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Former editor in chief of an award winning publication, avid outdoorsman, love hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking, visiting state parks, published writer, avid drinker, certified bartender, beer rater and I ran a bar tending school, and blogger writing under title of the Man Can Critic 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rankings of Oktobertfest Beers and Pumpkin Ales I've Had

This is a list of all the Oktoberfest beers and Pumpkin beers/ales that I have had this year and last. I ranked them and gave short reviews and some longer ones for each of them. Hopefully this helps you find some excellent fall beers.

Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale
I had this beer up at Dorko's in Mount Carmel. I was really looking forward to it because I've always liked Blue Moon. On top of that they are one of the mass produced beers that has a changing variety. This one probably would rank for me between second and third out of the four I had. It had a good taste and some nice spiciness.

Information from Blue Moon

Here as Long as the Leaves Are.
In 1995, we crafted our first autumn seasonal—Pumpkin Ale. At the time, Oktoberfest beers were in high demand. For our version, we wanted to create a beer that was a little different than what was already out there and complemented the season by highlighting the flavors we’ve all grown to love during this time. It was so popular that it became the first nationally available pumpkin ale. Harvest Pumpkin Ale, as it’s called now, is crafted with pumpkin and spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice for a taste you’ll want to fall right into.
Available in 12-oz. bottles, 6-pack, 12-pack, Draft
Ingredients and Profile
Malts: Munich, Caramel
Hops: Hallertau
Our Twist: Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, Allspice
IBUs: 16
Original Gravity: 15ยบ Plato
ABV: 5.7% 
Deep amber-colored ale with brilliant clarity and a rich, white head.
Very complex aroma consisting of malty spice notes.
The taste starts out with assertive malty notes and is quickly balanced with the right amount of harvest spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. There’s a small amount of bitterness to keep the malt sweetness from building up.
A medium-bodied ale with just enough carbonation to balance the rich caramel character.
Finishes with a smooth, clean malt and spice taste. Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and malt gradually fade.
Food Pairing
The flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and the other harvest spices pair well with beef dishes and seasonal soups.
One of our favorite recipes to pair with Blue Moon® Harvest Pumpkin Ale is braised beef short ribs.

Fegley's Brewworks Devious Imperial Pumpkin
I had this and some Weyerbacher that my wife was drinking. She preferred the Weyerbacher and I liked the Fegley's a little better. Fegley's had a higher alcohol and a lighter spiciness and what my wife considered a more caramel flavoring but I felt that it still had a nice mild spice to it.

Information from Fegley's Brewworks

  • Pumpkin Ale
  • 9.0%
  • 1.088
  • August-October; 750 mL and 12 oz bottles; 30L draft
  • Nugget
  • 2-row, Munich, caramel

World Beer Championships

  • Gold Medal Winner - 2011

Amber hued Imperial Pumpkin Ale brewed with real pumpkin and pale, Munich, and caramel malts.
Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice are flawlessly combined with the subtle taste of pumpkin for the most deviously enticing Autumn brew.


Imperial Pumpkin Ale – A fall seasonal that ups the abv to 9% from a standard Pumpkin Ale. Imperial Pumpkin Ales are still typically mild, with a malty backbone that is balanced by the additional alcohol. The spice takes a lead, but is not overwhelming to the natural pumpkin that’s used in the brew.

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
This one was my least favorite even though I still thought it was a pretty good beer just not my favorite out of them all. Also I spilled most of this one along with the fact that it was the last one I had in a series of beers up at Dorko's. I will give an updated review of it next time I have it.

Information from Shock Top website

Our Pumpkin Wheat seasonal offering combines the smooth taste of Shock Top with the flavors of Fall. We start with a traditional Belgian-style wheat ale and then brew with ripe pumpkins and a variety of autumnal spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, for a refreshingly smooth beer that fully captures all the flavors of fall.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
I had only a little of this but I still thought it was pretty darn good. I probably would have had more of it had my wife not snatched it out from under me. She put the kids to sleep before she finished it but made a point that I shouldn't drink it while she was with the kids and then once they were asleep she finished it. So at least for her I would say its fantastic.

Information from Weyerbacher

Like a pyramid for a pharaoh, we set out to make a bold monument for The King of the Pumpkins!
This 8.0% ABV pumpkin ale is the mother of all pumpkin ales. It is heartier, spicier, and more “caramelly” and “pumpkiny” than its faint brethren! We have added lots of pumpkin along with cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of cardamom and clove giving this beer a spicy, full-bodied flavor. This truly is an Imperial Pumpkin Ale.
Perfect finisher on a cool autumn night, or match it up with a slice of pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream. It is available August through November.
I gotten this from the Fridge in Lancaster, PA and as far as Pumpkin Ales go this was pretty decent. Nothing hugely special but an easy to drink beer. For me it ranked just about even with Shocktop.

Information from Smutty Nose Website

Color: pale, hazy gold
Malt BillNorth American 2-Row, Carastan, C-60
Bittering: Cascade
Flavoring: Cascade, Liberty

OtherNatural Pumpkin Puree, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves
Starting Extract 14° PlatoTerminal Extract  2.99° Plato
ABV 5.84%
IBU 35
Recommended Food Pairings
Thanksgiving dinner, braised root vegetables
One of Wine Enthusiast's Top 25 beers of 2009
"More spicy than spiced—this ale from Portsmouth, N.H., is bracing and bitter. Less aromatic than most, with more noticeable hops, it's not an obvious pumpkin beer, but not quite anything else. Who says autumn can't also be refreshing? This is the only pumpkin beer that rightly comes in a six-pack."  Wall Street Journal

Available seasonally in 6-packs, 12-packs and on draft in 1/6 and 1/2 barrel kegs.

Unita Punk'n Harvest Pumpkin Ale
This one would probably be a little bit higher than Shock Top. It had mild pumpkin and spice notes.

Information from Uinta web site


This sessionable pumpkin ale is brewed with fresh pumpkin and seasonal spices.


Malt and hops accented with roasted pumpkin and spices of the season. A subtle hint of vanilla and honey. Punk'n is a wonderful compliment to foods with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove flavors. Try it with roasted turkey, squash or pumpkin ravioli, peach cobbler, or pumpkin cheesecake.





Evil Genius Pumpkinstein
I got this one down in Pine Grove because I heard good stuff about their Trick or Treat and this one was in their variety pack. It didn't have a lot of pumpkin flavor to it but I would still say it was a pretty good think beer.

Information from Evil Genius website


A traditional Pumpkin brown ale spiced with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Rich and soothing aromas will remind you of fall baking, while the clove, cinnamon and nutmeg are balanced by the darker brown malts. A delicious fall monster!

2 Row, Crystal, Chocolate
Pumpkin Patch Variety

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest (reviewed)
This and Lancaster are about equal in my book but drinking this is what made me feel that Flying Dog was a really great beer.

Lancaster Brewing Company Oktoberfest (reviewed)
I like a lot of LBC beers and this one is close to the top of what they make.

Warsteiner Premium Oktoberfest(reviewed)
Warsteiner I would place right around the same level as LBC and Flying Dog

Stoudt's Oktoberfest
Stoudt's I thought this was the best Oktoberfest until I had Sly Fox actually edging out Yuengling just because I am starting to feel bad about always picking local. But this Oktoberfest was absolutely excellent.

Information from Stoudt's

Sam Adams Octoberfest (reviewed)
This is probably my forth favorite because it is easy to get and a great representation of the style.

Sly Fox Oktoberfest
I thought Stoudt's was my new favorite when I had it the other night and then I had Sly Fox and this has to be the best I've had. It makes me feel like I'm in Germany celebrating Oktoberfest. I'm drinking it pretty warm and it is just fantastic. I keep on typing to hold myself back from drinking it all in a matter of seconds.
Information from Sly Fox
This traditional Oktoberfest beer celebrates the arrival of Fall. It is a medium-bodied, smooth and malty brew made with German Vienna malts and German hops.

13.8 OG | 25 IBUs | 5.8% ABV

Availability: Seasonal (Aug / Oct)

Yuengling Oktoberfest (reviewed)
This would be my second favorite only because I feel it unfair to always rate it the best.

Iron Hill Oktoberfest
I got this in a growler and its not a bad Oktoberfest but I think I wait to long on drinking my growlers and they don't taste as great as they do when I sample them. I put this one on the same level as Lancaster Brewing.
Information from Iron Hill website


OG: 1.063   Color: 17   IBU: 26   Alc by Vol: 6.0%
Traditional German festival beer, this full-bodied deep amber lager has a wonderful malty and bready aroma and a firm malt flavor, balanced with mild bitterness and a clean dry finish.


  1. Good comparisons...I'm on a mission to try as many Fall beers as possible right now. Cheers!

    1. I still have some more in my fridge to try. I have a growler of Oktoberfest from Iron Hill that I'm drinking and some Ithica Pumpkin on deck. Then I am planning on refilling at the new Weis Cafe in Pottsville.

  2. I confess. I am one of those guys who makes their own six packs so I can try as many as possible.

    1. I live for that. I picked up most of my stash from friends and at the Fridge in Lancaster.