When the folk at Heavy Seas threw a public party at their Baltimore, Maryland, brewery, they poured beer from a pumpkin.
The Great'er Pumpkin is brewed with a large measure of pumpkin pulp —itself a relatively innocuous ingredient— flavored with pumpkin spices (possibly cinnamon, mace, allspice, etc.) added to the traditional mash of barley malt, and hops in the kettle. After fermentation, the beer is aged in 53 gallon once-used oak bourbon barrels from the A. Smith-Bowman Distillery of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
The large (great?) pumpkin in the photo was grown by the brewery's cellarman in his suburban backyard. He hollowed it, whacked in a tap, and filled it with 10 gallons of the beer.
The Great'er Pumpkin is quite the full-flavored beer (think of a bourbon/caramel/malty slice of sweet pumpkin pie) and it's a fairly strong one, at 9% alcohol-by-volume (abv). Its full name, by the way, is The Great'er Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale, a moniker which conjures up a Tim Burtonesque nightmare of a marching army of giant orange gourds intent upon world hegemony.
- The comparative in the beer's name suggests another beer, and indeed the brewery does brew The Great Pumpkin, nearly identical, except for not having been bourbon-aged.
- Why is a bourbon barrel 53 US gallons? Here's why!
- Caveat lector: As an employee of Select Wines, Inc. —a beer & wine wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas.
- Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a good fermentable as subject.