Night Owl Pumpkin Ale | Elysian Brewing Company

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very good
344 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

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Reviews: 344 | Ratings: 1,152
Photo of dkoehler42
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pumpkin beer features a cooked pumpkin taste as opposed to pumpkin pie taste. The color looks as though someone dropped a pumpkin into the glass/bottle. The smell and taste are consistent with the cooked pumpkin theory. This is one true American style beer picking up.

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Photo of Cubatobaco
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I got an opportunity to try this at "The Great Pumpkin Debate" in Wilmington, DE this past weekend. First. let me say that I am one that does not like a lot of pumpkin beer. I decided to walk the tables and see if there was one that actual appealed to me.

I came across Elysian Night Owl on the second table and was blown away. This had beautiful clarity and nice carbonation with a gorgeous nose that reminded me of Thanksgiving. I am mostly turned off by these beers because of the over use of spices. The flavors were in perfect harmony! Just the right amout of spice, pumpkin, and cinnamon to keep you wanting more. The carbonation danced on your palate, keeping things lively.

I would definitely recommend this beer if you are leary about pumpkin beers like me. This will be my choice this Halloween!

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Photo of WesWes
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a bisquity pumpkin scent along with an array of spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.. The taste is good as well. It has a solid grist of pale, crystal, and bisquit malts along with a large pumpkin and spice flavor. It's a smooth drinking beer with little to no pumpkin bitterness. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a very well done pumpkin beer. Some of these are too malty. Some are too spicey. Some are really dry and pumpkin filled. This is a well rounded, highly drinkable beer.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very malty aroma. Some brown sugar and slight hint of pumpkin.

Brown colored, clear, think head with lots of persistant lace on the side of the glass.

Really nice pumpkin flavor and spicy. I get cinnamon and I think nutmeg. Nice malty backbone. Hops take a back seat to the spice and pumpkin.

Full bodied, but remarkably refreshing.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Mildly hazy burnt orange. Head is white and drops to a wispy cap rather quickly. Some carbonation sneaks through the slightly thicker collar. Loose and barely there.

Smell: Nutmeg buried in the back. Nice compliment of roasted and toasted malts. Some bready sweetness in the back. Nice pumpkin. Squashy, vegetal, earthy, and fresh. The usual spices make an appearance, but it's not the first thing to jump out. Cinnamon and clove in particular. Ginger jumps as the beer warms. Nicely layered.

Taste: Sweet cinnamon spice laced with nutmeg. Big squashy pumpkin flavor is incredibly delicate given how big it is. A big scoop of fresh pumpkin sprinkled with spices. Bready malts balance it out a touch. Some malty sweetness. Nice roasted character in the back, and I swear I can taste the earthy flavor of pumpkin seeds. Vaguely floral at times. Clove and ginger make up a big part of the spice profile as it warms. Falls apart a little when warm, giving the spice more headway. More like a crispy pumpkin cookie.

Mouthfeel: Minimal carbonation. Body runs on the lighter side of medium. Incredibly clean and smooth. So very smooth. Vague notions of creaminess.

Overall: I'll take another x6.

Solid pumpkin mixed in to an easy drinking ale is always a good time. Spices get a little overbearing at times, but it's quickly made up for with another sip of squashy goodness. Each sip makes it better and that's hard to do with the style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy pumpkiny amber color with a thick, foamy head that sticks and laces nicely

Smell: Lots of real pumpkin smell in this one, with the spice elements discreetly in the rear; it's the more subtle pie smells, too, such as brown sugar, mace and allspice; perhaps a touch of nutmeg

Taste: Opens with a solid pumpkin flavor, with the spices arriving by mid-palate, with perhaps just a nuance of chocolate, too; after the swallow, the pumpkin takes on a bit of a gingery flavor

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice pumpkin, one of the best

Thanks, cannabanaceae, for the opportunity

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Nice clear dark copper color. Finger width head, with good lacing. Looks good.

S- Great spice smell, creamy pumpkin mixed with a nice dash of nutmeg. This smells very creamy, like a good pumpkin pie should be. There is also a toasty smell that comes from the pumpkin seeds that are used in the brewing process.

T- Nutmeg is very present, at first, then the pumpkin taste comes through with the spices and creaminess. Then the roasted/toasted pumpkin seed taste. Very tasty, nice and hearty. Not too sweet, but also a good amount of savory.

M- Feels good in the mouth like a beer should.

D- Drinks easy and goes well with hearty foods.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blurry dark orange shade. Husky firm top of light tanned foam sits for a stay before dropping to a solid skim and a firm collar ring. Drippy lacing with a minimal amount sticking; only a few big globs closer to the top.

Aroma is quite nice, very cookie, bakery-like with a snappy cinnamon sprinkled pumpkin pie spice with a slim candied malt undertow. Nice.

Flavor is pretty good, as a steady stream of flavor begins in a pumpkin pie pond and ends in a small lake of Thanksgiving dessert spices. Well rounded pumpkin tone sets the stage with great additional spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to round off little cookie-like delights as it roams around the palate at good length.

Feel is just shy of medium, perhaps a tad thin in the front and middle. Gains a nice firm malting and tender fluffyness as it goes. Finish lingers with a very nicely held spice of pumpkin pie.

Another solid offering from the folks at Elysian, and another big thanks to cvschaller for the many samples! This was a hoot!

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Photo of DMXLOX22
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single of this at my local beer spot. I have heard good things about this brew. Let's hope this lives up to the hype.

Appearance: Pours a nice, dark orange glow. The head is about an inch in thickness, but dissipates pretty quickly. Presents a nice, autumn, evening.

Smell: Presented first is a nice hint of pumpkin-pie like type of aroma. Has notes of some spices like nutmeg, some cinnamon, and maybe a slight hint of ginger. Really enjoyed how this beer's aroma presents itself. Makes me wanna dive in almost immediately.

Taste: Has a nice, sweet texture at first sip. Reminds me of toasted pumpkin-pie with a dash of maple syrup and some brown sugar. The spices compliment the palate overall. There is a subtle hint of hops that give it that sweet texture, but theres a balance of bitterness that really brings this beer together. Something that to me is very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation that lives a nice, dry finish. I actually enjoyed this part and would give it above average. One thing may be a little too dry to the finish.

Overall: Was not disappointed with this brew at all. At first tasting, it was an instant hit with my beer expectations. I was very impressed and the more that I sipped, the more I noticed something different with this brew. It's something that leaves you craving more and if your a fan of pumpkin beers, I strongly recommend this one. Enjoyable to the fullest! Cheers!

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Photo of rfgetz
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Institute as part of their "Pumpkin Patch" event...

Darker orange with hints of copper. Decent white head and ok lacing. Smell is of pumpkin pie - spices like nutmeg, clove and cinamon - with a little pumpkin puree thing going on. Tast is very good, as close to pumpkin pie as i have had outside of a ST Pumking. Good body, carbonation does not get in the way, creamy without being sticky or heavy. Very good pumpkin beer, one of the best.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to holden303 for sending me this one as part of the N00B BIF 6!

Pours a clear copper orange with a 2 inch puffy orange-white head that settles to a thin cap. Thin broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, pumpkin puree, roasted pumpkin seeds, and some subdued pumpkin pie spices. Taste is of bread-like malt, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, and a very nice balance of the typical pumpkin pie spices. This beer is not overpowering with the spices as others I have tried before. This beer has a crisp and prickly mouthfeel and goes down very smooth. Overall, this is a good pumpkin ale that doesn't beat you over the head with spices. This is in my top 3 pumpkin ales I have had thus far in my beer drinking "career".

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Photo of asabreed
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a 12 oz. Samuel Smith nonic.

Appearance: A darker chestnut-colored and hazy orange-copper hue, with a surprisingly not only retention-heavy head, but one that leaves thick rings of lacing down the bulb of the glass. Unexpected, and one that lasts and lasts. Haven't seen a version of the style from the bottle like this ever I don't think.

Smell: For all the ingredients, the key here, for this brew, is balance. Too many pumpkin ales seem to be all about "more is more," when in fact the raucous nature of the amalgam of everything makes it too chaotic, but here, the beer is the main factor, whereas the other flavors seem to work more subtly and well with each other. A lot of pumpkin aroma, yes, and a lot of malt yes, but a good balance of spices that, again, work as subtlety rather than cacophony.

Taste: Again, with the aroma, the balance comes through pretty well. It's fairly complex, where the pumpkin and spices -- mostly nutmeg and some ginger -- come through, with some vanilla on the back end, along with those rich pumpkin mash flavors also. Finish is not sweet, but highly malty, with lingering pumpkin pie spice on the tongue, and again, the key here is not the pervasive sweetness you can sometimes find on the over-spiced and under-hopped versions.

Mouthfeel: Seemingly more medium-bodied, but I think that's due to the carbonation, which is the key to providing the fluffy head, as it seems to, somehow, be perfectly complimentary to this beer. It also seems velvety in its softness, which was another surprising variable for me, considering the ABV of the brew.

Drinkability: Color me pretty shocked with this, and this is a brew also that won't break your wallet. I get any new pumpkin ales I can find that I've never had, and though I hoped to enjoy this, I didn't expect the depth of flavor and balance. Definitely try it, and pick up a few if you see it. I will if I can find it again.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, split

appearance: served in a lakefront shaker pint - rich orange-bronze body, nice creamy tan cap with strong retention

smell: pumpkin pie, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, pale malt

taste: solid pumpkin offering - lots of good pumpkin pie spice ala nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cinnamon. Not really an abundance of pumpkin flavor but very nicely spiced and a well rounded pale malt profile.

mouthfeel: medium, creamy. very good for the style which tends to be a little bland

overall: good - looking forward to the other elysian pumpkins

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Photo of Magpie14
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A most intimidating label with a wise owl staring back. The body is colored a deep orange with soft caramel accents swirled about, pretty deep color overall with a hint of crimson as well. The cap grew quickly and laid an ecru colored fluff bomb on top with lasting power. A few strong blobs of foam remain nicely attached to the glass

S: I am really questioning if a pumpkin pie is crammed into the bottle? The smell is near perfect! It has all the whiffs required for a fresh made pie. The usual spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, and maybe a few crushed cloves) softly intermingle with a sugar cookie pale malt kind of smell

T: ahh, tasty. I find that the nose gives high expectations for the palate and things are a little weaker than I had hoped for. It's not that I don't like it, far from it. The brown sugar crusted malts make things great and when paired with delicate caramel flavors is banging. The spiciness is in control and in a good way! Pretty balanced overall. If I have any quarrels it is that I find no hops to be tickling the tongue, not a big deal for me though considering the style

M: good marks in the body as well. It has a slight zip to it, somewhat coarse with bubbles. I find the mouthfeel to be medium. Things are moving well

D: what is most commendable about this beer is that things are in harmony. The flavors are locked in well and make drinking easy. I have found over the years that sometimes these seasonal brews can be spice bombs that lend a bad and feeble experience.
Not the best Pumpkin Ale I have had...but darn good! and by far one of the best smelling!

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Look is hazy brownish with orange yellow highlights. Little to no head.

Aroma is straight pumpkin pie, but no just pumpkin pie but meaty awesome pumpkin.

Taste is kinda thin but full of pumpkin spice flavor. Maybe a little pumpkin sour taste at the end.

Really excellent, I just wish the body held up to the flavor.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My first observation is that there is a lot of muck in this beer, not that that is a bad thing. Very nice pumpkin aroma. Excellent taste, the pumpkin is there but not overwhelming, the beer is clean, smooth, and refreshing. Overall, this is an excellent example of pumpkin beer and will be one of my favorites.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue IX:

Brewed with 150lbs of pumpkin per batch (in the mash, boil and fermentor), green and roasted pumpkin seeds bittered with Horizon and spiced with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.

Slightly hazy tawny color. Lacing surpasses our expectations with a good amount of clinging action. Smells of fermented pumpkin, a little starchy and melon-like, with a tartness that meshes very well with the subtle yet savory spicing. Incredibly smooth, sturdy medium body. Kicks off with a mild tartness of fermented pumpkin. Malt follows right behind with a mellow bread and faint caramel mix. Spicing slowly strolls hand in hand with the balancing hop bitterness. Nutmeg and clove seem to be the more dominant spices in their small world until the ginger comes along and plays king through the aftertaste. A little bready and toasty in the slightly dry finish.

This has to be one of the most complex Pumpkin Ales we've had to date. And there is a bonus in its drinkability, as most of the style are good for on;y one serving. Sip after sip, Night Owl grew on us. Seek this beer. Enjoy.

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Photo of nhudson
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a hazy orange/copper color with about a 2 finger head poured into a pint glass. Smell is of sweet malt with a hint of real pumpkin, not pumpkin spice. As this beer warms up the pumpkin comes to the front with just a hint of nutmeg and malt. I find most pumpkin ales to be overly spiced. This one is right on the money with the pumpkin flavor. Mouthfeel I thought was a bit thin, but for a beer ~6% I wouldn't expect anything else. Overall I could drink this over and over again, very easy to put down a couple of pints.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice clear orange brown with a 1/2 inch of opaque colored head.

S - Smells quite mild yet balanced getting some sweet spices and not very vegital pumpkin. Malts and hops seem level.

T - Wow very nice as other stated it balances the line of pumpkin and beer very well with just the right amount of cinnamon and allspice to keep it from being too vegital. Malt forward is also a plus for the style.

M - Like Fegley's Devious only more sessionable with a light to medium body make for easy drink ability.

Overall it either this or Devious but I am looking to get a case of this stuff. Good pumpkin ale indeed.

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Photo of Gavage
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark orange in color with a 1" head the falls apart slowly.

Smell: pumpkin spices are easy to detect by the nose.

Taste: caramel and big pumpkin pie flavors with some cinammon and nutmeg. Nice bitterness brings the sweetness into check. This beer does not impart the fake pumpkin flavors so many other beers exhibit. Nice bold flavors.

Mouthfeel: crisp to start, less so towards the finish. Aftertaste is short-lived as the spices leave the tongue quickly. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: this is probably one of the better tasting pumpkin ales I have had. It goes down easy and several pints could be quaffed in a session.

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Photo of Bfarr
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy orange amber and thin tan head with poor retention. Strong pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little nutty aroma. Flavor follows with some sweet clove flavor, nut and spice end with a fairly clean sweet finish. Sharp and full bodied mouthfeel.

This is your everyday pumpkin ale. Full of all the flavor you want but it's not so strong that it becomes overwhelming. No off flavors and fairly clean finish with just a bit of light fuzziness lingering making this one of the few pumpkin beers out there you could drink a few of and not be sick of pumpkin.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bomber into a Deschutes teku glass. 2013 release.

Pours a dark copper/orange color with a nice inch thick head. The smell is of pumpkin pie...lots of nutmeg and cinnamon and pumpkin flavor. Taste is again right on the money - pumpkin pie flavor. Not overwhelming in any way though, all the spices are very balanced. Not too sweet or too bitter. An exceptional pumpkin flavored beer. Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall upper echelon as far as pumpkin beers go.

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Photo of JMBSH
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A very dark amber with a fair amount of sediment floating in the liquid. Spices or yeast? A fairly good sized head that shrinkt to a thin coating. No lace left on sides after tasting.

S - No way you can smell this beers pumpkin chassification. The spices are very strong and smell very good. When you get your nose into the glas pumpkin itself is also detected.

T - The spices again but the pumpkin is also there to balance them out. Unlike some pumpkin beers I have had, no one spice commands this beer. A very nice blend.

M - Very smooth. The carbonation is almost perfect.

D - I ordered this beer off the internet. I wish it was availible around here. This was very good! I could open up another bottle right now.

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Photo of Act25
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into stemless wineglass, after dinner. Compared vs Wolavers Organic from Vermont.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazed, deep, orangish, amber body with 1 finger, but large bubbled, cream head. Strong lacing all the way. A meditation beer. More pumpkin colored than others.

Smell: WOW! As soon as uncapped, you smell the pumpkins and spice in a very nice, fresh way. Nicely aromatic pumpkin and malt scent, with notes of the ginger, cinnamon, and many spices.

Taste: Follows the taste, with lots of body, almost syrupy, sweet malt flavor with toasted pumpkins and barnyard hay in a good way. Just the right spicy kick. Some hop bitterness. Finishes with a toasty spiciness and flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and, a bit of ginger. Drying. Complex unfolding, a really intersting beer to swirl, sniff, compare. Great fun. A must every autumn.

Mouthfeel: Thick to medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Good food beer, good with dessert or cheese. Made me reach for smoked cheddar and robusto as great combos.

Drinkability: Pretty decent, the beer improves w warming. Savor it. (I did because I compared it to the much weaker Wolavers)

PS I am not a pumkin ale guy, going for ipas, stouts, porters, belgians. So, this beer really surprised me as a great fall after dinner or cheese course beer. Well done and possibly the best in class.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy copper faded penny, a bit of lacing , still looking in the glass.

S: Aroma is composed of a relatively subdued brown ale with mostly fresh pumpkin, a bit of biscuit and pale malt.

T: Wow, a very complex pumpkin ale that is not over spiced. Being one of my favorite styles, I have had about 15 pumpkin ales in the past two weeks. This definitely did not disappoint. The flavors are mostly well rounded pale malt and brown ale, a bit of brown sugar, tons of fresh wet pumpkin, a bit of salt, ginger, nutmeg and clove. The spices are pretty light but present at the very end after you have had a few sips. Usually the spices hit you right on the first sip, but when they dont; and they slowly hit your tongue after the pumpkin flavors have really made their presence felt, the nutmeg and clove will eventually creep up on you.

M: Unbelievably smooth, slightly light on the carbonation, but extremely easy to drink.

O: Overall, this is probably my number one pumpkin ale right now. I can really enjoy Pumpking from Southern Tier and comparitively , this is clearly more drinkable with a lower abv and slightly more complexity. The big selling point though is that it is more of an authentic pumpkin ale vs an overspiced brown ale. Very well done and highly recommended.

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Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 344 ratings.
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