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!