Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spiced Pumpkin Ale

My friend Michael has come back to brew another batch of beer with me. His interest in brewing has really grown, and while in the process of buying equipment with his friend Christian, he's getting the feel for it in the meantime. For this one, he wanted a more malty sweet brew, and after reading an article in Zymurgy (Nov.-Dec. 08) about brewing pumpkin ales, he wanted to go with the all-grain recipe published there.

I ordered all the malts, and stuck with the recipe for the most part. Since he already had Hallertau hops, he simply substituted them for the Fuggle. I put him in charge of roasting the pumpkin with a sugar glaze. With freshly grated ginger and spices, and a super rich malt base, this beer should turn out super smooth with a fresh pumpkin pie spiciness that should warm the soul during the coldest time of year.

Two things will be firsts for me brewing this beer. First, I've never used White Labs yeast before, but the scents from it's starter were very much like Wyeast British Ale, and it has super dense flocculation (the ability for yeast to settle out in a soft to hard layer after fermentation). Second, I've never used a vegetable as a key ingredient before. In fact, I was telling Michael how much I looked forward to brewing this, especially because I've wanted to make a true pumpkin ale for three years now. This looks like a solid recipe, and I can't wait to taste the results.

Just like the article suggests, it was a real pain straining through the funnel filter screen. Pour after pour, topping off the funnel, we had to take turns stirring, scraping and squeezing the pumpkin mush at the screen, preventing hand cramps. We literally had to do this for the whole batch.

During the beginning of an all-grain full wort boil, there is a lot of foam that builds up. It's generally good to let it boil for 10-20min before adding the bittering hops. Some worts foam up more than others. This pumpkin wort had the most foam I've ever seen, and it took a while before it subsided. I have a feeling it's due to starches in the pumpkin. It became a mess at times, but it smelled fantastic...sweet pumpkin and rich malts...Mmmm!

In the end, the wort smelled very good...sweet with a soft pumpkin pie spice. We added a couple more spices to the mix, but at a level that isn't overbearing.

Please read about other beers Michael & Christian have made...

Smoked Amber Ale & Cascade IPA

Spiced Pumpkin Ale

Grains & Sugar
8.0 lbs. UK Maris Otter Pale
4.0 lbs. German Munich
2.0 lbs. Belgian Aromatic
.63 lbs. Belgian CaraMunich II
.50 lbs. Org. Brown Sugar

4.3 lbs. Organic Pie Pumpkin, roasted w/sugar, in boil

2 oz. Hallertau, 3.6%, pellet, 45+min

3 tsp. Cinnamon, ground, 5min boil + 5min steep
<1 tsp. Nutmeg, grated, 5min boil + 5min steep
1 tsp. Coriander, crushed, 5min boil + 5min steep
>1 Tbl. Ginger, grated, 5min boil + 5min steep
1 Bud Clove, whole, 5min boil + 5min steep

Vanilla extract and possibly spices added to secondary.

White Labs 005: British Ale

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 11/30/08
Racked: 12/14/08
Bottled: 12/30/08

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 1 tsp Gypsum, .5 tsp Acid Blend, .5 tsp Chalk in mash
2nd Sparge: 1 tsp CaCl, .25 tsp Kosher Salt, .5 tsp Chalk in mash

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.15 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.4
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 158 down to 154°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 167°F/10min
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4.1 gal/1.075

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 182°F/168°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3.15 gal/1.038

Pre-Boil Vol: 1.5 gallons with mashed pumpkin
Pre-Boil SG: 1.060
Boil Time: 2 hours
Post-Boil Vol: 5.5 a lot stuck in pulp
Mash Efficiency: about 75% pumpkin skewing the math

OG: 1.078
IBU: 20
Color/SRM: amber-brown/12-14
Ferment Temp: 65°F

FG: 1.029
ABW: 5.15
ABV: 6.43


Pablo said...

I recently made a pumpkin ale from an simple extract recipe, but I didn't cook the pumpkin. I used plenty of spices and the nutmeg really came through. I think it came out well. It tastes better then the dogfish pumpkin, which is the only thing I had on hand to compare it too.

Unknown said...

I also made a Pumpkin Ale recently from an extract kit that I got from mid west brewing... I have yet to taste it though as I am still a couple of weeks away from it being drinkable. (currently bottle conditioning) I didn't roast the pumpkin either, I just used a 30 oz can of pre roasted pumpkin... much easier and a lot less work. :) I have never had a Pumpkin Ale before so I have nothing to compare it to. I hope it turns out though.

Ted Danyluk said...

So far this fermenting ale smells amazing as the airlock burbs. I love what a little boiled ginger does to a spiced ale. Complexly marvelous!

Thanks for chiming in here guys. I've checked out your blogs and look forward to seeing more.

These holiday ales and spiced brews are really a treat, and it makes this time of year even more anticipated.

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting, I read the article as well, made an autumn saison from Zymurgy's Saison for every season and added pumpkin to the mash, it has given it a nice earthy flavour, but now I definitely want to try it in the boil. I am curious how it turns out,

michael said...

Just for the record, the pumpkins were organic.

Steven Bone said...

Ted - It's been a year since this brew! Any follow-ups? How did it turn out? I'm looking to make one similar in style to Screaming Pumpkin - do you have any comparisons to it from this one?

Ted Danyluk said...

As this wasn't my batch of beer, I only got to taste a little bit of it. But it turned out pretty good. Good sweetness and enough spices (mostly cinnamon). Overall good.

I think the use of pumpkin really is for novelty sake, cause I'm sure a good clean malty beer could represent the sweetness associated in pumpkin pies, where the balance and selection of spices is what makes a pumpkin ale special.