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 woodychandler
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am running through a backlog of bottles that local trader, tone77, has dropped off for me during the past school year when I just did not have the time to drink all of them.

From the bottle: "Imperial Pumpkin [-] Ale brewed with pumpkin puree and spices"; "We covered our bases on this one - It appeals to fans of Pumpkin Beer and converts those that didn't know they were fans. A bunch of ingredients but none are showboating. After all, nobody likes a show off Enjoy!"

I went with a gentle pour so as not to disturb the lees and as such, I got only wisps for head. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy orangish-amber. Nose smelled strongly of cloves and cinnamon, even a candy-like sweetness, like taffy. Unusual. Mouthfeel was slightly viscous and the taste was very much like pumpkin pie. Really spicy in terms of the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves on the tongue, and coupled with the alcohol heat, this was a beer to be reckoned with! Finish allowed the sweetness of the malt and pumpkin puree to make an appearance. Whew! I liked it, but it is a beer to be reckoned with.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy copper orange with glowing highlights. There is slight lacing after a one-inch, pale orange, rocky head.

This pumpkin ale is quite spicy with a focus on nutmeg and cinnamon.

The pumpkin pie flavors are not overly done. There is no real bitterness, but sweetness is well controlled. There is an odd, lingering metallic aftertaste.

A medium body with smooth texture and modest alcohol. This one is fairly dry with some astringency and light carbonation.

Easily consumed from a Roosterfish pint glass. Being a pumpkin beer, this one could only be considered during the right season. This style is really not my preference, but River Horse seems to have done it well.

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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 vfgccp
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Opaque cranberry ice tea. Thin white head with ok retention and low lace.

S - Mellow cinnamon and a nice, bready malt.

T - Soft malt with backdrop of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin bread. Light woody hop note through the backend.

M - Smooth, medium body. Ok carbonation.

O - Mellow and drinkable. Nice spice note, but low on pumpkin flavor.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to the BA who sent me this one as an extra in a past trade (don't have my spreadsheet at home)! Served from bottle into a Samuel Smith imperial pint. Poured a dark red-orange with a one and a half finger off-white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of pumpkin, spices, cinnamon, ginger, alcohol, and subtle nutmeg. The flavor was of sweet malt, subtle alcohol, pumpkin, cinnamon, subtle nutmeg, and spices. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I have grown to like Pumpkin brews more and more, and this one is a good example of why. The pumpkin definitely dominated the flavor and aroma on this one. While doing so, it brought a nice collection of spices to the game. Very well balanced and tasty. A definite must try for the curious or pumpkin brew fan a-like.

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Photo of DCon
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received a 12 FLUID OUNCE bottle of this in a trade w/ ipaking67. Poured from the light grey & orange labeled bottle w/ "IMPERIAL PUMPKIN ale brewed with Pumpkin Puree and Spices" & a "Pumpkin Horse Head" on the neck of the bottle and cap into my 16oz Dewey's Pizza Pint Glass. Does not have a freshness date the bottle.

Aroma- Has a SUPER strong Pumpkin aroma with tons of sweetness, spice, and ingredient within! Rivals Schlafly's Pumpkin aroma already!

Appearance- Pours a 1.5 finger head that has terrific retention. Has a dark amber/orange body color with no clarity. Leaves thick lacing down the glass.

Flavor- Tons of sweetness, spice, and malt start off the taste. Pumpkin then comes out strongly towards the end and where the bitterness level is medium-high.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium-High Carbonation, Smooth, and leaves awesome amount of pumpkin/spice on the palate.

Overall Impression- Now this one breaks into my top 5 list! Maybe I enjoy these high gravity/Imperial Pumpkin Ales MUCH more but how could you blame me? These ones have the punch of pumpkin and spice while the lower ABV Pumpkin Ales only have sweetness and malt that fill out the entire taste/mouthfeel. I would definitely get your hands on this one if you get a chance! Can't even notice it is a 8.1% brew!

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Photo of mcallister
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber with a tan fizzy head that fades quickly to a foamy topper.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, toffee and hints of caramel and candy corn.

Not a bad pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and squash, good malt character nice and bready with toffee and hints of caramel. Moderate carbonation a bit creamy.

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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 CaptJackHarkness
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Kodiak in Farmingdale N.Y.

This review based on second one brought "neat", first was served in mug that was rim dipped in brown sugar/cinnamon!

Smells like pumpkin pie or butternut squash cake. Body was ruddy orange with tan/beige head. Head lasts, it laces glass well. Tastes of nutmeg and cinnamon with a nice bite to it.

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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 tkepx182
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice Orange, Brown with a cloudy appearance, the head quickly dissipated but left the nice ring around the edge of the beer

S: has a mild mixed smell of barley, hops and pumpkin. it is nice that the hops does not over power the beer.

M: Has a smooth feel line the mouth with the little bit of the thicker feel that comes with Imperial style beers

T: The beer had had a mild pumpkin flavor that has no real hop taste, the spices that are normally in pumpkin beer is absent too making this one of the better pumpkin beers I have have

O: This is an impressive beer that was rather good. One of the better ones that has been a stand out

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I came by this bottle on recommendation by a friend. He is a fan of hops and non-sweet pumpkin ales.

On opening I get a ton of pumpkin out of the neck alone. I really like the orange/brown coloring on this beer.

The flavor is pleasant and subtle. The pumpkin is great with the hops and seasoning.

This is an extremely drinkable beer. I liked this offering by River Horse. It is the first offering by that brewery that I really enjoyed.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In the interest of trying most pumpkin ales that I come across, I was not too afraid to try this one, knowing that I enjoyed their Belgian Tripel. This kinda lived up to my expectations and did not disappoint.

A: Slightly hazy brown with a light tan head around the edges of a tulip.

S: Strong Nutmeg and allspice aroma, light pumpkin presence.

T: Definitely spice forward and I think over "All Spiced" I have seen firsthand how strong All spice can make a beer and although I like it, this Jamaican allspice can go a long way. I think they overdid the allspice. Followed close behind by nutmeg, and only marginally present in flavor is the pumpkin.

M: Light in body and medium carbonation.

O: Pretty well representative of the style, just a little bitter and overspiced for a pumpkin ale IMO.

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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 JohnnyChicago
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip pint. Considering this is from a six-pack and has a different label from the four-packs, I'm guessing its from last year.

A: Pours a dirty light amber with little head and big chunks on the bottom of the glass...hmm...

S: Smells of yeast, old gourd, and a bit of pie spices. Its a little unbalanced.

T: Flavour is actually better than the nose suggests. Its heaviest on the clove and all spice, but there is a solid, non-sweet pumpkin backing that pushed the whole beer through. A kiss of hops in the finish.

D: Pretty smooth for a 9%. Maybe its the age that mellowed it, but the heat is controlled. Mouthfeel is slick.

Overall: Well done pumpkin ale, and the age hasn't significantly hurt this. That being said, this one is just a bit light on actual pumpkin ale flavours. It tastes more like an imperial golden ale with just a hint of pumpkin pie. Not bad, but not as pumpkin-forward as I like.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A reddish copper, with a nice amount of tan foam at the top, that leaves a bit of lacing around the glass.

S- Pumpkin pie, but not very potent of a smell, a bit of spiciness and booze at the tail end.

T- Cinnamon, a bit of spice nothing wild like other pumpkin beers I have had, a nice sweetness, nutmeg.

M- Nice balance of beer, not to much carbonation, not to bad.

O- Not one of my favorite october beers but this one was not to bad.

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

First had: on tap at Leaf, Easton, PA

Poured into a tulip glass, a slightly hazy, burnt orange, with a finger or so of frothy white head that left some nice lacing. Aroma of malty sweetness, with light pumpkin and spices. Taste of caramel, sweet malts, toasted grains, with an adequate, non-overblown infusion of pumpkin pie. I prefer my pumpkin ales to have a big pumpkin and spice flavor, but this was still sufficient. Medium mouthfeel, a little bit of alcohol warmth, and generally drinkable.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into tulip.

Healthy 1F worth of cream colored head that fades to a film over a deep brown-to-orange body. Good lacing.

Lots of clove, cinnamon, and rich banana in the aroma. Very sweet. Almost like a weizenbock with cinnamon added.

Rich and smooth on the palate, with a solid embracement of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove over a sweet potato body, and lightly bittered English hop quality in the finish. Creamy mouthfeel, with just a light carbonation. Extremely drinkable, with well-hidden alcohol.

This one is a must try if you enjoy imperial pumpkin ales - much more drinkable than Pumking, as it's not the least bit cloying.

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Photo of Billolick
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ouncer, w/o freshness info, but with new graphics and 8.1% ABV

Pours hazed darker amber, oatmeal head, stays around for a good while, then turns inot a thicker collar and leaves ample fine lace.

Nose sadly is dominated by alcohol, with the expected pumpkin pie seasonings relagated to the background. Allspice, cinnimmon, vanilla and the crew.

Medium pumpkin notes, more alcohol tinged jabs to the palate, and more spices that make me think of fall and thanksgiving.

This beer is "hot" with alcohol notes and while not undrinkable, its not really all that pleasant, certaintly not easy drinking and not the greatest pumpkin beer out there this season.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Autumn in a glass! (Also the BA pic for this beer is outdated).

Pours a nice orange/amber color with a very slight head which doesn't retain well. Smells slightly spices, nothing noticeable, no strong scents. Taste is out of this world though! Slight gram cracker taste upfront, slightly spicy in the middle, nutmeg, allspice, fall flavors and ends with a popping pumpkin sweetness which quickly resides into a slight beer bitterness. Almost as good as dogfish head punkin.

Very well rounded, well balanced beer, sweet, spicy, and bitter. None of which overwhelm or last long in the mouth either, an awesome autumn drinker!

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Photo of tone77
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy orange/brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is like fresh pumpkin pie. Taste is good, pumpkin, nutmeg, very flavorfull and the alcohol is well hidden. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall this is a beer worth seeking out.

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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 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 MrELovesBeer
4.39/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

River Horse is a brewery I've started sampling with greater regularity these past few months and have enjoyed just about all of their offerings, particularly their unfiltered lager and Triple Horse. So I was quite excited to crack open the Hipp-o-lantern. So:

Pours a lovely, cloudy, ruddy amber with a small white, slightly brownish head that dissipates quickly and minimal lacing.

Smell is a hit of everything fall and pumpkin-y - nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and pumpkin, of course. Sweet as well, almost caramelized sugar.

Flavor mimics the smell. Lots of nutmeg and pumpkin with a little sweetness to balance, turning into a pleasant bitterness and spice that's similar to the spiciness of ginger. Not much carbonation here, especially after the beer warms up a bit. The aftertaste also really starts to linger not entirely pleasantly after it warms up, but that's only really toward the bottom of the glass. All nicely accompanied by some warm alcohol from the 8.1% ABV.

Overall, this is a milder, better balanced Southern Tier Pumpking. In true River Horse fashion, nothing too aggressive here - just a solid addition to the fall beer field.

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