Monday, December 5, 2011

Recipe and Tasting Notes - Pumpkin Ale (ver. 2)

Brewery: Bear Flavored
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Brewed: 9.17.11, 2.5 Gal., Partial Mash
ABV: 7%
Grade: C+

For my second batch of pumpkin beer, I went with a radically different recipe than my first one. That's mostly because this was my first partial mash batch. Without getting into the whole nitty gritty of extract / partial mash / all grain, basically, this allowed me to use a much greater variety of grains. So the idea was to try to create a more complex pumpkin beer without making something overly sweet and cloying. I also used twice as much canned pumpkin from the first batch, and instead of just throwing it in the boil for the 60 minutes, I threw it in the boil and also left it in for primary fermentation. 

Brewing & Tasting Notes: 
With most of my homebrews so far, there's usually one big thing that for whatever reason doesn't come out right, when it's all said (and aged two months) and done. Here, the obvious complaint is the lack of carbonation. The beer did carbonate, but not very much — I guess I just didn't add enough priming sugar when I bottled. I feel this one would be better if it was a little crisper; the flavor would probably 'pop' a bit more, and not sit so heavily on the tongue. The ginger is a bit heavy and upfront, especially right out of the bottle — the first few sips are maybe a bit harsh before it mellows out. I didn't get the spices quite right this time around, but they're not far off either. They meld smoothly with the clean, malty, slightly-sweet body of the beer, but I'd still prefer something dryer; especially if it's going to be a bit flat.

At this point, I'm leaning toward the camp that shrugs off the use of actual pumpkin in a pumpkin beer. It's really, really hard to say whether there's any actual benefit from the pumpkin itself; granted, I haven't done a side by side comparison. (Maybe next year.) I'm inclined to think the pumpkin might aid the mouthfeel more than the flavor, if anything. Next time, I'm going to try adding some pumpkin to the mash and the boil — as opposed to the boil and leaving it in for primary fermentation, which I definitely won't do again. I'm reasonably happy with the base malt flavor here; it's not as caramely-sticky-sweet as other pumpkin beers, although it's also not as interesting as the best examples of the style. If this were a commercial, I'm pretty sure my opinion would be about the same: a fairly decent pumpkin beer, but not one I would be likely to drink more than once. 

Recipe:
Malt-

2.66# 2 row
1/3# cara 40L
1/3# malted oats
1/3# caramunich
1/3# victory malt
3# pale DME
1/2# brown sugr
Hop Schedule-
1 oz Williamette @60 
Yeast- Wyeast Scottish Ale



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