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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

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Reviews: 343 | Ratings: 1,149
Photo of dar482
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in this beautiful strawberry juice color of a deep hazy rich red color.

The aroma is just mind blowing. There’s every spice listed as in the clove, then the ginger, then the nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. It’s wonderful amount of spice with a bit of brown sugar and pumpkin. It’s so sweet, so spicy, it’s the best aroma from any pumpkin ale.

The flavor isn’t as exciting with tons of spice in the front. Not for those who don’t like spice, but for me, spice is what represents fall instead of the pumpkin. There’s some brown sugar and pumpkin following with also fermented fruit flavors. Then there’s also that plain “gourd” flavor. It’s a bit bland, and just tastes like squash/gourd or whatever you may call it. The vessel as in the beer isn’t too brown ale and is quite light and enjoyable.

The finish is a bit rough with some booze and the fermented flavor.

This really is a wonderful brew. Despite its flaws, I do love how drinkable this beer is and how fantastic the aroma is.

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Photo of spokeydonkey
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a growler of this filled from draught from Oliver's Brew Crew in Albany, NY.

Poured midnight black with a modest tan head that quickly faded to a thin tan lacing.

Smells strongly of cinnamon with background notes of nutmeg and a slight roasted note. The cinnamon smell dominates, but isn't overpowering--it smells like a cinnamon spiced pie.

Tastes starts off sweet with a tiny bit of tartness, followed up by spice overlaying a malty sweetness. As with the smell, it's dominated by cinnamon with a nice dose of ginger in the background. The cinnamon and ginger spice blends smoothly into the roasty notes of the malt for a lingering finish. Not a subtle beer, but amazingly balanced for what it does: clobber you with spices, sweetness and finish dry and roasty. Like a roasted pumpkin pie!

Mouthfeel - medium bodied. Not too cloying despite its sweetness. Finishes crisp and dry.

Overall an excellent sweet-style pumpkin beer. I really don't like sweet beers, but this really tastes like a roasted pumpkin pie (well without the pumpkin flavor). The balance is awesome and it finished dry enough to keep it very drinkable.

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Photo of wl0307
3.02/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Coming in a slim 650ml brown bottle, BB 10/08/2013, served lightly chilled in a long-stemmed wine goblet.

A: pours a dark reddish amber hue with light haze, coming with a light beige foamy head with good retention and light carbonation.
S: amber malts, dried longan-fruit flesh, thick nectar, sweet leafy herbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and semi-lactic sourness as of light-coloured prunes. All cramped together, messy and one-dimensional. Quite acidic also.
T: lightly effervescent, light bodied, thin and savoury-acidic fruity accompanied with notes of light herbal/spiced tea, hawthorn fruits, prunes, loose-bodied semi-caramely sweetness, faint anise seeds, and lingering thin-bodied sourness as of prunes and prune skins, with a light tannic edge to it. The finish is not possible to separate from the main flavour profile, as the sourness overall quite frankly storms its way through…
M&O: medium level of carbonation, thin-plus bodied, the acidity comes too much at the expense of the balance, and all in all I can’t understand what the flavour profile tries to deliver to me. I suppose really this ale cannot be consumed past its suggested Best Before date?

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Photo of Givemebeer
4.57/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to pint glass. Hooray

A: Burnt orange hazy small head minimal lacing

S: Spices - nutmeg cinnamon clove galore with pumpkin

T: Yes there is pumpkin in here. My pet peeve with pumpkin beers is that many of them seem to be loaded with spices and they forget the pumpkin - this is not one of them. Great pumpkin flavor mixed in with the spices perfectly. The nutmeg and cinnamon are perfectly balanced. The hop bitterness comes in at the end and is very mild but a wonderful balancing component.

M: Medium bodied, smooth, creamy, sweet but not overly sweet. Just nice.

O: My favorite pumpkin beer of the many I tried. I could session this and not get tired of it... Overall, its perfectly crafted and it is a must try.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into pint glass in high elevation Kalispell, Mont.

A- Very thin khaki head with virtually no retention. Orange-brown color with low clarity.

S- Strong pumpkin aroma, molasses. Warm pumpkin pie smell, without any sort of booziness. Very appetizing beer. Sweet and warm.

T- Pumpkin pie. Molasses, pumpkin, spices and warm flavor. Tasty, albeit sort of bland. Not very rich and alcohol is mediocre.

M- Slightly boozy feel, medium bodied. Slightly wet feel.

O- Above average. Nice tasty, aromatic brew.

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Photo of Foam
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got a few single bottles at my local bottle-shop and was floored/amazed at how good it was (and i'm not even a pumpkin beer guy, really.)
I had grabbed 3 other Pumpkin beers to compare and contrast and the Elysian easily was night and day , better than the rest.
Forward to today (Labor Day) I went down to distributor who only sells cases and got a case .
Good balanced malty not too spiced, not too sweet, not too bitter pumpkin ale .
A perfect session ABV of 6% . This seals the deal, for me .

Thumbs up .

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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.

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Photo of BeerWizard
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

To be honest, I had this last year, couldn't get enough of it, and I've been waiting for it to come back for a year. I actually stalked this beer, and used the beerfinder on Elysian's website to track its arrival in CO.

Poured from a bomber into a mason jar (my wife got the Chimay goblet) kinda cloudy, reddish orange with minimal head. The head never really got going in subsequent pours, either. Good looking beer, all the same. Nose was total pumpkin pie, heavy on the nutmeg, but all the other aromas in place. Flavor was in line with that. Bit of a bitter finish, but only very slight. As it warmed I got more alcohol from the flavor, but it still remained balanced by sweetness. Mouthfeel was a little lacking in carbonation, but nice otherwise.

Overall, best one I've had this year, and the best one I've had overall. Have one more bomber I'm going to keep for a few months and see if it melds together a bit more, but happy to finally enjoy this one again.

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Photo of Ds650rida
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked one of these up as a single bottle and I've heard good things about it. Poured bottle into an oversized wine glass. Date on bottle is 20513 (i assume it means february 5th, 2013.)

A: Off-white head was about 1/2 finger thick. Leaves behind little lacing and quickly fizzes away after about 15 seconds. Hazy dark amber when held up to a light.

S: Right off the bat i get strong notes of clove and ginger with a hint of allspice & pumpkin towards the end.

T: Ginger takes over off the bat. Tastes like ginger bread. Not much pumpkin, though i pick up a hint of it at the end and give a slight note of pumpkin pie. However, as the beer warms up, I get a lot more of the pumpkin taste over the spices.

M: I hardly detect hops at all. Very wet finish and the spices cover the pumpkin pie flavor.

O: Beer is very drinkable, in my opinion leaves a little to be desired as far as pumpkin flavor as the spices seem to cover it up throughout. I could sit through 4 or 6 of these and be happy with my choice. But I think if you're looking for that robust presence of pumpkin, there are other choices.

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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 dbossman
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper hue with a 1/2 inch, steady head and beautiful lacing

S: Very pumpkin heavy with subtle ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg, but I like that the pumpkin is at the forefront; some bready toasted cookies--like gingerbread--at the base

T: I really taste pumpkin seeds in the flavors to go along with the pumpkin cookie aromas I was getting; some spice but the pumpkin is the show

F: Medium body; good even mouth feel

O: This, in my book, sets the standard for what a normal, session pumpkin ale should be like--great beer!

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Photo of Neorebel
3.12/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a ruddy amber hue, carbonated, with some minute sediment present. Bubbly head dissipates quickly, leaving no lacing in its wake. The aroma is nice, with sugary malts, graham cracker, nutmeg, pumpkin, and citrusy hops. I find the flavor to be rather straight forward... it's an APA with subtle pumpkin/spice characteristics in the finish. It's a bit watery and thin. I would recommend if you are looking for a good APA based session beer, otherwise, there are far better tasting beers of the pumpkin persuasion...

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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.

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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.

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Photo of magine
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark amber tea like color. Has a white almost yellowish thick fluffy head. Head settles to a nice wisp layer on top that fades after it sits. Good carbonation and nice tight bubbles. Pretty good looking brew.

Brew smells of spice; pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and a subtle malty backbone. Pretty good nose.

Brew is a bit thin and not as malty as I had hoped. Decent flavors albeit muted a bit. Slight pumpkin, and the maltiness is faint as the spices and peppery carbonated taste and feel are in the forefront. Some caramel as well. Brew is crisp and drinks easy and finishes slightly hopped and a little dry. A pretty good brew.

This is a pretty good Pumpkin brew, I am just not tasting much pumpkin. Very drinkable, a decent very sessionable brew though.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pretty typical Pumpkin Ale with a slightly hazy amber body and a thin off-white head that's made up of rather large bubbles.

Aroma: Buttery pumpkin with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The smell immediately brings back memories of October and the fall season. Real close to the smell of cold pumpkin pie. Actually get a touch of pumpkin seed as well. Would give it a higher grade but it actually isn't all that aromatic.

Taste: Matches the aroma in more ways than one. All the flavors are there but they are very subdued which makes sense given the modest 5.9% ABV. Neither the pumpkin flavor or the blend of spices dominates the palate, instead they trade off taking center stage through the finish. A very drinker friendly Pumpkin Ale.

Mouthfeel: Just above thin in body with too much effervescence. Above average drinkability. The spices are subdued enough that they don't become cloying, which happens to be a positive side effect.

Final Thoughts: It may be a little watery and over carbonated but Elysian Night Owl is not by any means a bad beer. It looks great and hits all the right flavor notes. It's slightly low ABV also makes it very approachable in bomber format and I'd highly recommend it to any BMC drinkers as a way to convert them. Would I drink it again? Probably not. It's also not sold in my state.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a healthy amount of yeast at the bottom of the bottle. Good head at pour - eggshell in color and easily 1 finger on a good 12 oz pour. Not much in terms of lacing. Nutmeg and clove present on the nose - slightly sour style. Tastes reveals cinnamon and some bready heartiness.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Elysian Night Owl.

A much-too-vigorous pour yielded a two-inch head and a hell of a lot of floaties. The foam is sitting pretty, for now, audibly crackling away. The particles in the beer are suspended, leading me to have to drink them along the way. Color - pumpkin orange.

Smells like pie spices, some orange-y citrus, and pumpkin flesh. The spicy aroma is strong in the ginger and allspice department. Nothing to write home about, it smells like a carefully-crafted pumpkin ale.

Light pumpkin flavor comes through behind a crisp spice and hop duo of nutmeg, ginger, pine, and citrus. Toasted pumpkin seeds play along with the flavors of the malt, which are equally toasty and lightly grassy. Some very light caramelization in effect, also. Very drinkable with a cleansing and busy carbonation level. The body is smaller than I'd anticipated, which helps bring out some of the other spices (cinnamon and clove) in a delicate manner. Exposes complexity in very small doses and does well when it almost reaches room temperature.

One of my last pumpkin beers of the year, it's about time I got around to this one. Not among my favorite Elysian pumpkins, it's still a satisfying brew for the fall season. I enjoyed this one more than a good handful of other craft interpretations of the style.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: poured a translucent golden orange in color with yellow highlights and a finger of head that left good bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: noticeable grainy aroma upfront in the nose with very light spice notes such as ginger, cinnamon and all spice.

T: the cinnamon, ginger, all spice and clove were a tad more potent on the taste alongside plenty of grainy flavor a touch of pumpkin character a mild citrus notes.

M: the beer was light in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a spice, semi sweet, mildly fruity and crisp finish.

O: not really big on pumpkin flavor and was my least favorite in the pumpkin beer series.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color, a bit chunky, and a small to no white head. In the aroma, big cinnamon and allspice all the way through. In the taste, big spice, quite heavy on the cinnamon, with nutmeg and allspice, and notes of gourd. A spice bite and a medium to lighter body, with a dry over use of cinnamon and ginger in the aftertaste. Overuse of cinnamon and big spice presence, although, just about average.

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Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass; no bottle dating, but was purchased recently. Pours hazy orange amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with nice retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of big authentic pumpkin, clove, allspice, caramel, gingerbread, toast, cinnamon, nutmeg, and light herbal. Fantastic aromas with great strength and balance; this smells like I opened a can of pumpkin puree, very authentic. Taste of big pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, caramel, toast, allspice, clove, and herbal. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, gingerbread, caramel, toast, allspice, nutmeg, clove, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance of flavors with a ton of authentic pumpkin; awesome malt/spice balance; zero cloying flavors on the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly slick and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible Pumpkin ale. Great authentic pumpkin flavor with well balanced spices; extremely smooth to drink. Easily the best I have had in the pumpkin ale style.

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Photo of MDDMD
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-translucent orange amber color with an off-white head and good lacing

S-pumpkin, spice, faint sweetness

T-nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin, slight sourness that compliments the flavor profile nicely

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, tart and crisp

O-I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this beer, not a huge pumpkin fan but the blend of flavors was very tasty. Will definitely drink this again.

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Photo of bcostner1
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pumpkin orange, nice head; great autumnal hues.

S: Awesome...fall spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice) and pumpkin.

T: Top notch pumpkin ale. Follows the nose with very pleasant doses of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, minimal clove (good thing...don't like a lot of clove in my pumpkin ales), pie crust, and pumpkin flesh finish.

M: Easy drinker for sure...has enough body to be satisfying but is definitely not overdone. At 5.9%, no booze present at all. Highly sessionable pumpkin ale in my opinion.

Really enjoyed this one. I put it up there with Schlafly, CCB, and Uinta Oak Jacked as my favorites for the style. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for giving me a bottle of this

Appearance: Hazy, cloudy - burnt orange at its core, with some light orange around the edges - small, off-white head, rapidly fades to nothing except a bubbly ring that actually leaves a few streaks of lacing

Smell: Wet pumpkin flesh - fresh pumpkin guts with some squash - spices come next, with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and some clove - a base of biscuity, lightly toasted malts - some sweetness

Taste: Pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds, squash, and an overall vegetal flavor - lightly sweet, lightly earthy, lightly bitter - nutmeg and ginger seem to be the most prominent spices, with cinnamon next, and then clove - very flavorful spice profile, but not overdone - nicely balanced - nice malts, with toasty biscuits and some spice bread

Mouthfeel: Medium, smooth, minimal carbonation

Overall: A well-rounded pumpkin ale

Lots of pumpkin flavor with a nice spice profile and a good malt base. What else could one want? This didn't particularly blow me away in any category, but it's solid.

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Photo of mooseo
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into goblet.

A - Orange brown in color with a thin bubbly white head.

S - Sweet pumpkin pie crust. Mild fall spices of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg are most prominent.

T - Less sweet than the nose with a strong bready malt backbone. Raw pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg combine to create liquid pumpkin pie crust. The spices are just right - not overwhelming but definitely there to enhance.

M - Extremely smooth, light-medium body. A little thinner than expected with crisp carbonation.

O - A highly drinkable and flavorful pumpkin ale. Not the best example but still very good. Well blended with just the right amount of sweetness/spice ratio.

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Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.
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