Recently I bought some concentrated wort at a closeout sale. 'Brew House' kits have been fairly popular here in BC and possibly elsewhere, and they can produce a drinkable beer, but it seems they're shutting down the plant. Given the choice of a wheat beer and a 'Pumpkin Ale'—the only two styles they had left—I picked up 4 Pumpkin Ales, each good for 5 gallons, at 1/2 price.

It seems I should have done some homework before rushing off to the store on their last day in business: this pumpkin ale contains actual pumpkin pulp. On the bright side, it doesn't have pumpkin pie spice and seems to have been hopped, but by God it tastes weird!

I've seen comments on other forums emphasizing that this or that pumpkin brew has a pleasant 'mouthfeel'. If it tastes lousy, mouth feel (when did the phrase become one word? just curious) hardly matters.

After 6 weeks or so it's as clear as anyone could wish, but still has this unmistakable pumpkiny flavor. I've had beers transform with ageing, from 'toss it down the sink' to 'glad I didn't', but I really don't know about this one. Does anyone have an opinion, or experience with pumpkin beers? I'm holding on to the neck of the carboy, ready to tip this stuff into the laundry tub...

  • Can you describe "this unmistakable pumpkiny flavor"? Often times pumpkin beers are known to taste like pumpkin pie due to the spices added (nutmeg, clove, ginger, etc). Does your beer taste of spice of vegetal pumpkin?
    – Scott
    Apr 18, 2014 at 4:48
  • Vegetal, about what you might expect if you dumped a tablespoon of (raw) pumpkin purée into a glass of decent brown ale.
    – Glasseyed
    Apr 18, 2014 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


I would recommend aging it to see if the vegetable flavor drops out, as long as you have the resources and extra carboys/buckets to continue the hobby while this ages. If not, life is too short to drink bad beer. Should you go the route of aging, sample it every couple of weeks. If you notice it improving, keep going until you like it. If after a month or two it still has the same distinctive flavor, it probably won't magically flip some switch one day.

While I haven't had first hand experience getting that character from pumpkins, I have seen other ingredients give off that flavor, such as residual hops that made their way into a keg and then settled to the bottom, only to have the first couple of pours taste like a garden with visible hops sinking to the bottom of the glass before it transformed into an entirely different flavor

When you go to siphon it out of the bucket/carboy, make sure you don't disturb the yeast cake at the bottom, where all the pumpkin flavor will hopefully settle to. If you have to move the carboy/bucket to a higher surface from where you have it now in order to siphon it, do it a couple of days beforehand and leave it covered with a blanket/t-shirt if necessary (to prevent skunking) in order to allow anything that was kicked back up into suspension to settle back out again. Should you bottle condition, make sure you practice proper pouring and leave the yeast and gunk in the bottom of the bottle.

  • That's probably what I'll do: carefully rack the clear ale off the lees into 4 & 5 gallon Cornelius kegs, gas them up, and see what develops. Should have gone for the wheat ale instead, though I'm not a huge fan of wheat beers. Serves me right for not doing my homework. :-)
    – Glasseyed
    Apr 18, 2014 at 15:26
  • The verdict, at least on this one, is now in: Brew House Pumpkin Ale belongs in the septic tank, where my two kegs' worth is now (presumably) adding useful organics to another kind of brew. I only hope it hasn't killed it…
    – Glasseyed
    Jul 16, 2014 at 23:38
  • Sorry to hear it. I've dumped a few kegs after letting them sit for months in the keezer as well. Live and learn!
    – Scott
    Jul 17, 2014 at 15:31

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