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Old 08-11-2009, 04:56 PM   #11
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I vote for sticky for this thread. We will be getting swamped shortly.

The biggest hint I have is to remember that the pumpkin beer will still have all of the characteristics of the base beer style you are brewing. Meaning you have to factor in aging and conditioning time of the underlying beer, plus a little more for the merging/mellowing of any spices if they are too strong.

For example, I brewed my Pumpkin Porter and Ale for Thanksgiving on Labor Day...figuring at 8 weeks, I MIGHT have some ready for Halloween.

But they were still green, so I only brought a couple to my annual Halloween thingy, along with a sampler of commercial pumpkins.

I was somewhat disappointed that I wasn't really enjoying my own beer while passing out candy.

BUT come Turkey Day the beer was fantastic, and was a hit at the holiday. Both beers had mellowed considerably, and were just amazing beers.

And then 2 months later, I discovered another bottle and this had mellowed further.

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When it was green, even though it was carbed, you got a hot alcohol burn, and a really funky sourness from the pumpkin in the back of the throat..and way too much spice, especially the clove....Not undrinkable, but far from wonderful,

The last one was amazing, and sublime; the pumpkin and spice are nicely balanced, somewhat tart against a backbone of a deep rich burnt caramel and toffee note, with even a black coffee hint coming through. Nothing overwhelms, instead they meld together seamlessly.

There's a nice blend of both carbonation and a lingering mouth feel, and a deliciously seductive nose of toffee and cloves.

I would without hesitation pay 9 bucks for a 22 of this if it had the name Rogue, or Stone on it....and it kicked the ass of any pumpkin ales in the stores last October. This beer right now is at it's peak....and it was the last one.
So start brewing it asap if your base beer is going to be 1.060 or above, and is going to contain darker crystal malts. Don't expect this to be a quick turnaround, especially if you are bottle conditioning. Just like any bigger beer, it will need some mellowing time.

I know people who usually brew their pumpkins in early July.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:22 PM   #12
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Thats a great point Revvy. My Pumpkin Scottish Ale took a lot longer to mellow and age than normal. Don't expect to brew a pumpkin beer at the beginning of October and have it drinkable by Halloween!

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:32 PM   #13
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A bit of wisdom from my brew club: If you can smell the spice during the boil, you're losing the flavor of the spice. Add spices at flameout to prevent loss.

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:35 PM   #14
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If you are planning to add canned pumpkin to the boil, I can't stress this enough, but; do not use whole hops. I did, and the combination of pumpkin goop made a huge mess. It was nearly impossible to use my autosiphon after I chilled the wort to rack to my fermenters.

Since I was using carboys for both my beers I couldn't just dump them in like in a bucket. I ended up using a kitchen strainer and a spoon, and every time the strainer got too full of hops and goop, which was about every minute, I had to scoop that mess out into a garbage.

Also, plan on using a secondary and if you are adding pumpkin to secondary, then plan on a tertiery.

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:58 PM   #15
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So does anyone have an opinion on my recipes? The first one is an Oktoberfest and the second is either a dark pale ale or a light amber ale (kind of in the middle).

I can't quite decide which to do, but I generally lean toward simple recipes....

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Old 08-11-2009, 06:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
So does anyone have an opinion on my recipes? The first one is an Oktoberfest and the second is either a dark pale ale or a light amber ale (kind of in the middle).

I can't quite decide which to do, but I generally lean toward simple recipes....
Fun thread, I'll be making a pumpkin beer soon too and am still trying to iron out a recipe. Coincidentally, I also had the idea of decocting the pumpkin in the mash, thinking that I would extract more flavor and body from the pumpkin, though I've not heard of anyone else doing it before you mentioned it. My original idea was also for an oktoberfest-style base, though now my preference is moving towards an amber with a good amount of crystal, some toasty malts and a touch of molasses. So my vote is for your recipe number 2. Maybe if there are enough people, we could have a pumpkin beer swap?
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Maybe if there are enough people, we could have a pumpkin beer swap?
Cool idea. I would be interested in a informal pumpkin comp too.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:55 PM   #18
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I'll be brewing up a "pumpkin" spice ale this coming weekend that is derived from Ken Lenard's recipes Summoned Spirits and Home Run Red Lager, here.

My friend wanted to make an Amber/Red and after having brewed one myself recently, and not necessarily caring much for it, I'd like to split this batch (using the Home Run Red as a base recipe) and spice my half. I'll "wimp out" or play it safe, depending on your perspective, and omit the pumpkin in the mash/boil. At this point, having never brewed a pumpkin ale before, and reading a bit on the subject, it's unclear to me what exactly pumpkin brings to the table, with it stated more often than not that the spices are the real player. Would be great to see a side by side tasting, with pumpkin and without but not so this time.

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Old 08-11-2009, 08:25 PM   #19
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I have a question I hope someone can help me with: what kind of potential SG does canned pumpkin have? I use ProMash to build my recipes, and they don't have canned pumpkin in the malt data base, so I'll have to add it on.

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Old 08-11-2009, 08:38 PM   #20
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I plan on just picking someone's recipe and doing that. I am not a recipe formulator yet. I am leaning towards Edcculus's so far because a heavy Malty pumpkin spiced Ale is what I think of when i think pumpkin beer. Almost pumpkin pie in a glass. When are you all brewing this to be able to drink mid to late october?

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