Pumpkin precursors

We’re still two weeks away from Pumpkin Beer Week but I’ve got pumpkin beer on the brain right now, so this may well turn out to be more of a Pumpkin Beer Month. For instance, I’m about to publish a new all-grain pumpkin ale recipe (the all-grain version of this one) that I brewed a week ago (to test it out, of course). I racked it this weekend and I’m please with the results so far. Plus, I’m trying something entirely new: I reserved one gallon of it and added dried cranberries (that had soaked in a little bit of rum first), which I’ll let age for at least a couple of weeks.

I’m also starting to keep an informal list of Oregon breweries that are producing pumpkin beers this year; there’s aren’t many. But I’m especially excited that Deschutes Brewery is brewing—maybe for the first time ever—a pumpkin ale for their Bend Pub! They posted on Facebook about it last week and I can indeed confirm that “Pompion” is on their “upcoming” chalkboard at the Pub.

Among other Oregon brewers, Silver Moon usually brews and bottles a pumpkin ale, and both Beer Valley and Laurelwood are advertised as being guest brewers at Elysian Brewing’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival this weekend. But I want to know who else in Oregon is brewing up pumpkin beers? Let me know; I’m also thinking it would be fun to issue a “pumpkin beer challenge” and see who takes up the call.

5 Responses to Pumpkin precursors

  1. Rob says:

    I’ve been reading a lot about Elsian’s Great Pumpkin Fest and have been trying to find info about secondary fermentation inside a pumpkin, or any other fruit/vegetable for that matter… how does it affect the beer… more sugar=more alcohol, is there bacteria, does it take longer to ferment/wild fermentation, is it like barrel aging, how do you know when its done, do you need an airlock?

    lots of questions, but im really interested and thinking about trying to homebrew a batch so anyone who may have some insight…

  2. Ben says:

    Breakside is releasing two, (very) small batch pumpkin beers this fall. Today, we’re tapping our pumpkin saison, a 6% Belgian ale brewed with locally grown pumpkins, pumpkin pie spice, and our house Belgian wheat blend yeast. And just before Thanksgiving, we’ll have a keg of imperial pumpkin cream stout. Cheers, Ben @ Breakside.

  3. Jon says:

    Rob: here’s what I would guess/assume, but I’m mostly speculating.

    Putting the beer inside a pumpkin for secondary fermentation would potentially affect it in several ways:
    * Flavor
    * Mouthfeel
    * Bacteria/wild yeast – i.e. souring

    Raw pumpkin is mostly starch, so there really wouldn’t be any additional sugar contributing to the alcohol content of the beer, and there’s enough alcohol in the beer already to prevent anything nasty from infecting the beer.

    Though you might acquire a bacterial or wild yeast strain that could sour the beer, which would be interesting for other reasons.

    So yeah, it would be similar to barrel aging, and yeah, you’d probably want to rig up some sort of airlock. As far as being done, well, that’s up to the brewer…

  4. Jon says:

    Ben, cool news! I’m keeping notes. :)

  5. Rob says:

    thanks Jon. I think Ill give it a shot!