Tag Archives: pumpkin

Zugzug, beer done

The Most Serene Republic of Pumpkin is safely in bottles now. FIRST: PICTURES!

Here’s a quick recipe post-mortem.

Mouth experience:

  • Definite squashy/pumpkin flavor. Total success there. Huzzah!
  • Pleasantly spicy. Hops blend in with spice. May settle down during bottle-conditioning…more spice required? Probably more ginger.
  • Moderate breadiness. I like the yeast choice. No tartness.
  • Minimal sweetness. As usual, I underestimated how much malt/adjunct would be required. I need to tape a sign over the stove that reads DROWN THE YEASTS IN THEIR OWN URINE. That’ll put me in the proper spirit.

Recipe experience:

  • Keep yeast. Use more malt in general, especially dextrin and Crystal. Try Maris Otter next time?
  • Use kabocha, rather than pumpkin, for even more pronounced pumpkin flavor.
  • Don’t forget the ginger in the boil, geez.

And that’s pretty much that! This was my first recipe built from scratch, and I thank everybody who biffed their batches before me so I knew what not to do. If you like a pumpkin ale that has pronounced spice-bread flavor without tasting like dessert, stick with the original recipe. For a sweeter pumpkin-bread ale, you’ll want to tweak it with some of the suggestions above. Either way, IT’S PUMPKIN and that’s the important thing.

(incidentally, a note to Seattle-area folks. Sound Homebrew Supply is a sweet new joint and it’s about time a homebrew shop opened in the Georgetown/Sodo area given how many craft breweries, like Two Beers, Georgetown Brewing, Schooner Exact, Epic Ales, etc etc, are there already. I have no doubt they’ll do fine. They certainly don’t need me to boost their signal and they haven’t recompensed me in any way for this, but I did stop in yesterday and they were super-cool. It’s early days still and smells a bit of new carpet. 🙂 Check out the solid array of specialty grains. I want to see them stick around so I can keep having a brewshop so ridiculously close to home.)

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Annual Pumpkin Brew

I realized yesterday about an hour before my favorite brewshop closed that I had exactly one month until Halloween, and if I wanted to bottle a celebratory pumpkin beer in time for the holiday I’d better get it in the bucket NOW NOW NOW. (or then then then, but you get me.)

I’d thought about making a pumpkin stout, because Elysian Brewing‘s Dark o’ the Moon is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever consumed (and if you’re not going to try the rest of theirs at the Pumpkin Beer Festival Oct. 8 and 9, you’re seriously missing out on one of the best parts of autumn in Seattle). But I don’t think I can equal that one yet, and I’ve been loving me some  brown ales lately, so I hodge-podged together a recipe for a spiced pumpkin brown. I’m aiming for a pumpkin-bread feeling. Here’s the recipe I used:

The Most Serene Republic of Pumpkin

Before brew day: obtain a nice fat medium-size pumpkin, 10-15 pounds. This pumpkin will be the backbone of your beer, so choose one with a gracious and friendly bearing.

2 lb Vienna Malt
½ lb Crystal 60L malt
½ lb Cara-Pils malt
6 lbs roasted pumpkin chunks

6 lbs amber DME (60 minutes)
2 c molasses (60 minutes)
1 oz Mt. Hood hops (60 minutes)
1 tbsp cinnamon (60 minutes)
an arbitrary quantity of additional pumpkin chunks (60 minutes)

1/2 oz Saaz hops (5 minutes)
Nutmeg, coriander seeds, allspice, 1 tbs each (5 minutes)
1 oz fresh ginger, grated (5 minutes)
You want some orange peel? Add an ounce of orange peel here. (5 minutes)

Lallemand Windsor yeast (British-style. Use what you like best.)

Wash, gut, and chunk pumpkin. Roast pumpkin chunks in oven at 375 for 60 minutes.
Mash grain and 6lbs of pumpkin in 1 ½ gallons hot water at 170F for 45 minutes.
Sparge with 2 gallons hot water. Squish for maximum yield. Delight in sweet scent and warm amber color.
Boil 55 minutes with malt extract, molasses, cinnamon, Mt. Hood hops, and another pound or two of pumpkin chunks.
Add Saaz hops and late-addition spices, and boil 5 minutes.

THIS IS A PUMPKIN BEER WITH PUMPKIN IN IT so go ahead and drop the rest of the chunks into your sanitized fermenter.
Cool wort, strain into fermenter. Could be sludgy; be patient. Squish wort out of sludge. Top up to 5 gallons. Add yeast.
After a week, or when the fermentation slacks off, rack your exquisitely pumpkin-y ale off the sludge of the exquisite pumpkin that helped you make it, and let it finish up in a secondary fermenter for another week or two.

Prime and bottle! Enjoy.

It’s doing the first crazed fermentation right now. Wort tasting and airlock-sniffing suggest that I could probably afford to tone down the hops a bit, and maybe bump up the Crystal and dextrin (cara-pils) malts to a full pound each, but it’s not even a day in yet and there’s lots for the yeast to do. Also, I forgot the ginger. Oh well! I’ll update on its progress in a week or two when it goes into bottles or a secondary fermenter.

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