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-   -   Samhain Pumpkin Ale (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f76/samhain-pumpkin-ale-140674/)

KingBrianI 10-08-2009 09:50 PM

Samhain Pumpkin Ale
Amount Item Type % or IBU

8.00 lb Golden Promise (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 50.38 %
3.625 lb Pumpkin* (2 x 29 oz. cans of Libby pure pumpkin) (3.0 SRM) Grain 22.86 %
1.00 lb British Caramalt (34.0 SRM) Grain 6.30 %
1.00 lb Toasted Malt** (27.0 SRM) Grain 6.30 %
1.00 lb Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM) Grain 6.30 %

1.00 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 6.30 %

0.25 lb Molasses (80.0 SRM) Sugar 1.57 %

0.50 oz Magnum [13.40 %] (60 min) Hops 21.9 IBU

1 t. cinnamon (5 min)
1/2 t. allspice (5 min)
1/2 t. ground ginger (5 min)
1/4 t. nutmeg (5 min)
1/4 t. clove (5 min)

*Pumpkin baked uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees to caramelize some of the sugars and gelatinize starches
**Maris otter malt toasted for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven

Mash at 152 degrees for 60 minutes. Pumpkin should be included in mash. Be sure to use rice hulls as the pumpkin will make for a slightly sticky sparge.

Boil for 60 minutes. I used magnum to bitter but you can use any clean bittering variety being sure to adjust amount to get 22 IBU. Add molasses with 10 minutes left in the boil. Add all spices with 5 minutes left in the boil.

I used Denny's favorite 50 yeast but us-05 or it's liquid equivalents could probably be substituted with no ill-effect since Denny's yeast is a seasonal strain and could be hard to find. You may want to mash at 154 if you use us-05 since it should be slightly more attenuative and Denny's seems to give a bit more mouthfeel that mashing higher if you use us-05 should emulate. Having said that, if you can source some Denny's, use it!

The result is a highly drinkable pumpkin ale that should go as well with Thanksgiving dinner as it does with a Sunday of watching football on the couch. The spices are just right, there's enough to give a great aroma and flavor but not so much that the beer becomes cloying or tiresome after a pint or two. The pumpkin in this recipe is essential. There has been a lot of discussion lately on whether the pumpkin is required in a pumpkin ale and my firm answer is YES. Besides lending a smooth, unctuous mouthfeel, the pumpkin gives the beer a certain "Je ne sais quoi". If you've mashed a wheat beer, a pumpkin beer will be cake. Just add the rice hulls and you'll have no problem.

As for the name, Samhain was a Celtic festival marking the end of the summer and the end of the harvest. It has influenced other holidays including one we are all familiar with that is celebrated around the same time, Halloween. Villagers would build great bonfires on the evening of Samhain and let all of the hearthfires in their houses die out. They would then take new flames from the bonfire and relight their own fires which would continue to heat their houses and cook their food until the next Samhain. I realize pumpkin would not have been a crop known to the people inhabiting the British Isles when this festival took place, but I think we can brew it and enjoy it in similar celebration of the harvest and the year gone, and in preparation for the cold winter and the new year. Cheers!:mug:

NCBeernut 10-10-2009 01:54 AM

This pumpkin ale is outstanding. Definitely stands right up to the best commercial ones out there. Complex yet very drinkable with a satisfying fullness to it. Spicing is spot on. We did a side by side tasting with this and my pumpkin spice ale that I thought was decent. This blew it away and convinced me that pumpkin definitely adds something - if nothing else, it seems to pull together the maltiness and the spices. Highly recommended.

KingBrianI 10-10-2009 02:40 AM

Thanks for the review! Now post up the recipe for that cream stout! That beer was seriously awesome. The future happiness of stout brewers everywhere depends on it!

NCBeernut 10-10-2009 03:08 AM

I am tempted, but I want to give it more time to condition before I do my official post/review for it. Damn thing has only been in the bottle a little over a week!

KingBrianI 10-18-2009 11:50 PM

I'm trying this beer side-by-side with a post road pumpkin ale right now and I definitely prefer mine. Whereas the post road is a bit thinner bodied and more crisp, mine is more luscious and creamy. The post road has a very similar spice character but it is more pronounced than the samhain pumkin ale. There's some buttery diacetyl in the post road that my pumpkin ale lacks. I do feel like there is more pumpkin flavor in mine, though the high spice character in the post road gives the impression of pumpkin pie. The post road finishes a little drier which takes away a bit from the pumpkin pie impression. The creaminess of the samhain pumpkin ale lingers through to a mildly sweet finish, rounding out the flavor a bit more than the post road. While both are good, give me the samhain pumpkin ale over the post road anytime.:D

DrJekyll-HomeBrew 10-20-2009 04:00 PM

The amounts of spices are in tablespoon or teaspoon?

KingBrianI 10-20-2009 04:08 PM

They're in teaspoons.

t = teaspoon
T = tablespoon

KingBrianI 11-15-2009 05:09 PM


I really love the color of this beer. I think the pumpkin added a deep orange color that gives the beer a really deep, rich copper hue. I tried to get it to come through in the picture but condensation on the glass and light angles were working against me. The pumpkin flavor is really coming out now too.

GunnerMan 11-26-2009 04:11 AM

Wow nothing makes me want a beer more than when it has a deep red/copper look like that one. I want to brew this now...

JLem 07-21-2010 02:20 AM

that might just be the prettiest pint of beer I've ever seen - I can practically taste it (though on second glance, is that really only 12 SRM?)

getting my recipe organized for my first pumpkin ale...I'm going to use your recipe as inspiration, but in the spirit of experimentation and individuality, it is going to be considerably different in the end...wish me luck!

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