Pumpkin Death Imperial Stout

Review Date 2/8/2021   By John Staradumsky

Here’s a beer that’s a little different from the pack: Berryessa Pumpkin Death Imperial Stout. How is it different? Berryessa Pumpkin Death eschews the normal pumpkin pie spice so prevalent in American pumpkin ales today, and just goes for the pumpkin jugular. Hey, they do call it Pumpkin Death after all.

Pumpkin ales are the real and true original American beer. They were brewed in colonial times as a fermentable to make up for the dearth of barley. They would not, however, have been brewed with pumpkin pie spices. Speaking of those, they are the predominant flavor in modern pumpkin pie. The pumpkin itself adds texture and a bit of flavor, but the spices do most of the work.

That made Berryessa Pumpkin Death Imperial Stout very intriguing to me when I saw it at Craftsahck.com, so of course I ordered a can. Berryessa, of Winters, California, says this about the beer:

Pumpkin Death is an Imperial Stout brewed every Halloween with 300 lbs of locally grown pumpkins. Roasted and smoked over bourbon barrel staves resulting in a rich creamy stout with hints of pumpkin, bourbon and a slight nuttiness with a smoky chocolate malt finish. The best part? Zero pumpkin spice. Zilch.

Berryessa Pumpkin Death Imperial Stout has an alcohol content of 9% by volume, and I paid $5.39 for my can from Craftshack. Total Wine sells it for $15.99 a 4-pack of pint cans (but not in Georgia). My can is marked as CANNED 11/18/20.

Berryessa Pumpkin Death Imperial Stout pours to a jet-black color with a thick creamy tan head and a subtle roast and pumpkin nose. Taking a sip, the beer is rich roasty up front with chocolate and deep-seated licorice notes. There are squashy, gourdy pumpkin notes underneath the chocolate, and they are vegetal and even a tad sour and contrast wonderfully against the chocolaty stout. I like it more with every sip.

I’m not exactly getting pumpkin death here, but the beer is darned pumpkin tasty. I would absolutely buy it again.  

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned