Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale | Great Lakes Brewery

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81
good
124 Ratings
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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:
124
Reviews:
68
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
14.37%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
13
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 124 |  Reviews: 68
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange with a white head, and lacey. Spice including moderate pumpkin aroma. The taste is bold and a naturally above average carbonated. Tasty and one of the better pumpkins I have liked, drinkable. Balanced with some bitterness, a tad sweet with cinammon, nutmeg and faint clove, and of course gourd.
Had almost 2 years later on cask at C'est What and it was a very good cask.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear orangey color ale with a small foamy head with no retention and no lacing. Aroma of pumpkin and cinnamon is dominating and well balance. Taste is also dominated by some pumpkin notes with some cinnamon and maybe subtle cloves notes. Full body with some minimal carbonation. Well done overall with some good balance.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Hazy yellow color with off-white head. Aroma has mostly spices associated with pumpkin pie but not really raw pumpkin. Taste has some spiced biscuits, grains and earthy hops with a light bitterness on the finish. Light body, medium carbonation. Overall it's decent but nothing really special.

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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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to a brandy snifter

A - Orage/yellow colour; very light for a pumpkin beer. Small amount of thin white head.

S - Some warm spices up front - specifically cinnamon & nutmeg, along with a nice pumpkin flavour.

T - A nice spice flavour of cinnamon and nutmeg come through initially with a nice pumpkin backbone providing the base for this ale. Somewhat light compared to other pumpkin beers but very enjoyable nonetheless.

M - Light body, lightly carbonated.

D - A nice pumpkin beer. Only complaint is the overly light body.

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Photo of Derek
3.87/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Copper-bronze, off-white head, no retention, slight lacing.

S: Pumpking spice (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon).

T: Ginger, nutmeg, mace, light cinnamon, pumpkin, balanced bitterness.

M: Light to moderate body, dry finish, greater than moderate carbonation.

D: Decent drinker.

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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.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650ml Bottle

Appearance – Slightly hazy dark amber colour with an average size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation visible and there is a faint amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, bread, all spice, pumpkin

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, pumpkin, and some dry hops. There is also a lot of spice taste - all spice.. with a focus on cloves. The beer finishes with a malty spicy aftertaste that linger on the tongue for a while.

Overall – I though the beer was good, but not great. It definitely tasted better as it warmed up in the glass a bit. The taste isn't cloying, but 1 bomber of this stuff was enough for me. I don't think I'd buy this one again.. not this year anyways.

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Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle poured into wheat beer glass oct14 2009

A clear golden orange with lots of big bubbles, a decent off white head with a few minuets worth of retention and lace while it lasted

S I like how I still get what I expect from a pumpkin ale things like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon but it still has the malt and hops you don't get with a lot of pumpkin ales.

T again not overpowering with the spices and pumpkin, I liked this one not as sweet as most pumpkin ales. I like this one its pretty well rounded, lots of flavors but a good amount of each

M its got a little bite going on and it helps its cause, good carbonation helps it out as well

D this is a pretty easy drinking beer on a day like this watching the snow fall outside

tastes more like beer then a lot of pumpkin ales I liked it more then most
thanks to wittaker for this one

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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.

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Photo of Viggo
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at C'est What? Festival of Small Brewers. Not sure what the double is for, not particularly pumpkiny or alcoholic.

Pours a clear orange, thin white head forms, lace spots, settles to a ring around the glass. Smell is pumpkins, clove/allspice, bread, bit of citrus character, caramel, not bad. Taste is similar, sweet malt, some pumpkin, bit of caramel, spices, wheat, weak finish, spicy bitterness unbalances it a bit. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Better of the two pumpkin ale at the fest, but not by much.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another welcome sight to northern Ontario, which rarely sees the gems that southern Ontario LCBO's enjoy. Cheers to peensteen for the hook up!

A - Pours a slightly hazy golder copper colour, finger of head with solid retention and some spotty lacing.

S - Loads of spice on this one; cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg and cloves, hint of earthy pumpkin and caramel and toffee on the finish.

T - Much like the nose with the spices dominating, cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla; the earthy pumpkin is detectable but subdued; the caramel and toffee backbones lingers on the finish alongside some leafy hop notes and spiced up bitterness.

M - Nice and smooth, good carbonation level and finishes wet.

O - A tasty pumpkin ale, though a bit heavy on the spices. A bit more earthy would've bumped it up a notch. I find the lower ABV pumpkin ales can get away with less spice, which can lead to a bit more of an authentic experience. Not to be misinterpreted, I would buy this again and recommend it to others.

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Photo of atone315
3.96/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jrenihan
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours quite a light orange, with two finger widths of white head. Quite clear. Head fades to a small layer that stays quite well. Mild lacing.

Smell contains pumpkin, nutmeg and clove. Stronger on the spices than the pumpkin, but it is all there. A bit of a bready malt scent is present as well.

The flavour is much heavier on the spices than the pumpkin, even moreso than the nose. That being said, the pumpkin is obviously present. Some mild hop bitterness at the finish. A bit of a malty backbone throughout. Pretty good.

Medium bodied, a bit too much carbonation, but not bad. Pleasant but unremarkable.

Overall, an enjoyable beer but nothing to get too excited about. Nice to have if you are a fan of pumpkin ales.

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Photo of leitmotif
3.52/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of kwjd
4.22/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yay for pumpkin beer season! I have been waiting for 10 months for pumpkin beers to come back. It is a shame that we don't just assign another month, say April, to be the mid-year pumpkin month so at least it would be twice a year. Anyways, on with the review...

Pours a deep golden orange with thick white head. As the head dissipates, still leaves a small ring on the top of the beer with spotty lacing around the glass. Smells of beautiful pumpkin pie - nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and other assorted spices. Some hops and bread malt too Flavour has mild bitterness with sweet pumpkin pie. This is my favourite of the Great Lakes seasonals.

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Photo of peensteen
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden amber colour, one finger of white head, no lacing. Smell is bready and spicy, malt, some hop, nutmeg and cinnamon as well as some nutty character. Taste is malty and bready, the pumpkin is fairly subtle, spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, flavours are more pronounced in finish and when swirled around in your mouth. Lightly creamy, medium carbonation, decent feel. This isn't my favourite pumpkin beer but it is a solid effort, a bomber of this is a little big for personal consumption splitting this was a good idea.

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Photo of DaPan
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Damian74
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - nearly clear golden orange, creamy head retained very nicely with random blobs of lacing
S - roasted pumpkin and spice with a leafy hint and lingering booziness
T - big cinnamon and clove spice kick, mild pumpkin, toasty maltiness with some alcohol creeping in
M - light body with a big spice tingle, finishes lightly dry
O - a pumpkin ale dominated by spice, it is definitely tasty although I tend to prefer the style when the pumpkin is more prominent than spice, but still a tasty treat

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber picked up at the LCBO. Leaked all over when I tried to open it... at least the carpet will smell nice.

Pours a slightly hazy deep amber colour, topped with a finger of silky off-white head that lasts for a few minutes before giving up the ghost. A thin film and collar remain on the surface. The aroma is quite nice, with biscuity, nutty malt sweetness, as well as pumpkin and the whole gamut of spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Coalesces to make a nifty pumpkin pie smell.

Pretty tasty stuff. Sweet, biscuity malts, pumpkin and some nutty notes provide the backbone with plenty of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon flavour to add a bit of complexity. Way more spice than pumpkin, which seems like a sin. Medium-light bodied with subtle carbonation. Disappointingly watery for something I assumed would be more of a full-bodied ale, but otherwise tasty.

This is the first pumpkin ale I have ever reviewed, and I would be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't like it. That being said, even as an admitted newcomer to the style, there are some noticeable flaws. None of the flavours are especially intense, and along with the light-ish body this just gives it a bit of a diluted feel. Regardless, it's pleasing enough that I wouldn't shy away from recommending it, and the light, 'polite' nature of the brew makes it a good intro to the style. Something I may pick up next year.

[Updated Sept. 6 2014]

I'd been craving a pumpkin beer, and this one happened to be the first to become available locally this year. I don't think I've had it since 2011, but now that I've had a bunch of other pumpkin ales to compare it to, I figured I'd update its rating. I still don't think this is the best example of the style, but there's nothing all that wrong with it. It's not too spicy, with a nice gourdy flavour in the background and a beautiful aroma. At 5 bucks a bomber, this is a very affordable ale that makes a suitable introduction to the style.

Final Grade: 3.57, a B grade.

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Photo of BigBry
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft pint at C'est What in Toronto.
Slightly hazy, dark amber-brown color with an inch of off-white foam. Good head retention with the slightest amount of lacing.
Has all the smells you want from a pumpkin beer -malty sweetness, pumpkin, and cinnamon spice. Caramel malt taste dominates, all spice, clove, cinnamon. More spiciness than pumpkin
Average carbonation, solid body with out being too sticky sweet. More flavors came through as it warmed up in the glass. A very good example.

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Photo of bobsy
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer at three different time points now, and the character has been slightly different at each tasting. From the tap at the fall festival of beers, it tasted fresh and full of pumpkin. From the bottle, just after release, the spices dominated and the pumpkin lurked in the background. I'll base my comments on a bottle that has been sitting for several months.

A frothy off-white head crowns a radiant orange body. I believe this is what pumpkin beer would look like in a perfect world. The aroma, as expected, was pumpkin pie. The spicing seems more subdued than the previous bottle, so this could be a good sign. That's more like it! The flavours have become very well integrated, and it tastes like sipping on a pumpkin pie. A nicely carbonated pumpkin pie. I'll definitely pick up some more next fall.

Edited to add: tastes excellent on cask.

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Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 124 ratings.
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