As a child, I associated Halloween with candy and trick or treating. I think I was a Chicago Cubs player for 5 straight years. In college, I had some of my best costumes. I was a Hooters waitress. Wearing this at a college bar is not encouraged, I haven’t had my ass patted so much since little league baseball. I was also Richard Simmons one year. You know, short red shorts. Curly afro. I also once mocked the fraternity scene and dressed as a frat boy. I had a triple popped collared shirt, waxed eyebrows, spray tan and lots of wrist bands. When I grew up a little bit and went to grad school, I soon evolved onto much more mature things. Dog the Bounty Hunter. The Ultimate Warrior. Cubs player once again. Macho Man Randy Savage. The list goes on and on….
Schafly Pumpkin Ale. Dogfish Head Punkin. Grittys Pumpkin Ale. Those are my top three pumpkin flavored beers. September is usually a time when the beers start to pop up, which makes me ask, “Where the hell are people getting these pumpkins already?”. I wanted to brew a pumpkin beer that I could drink throughout the month of October and November, but like Rome, beer can’t be brewed and ready to consume in a day. It takes time to make things better. So instead of real pumpkin, I had to use Whole Foods Pumpkin Puree. I decided to try and craft my beer after Schaflys but not have as much spice as it did. The first time I ever encountered Schlafly Pumpkin was on draft at O’Sheas in the Halloween of 2008 and I’m pretty sure I had 7 pints of it. Or maybe it was 8.
Date of Initial Brew: 8/21/2010
Type of Beer: Pumpkin Ale
Name of Beer: PBR’s Pumpkin Ale
Extract or All Grain: All grain
Grains used: 9lbs Maris Otter, 1lb Vienna, 1lb Biscuit Malt, 1lbs Crystal 40L
Hop Schedule: Magnum (60)
Spices Used: three 12oz cans of pumpkin in mash, three 12oz cans of pumpkin in secondary, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon clove (all at end of boil)
Yeast: English Ale
Secondary Fermentation Date: 8/28/2010
Bottling Date: 9/10/10
This was another brew where my hydrometer was broken so no clue on the ABV, but my temperature were right, I just didn’t record them. I decided to use 3 cans on the pumpkin during the mash instead of putting them in the primary. I had done some research and just chose to do it this way for some reason. I added all the spices during the burnout portion of the boil, I wish I would have used more, but in my view, too little is better than too much. One can always add a nice sprinkling of a cinnamon sugar mix to their beer. I let the beer settle in the primary for a week and then switched it into the secondary where I added three more cans of the pumpkin puree. Two weeks later. Voila.
After giving the beer some time, I realized that I had a good pumpkin beer that wasn’t too spicy. You actually tasted pumpkin and not an overwhelming pumpkin flavor either. You can taste the notes of ginger and cinnamon, but they are pretty subtle and balances well. The beer drinks very well and has been consistent over time through time in the bottle (Jim Croce?).
I’m thinking in two weeks it will all be gone though with a friends thanksgiving this weekend and then taking the lot back home with me for the real thanksgiving. Ahhhh, the joys of pumpkin.
The beer is named after my buddy Steve and his recent belly he has grown from being injured and not being able to run much. Specifically, I wanted to make the beer early enough to take it up to Chicago for the marathon for everyone to try. Good reviews thus far.
Here is a picture of it on 2/2/11….spices are more evident now in the beer.