2013 Punkin’ Porter

This is the fourth year of brewing the Punkin’ Porter, which is the only one of our brews that has made so many repeat appearances.

Before kicking off our brew day we did a side-by-side tasting of the 2012 and 2011 batches. Unfortunately, the 2012 had a slight sour note to it. I assume this comes from experimenting with roasted pumpkin seeds, but really could stem from any part of the process of using real pumpkin. The 2011 batch was–even after two years–pretty amazing!

Previous batches:

Results

Overview
  • Starting gravity (actual)
    • oops!
  • Starting gravity (expected)
    • 1.078
  • Final gravity (actual)
    • 1.021
  • Final gravity (expected)
    • 1.014
  • ABV
    • 8%

The photo makes it look as though there is more carbonation than there really is, but at least it isn’t flat. I’m very happy that it has any carbonation after the disaster of our first attempt to keg carbonate and bottle with a counter-pressure bottle filler.

Tastes good and roasty with a nice amount of spice. If anything I think it’s a little heavy on the pumpkin; it has a real thick mouthfeel.

Recipe

Malt
  • 1 lb crushed black patent malt
  • 1.5 lbs crushed pale 6-row malt
  • 3.3 lbs Light liquid malt extract
  • 3 lbs Amber dry malt extract
Hops
  • 1 oz Hallertau hop pellets (bittering)
    • 60 minutes
  • 1 oz Cascade hop pellets (flavoring)
    • 20 minutes
  • 0.5 oz Hallertau hop pellets (aroma)
    • 10 minutes
Yeast
  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast
Other
  • 2x 29 oz cans of Libby’s pumpkin purée
    • 1x 29 oz can of Libby’s Pumpkin Pie mix
      • 0.5 tsp allspice (dried/ground)
        • 5 minutes
      • 1 tsp cinnamon (dried/ground)
        • 5 minutes
      • 1 tsp nutmeg (dried/ground)
        • 5 minutes

      Brewing Notes

      Timeline
      • Brewed
        • September 14, 2013
      • Bottled
        • October 15, 2013
      • Tasted
        • October 17, 2013

      We followed the Extreme Brewing recipe but only used canned pumpkin this year.

      • We used even more Libby’s canned pumpkin
        We used two 29oz cans of Libby’s pumpkin purée and one 29oz can of Libby’s Pumpkin Pie mix (which is purée with pumpkin pie seasoning)
      • New pumpkin pre-boil technique
        In past years we have added the canned pumpkin directly to the boil, but we interpreted the directions differently this time and instead first boiled the pumpkin for ~20 minutes in 1/2 gallon of water. We then added more water and the crushed grains for our 45 minute steep at 155 degrees. I think the pumpkin pre-boil is only for whole pumpkin, but we thought it might help release more pumpkin flavor. A lack of pumpkin flavor has been our main complaint over the years.
      • Extra cheesecloth straining to remove sediment
        Before starting the brew timer, we strained the wort through cheesecloth multiple times to try and remove all of the sediment. We usually lose a gallon or more of our beer because of the sediment that settles during fermentation. We didn’t have very much cheesecloth but it seemed to work. More cheesecloth in the future!
      • We used less allspice again
        The rest of the process pretty much followed the recipe, except we only used 0.5 tsp of allspice because our old notes show that we prefer it to the full 1 tsp listed in the recipe. We used the full 1 tsp of cinnamon and nutmeg listed in the recipe. All of the spices were dried (not fresh).
      • Counter-pressure bottle filler
        We’re going to try bottling this batch with a Counter-Pressure Bottle Filler. This will be our first attempt at using a Corny Keg to force carbonate beer with CO2.

      Update October 7: After a week the keg hasn’t carbonated as expected. We initially had the PSI too low (only ~14 PSI) for basement temperature of around 63 degrees (we guessed 50). I’m upping to 30 PSI to try and get it carbonated and can then level it out.

      Update October 15: Bottling was a disaster. We made a huge mess and spilled beer everywhere with the counter-pressure bottle filler.

      2 thoughts on “2013 Punkin’ Porter

      1. Hi,

        I’m starting off and I want to move from kits to extract recipes, like the ones you are using from ‘Extreme Brewing.’ I bought this book, and I’m hoping you can help me understand something which is not explicit in the book:

        — The recipes are intended for a normal 5-gallon yield.
        — Several of the recipes call for 6 gallons of water, and given the boil time, it is hard to believe that 1 entire gallon will boil off (Especially when you are adding 6-8 pounds of fruit, which includes additional liquid).

        Any idea of how to interpret this?

        Thanks,

        Mike
        Fredericksburg, VA

        • Hi Mike!

          You’re right. That is confusing. We typically do our boiling outside on a propane burner and mostly uncovered to try and prevent boilovers. With this setup I’ve found that you really do lose a lot of liquid during that hour of boiling.

          That said, several of the recipes in the book call for less liquid initially and then have you top up to 5 gallons after transferring to the bucket/carboy. I don’t see any reason you couldn’t do the same if you are concerned. I believe the recipes that start with 6 gallons tend to have less volume added during the boil (malt and other ingredients).

          If you have a big enough brew pot, the directions should be fine. However, we often will start with less than 6 gallons and then top up around 15 minutes to the end of the boil.

          Hope that helps! It’s a great book. Which recipe are you looking to try first?

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