Immerse yourself in all things beer
Fall is approaching, the leaves could change at any point and the garden ready for harvest.  So what does that mean for the homebrewer? Pumpkin beer!  Honestly though I’ve never made one of these and have never been crazy
for the style but the girlfriend likes them and this could be an interesting  adventure so I’m out to make my first Pumpkin Ale.

Above are a handful of links I found useful in researching this beer.  It seems
there are at least a few guidelines to follow when putting together a recipe.  
First:  It seems like you could chose any base style you want so long as it is
not overly hopped so all you IIPA fiends will need to tone it down. 
From what I’ve read about 20IBUs should be good so some solid starting
points could be a lightly hopped Pale Ale, an English Brown, a Porter or
Stout.  Mostly you want something
that doesn’t compete with the pumpkin spices and flavors.  

Second:  It seems most people mash pumpkin in with the grain although you can also
add it in to the end of the boil which is less tricky. 
Mashing is problematic and rice hulls are advisable because a stuck
sparge with a bunch of pumpkin in your mash is pretty common. 
Also, make sure to adjust your strike water for the added mass.  Either raise your initial temperature,
heat more strike water than planning and/or have a tea pot of boiling water on
hand to adjust.  

Third:  Baking the pumpkin first will caramelize it a bit and provide more flavor. 
Sixty minutes at 350* should do the trick. 
Gut the pumpkin, cut it into halves and cook it before pulling it out and
chopping it up further.  One site I
read said one pound minimum for five gallons while five pounds or more will
provide a healthy dose of pumpkin flavor.

Fourth:  Many people argue that the pumpkin itself adds little to the beer in terms of flavor or fermentable sugars and that a good pumpkin beer is all about the spices.  This however seems like a copout to me because I like doing things the hard way.

Fifth:  It is very easy to over spice your beer to the point of it being undrinkable so take it easy.   One teaspoon per five gallons should be noticeable.  You can always add more post fermentation but you can’t take it out. 

Sixth:  Make sure  you like pumpkin beer or know someone who does!

That's all for now.  Be back shortly when I devise a recipe.

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