The fall season started with the Oktoberfest recipe from the Brewer's Connection in Tempe, AZ (www.brewersconnection.com). The first tasting was so good, a trip to the brew store occurred the next day. This posed a bit of a logistical problem in that the secondary fermenter carboy was in use with the pumpkin porter. Solution: an additional carboy to be used going forward as the primary fermenter.
The pumpkin porter was loosely based on the pumpkin porter recipe from the Brewer's Connection, however due to staff oversight we got the German ale yeast instead of the London ale yeast. And due to creative differences in using canned (now with more preservatives!) versus real pumpkin, we went off recipe and grilled our own pumpkins. The brew store guy gave great advice in that by freezing the pumpkin before roasting/grilling you'll break the cell walls and release more flavor. I grilled 2 pie pumpkins for little over 1 hour on the grill using pecan chips to smoke and a real vanilla extract baste with allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. I added the grilled (and then mashed/enzymed) pumpkin to the boil mash and strained before pitching the yeast. So far, the end result has been delicious.
The second batch of Oktoberfest is as good as the first.
For the holidays, a strong dark Belgian ale was brewed. 9 lbs of dry malt + 2 gallons of water in a 4 gallon pot = almost a mess. Avoided the boil over and the OG = 1.090. This one may have to ferment awhile. The spices are mulling in a jar of vodka (orange peel, cinnamon, clove and ginger) and will be nice and ripe for bottling.
Stop by the brewery for free samples! Must be present to win.