Sadly, I’ve read that you won’t find pumpkin anywhere near most pumpkin beers – they are often brewed with pumpkin pie spices instead of the real deal. Using real pumpkin involves roasting and mashing the stuff, then trying to sparge through the resulting mess – too much work for most people, it would seem. Both sides are very polarized on the issue – the spice heads say there is nothing but heartache and pain to be gained by mashing large orange squashes, while the pumpkin heads say you can’t call it a pumpkin beer unless it actually contains authentic Jack-o’-lantern brains.
Who is right? Damned if I know, I haven’t made one either way. The way I see it, there is only one way to settle this – a pumpkin beer face-off. I shall brew two batches of wonderful and delicious pumpkin beer, one using nothing but spices and one with spices and real pumpkin added, and see which one prevails.
Why spices in both? ALL pumpkin beers contain spices (usually cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc…) – so I’m thinking a pumpkin beer made with real pumpkin but no spices would not be very good. Best way I can think of to compare the two is brew the exact same beer, except for the pumpkin addition, and see if the mouthfeel/body/taste differs at all.
Rumor has it some six-packs of these competing pumpkin beverages might get bottled and distributed as part of a contest near Thanksgiving. Any interest?