Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Pumpkin Ale - The First Batch

9/16/03 - Pumpkin Ale. After many years of success of the Portsmouth Brewery's Pumpkin Ale, as well as Kevin Love's petulant insistance that we corner the market, we decided to capitalize and brew our own version of this squash beer. I know what you're thinking: squash!?, in a beer, are you kidding? But, alas, no, I am not kidding. In fact, it turns out the elder Americans would use pumpkin as a starch substitute when grain stores were low. The idea of brewing a traditional New England pompion beer intrigued me and I proposed buying the Champion Pumpkin of New Hampshire and brewing a single batch with this Mother of All Gourds. (Visualize the cover to Eat A Peach. Now imagine an 800 lbs pumpkin being trucked on over to the brewery. Brilliant.) However the limitations of being a production facility require certain practical restraints and so we went with pumpkin puree instead of fresh pumpkin.

The one characteristic I wanted clearly defined was that underneath the pumpkin and spice flavors was truly an interesting beer in its own right. I've had too many spiced and fruit beers that are overdone and enter the realm of soda pop, causing you to have one but not another, let alone several. And let's face it, I gotta sell beer here. So we started with a base beer that is orange in color and fairly hoppy. We knew the spices would need some sweetness for balance so we used a mixture of crystal and carastan malts. To this we added pumpkin pie spices at the end of the boil. We actually found that adding pumpkin into the fermentor at the end of primary gave us the most interesting pumpkin flavor, and so that's when we add the puree. We've gotten a great response to the beer which I think is well desreved. The nose is full of spice, mostly cinnamon, with hints of the Liberty hops. The flavor is full, with a nice bitterness, but definitely balanced by the malt. It lingers off into a nice dry spicy, hoppy finish that stays with you but is never overbearing.

Pilsner Malt
Light Carastan
Light Crystal 60 °L

OG 14°P
TG 3.0°P

IBU - 35
Cascade Bittering
Cascade Flavoring
Liberty Aroma


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