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Old 09-08-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default Tell me about pumkin ale

I have never heard of pumpkin ale until I joined HBT. It sounds like it's basically an ale using canned pumpkin as an adjunct. My question is, what does it taste like? Is there an actual BJCP style for pumpkin ale? Are there different variants?

Does it actually taste like pumpkin, or do you add spices so it tastes like pumpkin pie? What hops do you use? When I think pumpkin, I only think of one thing--pumpkin pie and thanksgiving.

Of course I can search for pumpkin ale recipes and get dozens of them. But I want to know a good basic one to start. I can do all-grain BIAB. I think there's still time to brew one before thanksgiving, but maybe I'm thinking about it wrong an there's actually nothing pumpkin-pie like about it.

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Old 09-08-2011, 02:35 PM   #2
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Pumpkin pie is was what you most are looking for. There is little pumpkin flavor added, some commercial brewers do not even use pumpkin. It adds to the body and the color. I am waiting for some fresh pumpkins to hit the stores for mine. I will roast it and then mash it with the rest of the grain bill. I then spice it with five minutes left and a little in the secondary as well. I am going for an amber ale with some sugar and spice addition. There are some great recipes on the site here.

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Old 09-08-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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My family's pumpkin pie recipe is basically cinnamon and cloves. I think it would be important for the cloves to come through or else it would not taste like pumpkin pie to us. I suppose that you can doctor it a bit in the secondary with spices?

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Old 09-08-2011, 02:57 PM   #4
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I've got this rockin' right now: Punk'toberfest!

I've tried making my own spice mixture before and it comes out terribly imbalanced. So this year I'm trying good ol' McCormick's premixed pie spice.

I used the bare minimum of actual pumpkin this year, 1) because it's hard to find, and 2) it'll stick your sparge and 3) it doesn't really bring anything to the table.

Find the right spice mix and you'll be good.

I've made sort of non-descript amber recipes in the past, but this year I'm adding it to my solid Oktoberfest base (amalgam of Edwort and Biermuncher's recipes) fermented cool as I can with Kolsch yeast (no time to lager, I need it kegged by 10/8).

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Old 09-08-2011, 03:12 PM   #5
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Try this beer.. Smooth, slightly sweet, and delicious

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Old 11-04-2011, 11:36 PM   #6
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Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a delicious choice. It has a more pronounced spice flavor, which I love. I had my first Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat the other day. Pretty tasty

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Old 11-04-2011, 11:40 PM   #7
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I'm actually drinking some pumpkin ale now that I made. I loosely followed a recipe I found on here. Its just getting to the drinkable point. At times I think I overspiced it and at times I think its ok. The cinnamon and clove spices dominate. It has very rich body for the gravity and alcohol content, and its orange!

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Old 11-05-2011, 01:19 AM   #8
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I use fresh ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves along with canned pumpkin. I use perhaps a combined tablespoon of spice per 10 gallons @ 5mins. These are potent spices, you really only want a hint of them in your brew.

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Old 11-05-2011, 01:33 AM   #9
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You have to be careful with pumpkin ales, as I either LOVE them or completely hate them, and can't even drink them. I'm not sure what the difference is, but there seems to be some variation in basic recipe that produces two very distinctly different flavors...

I personally love Shipyards Pumpkinhead Ale, a brew from Vermont that you may not have out where you are in Texas, but to me that is a PERFECT pumpkin ale.

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Old 11-05-2011, 01:41 AM   #10
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I would definitely recommend trying to find at least 2 commercial examples before you decide you want to brew one. I wish I had gotten that advice... I brewed a pumpkin ale a few months ago, and it turns out I don't really like it. It turned out well, it's just that the pumpkin has a difficult to describe vegetal flavor that I don't feel belongs in beer. It tastes "bland" though not in a normal way, because the beer has lots of flavors going on. Its almost like the pumpkin sucks away the perception of the other flavors and leaves you tasting only a nutty vegetable-ey off flavor. Not my favorite thing... in fact I'm going to go open one now to revisit and contemplate what it is I don't like about it...

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