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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Pumpkin AleGreat Lakes Pumpkin Ale
BA SCORE
3.86/5
Very Good
71 Ratings
Great Lakes Pumpkin AleGreat Lakes Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
greatlakesbrewing.com

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WVbeergeek on 11-29-2005

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#14,146
Reviews:
25
Ratings:
71
pDev:
9.84%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
20
Gots:
8
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 71 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

While most brewers of pumpkin ales strike early for the Halloween season, this is often to the dismay of the lovers of pumpkin ale who prefers the taste much later in the season, ....say Thanksgiving? ...To accompany all of those desserts, dressings, and spicy foods that define the season? Why not, and I'm on board- let's extend the pumpkin ale season!

Great Lakes' version opens with the quintessential appearance of the style- one that captures the color of orange through a range of amber, gold, and red kilned malts used in its brewing practice. A frothy, and semi-meringue textured head talks the "whipped cream" language. It's medium-firm staying power and soft lacing tells me it's still a worthwhile beer and not a after dinner treat.

At first sniff, the ale offers the pleasantries of caramel (maybe soft praline), but fused with lightly kilned barley, and decorated with the sharp yet restrained spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and peppercorn. With both a delicate tone to dumb down the sweetness and an elevated sense to drive dryness, the beer evokes the sense of drinkability and succulence with its aroma alone.

As the flavors take hold, it's the driving force of dry caramel taste that leads the pack. Though the taste of caramel exudes, it doesn't carry the sugary sweetness that's expected from caramel or praline, but instead a dry malty taste of barley suffices. It's this "grape nuts" character that weaves in honey-ish tones and and paves the way for spices to come. Then there's the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice taste that the nose promises, but does so in the rounded way to imply pumpkin pie! With low bitterness, the beer achieves all of its complexity and balance from the barley malts and the contrasting spices- just like dessert, but at 5+ percent.

Medium bodied, it is temping to read lighter textures into the beer because of the fleeting malt presence of sweetness and the elevated spiciness. It's those spices (and their implied heat), coupled with the firm dryness of malt and medium alcohol presence that the beer registers lighter to the trigemental forces that define weight. It's only the spice astringency that work against it's overall mouthfeel, but with slight effect.

Ok, a lot of big descriptors hit this review. And at first glance, the beer does little to separate from the rigor of adequate pumpkin ales. But as the beer opens up, I see a drier taste and textures that never waiver in variety and layered complexity that remind me of the often dismissed Anchor Our Special Ale of the Christmas Ale varity.

 2,577 characters

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, best before 1/28/2016. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy orange/amber color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, peppercorn, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted biscuit, and herbal/spice earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of pumpkin/spices, dark/bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, peppercorn, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted biscuit, and herbal/spice earthiness. Light-moderate herbal spice/hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, peppercorn, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, and herbal/spice earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of pumpkin/spices, dark/bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from spice/bitterness as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 5.4%. Overall this is a damn nice pumpkin ale. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of pumpkin/spices, dark/bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,713 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

Gotta love Dave's connections. This stuff pours a clear tawny sunset amber topped by a short finger of cream foam. The nose comprises brown sugar, cinnamon, caramel, allspice, nutmeg, and a touch of light cocoa. The taste continues the burst of spices, but things are thinned out, toned down, and washed out with the caramel and toasted rye bread that pervade the proceedings. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a pretty solid pumpkin beer, one of the more drinkable ones, but surprisingly a bit light on the spice when the tongue gets involved.

 641 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.99/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Orange copper amber hue forms a tiny layer of foam leaves behind spots of thin cream colored lacing. Aroma: Spiced up nutmeg, all spice insert other pumpkin pie like tones here, evident malty sweetness really heavy own spice and light on pumpkin tones very mild hop character pretty much overshadowed by the spicing only 15 IBU anyway. Taste: Spices and pumpkin dessert style beer pretty sweet and somewhat sickeningly spiced with a touch of pumpkin gourdiness and lightly toasted mild ale malts no hop character can I detect. Mouthfeel: Medium to light on the body even carbonation just gets a bit cloying toward the end of a pint I would suggest a half pint serving or at least a twelve ounce. Drinkability: Not the best of all pumpkin ales I tried seems like this is only the second year brewing this one and still working out the recipe. Not a session brew that is for sure I wanted to cut it with some Burning River Pale ale just to mellow out the pumpkin pie spices. I appreciate the attempt but I know somebody out there other than Dogfishead can revolutionize this style that seems like you have to offer it between Halloween and Thanksgiving, not true.

 1,173 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Stinger80OH
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of TX-Badger
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz tap pour at Stubby's in a tulip

A - clear golden orange, this pumpkin beer has a short white head that reduces to a ring of white foam while adorning the glass with lace.

S - heavy pumpkin and spice aroma reminiscent of pie filling yet delicate, not rich at the same time. Crisp and clean fall aromatics are very inviting.

T - the unique spiciness brings clove and cinnamon to the forefront with a big earthy hop profile and rich, freshly roasted pumpkin. Natural, not artificial across the board, the smooth malt profile makes this taste wonderful.

M - Crisp and clean, this easy drinking, light-bodied pumpkin beer is fairly well carbonated with a lingering dry spice finish.

O - Great Lakes pumpkin brew has an awesome spice aroma and real pumpkin flavor that's unique due to the earthy hop profile that adds flavor without excess bitterness.

 856 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1 PINT, 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a sad Cleveland Browns pint glass

This beer pours orange in color with a slight haze. It is topped with an inch of off white head that leaves no lacing.

The aroma is pumpkin and mild spices.

Roasted pumpkin taste. It is spiced lightly which lets the pumpkin flavor shine.

Moderate mouthfeel

This is a less spicy and more pumpkin take on a pumpkin ale. It has good flavor and does not overwhelm the palate.

 446 characters

Photo of qcbrewer
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of siege06nd
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BB1313
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a transparent burnt orange with bubbles racing upwards; fluffy white head that fades. Nice color and great clarity. The aromas have hints of clove and cinnamon. Caramel malts and some fresh bread in the mix. The flavors are very earthy. I'm picking up some wood. More spices, but it's far from a spice bomb. It is slightly spicy though. Maybe some black pepper in the mix. Lots of fresh squash. A touch of vanilla. Somewhat unique. Very crisp and clean. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is light with active carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink.

This is a solid pumpkin ale. Nothing too crazy, but remains unique and it's well crafted. Simple and effective. It's just what you'd expect from a pumpkin ale from Great Lakes to be like.

 780 characters

Photo of ffejherb
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Great Lakes on 12/1/08. Served in a 12-oz. glass.

A - Poured a hazy pumpkin orange-tinted color with almost a finger of creamy froth on top. Lacing slide down the sides of the glass. Nice head that retained well and flared up with each swish of the glass.

S - Lots of pumpkin spice up front with a heaping amount of nutmeg and brown sugar. There is also hints of cinnamon and pumpkin meat with a touch of sweet cream.

T - Mix of pumpkin meat, nutmeg and sweet cream in the initial flavor, followed by brown sugar and cinnamon sweetness and a crackery/crusty maltiness in the finish.

M - Medium body with a pretty smooth, creamy texture. Spicy finish with minimal bitterness on the palate.

D - Definitely one of the better pumpkin ales I've had on tap. This one blends the spices and the authentic pumpkin flavor quite well, and throws in ample maltiness and sweetness for good measure.

 905 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Slightly hazy copper with a medium light tan head that reduced to a thin cap and left spotty lace.

S-Bold nutmeg, and clove aroma with a bit of malt sweetness..

T-Spicy upfront with a significant pop from the combination of nutmeg and clove. Underlying sweet caramel malt contributes to good balance.

M-Medium-light to medium body with a crisp, dry finish. Good lasting spicy notes.

D-Nice. Bold without being annoyingly spicy. Does not taste fake at all and the flavours taste very true. This is a very well done pumpkin brew.

 533 characters

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a hazy orange color with a pretty nice creamy colored head. Head leaves some nice lacing down the sides of the glass.

S- Smells of pumpkin spice, nutmeg, brown sugar and cinnamon. Nothing really shocking here.

T- The taste is nothing over the top and pretty solid. Follows the nose very well.

M- Medium body and in carbonation nothing out of the ordinary.

D- I've been wanting to try this one for a while now and it did not disappoint. Easy to drink, well balanced and one of the best out there.

 511 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Iamjeff6
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised to see this on a tap takeover at a local bar in DC. Poured into a snifter glass. Pours a cloudy orange amber with a medium off-white head. Aroma is spiced all the way with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice. Flavor is upfront with a mild pumpkin flavor, nutmeg and clove, then mellows to a spicy dry finish. Glad to have tried this one!

 348 characters

Photo of spark3148857
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of jampics2
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Great Lakes. Served in a pint glass.

What do you drink on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon in early November in Cleveland? I can't think of a better beer than the Great Lakes Pumpkin ale. When discussing the timing of the release of this beer with head brewer Luke Purcell a few years ago, I was impressed by how he sticks to his convictions instead of making a quick buck by jumping on the Halloween bandwagon. Luke really thinks this is a cold weather beer and doesn't want to capitalize on the public's perception that pumpkin beers need to be drank while buying costumes and carving pumpkins. Instead, Great Lakes releases this just days before Halloween so that it will last through mid-November. To me, this nice Pumpkin beer is a bright spot in an otherwise bland and dreary time where the days get shorter, the skies turn grey and the cold weather begins to set in.

The beer itself has a look that could best be described as "murky". It's very hazy and doesn't have the attractive disposition of some other popular pumpkin beers that have more of a caramel colored clear look about them. The color is a mess of orange and yellow, quite drab actually. The head retention is the star of the show, and, in a way, the cloudiness adds to the authenticity but doesn't get my taste buds crying out for a sip. Wonderful lace is left behind, saving this from a more average score.

The smell is full of spice and everything nice. Nutmeg and clove hit the hardest, followed by hints of allspice, ginger and cinnamon. Some pumpkin flesh and modest hops add depth. This is expressive and well balanced without becoming gimmicky.

Each year when I take my first sip of Great Lakes Pumpkin ale, I smile as it's really a comfort-food type beer. Cinnamon dominates the taste much more than the nose. The sweet caramel malt drops out half way through, letting the spices shine in the finish. Brown sugar and some light hops linger in the finish.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with creamy carbonation. The finish is just a touch watery. Overall, I really like how this honest beer stays true to the style without being flashy or overwhelming. Much like Luke's decision to release this when the timing is right, the beer has integrity and that's a rare thing in the crowded market of pumpkin beers with flashy names and overwhelming spice tastes.

 2,358 characters

Photo of Jotora
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 71 ratings
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