In the pursuit of perfect homebrew, failure still makes beer.

Pumpkin Beer – to Spike or Not to Spike?

So I’m not quite into the newfangled beer cocktail / beertail (for all you fans of merds) scene. This trend seems to be growing exponentially in a tiny sector of an already very niche category of beer drinkers. But this idea may be just crazy enough to work.

Want *some* cinnamon sugar for your rim? HOW ABOUT ALL OF IT featured this half-decent idea for a delicious combination of sweet poisons. Vanilla vodka-spiked pumpkin beer. Now, the picky part of me says that there should be vanilla flavors already present in a well-done pumpkin beer. In this case, the use of Shipyard Pumpkinhead, although amply available, doesn’t really have much vanilla flavor, so it’s a good choice to bolster with a double shot of Absolut Vanilla. You’ll be looser than a poorly-stuffed scarecrow.

I myself might campaign for the use of other pumpkin beers for this seasonal concoction. Perhaps Post Road Pumpkin, Cambridge Brewing Company’s The Great Pumpkin Ale (yes, I’m a homer, so what?), or DogfishHead Punkin Ale would do better. These are all balanced, flavorful, and effervescent examples of pumpkin beer that are on the lower-side of the alcohol scale, therefore leaving room for the addition of tasty liqueurs. Or, you could even go for something like Cape Ann’s Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout if you’re into darker, coffee flavors to complement the sweetness of the vanilla. It may also bring out chocolate notes in a stout.

Some of you may remember that I made a pumpkin beer myself last year, and I’m actually planning on brewing that again in October 2012. That beer had a great combination of pumpkin-pie spice (including vanilla flavors), real roasted pumpkin, and delicious malt base, with a lower (~6%) alcohol content. This would also work very well. And you make it yourself (this IS a homebrew blog, after all) so there’s that.

You can also skip the vanilla spike and just go straight for the throat with some high-alcohol smashers, like Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Heavy Seas’ Great Pumpkin and Great’er Pumpkin, or my personal favorite, Southern Tier Pumking. These guys save you all the trouble of mixing a beer cocktail and let you enjoy that high-alcohol pumpkin goodness straight out ‘da bottle.

But to further push the beer-tail over the boundary between idea and reality (and creating something that I’d like to try) I thinkyou’d have to add more than just vanilla vodka to your shaker. How about adding some butterscotch liqueur, Goldschlager (cinnamon), or whipped-cream vodka? Maybe some Frangelico or amaretto for fall nut flavors? I think I may be experimenting with this recipe at home. Try it and then post your recipe below!

Obligatory drunken pumpkin picture.



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