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Spiced Pumpkin Ale (Extract)

October 14, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Ale

Ingredients
6 lbs Gold LME
8 oz Carapils
8 oz Caramel 10L
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 oz Cascade hop pellets (bittering)
1 oz Mt. Hood hop pellets (aroma)
3 cinnamon sticks (3”)
1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp clove
¼ tsp ginger
36 oz. pumpkin (fresh)
Wyeast Activator 1056 American Ale

I love the fall.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.   A couple years ago I had the pleasure of tasting an excellent pumpkin ale, and I now look forward to brewing this every year.

This is my second attempt at brewing this beer.  Last year it came out OK, but it lacked enough pumpkin and spice flavor.  Also it needed to be a little sweeter.  In particular there was no perceptible flavor of spice at all.  I modified the recipe quite a bit this time around and tried to correct these failings.  I might have gone a little too far on the spice.

Preparation:
Used rolling pin to crush the grains.  I used a fresh pumpkin and chopped up the pumpkin flesh into 1” cubes.  Cooked pumpkin in oven at 350° for 15 minutes.   Mashed up with food processor. Mixed all spices together.

Boil:
Performed a 60 minute boil.  Added a little of the pumpkin 30 min into boil.  Added 1 cinnamon stick and 1/2 tsp of spices 40 minutes into boil.  With 13 minutes to go I added another cinnamon stick.  With 10 minutes to go I added rest of pumpkin and 1 tsp of spices.  With 4 minutes to go I added last cinnamon stick.  Added Cascade hops and rest of spices with 2 min left. I forgot to add brown sugar during boil.  I had to go to the store to buy it.  I boiled golden brown sugar in some water and added it to the primary and topped off with water.

Fermentation:
Started fermentation at 70°. After 5 days I transferred to the secondary.  When transferred to secondary, beer was very cloudy and light in color.  Some white material was floating on the surface.  Had a slight sulfur and hoppy smell.  Lots of sediment at bottom of primary.

Carbonation:
Very pale brown/orange color.  I would guess about 7 SRM.  Most of the sediment settled to the bottom (large amount).  Smelled good and spicy.  Filled 15 12 oz bottles and 1 32 oz bottle.  Used 2.4 oz of DME in the bottling bucket to 1.8 gal of beer.  Unfortunately it should have been 1.7 gallons so a little less sugar went into the bottles than desired. I kegged the remainder of the beer (3.3 gallons).  Shooting for 2.52 vols of CO2.

Tasting:
Definitely better than last year.  I think I might have gone a little too far with the spices.  I think there is too strong of a clove smell.  I would omit the ¼ tsp of clove in the future.  I liked the amount of cinnamon, though.  Pumpkin flavor is still very faint (almost undetectable).  I think I might try adding some pumpkin to the secondary next time.

The beer was a little too light in color for my tastes at this time of the year.  It needs to be a little darker to contrast with the spice flavor.  I think I might add some darker grain and some DME to bring up the gravity a bit.

My wife thought it was a little too hoppy to her pallet.  I didn’t think it was too bitter.  I think I would back off on the aroma hops some because I think it interferes with the spice smell.  I might cut them in half.  You could also reduce the bittering hops to .75 oz if you feel so inclined.

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