Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Brew Day, Batch 377: Pumpkin Ale

It's been a few years since I've gone to the trouble to make pumpkin ale for Thanksgiving, and Mrs. C. has decreed that we shall have some this year. My idea of pumpkin ale is an amber to brown malty ale, (with a distinct orange tint from said pumpkins,) with just enough spice to round out the flavors a bit. This year I decided to roast the pumpkins whole in my barbecue, which is a) easy, and b) might add a subtle smoky nuance to further round out the pumpkin and spice flavors. Here's how it went down:

(10 gallon batch)

10  lb.  Great Western Pale Ale malt
6   lb. Weyermann Munich 2
1   lb. Simpsons Golden Naked Oats (crystal oat malt)
1/4 lb. Dingemann's Special B

Doughed in with 1 qt/lb for 152F strike. While this was resting:

Roasted 8 whole pie pumpkins in an offset barbecue. Fuel was charcoal and well-seasoned oak. Pumpkins were roasted until a knife could be inserted with little resistance. Pumpkins were then allowed to cool a bit, cut in half, deseeded, and scooped out of their skins. This was all super easy; so far the least effort I've ever expended on this task. Here they are, with a couple cut in half:

The pumpkin was put into a kettle with a bit of water and mushed up with a potato masher. They were heated up to around 165, then added to the mash. This wasn't some sort of super-calculated thing; they just needed to not pull the sacch rest temp down, so that their starch could undergo saccharification, too. Pumpkin goo:

Yea, and it came to pass that the starch test was negative. And there was much rejoicing. Seriously, the whole mash was around 90 minutes, and probably could've been shorter. However, the vorlauf/lauter/sparge portion of the day's festivities was bog-slow, and probably couldn't have been shorter, as that's pretty much the way it goes with a pumpkin mash. Still, no cause for gnashing of teeth, and eventually there were 12 gallons of sweet wort in the kettle. Said kettle was set to boil, and boil it did for 30 minutes, and it was observed that there was an adequate hot break. So-

Total boil was 90 minutes.

At 30 minutes, added 1 lb. of dark brown cane sugar, and 1.7 oz. of Willamette hops at 5.2% alpha. At 80 minutes, added 1 oz. of Mt. Hood at 7.5% alpha, 1/2 t ground ginger, 3/4 t ground cinnamon, 3/4 t ground nutmeg, and 1/4 t ground cardamom. At the end of the boil, with a little help from some ice and a pre-chill coil, the wort was cooled to 65F. OG was 1.062, and the actual zymurgy was performed by a healthy dose of Wyeast 1098. This should be pretty nice. Stay tuned....


  1. Looks good to me. I'm mulling doing a Pumpkin Saison soon. I'll have to find a buddy with a grill.

  2. In the past, I have disliked pumpkin and/or squash beers. This year I have tried two and liked them both.
    This recipe sounds like it will be tasty without having that over the top pie-in-a-glass-ness!