Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale | Elysian Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
361 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: 361 | Ratings: 1,235
Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transcribed from undated notes.

I simply got very little head from my pour before it dissipated into wisps. Color was an orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. It had a great cinnamon-spice nose. Mouthfeel was medium with a sweet spiciness on the tongue, very pumpkin pie-like. Between those of us drinking this one, we guessed nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. The nutmeg was prevalent throughout. The finish was very dry, no doubt from the presence of all of the spices. I would put this as # 3 for me in terms of pumpkin ales, behind Southern Tier's Pumking and Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin. Heady company, indeed!

 634 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 GPHarris
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a two-fingers thick eggshell colored head into a snifter that settled into a creamy thick sheet and left some nice clingy lace. the body was a dull reddish-brown.
s - sweet, malty pumpkin with a hint of spice.
t - various spices with a hint of pumpkin.
m - thin to medium on the tongue.
d - very good beer. i love pumpkins a lot and this is the best i've had other than southern tier pumking.

 403 characters

Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love pumpkin beers, and this is one of the best I've had. Dark orange color, strong and sweet aroma of spices and cinnamon. Taste is very pumpkin-ey.. with lots of spice and hoppy flavor. One of the more complex pumpkin ales I've had. The beer was a little over carbonated for me -- not very smooth or warm feeling... a little sharp. I enjoyed this a lot and would get more for the price I payed for sure!

 407 characters

Photo of vacax
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad to have a new pumpkin ale in SoCal, even if it is a little bit late to the pumpkin season. I have really enjoyed this one in the past, and hope to see more soon from Elysian. Brewed at New Belgium Brewing. Dated best buy 19Feb10.

Pours a dark orange to amber with around an inch of head the color of butternut squash. Decent retention and lacing displayed. Smells of baked spiced pumpkin, candied ginger, and nutmeg for among the absolute best pumpkin beer scents on the market. Tastes of rich pumpkin goodness with a backing of gingerbread and a harmonious mixture of pumpkin pie spices. I'd have to say this is in the running for top pumpkin beer I have had. In the realm of similar beers, the only one definitely better for me is Barrel Aged Autumn Maple. Medium bodied with a smooth medium level of carbonation. Highly recommended, best pumpkin beer out west.

 869 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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 Haybeerman
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear copper/amber color. Poured a 1.5 finger tan head that settled to an even skim. Laced in thin rings.

S: Grassy hops and mild pumpkin. Big spices; nutmeg, cinnamon, clove.

T: Heavy spice flavors and sweet bready malts. A bit of pumpkin in the middle. Bitter, hoppy finish.

M: Light body. Medium carbonation. Dry and smooth.

D: Spice was pretty heavy; not as pumpkiny as many. It was a nice change.

 409 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle shared and poured into an American Tumbler. BBD 29Jan10.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for sharing this bottle!

A - Pours a hazy amber orange with a light tan head. About two fingers tall and decently retainted. A bit of lacing on the glass too.

S - Light grassy hops float around in the background with a mild pumpkin nose and lots of pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. A good pumpkin ale nose.

T - The malt body is a good background to the heavy pumpkin spice flavors but the flavor is a tad thin. A bit of pumpkin blends well with a slightly hoppy finish.

M - Smooth and lighter-bodied with a slightly thin feel. A bit dry in the finish with a big spicy feel and carbonation crispness.

D - The spice could be a bit cloying but it's a very good pumpkin I wouldn't pass up if given the opportunity to have again.

 837 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared bomber with BeerFMAndy. Since beer tastes better when shared with friends.

Poured into my pint glass the beer is cloudy amber brown with orange edges. Full inch of light tan head. After settling a smattering of lace is left around the rim.

The aroma is a pleasant array of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, roast malt, and just hint of hops.

The flavor is way more in line with what a pumpkin ale should be. Sweet pumpkin and light spices. Malty with a cinnamon and vanilla finish. Hardly any bitterness. Which is a feat compared to the other pumpkins out there.

Medium to light body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall one of the better pumpkin ales I've had this year. Definately worth another visit.

 705 characters

Photo of Ezekiel81923
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at Capone's, bought for a girl who wanted to try some Pumpkin Ale's. She bailed, I drank. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber/Brown color with a 2 finger foamy tan head. Head receded very slowly, never completely, and left great lacing.

Smell: I didn't get much spiciness out of this one. Slight roasted aroma that I would assume is the roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin itself is in the nose as well, and some faded cinnamon and nutmeg.

Taste: Again, I can't find much of a spiciness in this one. It can't be that old of a bottle, it couldn't have been on the shelves more than a few months. But anyways, a definite pumpkin flavor does exist, along with some nutmeg. Kind of an awkward aftertaste, kind of like spoiled pumpkin and alcohol mixed together.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy on the tongue. Light to medium carbonation. Just that awkward aftertaste of too much pumpkin without any spice.

Drinkability: Drank the whole bomber, moved on to other beer. I guess that means it's drinkable.

Would like to try again next year to make sure I didn't have a bad bottle. This one scores high in the areas that don't matter, but misses where it counts. In my opinion, any assertion that this could overthrow pumpking is just way off base.

 1,264 characters

Photo of Beaver13
2.79/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle. Pours a hazy amber bown with a thin head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is bready malts, a touch of fruit and some spices (nutmeg, allspice).

The flavor is vegetal malts with spices. It has a bit of an off metallic finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a little spritzy carbonation, but is mostly watery.

Overall, it sounded and smelled so good - just didn't taste good to me. I like pumpkin beers but this was a bit off (vegetal and metallic).

 490 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - hazy, orange/amber, a finger of yellowish white foam with good stick and good resilience.

Aroma - rich, spicy, pumpkiny aroma, just like I like it.

Taste - huge mouthful of pumpkin and spice. Roasty and delicious, wow! A bit of crustiness in there, clove and allspice on the swallow and into the aftetaste. I'm in heaven. Nutmeg and background ginger make this one hard to leave alone, it's disappearing fast.

Mouthfeel - sturdy body, good weight to it. Low carbonation and easy going down.

Drinkability - the best new pumpkin beer of the season so far, better than Pumking which had an off year IMO. At any rate, one of the best I've *ever* had. Huge thanks to Matt for recommending this one.

 710 characters

Photo of Murchmac
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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 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 sholland119
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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 cvfish
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a pumpkin orange color that produced a white fluffy head that had good retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer were, in short, Grams's pumpkin pie, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, this was a great smelling beer

T - I could say a whole lot about this beer, but the nose says it all, I will say the taste is only second to Pumking

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body with a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - This was a very good pumpkin beer, although not enough to dethrone the Pumking from that status

 590 characters

Photo of drumrboy22
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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 mikey711
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: clear orange with a thin soapy layer of head about a quarter inch thick. Good amount of carbonation rises from the bottom of the glass.

S: Whoa that is alot of spice. Heavily clovey and cinnamony. Not much punkin or sweetness just spices

T: The spices are not nearly as present for the better. Taste slightly like pumpkin bread.

M: Good amount of body and nice creaminess. There is something about it that I cant really explain that is slightly off.

D: I split the bomber and am glad that I did

 501 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Taking my review from RB after prior BA review was deleted...

On tap at City Beer in SF. Cloudy dark amber-brown color with a small off-white head. Aroma is decent with good pumpkin spices, pumpkin, and sweet malt. Flavor is not bad but a little harsh. Lots of spices - cinnamon and nutmeg stand out. Also some pumpkin and caramel and roasted malt. Could use a little better malt balance, but it's still better than most pumpkin ales. A little astringent on the palate with medium body and some spicy zing. Above average overall. Drinkability decent.

 551 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a medium-dark sunset orange with a 2 finger foamy pie crust colored head that quickly gave way leaving splotchy broken arches for a lacing. Visible carbonation was strong with a stead-fast showering display of micro bubbles that remained so throughout the course of the drink.

S: The nose emitted a strong sense of fresh cinnamon and pumpkin pie along with a sweet toasted malting. There is as well a good sense of cloves, ginger and hints of French toast (as odd as that my sound). Overall the scent was a dry pumpkin spiciness that was never overbearing, but subtle with a good backing of toasted malt and pie crust.

T: The flavor was strong with cloves, ginger and sweet toasted grains and cinnamon being very pronounced, yet much like the nose was dry and came off as fresh baked pumpkin pie and not as a spice rack. A big toasty sweet malting and warm-baked pumpkin fresh from the oven smoothers the taste buds upon the swallow. The spicing compliments and never over shadows the toasted malting and baked pumpkin toast dryness which is the backbone and highlight of this drink.

M: light, smooth in character and slides off the tongue leaving a dry toasted malt and pumpkin coating.

D: Per style this was a very easy drinking pumpkin that didn't go overkill on the spices, but instead opted for a dry homegrown nature. Good drinkability as well good enjoyability with a great dry toasted nature that would fair perfect around a campfire on a chilly October evening. You could easily drink several of these, a bomber is spot on, without being overwhelmed spice wise. A solid recommend per style.

 1,617 characters

Photo of dborginis
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22 oz bomber to pint glass.

Appearance is a somewhat opaque amber, like looking through a rod of plastic. Interesting.

Smell is very lightly of pumpkin. Can't get too much else.

Taste is a little bit of spices, a little darker smoky malt with a little bit of a carbonation bite. The aftertaste though, is very watery, almost like a lowfat milk. The more I drink it, the more I feel it is watered down, with the above mentioned flavors hiding out and creating a quick sensation, then dying out quickly.

It is drinkable, but I think I'd rather spend my time drinking something with a little more flavor going on.

Nothing against Elysian, but their two offerings I have tried, this and the Jasmine IPA, have been a little too subtle for me, almost watered down. Probably just me, as I have had friends who really enjoy Elysian. Maybe its the coast to coast trip?

 877 characters

Photo of GarrisWH
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber - Brewed by New Belgium for Elysian

A - Pours a hazy brownish orange color with a two-finger, off-white head that slowly drops down leaving some decent, spotty lacing.

S - A spicy, inviting aroma with a pronounced pumpkin presence. The nice, fairly complex spice aromas have hints of nutmeg, cloves, and a bit of cinnamon. There is also a bit of biscuity malt in the aroma as well.

T - The taste is a little bit disappointing compared to the aroma. Starts off with flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon and biscuity malts. This leads into more spice flavors, with some nutmeg, clove, and allspice coming through. Finish is slightly dry and leaves a lingering roasted pumpkin seed flavor into the aftertaste. I like how the pumpkin flavors are very noticeable in this brew. I do wish the flavor was just a little more powerful on the palate, as it somewhat muted for my liking.

M - Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Nice body for the style.

D - Overall, I enjoyed this quite a bit, although the aroma got my hopes way up, and it just fell a little bit short in the actual flavor. The pumpkin flavor is definitely well done, it's just missing a little something that could make this one great. I feel like a bit more spice in the flavor to round it out might have made it that much better for me.

 1,311 characters

Photo of Domingo
3.01/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Pours a pretty deep dark burnt orange. It actually has a pretty decent amount of head for the style, and the foam laces really well.
Smells like a boatload of spices. Cinnamon's the main one, with allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and a surprising strong liquorice/anise smell even though I don't believe it contains any. Not much in the way of beer or pumpkins, though.
The flavor mirrors the smell. Lots of cinnamon and anise, but as a beer, I'm just getting a ton of spice. If that's what you want - this one is pretty much the king of heavily spiced pumpkin beers. If you aren't into that - beware.
The body of the beer's great, and pretty ideal for the style.
For me, the first 1/3 of the glass was great. After that, it was like drinking liquid spice mix. Definitely a splitter.

Hmmmm. Lots of talk about this being among the best pumpkin ales. I really enjoyed their Great Pumpkin at the GABF...but this is all spice and very little else. I have to think that Night Owl might be a bit overhyped. Lots of people whine about overspiced pumpkin beers, but this beer (the most spiced one of them all) seems to be getting a free pass.

Worth a shot, and good up-front, but it'll let you down pretty quickly.

(It might be worth noting that this was contract brewed at New Belgium...not sure if there's any difference between this batch and the ones brewed in Seattle)

 1,363 characters

Photo of mulder1010
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml poured into a pint glass.

A-- Poured an orangeish brown color, gee pumpkin. Settled well with a 2 finger head with nice sticky lacing.

S-- Pumpkin, allspice,nutmeg, clove and cinnimon. Very nice smell and smells like a warm pumpkin pie.

T-- Spices are much more apparent in the taste. Not the pumpkin. A little bit more of the allspice and ginger.

M-- Good carbonation, good mouthfeel. I just get a lot of the spices in my mouth and am not a big fan of ginger and I do get a fair share of it. Get a bit of pumpkin in the finish.

D-- Interesting beer. A very nice Pumpkin Ale and something off the radar. Pumpkin Ales are very hit or miss and this is a hit. Lighter style being just under 6% and lets the spices do most of the talking here. Could do 2 330's easily. One 750 is solid.

 796 characters

Photo of Magpie14
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

 1,595 characters

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,235 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!