The Royal Pumpkin

Brewery and Country of Origin: Southern Tier Brewing Company of 2072 Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, NY, 14750, USA

Date Reviewed: 11-27-13

It's that time of year again. It's time we gear up for congested roads, food comas, bad weather, football, and of course, following a day of being thankful for everything we have, with a day of trampling others in Wal-Mart and camping out in front of Best Buy for everything we want. Time for turkey. Time for pumpkins. To this point in the fall, it seems like everyone and their grandma is turning every conceivable thing into Pumpkin something. Pumpkin Ales (like this one from Southern Tier), trendy pumpkin flavored coffee beverages, pumpkin candy, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, and of course everyone's favorite, pumpkin air fresheners for your car. But there's one pumpkin related food that everyone thinks of this time of year. Pumpkin Pie. The dessert of choice for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The idea of using pumpkin as filler for pies originates from England during the 1600s, and did not appear in American cuisine until the early 1800s, having been brought over by early pilgrims and served at early Thanksgivings. By its name alone, one can deduce that the main ingredient of this pie is pumpkin. More specifically, pumpkin pie combines the pulp of a pumpkin with egg, condensed milk, and seasonal spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), all baked in a traditional crust. Usually canned pumpkin or the pulp of a 6-8 inch pumpkin (both about 1 lb) is used for the pie, but in 2010, a record holding 20 foot diameter pumpkin pie made in New Bremen, Ohio used 1,212 lbs of pumpkin. So you could technically say that while there are pumpkin ales and then there are imperial pumpkin ales, you can also say that there are pumpkin pies... and, well... larger pumpkin pies.
Date Sampled: 9-21-13 At: Jacob Wirth German Restaurant, 31 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116, USA
Beer Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 8.60%
Serving Type: Keg, 12 oz Narrow Snifter Glass
Rating: 3.89


Southern Tier's Pumking pours smoothly with a below average amount of carbonation action, producing a half inch tall foam hdead with a medium density, a low retention, and a white color. This beer shows off a good amount of lacing and contains no visible sediment. The appearance is filtered with a clear, deep amber shine with an average amount of effervescent effect. This beer glows brightly in the light.


This Imperial pumpkin ale's aroma is as you would expect. Full of pumpkin notes containing a good amount of sweetness, medium roasted malt like richness and a noticeable amount of spice, especially cinnamon and nutmeg. The aroma has a medium strength, and is akin to pumpkin pie. There is no real presence of hops. The secondary contains a bit of cookie or biscuit and sweet ginger like notes. The aroma doesn't include any alcohol tinge despite a moderately high alcohol strength.


This is a medium light bodied brew which is somewhat easy to drink, has an average weight, and a medium viscosity. This beer has a pretty dry finish with a good amount of trailing alcohol warming. There is a moderate level of carbonation, and a low amount of crispness. This beer does not offer much refreshment, and has a smoother texture than most overall.


Strong sweet malty and pumpkin notes augmented with spicy cinnamon and nutmeg secondaries overwhelm the palate with bold ingredients and robust roasted sweet malt. This beer contains a good amount of sweet bread or biscuity notes as well as a fairly noticeable earthy tone. There are no hints of fruity notes, and the flavor does not contain any real hoppy bitterness or alcoholic tinge. The average lingering aftertaste contains a dryness accompanied with sweet malt.

Our Take

As with most imperial and double beers, expect a strong and robust overall experience that includes a good amount of noticeable alcohol warming, good for this time of year. This beer delivers on the promise of a full pumpkin experience, with a harvest fall aroma and a taste akin to pumpkin pie per se. We wouldn't recommend this as your first pumpkin beer (as the strong flavors may put off most first timers - we'd actually suggest Pumpkinhead instead), but any seasoned pumpkin fan should fall in love with this strong ale from New York's Southern Tier. Of course, this is a beverage we'd suggest you pair with any thanksgiving or christmas foods - any pies, fruits, roasted veggies, and of course, poultry (especially turkey and duck). By itself, this is a beer with a lighter presence only in its mouthfeel. This is expectedly aromatic and flavorful, and should be on your list of to try seasonals before its production run ends soon.