Imperial Pumpkin | Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

50 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pumpkin and spiced bock aged in used oak Korbel brandy barrels. Originally brewed for their 25th Anniversary.

Added by BeerFMAndy on 09-05-2013

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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 246
Photo of KevSal
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've had this for years, can't remember who sent it to me. no better time than now.

poured into a darkness snifter

dark orange hue looks like a pumpkin ale for sure

nose is awesome, brandy pumpkin pie. pumpkin comes through nicely and some pumpkin spice

taste is fantastic! tons of pumpkin and it works fantastic with the brandy barrel, I'm amazed. I've had several ba pumpkin beers but sometimes it's over the top. this is on point

thick bodies with lots of carbonation, coats the tongue nicely

overall I'm impressed, I can't believe I had this guy sitting here for years and I havnt had it yet. highly recommend, I can even vouch this guy taste great even aged, pumpkin still bombards

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

Absolutely delicious. On draft. Poured a dark brownish red color. No head as they filled the beer to the brim of the glass. Strong aromas of nutmeg with a touch cloves. Does not smell like a pumpkin pie but seriously some kind of festive desert. Also light notes of brandy. Upon drinking, taste a ton of nutmeg. Like a liquid desert. The nutmeg comes in, then burnt sugar and maybe nuts. The nutmeg is so prominent yet not so spicy. It finished with brandy with some warmth from the alcohol. While I do not taste pumpkin, this is quiet possibly the best pumpkin beer I tasted.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

One of my favorite breweries from my home state, and one of the better pumpkin beers I've had, but still looking for the holy grail of bottled pumpkin pie. Nose is great, more pumpkin pie spice than squash - which I like. Taste follows though it does not match the nose.

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Photo of Slack
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep Amber to Amber brown, translucent, minimal head and some lacing.

Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, and booze on the nose.

Taste is subtle sweetness, malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and a slight hop and metallic note on the finish.

Mouthful is medium and smooth with low carbonation. Finish is a bit cloying and warming.

Overall this beer is reminiscent of a Schlafly and Alewerks mixed together. It is a great example of a pumpkin beer with ample spice notes but not overpowering. The biggest drawback is the finish note of this beer being a mix of hops and metal tang. That aside, very much enjoyable and drinkable.

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Photo of Tone
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy, bronze color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of nutmeg, slight pumpkin, slight alcohol, sweet malt, hint of hops, and slight pale malt. Fits the style of a Pumpkin Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pumpkin, alcohol, strong spices (nutmeg mostly), strong sweet malt, hint of hop, hint of yeast, and a hint of pale malt. Overall, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of chinchill
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz 2013 bottle served in a snifter. Allowed to warm before serving but still improved with further warming.

Appearance: hazy red-brown body with a somewhat weak head and minimal lacing.

Aroma: spicy and boozy

Flavor: too boozy and too spicy with a rather vegetative contribution presumably from pumpkins. Light+ sweetness.

Feel: smooth but warm. Low carbonation. Medium+ body.

Overall: disappointing selection from a favored brewery. Still, likely to appeal to fans of spicy pumpkin ales.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

UPDATE 10/29/15
Wow. What a difference a vintage makes. Upgrading my 2014 score of 3.60. (See below.) New score: 4.32.

But even that's underselling it. I'm enjoying it even more than a 4.32. (My reluctance to score it higher? Grade inflation. I'm a former college professor.)


Wife and I have eyes-a-poppin' at all the primo flavors here. Last year, the ham-fisted, out of control alcohol heat put the beer in the "interesting, but, yikes" category. The alcohol this year comes as refined, smooth, white-wine/fruity-liquor. Incredibly drinkable for a 9.5% beer. My glass is disappearing so fast, if this weren't such a pleasure I'd be really sad.

Awesome aroma.

Great mouthfeel, a bit creamy with excellent fizz.

Really, though, major complaint: it vanishes in mere moments. We're already cracking our last of the 4-pack.
(9/2014: rating 3.60)
Will I ever find a pumpkin beer I like?

This one got better as it warmed. But the alcohol astringency was just too distracting.

It's also way too sweet. Like a Pumpkin schnapps.

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Photo of Hootie159
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Traditional burnt orange pumpkin look. Thin white head, quickly gone. First hit on the nose is classic pumpkin spicing. Then a nice whiff of the brandy barrel. But if booziness. Alcohol is fairly prevelant. The barrel flavor outweighs the pumpkin and ends up being a bit short. Medium low carbonation. That nice brandy feel. Alcohol adds some sting.

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Photo of BrewThru_29
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

May be my favorite pumpkin beer. The brandy flavor is just perfect with the pumpkin spices and flavors that are present in this beer. I will seek this out every year.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A really nice imperial pumpkin ale with some slight boozy tones. Color is a hazy amber yellow with a 1/2 inch of head that fades to a ring. Smell is excellent ton of all spice, booze, and caramel malt. Taste is very exceptional not much brandy burn with sweet vanilla and cinnamon highlight. Body is creamy and medium body. Worth picking up.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

normally i prefer my pumpkin beers to be a little more subdued, but this has some interesting things going on so it's worth hitting again.

pours a reddish-brown with a slight ring of carbonation. no lacing or real head, but there's just a hint of foam around the edge of the glass.

smell is boozy up front, with vanilla and spice finishing the mix. unlike a lot of pumpkin beers, this doesn't smell like some halloween faerie ruined an entire batch of beer with "pumpkin spice". the brandy really carries this one.

taste is again brandy up front, with vanilla carrying the back end. there's definitely a serious allspice kind of kick to it. finishes with alcohol - whole thing seems pretty hot.

mouthfeel is like brandy and soda, or perhaps drambuie that's been thinned out a bit. light carbonation gives way to a lingering brandy aftertaste.

in terms of pumpkin beers - i don't like it. in terms of barrel-aged beers, i think it's pretty sharp. i think the pumpkin got completely buried by the bourbon and vanilla, but in terms of the specific beer, it's pretty tasty either way. just don't know what the pumpkin really added here.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.67/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A- Looks like the leaves of fall. A deep ruby brown. No head.

S- Lots of pumpkin and cinnamon, allspice. Like thanksgiving. Not picking up a whole lot of brandy.

T- Probably the most complete, well rounded pumpkin ale I have every had. Amazing. I get a little brandy but it's not overpowering.

M- Medium carb and a coating mouthfeel.


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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.94/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice: color is amber, transparent, head is light tan, presenting very thin and dissipating to a ring.

Smell is a blend of booze and pumpkin spice mix; the booze is pleasant and lightly sweet, the spice profile is heavy vanilla, lighter cinnamon and ginger are noticeable.

Taste is very big and bold with a lighter booziness than the aroma; malt is sweet, a good caramel component; brandy shines through afterwards with a warming quality; spices finish it out with a heavy vanilla, with components of cinnamon and maybe ginger/allspice.

Mouthfeel is a bit sharp but as it warms it is subdued with a great strong warming presence, reminds me of the combination of pumpkin desserts and sweeter digestif liqueurs.

Overall, I like this style of pumpkin ale a blend of the spicier ales that is immensely aided by the brandy barrel aging providing depth and strength and a nice mouthfeel

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Photo of flunker24
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Lets see if I can sum this up in one quick paragraph. It has a reddish copper color with a short one finger head that dissipates quickly. There is a slight aroma of the brandy, but its not overpowering that goes along with some ester, spice, and a touch of cinnamon. Once this touches your tongue you feel the brandy hit, then all the other flavors follow: pumpkin, all spice, vanilla, and some caramel. The brandy and barrel linger. A solid feel in the mouth with carbonation to distribute the aforementioned flavors.

A very enjoyable beer that kicks, can't wait to try it in a year a write a review for the next batch.

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Photo of jera1350
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Probably my favorite pumpkin beer now. Liquid pumpkin pie with vanilla, wood, booze and brandy. Looks, smells and tastes the part. Just a really well done pumpkin beer and the brandy barrel is just the cherry on top. So glad to have discovered this one.

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Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting beer, I'm not usually a fan of pumpkin beers these days, but aged in brandy barrels and with vanilla it could be interesting.

Pours a light fizzy bubbly head that fades pretty quickly, this batch apparently being 9.5% so that's typical, little lacing but nice legs, semi hazy cherry red colored beer.

Nose is mixed of good and bad, some mild pumpkin, fake pumpkin and messy gourd earthy notes, with a madeira like steak sauce mess mixed in, and lots of sweet candy things and some alcohol notes with phenols. Mild brandy fruity note, faint pumpkin spices thankfully, with a decent pumpkin pie aroma and toasted grainy malts, a mild vanilla with barrel note, decent biscuit doughy pie crust note as well.

Taste is nice, lots of vanilla out front, vanilla bean and some notes of barrel, with a nice fruity brandy flavor, with whisps of alcohol and some faint phenolic booze notes, and fair sweetness. Then pumpkin pie, light fresh pumpkin and gourd flavors, not really canned or fake pumpkin, but it's light overall, with light spices, a touch of cinnamon and ginger I think, etc. A nice creamy wheat flavor, with toffee and caramel, mild biscuit and doughy flavors almost pumpkin pie crust like flavor again, but not a lot, dark dried fruits with the dark wheats and esters. Finish dries a bit, leaves a bit of a tingly booze, with a mild bitterness, little pumpkin and gourd, light spices and vanilla, and hint of brandy and barrel lingering as well.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, thick and a bit creamy smooth, decent carbonation with small dissolved bubbles.

Overall pretty interesting, some nice notes of brandy and vanilla, spices are light thankfully, decent barrel, decent pumpkin as it didn't taste fake or canned, nice base malt and wheat with biscuit caramel toffee, etc. The nose was just a bit off with that madeira soy BBQ sauce thing, but otherwise pretty nice for a pumpkin beer.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Believe this fall seasonal is a slight tweak to the 25th anniversary. Label describes as Brandy barrel aged with vanilla added. The abv here is 9.5 which is higher than the 25th anniversary incantation.

Copper colored with a thin white outer ring.

Lots of spicing on the nose: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and brown sugar. Vanilla shows up here as well....sweet dessert quality all over this.

Taste follows vanilla ice cream atop fresh pumpkin with all the aforementioned spices mixed in. The barrel lays a drop kick of alcohol heat along the back end that also serves to dry the finish.

A nice, abundantly spiced, and moderately boozy big pumpkin beer.

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Photo of freakspank
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Didn't think I'd give a pumpkin this high of rating but I was very impressed by this Bock. I enjoy many of Lakefront's beers and this one is the best Pumpkin I've had so far. Actually was lucky I got my hands on it cause after talking to the Cellar they did have ONE 4 pack but it was in the back. Tried it while watching some fall football. The brandy really comes out but not overpowering. Almost making the pumpkin spice taste more warm. Very drinkable and ready for a great sit down and relax brew.

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Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%

Appearance: Pours a clear burnt orange with a modest head; splashy lacing lingers behind

Smell: Rich pumpkin pie aromatics with a waft of brandy

Taste: There is solid base of pumpkin flavor with the pie spices building above; vanilla, oak and brandy elements arrive, after the swallow; a bit sweet and boozy, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Bought this on a whim to compare to the Pumpkin Lager and, while I was told that this was a reprise of the 25th anniversary beer, I note that this is an ale while that beer was a lager; anyway, in comparison to its little brother, this shows what using ale yeast can do for the style; certainly, an excellent pumpkin beer and the brandy (while a touch overwrought) really adds a nice aspect

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Photo of Bshaw22
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

One of my favorite pumpkin beers. Good move by Lakefront bringing it back. It actually seems a little boozier this year. Definitely taste the brandy. Bit of pumpkin too. More pie than actual pumpkin.

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Photo of djhowell
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Pumpkin pie and a boozy, warm kick from the brandy barrel aging. I'm glad Lakefront brought this back this year; it's an interesting take on pumpkin beers.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

Once the calendar turned to September, I am willing to drink pumpkin beers. This one hit Madison right after Labor Day so I thought it would be a fun way to kick off pumpkin beer season.

This is the first beer I have had that is brandy barrel aged The smell was of fairly strong brandy which I rather enjoyed. Initially I tasted brandy as well but as it warmed, more pumpkin pie spice came through. The only real negative thing I can say about this beer is that it was a little dry. Don't know if the brandy barrels would do that?

Overall, a really good pumpkin beer.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

A-dark reddish amber color with a smallish cream-colored head and a little lacing

S-caramel malt, pumpkin, spices, vanilla

T-caramel malt, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, Brandy, oak, vanilla, brown sugar

F-medium body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth

O-I really liked what the Brandy did for this beer, subtle but complimentary, wish they made more of this

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Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%

From notes on 10/7/2013

Tried a sample of this at a beerfest in Madison. Thought it was great, probably best I tried at the fest. Nice pumpkin and spice flavors. What really added to it was the subtle brandy flavor brought out by the aging process. Really added a nice sweet finish to it. This is a little rich in flavor though, and I think the sample I had was perfect. Don’t know if I could drink a whole one by myself. Perfect beer to share after a nice meal.

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Photo of alphagnome
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep, reddish mahogany body houses plenty of sediment and is plenty cloudy. No head to speak of, even after a hard pour. Decent legs for being 8%.

Heavy on the allspice... in fact, that's pretty much all I get. A very sweet malt profile houses a hint of nutmeg and even a bit of booze.

Solid pumpkin pie profile, is quite sweet, and plenty boozy. Plenty of spicing from the usual suspects in the style; allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The barrel-aged character shines through with a pleasant sweetness (ALMOST too sweet) and plenty of vanilla and warming alcohol. I highly recommend enjoying this one at a warmer temperature, you'll definitely get more flavor out of this one.

Heavy bodied beer and lightly carbonated. Sweet finish. Easy to drink, but it will warm you up.

A pretty solid pumpkin ale that I definitely enjoyed more the second time I had it. The booziness of this one might turn some off, but it's definitely worth a shot if you're a fan of the style.

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Imperial Pumpkin from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
4.17 out of 5 based on 246 ratings.
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