…Professional Beer Blog: Review: Pumpkineater, Howe Sound Brewing

Howe Sound Brewing — Squamish, BC, Canada


  • Style:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale
  • Bitterness:  19 IBU
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Special Ingredients:  Roasted pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise
  • Sampled:  1 liter bottle
Description: A high gravity pumpkin ale brewed with barley, fresh roasted pumpkin, hops, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, water and yeast, it is one of the local seasonal favorites.  This beer is produced in very limited quantities each fall as part of the John Mitchell series. — Howe Sound Brewing

Random thoughts:  My friend Tiffany Adamowski, co-owner of 99 Bottles in Federal Way, Washington gave me this bottle to review.  Did I mention she gave it to me two years ago? Embarrassing, but true. I originally planned to profile it as part of my 2011 Great Pumpkin Beer Roundup. So what happened? For the past two fall seasons, I never found the opportune moment to crack open 1 liter of an 8% ABV pumpkin beer. Last weekend, my neighborhood block party provided the perfect opportunity for me to share this beer. 

The tasting:  Amber in color, slightly hazy, with an off-white head that dissipates slowly. Aroma is full of clove, pumpkin pie spice, and a bit of licorice, which I expect comes from the star anise. The taste starts with caramel malt, followed by waves of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Some boozy alcohol emerges in the middle. Surprisingly, two years in the bottle hasn’t tamed it, and it tastes like what you would expect of an 8% ABV beer. Overall hop bitterness is low. Pumpkineater is light bodied and softly carbonated. It finishes lingering spice notes.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good! I want this again!  I was surprised that its body was relatively thin. I expected (and would have preferred) it to be chewier. Regardless, I liked this beer. Most pumpkin beers tend to have a similar pumpkin pie spice profile. The use of clove and star anise gave Pumpkineater an extra layer of complexity that made it unique. Now keep in mind, this is a two-year old bottle (stored in my beer fridge). So how would it taste fresh? I’m not sure. Tiffany, do you want to give me another bottle???

Have you sampled a fresh bottle of Pumpkineater? How did it taste?


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