Freshly married and the wife’s sick in bed with a cold. So naturally, it’s time to do a punkin chunkin’ themed photo shoot, by building a kitchen fueled trebuchet and smashing beer bottles. Thank god for Nyquil, for her sake, and mostly, for mine. As a further aside, do to unforeseen circumstances, Erich is unable to take place in the review process indefinitely. So we’re down to four scores for the next few rounds. If our readership would be interested in amended scores of previous reviews (truncating his scores to give a number based on just four reviewers), let us know, and we will revisit them in the sense of fairness.


Name: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Delaware, USA / Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Beer style / ABV%:  Brown Ale / 7.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Named for Delaware’s famous Punkin’ Chunkin’ events (seriously cool if you’re a late comer to discovery channel this time of year) Dogfish took home first prize for this recipe 6 months before they opened for business in 1994. It’s brewed with the pumpkin meat straight up, organic brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.



Dogfish Head retains their craft brewing credibility with a label that fittingly looks like butcher’s craft paper, it’s simple and direct–just a markings of an outsider up against the polished gloss of the big boys–with a neck label screaming out ‘punk’ to certify their indie reputation as the bad boys of the brew community.   Of course if they really wanted to be punk they’d be photocopying their labels at Kinko’s and then running out without paying the bill. – Tim

A classic Dogfish Head look, this label tells you in a very nominal way (other than text) that this has anything to do with pumpkin anything.  (Volunteer at your local literacy league No one should miss out on this because of minimalist design techniques!) – Brittney

Staying in line with the dogfish catalogue, this bottle is clean and classy, if substantially more subdued looking than other pumpkin ales. The bright orange box on the four pack is a bit more eye grabbing though, and I resist the urge to rip into a Johnny Rotten sneer at the large “Punk” topping the wrapper of the neck. – Mike


Color:  8

The first thing I noticed while pouring this ale was the thick fluffy head it produced.  Then, the rich brown coloring with an amber hue and almost opaque body.  Very exciting! – Rick

A nice golden butterscotch color, beautiful ivory head that didn’t stick around too long to be admired. – Brittney

Pours a striking deep amber with ruby highlights. Slight Opacity and a half-inch cream-coloured head with beautiful long-lasting lacing. – Tim

M – 9 / T – 8 / B – 7 / R – 7.5 /


Aroma: 7.5

A nicely balanced aroma of hops and malts sits firmly decorated with nutmeg and ginger, and perhaps, a dash of burnt pumpkin, insinuating that this brew is focused on the fundamentals without forgetting it is in fact, a holiday special. – Mike

Smells like a roasted pumpkin and baked cinnamon cookies soaked in alcohol with fresh bread notes and the deep malty aroma of molasses. – Tim

Yeast and malt stand out immediately, followed by a touch of our usual spices (although lacking any of the brown sugar mentioned on the label much to my chagrin) and just a bit of pumpkin. – Brittney

M – 7.5 / T – 7.5 / B – 7.5 / R- 8 /


Mouth feel:  7.5

Very nice, infiltrates the mouth with a lively amount of carbonation following through with a medium to full body.  – Brittney

Smooth and creamy, a rich, almost decadent mouth feel, thicker than I expected. It’s complex, it dances across the tongue like a partner that just won’t stop, dragging you back on the floor for another song as it demands another sip. – Tim

Thick and substantially heavy feeling, with a tingle treading on the edge of burn behind the nostrils, that I’m not sure is attributed to the fizziness from the everlasting head, or the slightly elevated ABV. – Mike

M – 5 / T – 8.5 / B – 8 / R – 9 /


Tasting notes:  8

The roast pumpkin I sensed in the head comes to a full frontal here, with a near smokey quality that clouds the spicing into a whirlpool of the senses. While that’s nice in a way, I find it makes the “pumpkin spice” element fairly difficult to define, and leans more on a burnt molasses and bittersweet hop interplay, which certainly makes it nothing to scoff at, but isn’t exactly the idea I have in mind when I’m looking for this sort of beer. – Mike

A very fine ale this is.  It’s a well balanced beer that utilizes all senses to fully enjoy it.   I enjoy the balance of malts and hops underneath the various spices that all come together to make this a great brew!  – Rick

After savoring this beer, I find it remarkable that I’ve never had it before, especially considering Dogfish Head’s reputation.  The mark of quality here is what I’d expect to find in a beer twice this price.  The bitterness of the hops balances perfectly against spices that seem to want to explode at any second. Couple that with a sweetness and depth of the flavor that reminds my of my favorite pastime–sucking on packets of “Sugar in the Raw” and this quickly morphs into one impressive offering. – Tim

M – 6.5 / T – 9 / B – 7.5 / R – 9.5 /


Finish:  7.5

This ale goes down smooth with a slight hoppy bitterness at the end that is very appealing and works well with the pumpkin spices.  I also taste the nutmeg and all spice on the exhale more so than on the tongue. – Rick

This one makes such an impact at introduction that the finish seems a little lacking in staying power, but that’s usually my preference.  We want to desire to come back for another, not continue tasting our beer an hour after it’s finished. – Brittney

Long and almost milky in texture on the end, it seems to go out on pretty much the same note as it swims around the teeth, gently decrescendoing into a sugared pumpkin after taste, and thereby lingering quite awhile. – Mike

M – 6 / T – 8 / B – 7.5 / R- 8 /


Flavor balance: 7

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

A little heavy on spice here.  The real pumpkin seems to get lost in the allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg as well as the strength of the ale itself. – Brittney

Tasty as she may be, I’ve got quite a bit less spice in here than I’d prefer, and while the subtlety may be appreciated by some, I get a more brown sugar ale, than pumpkin spice. – Mike

M – 3.5 / T – 8.5 / B – 6 / R – 7 /

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

Someone out there might think this is sweet, Dogfish Head themselves claim brown sugar right on the label.  But for me this marks a near perfect blend of sweetness on the palate and dryness on the finish. – Tim

It has a nice sweetness to it, but I feel the hops work really well here to keep it a bit dry. – Rick

If I had to describe this in three words it would be “Sweet Brown Ale”. While not explicitly overbearing in any way, this reminds me more of a pumpkin pancake, than of pie. – Mike

M – 4 / T – 9 / B – 7 / R – 8.5 /

–         Multiple Drinkability?

This beer is solid.  It isn’t knocking my knee-highs off but it is very enjoyable.  I could drink a few of these no problem. – Brittney

A normal fan of Dogfish brews, I certainly wouldn’t poo poo this beer. It’s inoffensive, and holds together nicely as a beer, and even as a bit of an autumn offering. But it’s more of a mood than a ‘tude, and anything sporting punk in the name should have a little more sass. Still, 3-4 of these and you’d be lit like a jack o’lantern, without much regret. – Mike

I’m afraid after having just this one, that I could put a 6-pack of this away in a heartbeat.  I’m sure it would wear on me in the end, as it’s a pretty bold offering and the 7% ABV would catch up pretty quick.  But, as good as this is, I’m willing to take that risk. – Tim

M – 6.5 / T – 8.5 / B – 8 / R – 8.5 /


Overall: 7.58

M – 6.42 / T – 8.25 / B – 7.42 / R – 8.33 /