Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale | Great Lakes Brewery

BA SCORE
81
good
123 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Great Lakes Pumpkin AleGreat Lakes Pumpkin Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery
Ontario, Canada
greatlakesbeer.com

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
In our pursuit to bring you the most flavourful and unique beers possible, we are proud to release this tasty autumn ale. Handcrafted with an assortment of specialty malts and hops, we added a generous amount of pumpkin directly into the brew. Combine this with hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice, and you've got a beer that you won't soon forget. Rich, satisfying and slightly spicy, our seasonal ale goes perfectly with your favourite dessert or traditional feast. But like fall, Pumpkin Ale comes but once a year!

Added by Viggo on 09-29-2007

BEER STATS
Ratings:
123
Reviews:
68
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
14.37%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
14
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 123 |  Reviews: 68
Photo of Mama-Kail
1/5  rDev -71.8%

Photo of kinguy
1.75/5  rDev -50.7%

Photo of kelvarnsen
2.5/5  rDev -29.6%

Photo of allergictomacros
2.58/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Hmm... Orange under the cap is not pumpkin but rust. Bodes poorly? Pours a clear copper with copious off-white head. Kinda loose though.

S - Doesn't smell like much of anything. Kinda raisiny and a hint of pumpkin. Uh... hint of fish sauce. Warms up with some cinnamon and spiciness.

T - Slightly buttery with some apple and pear - harvesty yes, pumpkiny no.

M - Kinda chewy.

D - Alright I guess but I am underwhelmed by the lack of pumpkinyness
in this.

 463 characters

Photo of Luk13
2.59/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle. Pale orange pour with thin white head. Good spicy aroma, cloves, cinnamon and definite pumpkin aromas. Taste is rather mild, still some candycane, spice and a very earthy kind of bitter finale. Watery mouthfeel. Not a fan of pumkins and rather hard to drink.

 266 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
2.61/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this as part of a Pumpkin Ale tasting event. Poured into a nonic glass.

Light copper-golden, a thin, foamy head that recedes after a few moments. Some visible carbonbation.

Nose is pretty dull - pale malts, light hops, only a faint nutmeg, pumpkin scent that I could barely detect - others with me could not.

For a beer that markets itself as a pumpkin ale, where exactly is the pumpkin??? Unlike the noble jack o lantern, which features prominently on your front step or in your window, the pumpkin here chooses instead to hide in the back, only making rare visits as the beer warms up. The spicy flavor is not all that enjoyable either - more tinny and artificial. If this were a well made pale ale with subtle pumpkin notes, this could be excused, but sadly, it is not. Truth be told, I had trouble finishing it.

Mouthfeel is thin, carbonation provides a light sting.

I had been warned about this brew by a few friends, but I thought I'd give it a go, despite having developed a mistrust of Great Lakes LCBO offerings. Comparing this brew to others of the style, and it's not even close.

Poor effort, won't pick up again.

 1,135 characters

Photo of CanuckRover
2.67/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

My first pumpkin ale.

Good looking, halloweeny bottle. Pours, well, orange, or dark amberish if your picky, clear and visible carbonation.

Aroma may have ruined the whole experience for me. Unpleasant sour, macro-lager type smell. I was expecting to smell pumpkin pie, instead I was getting raw pumpkin pulp, not my thing.

In the taste, again I got a cheap lager impression which is not what I was expecting at all, kind of chalky. Bottle promises full flavoured ale with pumpkin, cloves, allspice and cinnamon... I got the cloves but where were the other spices? I was prepared for much more after reading reviews of big pumpkin pie beers. The pumpkin seemed subdued to me, more of a whiff in the finish than anything else. It seemed to me like the malt and the pumpkin just weren't complimentary, they didn't seem to work together. To me it tasted like a Keith's with some pumpkin in the mix.

Mouth feel was, again, not what I expected. I was looking for a big ale with some very mild carbonation. Instead I found it surprisingly thin and carbonated.

Now, as I said, this is the first pumpkin ale I've ever had so maybe I've misunderstood the style. I was expecting a full-flavoured, pumpkin pie spice experience, instead I found a thin beer with a little bit of pumpkin and cloves and not much else. Reading the other reviews, I'll give this one another shot and try some more examples of the style. As it is, I'm not impressed with this one.

 1,454 characters

Photo of Wordslinger
2.75/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of mdaschaf
2.95/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to korguy123 for this one! Poured from a bomber into an Evolution pint glass

A: Pours a clear light orange, lighter than others in this style I have had. Nice one finger head that dissolves into a layer of white bubbles on top of the beer. No lacing.

S: I get some of the typical spices here, but relatively weak. Also get a hint of alcohol.

T:Not much, a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of spice. Dry finish.

M/D: Thinner than expected. Overall not great, on of the weakest pumpkins I have had so far. A pass.

 527 characters

Photo of Damian74
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of korguy123
3.06/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber into DFH Signature Glass.
Part of the Halloween release at the LCBO.

A- Clear rich amber pour, Carbonation is surprisingly light. Two finger white head, lacing is good.

S- Pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. All smells are quite subtle and muted. Very bland as far as pumpkin beers go.

T- Spices and pumpkin almost non-existent. Brown sugar, vanilla with a slight bitter aftertaste.

M- Thin feeling slight carbonation bite.

D- Good, but one bomber is enough for me.

Overall little disappointed in this one. Was expecting more of a pumpkin smell and taste from this one. First year for pumpkin beers, and first year for this one and I have to say this is the weakest out of all the ones I've tried so far.

 721 characters

Photo of MeisterBurger
3.06/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's nitpicking, I'll admit, but I think the orange foil on the cap has the opposite effect of that intended. It doesn't elevate it or add a modicum of elegance, it makes it seem like it's trying to be something it's not. This has a cheesy font and retarded looking baby-faced jack-o'-lantern on it for crying out loud. It'll take more than a bit of tin foil to make that look classy.

Pours a clear, orange-hued golden color with a decent amount of head, a decent amount of retention, and the same could be said about the lacing. Decent. It looks a lot like their Orange Peel Ale, from what I recall.

It smells like faint malt and hops and faint pumpkin pie spice. Very grassy. It has that new carved pumpkin smell.

The taste is about the same, with a very generic, slightly grainy ale with a grassy hop up against a melange of pumpkin pie spices--nutmeg and clove chief amongst them. It's...tangy. The finish has a slightly unpleasant vegetable aspect to it, likely from the pumpkin?

My chief complaint with this beer is the lack of malt sweetness which I think would offset all of the spice and grassiness better. With a sweeter malt, a pinch more spice, and a higher ABV this could be a decadent cold weather warmer. As it is I find myself wanting. Really. Go big or go home. As it is it's an okayish slightly pumpkiny ale almost more suitable for warm weather.

The mouthfeel is kind of thin and lacking.

Conclusion: Needs more malt.

 1,443 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.07/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours bright. Orange to dark golden in colour with no head and mild carbonation.

S - Spices. Lot's of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice. There is a little pumpkin too but the spices dominate for the most part.

T - Spices dominate again. Mild pumpkin with lingering baking spice.

M - Light with little carbonation.

D - Good but not my thing. Too much spice, not enough pumpkin for a pumpkin beer.

 404 characters

Photo of trevorwideman
3.1/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not sure where the "double" in the name comes from, my bottle just says Pumpkin Ale. 650ml bomber poured into a pint glass, sent out by pootz. Thanks buddy!

Pours a crystal-clear light copper colour with a healthy inch of head, some wet lace and medium-high carbonation. Nose is full of sweet malty aroma with tons of spice. I'm mostly getting cloves and allspice, with the cinnamon and nutmeg coming in right after. The whole mix is just a little bubblegum-like.

Taste is much lighter than I was expecting. A bit of zip from the spices, especially the cinnamon. The rest of the flavour comes off a little cheap as the malt profile is extremely generic with hints of veggie. Nothing to report in the way of hops in here besides a light herbal quality. There's a mineral flavour in here as well, which is somewhat welcome. Medium bodied and a bit creamy, cinnamon burns the tongue a bit but isn't really very dry at all. This is drinkable but a bit boring. I'm looking for more of a balls out beer to celebrate Halloween with.

 1,028 characters

Photo of thirstybrother
3.16/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Very nice golden with a touch of amber, or pumpkin. Good head, not much lacing.

S: Maybe my nose is stuffed? No hints of the spices they speak of on the bottle. Maybe some pumpkin, but maybe just because I'm looking for it.

T: This beer isn't terrible, but the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg really seem to be lacking. There are hints, HINTS, of them in the aftertaste, but I shouldn't have to concentrate this hard to find them.

M: Kind of steely. Again, it isn't terrible, but it definitely does not scream pumpkin ale, more like a pale ale with subtle spicy notes.

O: I had this beer last year and recall being very impressed with the spicy/pumpkin flavours. I shared it with a non-craft-beer crowd and they liked it. Guess I should have reviewed it then. I can give GLB the benefit of the doubt, maybe this batch was a rough one. We'll see next year.

 856 characters

Photo of derekrick420
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of shamus
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

We found rust (or is that pumpkin guts) under the cap too. Is this left over from last year I wonder? Not a lot of head. Nothing interesting to smell. tastes like someone dipped a slice of pie in a sleemans ale and let it marinate over night. That being said I am enjoying it. It's definitely a novelty beer. I have had better pumpkin ale before. However this will do for now.

 376 characters

Photo of OneTuffPony
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Look: Light orange. Foamy white head that sticks around for a while.

Smell: Spices. Nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, etc.

Taste: Spices come through on this one (see above). Some caramel and some grassy hops as well. Pumpkin flavour not as strong as one would hope.

Mouthfeel: Light and watery, medium carbonation. Easy drinking.

Overall: My first pumpkin ale ever, so I can't compare it to much else. Not as "pumpkiny" as I thought it would be, but an interesting style to say the least. I'll definitely be trying more beers of this particular style. As far as buying this brew again goes, I'll pass.

 598 characters

Photo of kjyost
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is smack between Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en, and lo and behold, a pumpkin beer at LC. Who would thunk it? May as well give this style a shot...

A: Nothing special here. An amber brew, clear as day, with a fizzy white head that recedes and does not lace. May as well be a pale ale...

S: Intriguing. Light cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of pumpkin underneath it all. Some sweetness later comes into play.

T: Served around 6-8C, and the beer can be best described as muted. Low malt character, no real breadiness in the beer. The spices are there, but just barely. If the body matched the nose it would be better. Too light on every aspect of the taste. Later in a few mouthfuls I think "yup, there's the pumpkin" but by that time I am getting a nasty lingering aftertaste...

(EDIT: Interestingly I left a glass out for 1 hour and it really came around giving a strong taste of roasted pumpkin, but the aftertaste still lingered)

M/D: Easy drinking, actually quite crisp and finishes dry. Could easily have been a poorly made pale ale save the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that sometimes come about.

 1,106 characters

Photo of heebes
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Welcoming in the fall season.
Pours a light gold colour, some head which dissipates quickly. Good amount of carbonation.
The nose is strong, I could smell the beer upon opening. A spice aroma is dominant. Cinnamon and pumpkin also present.
The taste is a little weak, tasting more like an ale than any sort of major flavoured specialty beer. It's a bit sour to begin with the light pumpkin and spice flavour lingering.
Again, light mouthfeel. Watery texture, a little underwealming.
Overall this is a rather average take on the pumpkin ale. I would have preferred a more flavourful and upfront spice taste. For whats available at this point in ON though, it's a great change of pace!

 683 characters

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It pours a clear amber / deep honey colour. Lots of head which dimples and drops at a medium pace, leaving some lacing.

It has a sweet smell, similar to some raspberry wheat ales I've had. A bit of the cinnamon or clove also comes out.

Pretty good taste - a bit of that sharpness or sweetness that I get from some fruit ales or beers with yeast still in the bottle. At first, it tastes like a fairly normal ale, perhaps a bit too fruity for my liking. The middle part of each sip is where the pumpkin comes out, but it's more raw pumpkin / "warmed-up Jack-o-lantern" than it is pumpkin pie, which I expected / was hoping for. The end of each sip, and afterwards, is when the spice comes out. It's the best part of each taste.

It feels OK in the mouth... not too watery; fizzy. But not overly.

As for drinkability, it's alright. One 650ml bottle is enough.

 859 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A neon carrot pigmentation that - especially given the shape of this glass - aptly draws resemblance to a pumpkin. Its tinge is too deep to permit transparency but its complexion is both very clean and clear. A circle of fluffy white traces well defined boundaries around the perimeters but leaves the center bare and outstretched.

For once I actually smell a lot of pumpkin coming out of the aroma of a pumpkin ale. I realize the vegetable (err, fruit) itself doesn't impart much flavour, but there's enough of it in this bouquet that conjures memories of cutting the top from the pumpkin and then pulling out the seeds. It also kind of has that same scent that follows in the days after Halloween, when it comes time to take the pumpkin out for compost.

Alas, there is plenty of spice too (relatively speaking). Alongside the actual pumpkin, Great Lakes reveal the recipe to also include: allspice, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. None of these ingredients are a dead stand-out to my nose. Despite being spicy, I still would have honestly had a tough time confidently identifying any of them outright.

It'd be dishonest of me to say the flavour couldn't use a few more pinches of spice as well. I'm not the biggest fan of overly perfumy beers, but beyond the spice this ale offers little to nothing. The actual issue, however, is with the terrible lack of a good malt base. More malt would greatly improve this beer, all in terms of taste, texture, and body.

I have real problems with the mouthfeel as well. For one, the beer hasn't any body. It is completely flat and this utter lack of carbonation (and lack of bitterness) leaves spices out of check to linger astringently. It is both soapy and metallic. The flavours are stale and off-putting. The aftertaste is drying and leaves a cottony feel in the mouth.

I commend Great Lakes for being a brewery that tries to be experimental and offer new and creative things, especially in this local market. When I first tried their Pumpkin Ale, on cask at the Volo Cask Days 2007, I thought it to be wonderful. Tonight's sample, however, was far from it. Whatever my opinion, there's undoubtedly room to improve for next year's batch.

 2,186 characters

Photo of TheBeeraholic
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of evil_liver
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice silk screened bomber with thick orange foil on the neck.

The pour reveals a slightly hazy orange liquid with slow moving large carbonation bubbles abounding. The head is flash in the pan shortlived and only leaves moderate lacing behind. A strong all spice, nutmeg aroma fills my nostrils upon first sniff. Spices really dominate the nose. The flavor follows suit with lots of powdery nutmeg and other phenolic flavors mixing with cinnamon and other spices. Some vegetal, fiberous flavor is there too, Im guessing this is the pumpkin meat added. Malt is very restrained in the back, providing just some sweetness. Hops are essentially MIA. The mouthfeel is full bodied and cloying with sweet spices. The finish is herbal, like my grandmother's spice cabinet.

This is a decent pumpkin ale, though a little unbalanced. Some more malt depth and hop flavors would go a long way to counter the wall of spices.

 912 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe