingly carbonation to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is a good, solid, very malty ale with a bit of PacNW leafy bitterness to boot.

 561 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared with andrenaline after a haul from B.C., I got the first half of the bomber
A - clear orange with a decent head leaving a solid covering, note that the second half was much hazier
S - pleasant pumpkin with a light maltiness and some sweetness
T - spices donimate with cinnamon, nutmeg, and some ginger, and as a result the pumpkin is a bit overwhelmed
M - medium body, spicy tingle and a little dry
D - it's fairly tasty, but they went the spice route rather than the pumpkin route flavour wise which I am getting tired of with many pumpkin beers, worth drinking but not a stand out

 589 characters

Photo of Smurf2055
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Chuck’s 85th.

Pours dark amber with about a finger of off-white head.

Smells strongly of pumpkin spices. Bready and sweet.

Tastes a bit bitter, small pumpkin flavor, melons and bread.

Very light and a bit watery.

I remembered it being better the last time I had it. It just didn’t seem to have the same kick this time. Still not a bad representation of the style, but obviously not the Great Pumpkin.

 423 characters

Photo of Furlinator
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Black Horse Tavern, Norco, Ca.

Pours a murky rust orange with a half-inch cream head and strings of lace. Pumpkin and Fall spices abound. A fairly straightforward but, well done pumpkin ale.

 201 characters

Photo of Murchmac
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Scores may be different, but this is the exact review arbitrator gave because I agree with it and am lazy.

A: Pours a hazy amber body that reminds me of an IPA. The bartender brings it with half a finger of cream-colored head; it collapses evenly over a half-minute into a scattered cap and a thick donut on the edges of the glass. Some lacing down the sides.

S: "The Rock likes.... pie." Boom, pumpkin pie right in the nose. Pumpkin is very strong, but so are cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.

T: Tastes like pumpkin pie, too. The characteristic cinnamon-pumpkin punch dominates, with brown sugar sweetening the mid-taste. Nutmeg and cinnamon once more in the finish, with a pumpkin-y aftertaste. There is an underlying hop bitterness (kind of vague, I know, but I can't pick out a descriptive flavor) that balances it nicely.

M: Medium-bodied... A bit disappointing, as I'd love it to be fuller and thicker. Moderate carbonation.

D: Went down really easily, and I brought a bottle home to share. Nice stuff. (I didnt share any though)

 1,042 characters

Photo of ItsHammerTime
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pilsner glass. The beer pours a deep auburn body with a significant off-white head that dissipates rapidly, leaving a fine lacing.

The aroma presents with predominant notes of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other such spices, overlying a rich caramel base along with the faint vegetal aroma of the pumpkin. Very appetizing!

While the spice was at the forefront in the smell, it is much more understated in the taste. What dominates is the vegetal pumpkin along with the sweetness of the malt. Hops are not apparent. The vegetable taste lingers and fades to that of roasted pumpkin seeds. There's a bit of an unusual aftertaste, but I attribute this more to the style of beer than any fault on the part of the brewery.

Light-to-medium bodied. I was initially slightly disappointed by the lack of body, but working my way through a bomber I figure that a thicker brew might be a bit cloying on the back end.

Overall, a very decent brew. Let it warm up a bit; otherwise it just tastes like a rather bland ale with a funky aftertaste. Once the the spice aroma unveils itself, however, it is quite nice.

 1,137 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I heard great things about this beer. it was nice, but not outstanding. I think one reason was the 22oz bottle. a lot of pumpkin beer to drink. Still, the good about this beer is the non-over-the-top taste and nose.
Pours a dull orange, reddish, clear body topped with a dull foamed up head. Looks good.
Pumpkin nose, with hints of brown sugar, toasted bread and faint figs.
Spice isn't bold, but enough to know this would go well with a nice holiday meal.
A bland feel to it. Would like to see more excitement here.
Does not meet expectations. had better, and definitely had worse.

 585 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour produces a three-finger thick, light tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is a brilliantly clear, deep amber color that has copper highlights to it, when held up to the light the beer shows a rich copper hue. Ah, the aroma brings a smile to my face, fleshy, caramelized squash aromatics are accentuated by notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. I like that the actual pumpkin is noticeable here in the aroma, certainly the spice notes are a bit more piquant, but the spices are not used too overzealously and the vegetable squash notes add a nice spiciness of its own.

Fairly dry tasting, especially given how sweet the spices make this beer smell. The beer finishes with a bite of nutmeg, a flash of pumpkin meat, a lingering ginger piquancy and a touch of pepper like spice. I could use a touch more body here, but there is a touch of heft to this beer; the holiday season just sees me wanting a bit more richness in this beer (though it has a lot more body than some of the poorer examples of the style, Buffalo Bill I am looking at you). The malt contributes a hint of caramelized sweetness as well as a touch of toasty grain towards the finish, for the most part though this beer is about the spices and the pumpkin. There is enough malt to provide just enough texture and sweetness to support the more dominant flavors. The sweetness is accentuated by the cinnamon notes in the middle.

This is a good example of a "standard" pumpkin ale. The usual base beer style, but it has enough body and the touch of real pumpkin to keep me happy.

Purchased: Liquid Solutions

 1,597 characters

Photo of Nature777
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pumpkin's are one of my favorite things in this world. They make amazing pies, ravioli and above all else, beers. This smelled like a pumpkin pie, I swear they brewed it with cinnamon! This was very light with pumpkin in the after taste. I enjoyed it, though it may have been to light. This was a nice beer, definitely worthwhile for the low price. But if you do have the money to spend, go for the Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale instead.

 432 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to 5000 for sending me this bottle. Reviewed from notes.

The beer pours a hazy orange color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of pumpkin and some cinnamon, as well as a light amount of tartness. The flavor is similar, only there is not tartness. I get some pumpkin as well as some nutmeg and allspice. Thin mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 354 characters

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 343 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.