A little late, I know, but I wanted to get something down for my own records.
Schema Pumpkin came out pretty well. The aroma is highlighted by the toasted seeds that went into secondary, a sort of earthy, nutty, roasty autumn leaves smell, but you also get some fresh grassiness off the hops (this is the second batch, which I think I accidentally used some Centennial hops to finish). Underlying all that is the spices used in primary. It makes for a complex but wonderful nose.
Appearance wise it came out wonderfully orange giving way to gold at the edges, but super cloudy. The picture I posted way back tells the story well enough. Could have sat longer in secondary, and I need to get better at transferring from primary to secondary to keg without taking all the sediment. The head was a nice white but translucent enough for the body to shine through, giving it an off-white appearance to match the body. Head retention was great, especially in the second batch (the first was undercarbonated, I think).
Taste-wise, it starts off with a little sweetness with a slight bitter jump in the middle that quickly tapers off. There is a little bit of buttery flavor, especially noticeable at the beginning. The body is fairly light and feels clean. My buddy M described it as “light, ridiculously drinkable” (he also considered Summer’s End to be the same). The bitterness gets harsher when the beer is too cold, and as it gets to room temperature, the beer becomes flavorless. I felt it was best served at cellar temperature in regular pint glass.
Overall, I achieved my goals with this beer. I wanted a delicious pumpkin beer that actually incorporated the true essence pumpkin. While other brewers resign themselves to settle for canned pumpkin or even just the spices that go into pumpkin pie, I used fresh pumpkin flesh, the seeds, and even the stringy guts.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a clear vision of wanted until it was too late, and since I was just throwing recipes together as the base I ended up with something too light, and not quite the right hop character; by the time I realized what I actually wanted, batch two was already in primary. Next year we’ll be starting with a clone of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada’s collaboration Life & Limb as a base, and trying to incorporate even more of the pumpkin into the recipe.
Thanks to everyone who tried it and gave me some feedback: my family, some friends, and the patrons of the Homebrew for Hunger festival.