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Pumpkin Ale

09-13-01It is getting around that time of year to start thinking about Pumpkin Ales. There are a ton commercially out there nowadays but a homebrewer is never satisfied. Last year I made a Pilgrim Porter that had four pounds of pumpkin put into the boil kettle. It was an extract batch with some specialty grains in there, but it was wonderful. To date it is my wife’s favorite beer that I have made. This year I think I’m going to take a different approach.

In the Pilgrim Porter I was more looking for a Thanksgiving beer that was rich in flavor and had some hints of pumpkin pie in there. This year I want to make a stronger beer that has more pumpkin flavor, nice mouthfeel, and most importantly a great aftertaste. Something along the lines of Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale, which happens to be my favorite pumpkin style beer. DFH had the following video on their site about their Pinkin Ale.

YouTube Preview Image

Well what do I take away from this? First are the three ways they add flavor and sugar to this beer; pumpkin meat in the mash, brown sugar in the boil, and spices at the end of the boil. I had already planned on doing the same thing but it is nice to know I was on the right track. The second thing is the color, it is orange and looks like a pumpkin. Something to shoot for. Lastly is that they didn’t want it to be too much like pumpkin pie or spice, but has to have pumpkin flavor.

I’m still working on a recipe, and seeing that pumpkins are not going to be in the stores for a little longer it gives me time to plan out my beer. I’m not sure if I want to add brown sugar or not or something more along the lines of a honey or even no adjuncts at all. I know that I do not want to used canned pumpkin but fresh. I think my spice rack has everything I need in it already but I do need to get some fresh cinnamon. I will get a recipe up here as soon I complete it and I will keep you updated on the progress once it starts.

7 thoughts on “Pumpkin Ale

  1. As for adjuncts, though its a bit expensive I was tossing around the idea of using a little Maple syrup to my Pumpkin Ale to add some more seasonal flavors, but sadly its like $18/quart.
    I was discussing it with my homebrew shop owner and he feels that using canned pumpkin has no real difference’s then using real pumpkin meat. I think using real pumpkin is a lot cooler, but I’ll try to used canned if your using fresh and we could compare the differences.

  2. Hmmm, sounds like a plan Pete. We will have to discuss a recipe becasue I have one formulated and ready to go once I can get my hands on some pumpkin.

    Scott we will make sure to get both of these brews up on the site and compare them asap.

  3. I had no idea that the pumpkin was added in the mash…I kind of always assumed it was added in at least 2 times during the boil. Interesting.

    I just can’t stand pumpkin, pumpkin pie, or pumpkin beer…so i am trying to think of a different fall seasonal. The Bruery offers a sweet potato brew…I’m thinking alon those lines.

  4. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin outside of it in beer and the occasional pumpkin pie if it is made the way I like it but a sweet potato beer sounds interesting.

    You could always go with a spicy porter or something along those lines that would compliment the flavors of the season. That is what I made last year, even though it did have pumpkin in it, the flavor wasn’t very detectable. Let us know what you decide to go with.

  5. So I am starting to brew my Spiced Pumpkin Ale as I type this, haha. I feel that my beer recipe is pretty straight forward and I’ll be experimenting with the different times to be adding pumpkin. For the pumpkin I have 4 lbs in the mash, 2 lbs in the boil (15 min), and 1 lbs in the secondary. Hopefully I can obtain different levels of pumpkin flavor by splitting it up, similar to hops.

    8.5 lbs Marris Otter 3.2L
    1.5 lbs Crystal 10L
    0.5 lbs Special B 140L
    1 oz Goldings 5.75%AA 60 min
    0.5 oz G 20 min
    0.5 oz G 5 min
    Burton Ale Yeast White Labs

    Not sure on the spice additions yet. It’ll have cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.

  6. Hmmmm that sounds tasty. I have a slightly different approach but Marris Otter and Crystal 10L are both on there. I also have some Munich, Wheat, and Biscuit. Also some other adjuncts just for fun. I’m thinking about going with Hallertau for the hops.

    On Friday I will post the full recipe that I am going to go ahead with. Should be interesting.

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