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Old 09-04-2011, 11:01 PM   #11
onipar
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Jaylove,

Thanks for sharing. Great info all around, and no, I don't feel you're stealing my thunder or anything like that.

Out of curiosity, are you brewing my recipe exactly except for the spice amounts? I actually do like your spice measurements. I used mostly fresh ground spices except for the couple pumpkin pie spice "top-offs" which I mainly added to ensure I hit the correct pie spice flavor.

Are you planning on doing a secondary spice tea only if you taste and feel it necessary? In other words, did you choose the boil amounts hoping to hit the exact flavor you want without the use of a secondary spice tea?

Oh, and I am so jealous that you get to use fresh pumpkin. I guess that's the benefit to brewing this a little later in the season: there are pumpkins around! I'm thinking of baking/pureeing fresh pumpkin this fall and freezing it for use next year.

And finally, good sir. I wonder if you'd be interested in a swap: a bottle or two of your version for a bottle or two of mine? I don't expect mine to be conditioned for at least another 5-6 weeks, but if you're interested we can set up a swap to see how our different versions come.

Thanks for posting, and good luck with the brew day.

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Old 09-09-2011, 02:59 AM   #12
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Hi onipar,

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I actually had to use canned pumpkin for this batch. I had fresh pumpkin for the previous one. To your questions:

Differences From Your Recipe:
- Used same grain bill, hops and schedule. As I said before, your recipe really captured several elements from my favorite pumpkin beer recipes that I was looking at so I thought I'd go with it.
- Increased spices in the boil and added ginger and cloves (I didn't want to use "pumpkin pie spice" because the ingredients tend to vary greatly - but pumpkin pie spices tend to incorporate ginger and cloves, which you had left off).
- Used Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast, which some sites note is comparable to WLP002 English
- May add a spice tea, lactose, vanilla beans, more pumpkin during secondary or bottling if it seems to warrant it. Yes, I prefer to nail down the flavor profile in the initial brewing, if possible, but I'm open to refining later as needed. I wonder if you find that adding ingredients in stages really does layer flavors.

That's really it... Really similar.

Brew Day Notes / Differences From onipar:
- Baked the pumpkin puree on a cookie @ 350-degrees for 60-mins but it wasn't very caramelized. So I broiled in on low for 15-mins more and it looked great - like the top of a pumpkin pie.
- After the partial mash, ended up with 2.75-gallons wort. Very orangy and sweet.
- The 15oz of pumpkin I added at 60mins in the boil ended up boiling right into the wort through the grain bag...
- Making matters worse, I forgot to add a clarifier in the boil.
- Fermentation began about 3-hours after pitching and seems to be almost finished after 3 days. It's very cloudy in there with a lot of trub... But it smelled like a pumpkin pie and my wife says it tasted like a nice pumpkin pie batter with the crust added in -- that's promising, but I've been disappointed by then end results before...
- Hit my SG of 1.057 perfectly.

I'm thinking I'll add a claifier solution during secondary - it'll definitely need it.

I have several weeks to go myself, but I'd be happy to swap bottles with you, onipar - if things don't go terribly wrong in the end, that is. I think it's legal to ship alcohol from Washington State. I'd be interesting to see how each of us did on this - and hope I don't embarrass myself too much.

I'll be able to do a taste test soon enough and see how it's going.

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Old 09-09-2011, 06:01 PM   #13
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Jaylove,

Awesome! Yeah, it sounds like you brewed this really close to mine. The only differences really are the spices and the yeast (and if you add anything later).

You asked, "I wonder if you find that adding ingredients in stages really does layer flavors."

Wellllll, in theory, yes. In actually practice, I don't know. I'm thinking of the spices in the same way we think of hops. Boiling them for 5 minutes is going to bring out a different flavor than steeping them in hot water and adding them to primary (in theory). I guess I was also thinking that adding aromatics closer to bottling would add a good aroma that might be lost quicker from the spices if they are only boiled.

Similarly (and you may have read this article in your research too), I read about some brewers who actually boil some cinnamon for the 60 minutes because it will add bitterness when in the boil that long.

Thanks for the brew notes too. I actually didn't use a grain bag in the boil, but I did strain the chilled wort through a grain bag. i think a got a good amount of pumpkin out, but like I said in a previous post, there was a good .5 gallons of loss due to trub. I *may* increase amount to make a 5.5 wort in the future, but I don't know if I'll bother.

Looking forward to your tasting notes and such. We'll hold onto the swap idea until sometime in October when we both have conditioned bottles.

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Old 09-18-2011, 02:42 AM   #14
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Hello onipar,

I just racked to tertiary today - only racked three times to clear out all that pumpkin trub.

But initial fermentation wrapped up within three days. Did a taste test and the beer tasted thin - limited spice flavor, low pumpkin flavor and almost no aroma but a nice mild bready quality --- I was pretty disappointed.

I wanted to rack to tertiary after a week so... [Fast-forward to a week later] My wife and I had a Southern Tier Pumpking beer last night for inspiration of the possible additions that could be made to this current brew. That Pumpking beer is terrific - very spice flavor and aroma forward and it has a lot of character. The smell alone was rich and mouthwatering and it tasted like pumpkin pie batter made into beer - very bold and pronounced and delicious.

Tasting that made me realize that I could really step up the spice additions to much higher degree. So I ended up making a 4oz lactose solution to bring up the sweetness/creaminess/mouthfeel and added an 8oz spice tea using the same proportions to what I had added during the initial brew day. The result is much better and could, I believe, use even more spices. I'll probably be adding more spices at bottling.

At least the clarity of the beer has improved, but I'm losing a lot in the racking process. Note: I skipped adding any vanilla. I took a small taster from the fermentor and tried out tiny additions of spices and a high-quality vanilla extract and it just overpowered the flavors so I decided not to use vanilla at all.

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Old 09-18-2011, 02:46 PM   #15
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Hey, thanks for the updates, Jaylove.

I'm actually *really* surprised about the mouth feel and pumpkin flavor. When I tasted mine at bottling, it had a really nice, full body (I'd even say almost syrupy), and an upfront pumpkin flavor. The first thing I taste is pumpkin in fact.

The spices, yeah, I can see those being too little for you. I was going for the lower end of spice flavor, enough to be present and enjoyable, but not so much that that's all I would taste. But then, I think the spice amounts are really a personal taste sort of thing. personally, I thought it was spot on with my initial spice plus the spice tea (for my taste).

I am really sorry you're disappointed in the brew so far. Hopefully your additions will kick it up to what you're looking for. Also, hopefully after bottle conditioning, it will be right where you want it to be.

So how much total spice have you added at this point?

Funny thing, I just bought a few 4-packs of Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale to have something to compare mine to later on, and I was surprised to find a lot of the tasting notes from my ale to match up with what I tasted in the DFH beer.

Not a clone *at all* (DFH has more bitter notes, higher alcohol, and more prominent allspice), but I was at least glad to see my beer was tasting like a pumpkin ale.

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Old 10-01-2011, 10:09 PM   #16
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Tasting Notes:

1001111743.jpg

After 4 weeks in the bottle, I chilled a single bottle for 5 days and tasted with my brother and his fiance.

The color is a deeper orange-brown than the initial samples, and it also came out cloudy. Not really sure why because the samples were all crystal clear, and even in the bottle it looks clear. Could be chill haze? Either way, I don't much mind. I'll bet it was my ineffective chilling of the wort (not getting a good cold break to get rid of proteins).

The aroma is sweet pumpkin and spices, nutmeg and cinnamon forward.

Both my brother and his fiance said they didn't taste the pumpkin, but I disagree. I actually feel it's one of the more prominent flavor notes. Of course either they could be confusing pumpkin for spices, or I could be confusing spices for pumpkin.

The spice notes are absolutely perfect for my taste. They come in strong through the middle, but the beer finishes clean without much aftertaste of the spices. The body is medium. Sweetness is there, but not too sweet. Balanced really nice.

As a comparison, I brought some DFH Punkin' Ale for everyone to taste alongside my beer. We tasted mine first, and then the DFH. My brother's fiance wouldn't even finish the DFH, said she hated it, and thought mine was much better. I personally prefer mine as well, as the DFH has much too much spice going on for my taste, and a little too much alcohol bite too. My brother also preferred Moon Hill.

Moon Hill has some nice alcohol warming in the throat after a few sips, but not the hot bite you can get from higher ABV beer.

I gave a bottle to a fellow HBT user during a recent purchase of homebrew equipment, so maybe he'll come by and give some tasting notes too.

Hope this helps for anyone on the fence about giving this one a shot.

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Old 10-02-2011, 01:16 AM   #17
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Hi onipar,

I finally bottled my version today - later than anticipated. The sample looked a lot like your above picture - cloudy and dark orangish - but it smelled and tasted much more promising than earlier samples I've had. The pumpkin aroma and flavor is at the front and the spices come in nicely later in the sip and, to my taste, not too strongly. I'm glad I added the spice tea and the 4oz of Lactose in secondary - they help round out the flavors and body nicely. It's a quantum leap over my last year's attempt.

I bottled 4 gallons using 5oz of DME for around 2.2 volumes CO2 in carbonation --- I long for a keg system; I hate bottling days.

These should be ready for drinking in time for Halloween.

I'm still open to trading bottles, if you are. Just personal-message me with your mailing address if/when you're really to trade samples.

---

I'm glad your tasting went well - I personally love DFH's Punkin' but the Moon Hill recipe is excellent. It's a lower-gravity, subtler approach to pumpkin beer. My previous pumpkin brew was high-gravity pumpkin flavored rocket fuel, so I'm pretty happy with the results of the current recipe.

I'll add an update after I crack open my first bottle - probably right around Halloween - my favorite holiday.

Side Note: Ken Burns' new 3-part documentary "Prohibition" kicks off tomorrow, 10/02/11, on PBS at 8pm - it looks great.


- Jay
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:11 PM   #18
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Howdy, Jaylove. I'm very glad that the recipe ended up tasting better for you.

Yeah, the spice tea in secondary is absolutely necessary to hit the proper spice taste since I wrote the recipe to have both additions (boil and tea).

The DFH did grow on me a little. The first sip of it always hits me wrong, but after a few more sips it somehow tastes better to me. It's not bad by any means (and of course there are plenty of people who *love* it). Just goes to show how much personal tastes and preferences can influence.

Anyway, again, I'm *so* glad you're liking this. Do let me know what your final tasting notes are, and I'll PM soon about a trade/swap.

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Old 10-03-2011, 01:54 AM   #19
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Hey dude, finally home and cleaned up from the bachelor party. I put your beers in the fridge Thursday night when I got home and my wife and I just opened the Pumpkin Ale.

I've only had one bottle of one other pumpkin ale this season and didn't think it was anything special. Wolaver's Pumpkin Ale (from Vermont)...it was way short on pumpkin flavor and spice and maybe that's an attempt to reach a broader group of the buying public.

The beer pours nicely, I was thinking at first I was going to get a massive head on it, but it didn't go nuts. It was a nice puffy head that dissipated after the first few sips down to just a covering of the surface.

The beer smells phenomenal...not too spicy, but you can tell it's a seasonal. The taste is much better than the Wolaver's as you can tell it's actually a pumpkin beer. I think the amount of spices are right on for a beer you want to be able to share without going overboard. I could definitely tolerate more spice, but it's very drinkable and I could definitely drink a number of these sitting around a camp fire.

My personal preference is for just a bit more body on the pumpkin ales, but that's just me.

Nice spice notes, great flavor, awesome beer.

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Old 10-03-2011, 02:28 AM   #20
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Your tasting notes are *very* much appreciated.

I'm agreed on the body. I was going for a medium to full body (mashed high, etc), and if you read some early tasting notes, it initially seemed almost "syrupy." But now it has more of a light-medium body, and I'm not entirely sure why.

Overall I'm stoked at how good this came. If you remember, when we met I was saying I was a bit worried before tasting that it wouldn't be good.

Oh, and the spices. Yeah, 'm not the biggest fan of the over-the-top spicing, so I started on the lighter side, and this is about perfect for my taste. Jaylove found it a bit too mellow and added some extra to his batch. Maybe I'll try a little more next year, but I do like the flavor as is too.

Anyway, thanks again for the comments.

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