Saturday, October 12, 2013


Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, a Pumpkin Ale by Elysian Brewing Company.

12 ounce bottle served in Sam Adams glass.

5.9% alcohol by volume.


2013 tasting notes

The color of the body is lightly hazy orange to orange-yellow on the pour, accompanied by a thin bright-white head. There are also a lot of light streams of bubbles.

The nose is pumpkin pie, plain and simple—crust, flesh, spices.

The taste is the same—pumpkin pie. It really is pumpkin pie in a bottle. The flavors are well-balanced and work together—once again: crust, flesh, spices.

The mouthfeel is medium. I wish it were a bit heavier, but that is my only complaint, and it is a minor one.

If I had to sum up this pumpkin ale in one word, it would be "Awesome!"

I recommended it if you like pumpkin pie.


2010 tasting notes

Clear orange body. This white head. Light streams of bubbles.

Nose is pumpkin and spice, cloves.

Flavors are pumpkin and spices—allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger.

There is some creaminess on the finish.

Pumpkin pie in a bottle.

Excellent stuff.

This is a beer that is complete "truth in advertising"—read the label and drink what you read there.


2007 RateBeer review, based on 2007 tasting notes

22 ounce bottle. The pour is a mostly opaque orange ale, with a thin white head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is a rich earthiness bolstered by the smell of pumpkin flesh and whiffs of spices—perhaps cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I drank this cold, fresh from the refrigerator. The flavors were from most to least intense: earthiness, pumpkin, dark green vegetation (spinach, collard greens), and light spices. Initially, the flavors didn’t seem to work for me. However, I really enjoyed the mouthfeel. The ale sat heavy on my palate and tongue in a good, solid way. As the ale warmed, more flavors became apparent and the previous flavors became more balanced. A touch of carmel was apparent, which worked well with the earthiness and pumpkin flavors. The spices, although still subtle, came to the forefront a little bit and worked very well with the flavor of the dark greens. My previous experience with pumpkin ale has been Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale, which I definitely enjoy, even though it is a little over-the-top in sweetness. Elysian’s Night Owl is even better, especially since it is more restrained and complex. I recommend it, but after warming for a few minutes, in order to fully appreciate its flavors.


I find it interesting to see how this beer, and, perhaps more importantly, my relationship to it, has changed (or not) over the past six years. Six years ago, I was still able to drink Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale; now I cannot because my tastes have evolved. But I can still enjoy a Night Owl because it truly is one of my favorite pumpkin ales, being well-balanced in flavor and complexity, as well as being "pumpkin pie in a bottle."

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