Review: Southern Tier Pumpking

Alright gang, it’s October which means it’s time to review a whole new set of pumpkin beers!

Are you excited? Because over here at the HQ we are estatic!

You can take a quick glance at the beers that we reviewed last year.

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

New Holland Ichabod 

O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Ale

For a brief tutorial, we will be looking at several qualities of the beer:

  • Smell
  • Color
  • Head
  • Taste

Rating the beers in pumpkins :pumpkin:, from 1 to 5, 1 being the poorest and 5 being the best score.

First up is Southern Tier’s Pumpking.  This beer comes highly recommended from just about everyone. The minute you mention pumpkin beers, most people will ask if you’ve had Pumpking.

Since it’s so highly recommended, it’s going to be the beer that kicks off the month!

So let’s see how it did!

Smell: 4/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

It has a strong pumpkin smell to it that immediately hits you as soon as you pour the beer.  There’s another scent in the background and I almost want to say it’s reminiscent of melted butter.  Like the way a graham cracker crust would smell.

You can definitely pick up all the typical spices that are common in pumpkin ales which is a good thing! This is highly desirable and something that you want smell right away.

While the pumpkin and spice smell was spot on, I have to say that graham cracker crust smell was a little distracting in a way.

Color: 3/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Color was good on this beer but I would have liked to see it a bit darker.  It had a slight orange hint to it and for pumpkin ales this is a must. It’s gotta be orange!  The light color is a great indicator of how light of a beer this actually is.

Head: 2/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

Really not much head to speak of, and the little poof that was there didn’t last long at all.  You can tell by the picture that there isn’t much going on.

Taste: 4/5 :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin: :pumpkin:

This is probably one of the more complex pumpkin ales we’ve had in terms of flavor.  There is a lot going on here and I definitely picked up some vanilla in the background as I drank the beer.

The pumpkin flavor is strong along with the typical spices; cinnamon, clove, and allspice.  The spice flavor lasts through out from start to finish.  The vanilla and the caramel/butter notes makes it stand out from other pumpkin ales.

It’s not as beer tasting as most ales.  It is definitely a lot lighter in that regard.  Can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for.  I prefer a more beer taste to my ales.

It’s also on the sweeter side as far as pumpkin ales go.  After sipping this for a while, I found it to become too sweet.  I definitely would not be able to have more than one.

I also had a chance to try this beer on tap which seemed to intensify the sweetness.  One sip was enough for me, I couldn’t drink more than that.  From the bottle, the sweetness builds over time.


The beer was good but not something I would purchase again or specifically seek out.  The flavors and complexity of the beer were solid.  However it being on the lighter side and also being more sweet than I want in a beer, means that I’ll pass it by.

If someone is new to pumpkin ales and likes sweeter things, then this beer is definitely for them!  For those that like a hearty pumpkin ale, this won’t tickle your fancy much.

Have you had Pumpking before? What are your thoughts?

Come back next week to see what else is up for review!


11 thoughts on “Review: Southern Tier Pumpking

  1. One of my favorite pumpkin beers! Though I agree, it can be a bit sweet and cloying if left too long. Awesome review, and I look forward to seeing what else you review this season. :) What else are you planning to review?

  2. ooh I’ve wanted to try Pumpking for so long. It’s not carried here though (and I’m gluten-free now) so no dice. One day Andy will get one! I’ll live vicariously through him.

    I’ve heard Southern Tier makes a creme brulee stout too. I want it!

    • Amanda, they do! It’s seriously intense vanilla stout. It’s pretty sweet and I can only have a little bit of it but trust me when I say that’s plenty. It’s so intense a whole bottle would be way too much.

  3. Nicole says:

    I bought one recently because I had heard good reviews, but upon tasting it, it’s just not for me. I felt bad pouring most of that giant bottle down the drain, but I couldn’t think of what else to do with it. I feel destined to never enjoy a pumpkin beer! I haven’t had much luck with others in the past.

    • Nicole, What didn’t you like about it? You can always bake with the beer! In the event you get another one you don’t like, you can make muffins and quick breads with it.

      • Nicole says:

        I’m not sure I can put a finger on it. Too sweet maybe? Too…pumpkiny? LOL. Yeah, I thought about baking, but if I bake, who’s going to eat it? Not me!

  4. This was the first pumpkin beer I’d actually been able to finish! We visited the Southern Tier tap room outside of Chautauqua, NY recently and really liked a lot of what they had on tap–some interesting things. I looked forward to this, and while I’m not a pumpkin beer convert, I did appreciate that it wasn’t pumpkin-PIE flavored, with heavy spices, the way most seem to be. I tasted a lot of actual pumpkin flavor, and while I wouldn’t drink it regularly, it went really well with a dinner of roasted chicken and root vegetables and didn’t compete with the food.

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