Hipp-O-Lantern | River Horse Brewing Co.

very good
125 Reviews
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Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co.
New Jersey, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
A festive Ale brewed with pumpkin and molasses. A variety of hand-crushed, whole spices set up an impressive aroma and well balanced taste.

Added by NJpadreFan on 07-18-2010

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Reviews: 125 | Ratings: 418
Photo of womencantsail
2.53/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks for sharing this one, Bobby.

A: The beer pours a cloudy, brownish, amber color with a small, soapy, off-white head.

S: There's a light metallic note to it and some water there as well. Very heavy on the spice/herb notes. There's a ot of cinnamon and nutmeg along with a bit of sage. Some light grass and bready malt.

T: The flavor is almost savory/meaty. A light smoke note, some cardboard, and minimal pumpkin. There is also a moderate spice note, mostly the same ones as detected on the aroma.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation.

O: Not a good aroma or flavor. Pretty bad pumpkin beer.

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Photo of TheBrewo
2.73/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was served from the cask at the Blind Tiger in New York, NY. It arrived in a standard mug. The coloring was darkish, muddy brown, with tawny streaks when given light. There was zero head, despite the room, and no lacing was observed throughout. There was a thick hazy and spotty sediment, while carbonation remained low. The aroma was of funk, must, moss, and butter. The pumpkin, however, came across more as synthetic orange, with a nectary and floral backdrop. With further warmth the pumpkin became more genuine, but it was still sour and a bit vinegary. There was some sweetness of confectioner sugar, with some wood and vanilla frosting to round things out. The taste began with obvious pumpkin meat and seed, with salty malts, a hint of spice, and some apple sweetness. The middle offered cinnamon cider, lighter malts, more milder pumpkin, and light citrus. We finished with more cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. The apple was there, and the beer tasted cidery, but there were actually some hops here at the very end. The aftertaste was more souring and lactic, with cream, barnyard grass, and light booze. The body was medium, and the carbonation was virtually nonexistent. Even with a swirl bubbles could not be produced. There was faint drying of wood, with what is ultimately a light coat. The abv was standard and the drinkability is okay.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the nectary and floral aromas, which helped keep things light. The cidery qualities were nice as well, but the souring was uncalled for. They should have either gone for it completely with the bitters and sours, or not at all. It left a bizarre muddled feel to the flavor. Additionally, the beer was horribly flat, making the mouthfeel none too exciting.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.73/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks, Arne. Shared as part of a pumpkin ale tasting. From notes.

A: Pours a slightly hazy amber-orange body. Low carbonation.

S: Crystal malt is evident, contributing toffee, brown sugar. Nutmeg and cinnamon on the nose, but they're subdued and inexpressive against the heavy, malty body. This reads more like a barleywine with some pumpkin spices than a true pumpkin ale.

T: The spices noted above are found on the taste, but they take a backseat to the all-too-sweet malt presence. Toffee and brown sugar weigh heavily on the palate. There is a lingering bitterness that reveals the presence of hops; this prevents the beer from getting cloying, but it is definitely on the sweet side.

M: Rich, full-bodied. Alcohol is evident; it seems unnecessary and I find it a turn-off in this beer, which already lacks subtlety in the flavor.

D: Not recommended. One of the poorer showings that night.

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Photo of dahlen22
2.87/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Amber with a decent head.

Aroma: Cinn, nutmeg, vanilla, allspice, clove, and faint pumkin

Taste: Same as aroma with a faint hoppiness that is hidden beneath the pumkin pie spices listed above. The alcohol is prevelant on this one.

Overall: Not too good, not too bad. If you are looking for a decent 4-pack of a imperial pumkin, it is worth a try. A bit too bitter up front for the style...pumpkin flavors are weak. I would skip this one and get the Southern Tier Pumking if you truly want to enjoy this style of beer in a tastier, more balanced form.

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Photo of tko741
2.92/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice one-finger, rice colored head greets you in the glass. It all but disappears into the cloudy, amber-earth colored beer. Hard to see any sort of carbonation or lacing. Whiffs are smoky, definitely pumpkiny, with an obvious cinnamon and allspice influence. Upon a sip, there’s a chaotic, if fleeting, dark pumpkin taste, followed by a big, hot hit of alcohol. The beer finishes with distinct suggestions of raisin, plum, cinnamon, and a strong helping of malts; perhaps a little bit of marzipan floats around as well. The brew has a little life to it in its carbonation.

Overall: River Horse seems to have missed the mark with this one. While pumpkin meat and spices do appear in the beer, it’s overpowered by a very malt liquor-like alcohol hotness that is distracting and, honestly, unpleasant.

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Photo of JMWEB2
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours brown/ amber color, nice head.

S: Pumpkin and some light spices, alcohol.

T: Good pumpkin, light spice, caramel malt, boozey as well.

M: Smooth, good drinkability.

O: Pretty good Pumpkin Ale, nice job River Horse nice to have another good brewery in Jersey.

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Photo of 57md
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark and cloudy orange with a half finger of head that dissipates quickly. Toffee is dominant in the nose, but not noticeable in the taste. The taste has a cider flavor up front and really lacks any pumpkin. This is not terribly heavy, but it is not an easy drinking beer either. The alcohol is not overwhelming, but it is present more so than in other imperial pumpkins. I'd recommend several other imperial pumpkins before this one.

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Photo of jwc215
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazed deep orange with a thin tan head that lasts and leaves some laci.ng.

The smell is of light pumpkin spicing with a grainy background.

The taste is of light pumpkin spicing with grainy malt. Alcohol peeks through. It has a sweet-ish mildly spicy finish.

It is pretty smooth despite the noticeable alcohol. It doesn't quite have enough body for an imperial.

The note on the label says "Nobody likes a show-off". Well, mission accomplished there. I don't particularly care for over-spiced beers. If this weren't labelled as an "imperial", and the alcohol cut back a bit I would have been more impressed.

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Photo of Roose13
3.19/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass

A: The look of this beer is awesome. A cloudy brown, pretty hazy. Very thin head.

S: Brown sugar, pumpkin, malty

T: Taste is average. Kinda disappointed in this, expecting good things seeing as RH makes a lot of great beer. Spiced, kinda hoppy.

M: Medium. Lightly carbonated.

Overall: Decent beer overall. Have had plenty of other better pumpkin ales than this. Still pretty solid and I'd definitely drink it again.

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Photo of tigg924
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1 inch head, orange-brown in color, hazy, high carbonation

Smell: rich pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, nutmeg

Taste: rich pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry toasted malt, and a bit of sugary cream at the end

Mouthfeel: sweet with slight bitterness in the background, high carbonation, medium bodied, dry--especially for the style

Overall: An above average to average pumpkin beer and certainly slightly below other imperial pumpkin ales. A good deal of dry malt and cinnamon here. Not bad, but I will look for other pumpkin ales first.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Fall 2014
Not bad, but alcohol is too present and the after taste is harsh; thin feel.
2014 Pumpkin Double Blind Tasting: 1-Sam Adams Fat Jack. 2-Hoppin’ Frog. 3-Fegleys Devious. 4-Weyerbacher. 5-Southern Tier Pumking. 6-Terrapin Pumpkinfest. 7-Long Trail. 8-River Horse. 9-Blue Moon. 10-UFO Pumpkin (harpoon). 11-Sam Adams Pumpkin. 12-Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin. 13-Dogfishhead (shocker) 14-Ichabod."
6th of 12 in Round 1-A of Pumpkin Beer Tasting. Just missed advancement.


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Photo of BeerLover99
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: cloudy rust body, very little head,
no lacing

S: clove, all spice, mild pumpkin

T: all spice, malt, pumpkin, boozy finish

M: med/light body, smooth mouth

O: Love pumpkin beers, not huge fan of this brewery,
but want to support local breweries. Not enough
pumpkin for me and tad too boozy.


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Photo of J30wang
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This tart, tomato-ey taste that leads to a nice rice-y flavor. I imagine this might be the copper flavor from the cans of the pumpkin puree (just imagination, I could totally be wrong lol not all pumpkin purees come from cans). Pumpkin has it's fruity flavors too--it's not all spice. This beer captures that quite well. Drinkable and definitely enjoyable.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours an orange amber with a fluffy two finger white cap. Slow fade with some spider web lacing. Clean and bright body, small bubbles.

The nose is of fresh pumpkin, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon with a good dose of alcohol.

The taste follows the nose. Fleshy pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg off the bat. Allspice and ginger with some booze coming out in the finish.

Medium body, smooth with low carbonation. A bit prickly in the finish. Cinnamon and pumpkin linger.

This is a nice pumpkin ale, but it's not setting and records.

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Photo of russpowell
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle from Timmush, cheers Tim!

Pours a ruddy-hued caramel with a 1 finger deep tan head. A little viscosity to this, above average head retention & lacing

S: Faint metallic notes, squashy notes a touch of cinnamon at the end,

T: Fairly assertive booze mixes with a touch of woody & metallic hops up front, along with s touch of squash & dryness up front, pumpkin pie spice is very restrained.Nutmeg & cinnamon come through as this warms along with hints of gingerbread & molasses. Finishes bready (ginger) & with woody dryness & a more subtle hint of booze

MF: Fairly thick, a touch of booze heat & low carbonation

Interesting, i always think the bigger versions have way more upside. This one may cellar for a few years. Going down great on a fairly cold October afternoon in Okieland. Good to see a decent offering from these guys. Started slow, but came on. My previous encounter was pretty underwhelming

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Photo of cjoc83
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown/burnt orange, lots of haze, about a fingers worth of off-white head that recedes to a frothy layer. Scant lacing.

Smell is pretty standard for a pumpkin ale; clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, but it seems to be lacking something...can't really tell what it is.

Taste is also pretty standard, but again, seems to be lacking. It just doesn't smack of liquid pumpkin pie like some of the better pumpkin beers out there. It almost seems to have a sweet potato pie taste more than pumpkin. Still, relatively tasty. Clove, cinnamon and nutmeg, although they seem subdued. Some caramel malts mix in with the spice.

Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium bodied, good carbonation for the style.

Definitely not the best pumpkin beer I've ever had, but also not bad. Drinkable. But there are definitely better examples of this style out there.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. Batch 006, no info.

Thanks to Thorpe429 for another pumpkin beer! I've never even seen this, awesome!

A - A hippo could easily hide in this murky amber-orange beer. It's next-to impossible to see the steady stream of carbonation feeding the fluffy off-white head. Good retention and some sticky lace left behind.

S - Hmm, I wonder what type of yeast is used in this one as it has a fairly prominent aroma of bubblegum in the nose. It's not bad, just a little disruptive and odd when mixed with the pumpkin and spice. Caramel malt in the background adds a solid base. Later on the spiciness fades out just a bit too much. This needs less hefe aroma, more pumpkin.

T - THERE is the imperial! Tons of alcohol in this one is noticeable right off the bat. It's not overly solvent-like but it's certainly still potent. So potent, in fact, it covers up the pumpkin and spice flavors that are already mild. Lots of sweet caramel and crystal malt though. Yeast is a big part of this brew too, but it doesn't give off that bubblegum flavor found in the nose.

M - Full-bodied and rich but smooth and nicely carbonated, this has some heat to the finish, especially experienced retro-nasally. It's also got a hot mouthfeel like a clear liquor would. Slight spice lingering on the finish. Too hot.

D - It's not exactly a chore to drink but it's certainly much boozier than it needs to be. This one has too much alcohol and not enough of what really counts in a pumpkin beer; pumpkin and spice. There is some room to make this an awesome beer though.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into tulip. no bottled on date.

A: one of the darkest pumpkin beers i have ever seen. i would say this is more of a medium hazed brown than an orange. head is white and frothy. retention is thick and stays. darker, but still a good looking brew.

S: mostly cinnamon. all-spice and ginger too. the aroma definitely lures the ones that are prone to a spicy seasonal drink. reminds me a little of mulled cider.

T: spicy body throughout with a reasonable malt backbone. finish has a linger of allspice but that is about it. not finding much else on the body, which is a bit disappointing.

M: average carbonation on a medium body.

D: definitely doesnt drink like an imperial pumpkin, even if the abv says different. the spice is overwhelmed while the pumpkin flavor doesnt really show its head. ummmm, i say pass.

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Photo of DanJan
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First ever review!

a - A very murky brown-orange. Good carbonation with about a finger and a half of head.

s - Great aroma coming off this beer. You get hit with a lot of spices (nutmeg, all spice, cloves and cinnamon) but the pumpkin smell is definitely there.

t - The spices from the nose are back but are much more subdued. While some may enjoy a more subtle beer I was expecting a bigger hit from the first sip. Pumpkin gets lost in the shuffle between the first spice wave and the alcoholic heat at the end.

m - Hard to describe. Sticks around long enough to enjoy but doesn't feel overly light or overly sticky. Just average.

o - To me this is a fairly standard beer. For people who don't want the artificial pumpkin taste this might be a good bet. I think River Horse does a good job of accurately creating a Pumpkin Ale but it's nothing spectacular.

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Photo of Lordquackingstic
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter on a rainy fall October day bro.

A: Dark muddy brown with a generous white head and significant lacing.

S: Faint pumpkin pie spices, little bit of malt, sort of weak, especially for an imperial.

T: Normal pumpkin pie spices but with a kick of something I can only describe as milk duds.

M: Surprisingly light for being an imperial with no alcohol heat, even though it's 8.1%. Not too sweet.

O: Not really impressed, but it's definitely decent. Very drinkable for the style. Four of these would definitely fuck you up. Worth it if you can find it in singles, though.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hefty and fair take at imperializing a pumpkin ale.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Simple design with fonts resembling hand/drawing over a grey background and orange framing. The neck label has a small drawing of a hippo shaped Jack O'Lantern. Small generic description on the back. Notes 8.1% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a tulip glass.

A -Murky amber-brown pour with a short-lived creamy head, short surface memory other than a fading thin ring with no trace of lacing.

S - Sweet caramel coating spices and pumpkin. Common ranges of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg…

T - Same push with a predominantly malty sweetness over which the pumpkin sense rides with the expected range of spices, clove, nutmeg etc… and a burnt caramel hint here and there.

M - Medium to medium-full body, smooth and a bit too sugary covering the palate.

O - Pleasing take on a double pumpkin ale, maybe missing a bigger profile in the pumpkin to balance the sugary sense.

Notes: Not a bad offering overall but for me a bit too sweet, other than that the balance between pumpkin and spice has a nice rhythm and potential.

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Photo of Kooz
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slightly opaque nut brown with an orange tinge and a tan head that sticks around to the end but doesn't leave any lacing. It's a good looking beer and makes me thirsty.

Spices and pumpkin in the nose. I can smell nutmeg, which also comes through in the taste right from the get go. There's a bit of alcohol in the smell as well, which costs it a bit.

Tastes a touch spicier than I'd prefer, but its good. There's some nice pumpkin flavor and the spices are good, just a little unbalanced.

A slightly acrid taste and less body than I anticipated makes it clear to me that the weakest part of this beer is the mouthfeel. That said, the mouthfeel isn't terrible. It's just no better than average.

Overall, this is a good beer, and you can do much worse, but there are some better options out there so choose carefully.

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Photo of Gmann
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mud puddle brown color with some amber highlights. Fairly small tight head that settles into a light ring. The aroma is primarily of pumpkin pie spices; nutmeg and allspice come to mind with a hint of brown sugar. A rather subdued aroma. The flavor has some noticable pumpkin flavor to it, with the nutmeg and allspice spices. Some solvent notes come through from the ABV, which hinders the nice pumpkin and spice flavors. Kind of a shame. The feel is moderate with fizzy carbonation which gives the beer a nice crisp feel. The ABV is noticable and leaves a little belly burn. A bit sticky in the end. I wanted to like this pumpkin ale but the high abv prevented that from happening. It is not bad, has some nice flavor, but there is just not a need to imperialize this style. Worth a try.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dense caramel-ice tea coloring has a solid 1 finger goldish-tan head that showed some resilence.

S: Spicing is evident upon opening and the pour, strong aroma of cinnamon, sweet cola, honey-caramel sweetness with a soft touch of nutmeg. Pumpkin puree is also prominent.

T: Flavor was strongly spiced, cinnamon, honey-caramel with a alcohol warmth. Pumpkin puree was meaty, but the alcohol seemed a bit much and distracted from the pumpkin aspect of the beer. Toasted grahm with a ginger snap and sweet caramelized brown sugar moment.

M: Snappy carbonation, creamy light to medium substance wise, creamy pumpkin and spicy alcohol warmth.

O: Overall i think the alcohol seems to interfere to much with the pumpkin aspect of the drink. A pumpkin beer should be fun, spicy, enjoyable to drink, while most of that is distracted by the heat of going big. Im all for big alcohol beers, i just dont think a pumpkin beer is a good option where the sweet and spicy nature is muted. Not ideal for multiples, i rather a pumpkin beer i can casually enjoy around a campfire out in the woods, where the campfire will keep me warm not so much alcohol and where the flavor a bit more enjoyable and defined.

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Photo of claspada
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly light to medium orange with a smallish off white head leaving a bit of lacing as it goes down.

Aromas begin with caramel, brown sugar, hints of cream and plenty of pumpkin spices. Some light grass and bready malt, but quite heavy on the spice/herb notes.

The taste follow the nose but with more traditional, non-spice flavors taking the front seat. Nutmeg and cinnamon come through as this warms along with hints of gingerbread and metallic, biting molasses.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. Finish is a bit creamy, but mainly dry due to the spices and higher ABV booziness.

Overall as someone that has had almost every solid example of a pumpkin ale that's ever been brewed. This one is slightly unbalanced, a bit boozy and forgetable overall. Would have better with less ABV and less spice additions probably.

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Hipp-O-Lantern from River Horse Brewing Co.
3.77 out of 5 based on 418 ratings.
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