Homebrew Review: Symphony of Decay


It is time once again for me to pretend that I’m capable of being unbiased about something I created. Yes, time for another homebrew review. Today’s beer is Symphony of Decay, a pumpkin ale brewed with 4 pounds – four f*#%in’ pounds – of pumpkin puree.

Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.
– Robert Browning

Symphony of Decay - Finished Product 1

I’m a huge fan of pumpkin beers, but I’m always slightly disappointed there’s never a ton of real pumpkin flavor. Sure there’s a lot of spices and all that jazz, but for it to be a pumpkin beer the pumpkin should be the focal point. Well, I made sure of that by roasting 2 pounds of pumpkin puree and adding it to the mash and then adding 2 more pounds (unroasted) in the boil.

The recipe is available here. and I also wrote about it here.

Appearance: This game out a LOT darker than I had anticipated. The target SRM was 16 and this is closer to 26-30; that’s in the porter range. It’s slightly murky but that’s hard to tell because of the darkness. There’s a nice red-orange tint when held up to the light, a more orange shade of crimson or garnet. The head is huge and rocky, and a nice tan color. Lots of tiny bubbles, with some larger ones and a lot of lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Not a lot of your traditional pumpkin pie spices coming through, but there is a nice roasty aroma along with a backbone of sweet pumpkin smell. You can pick up some very slight hints of cinnamon as well. There’s no real hop presence which was to plan. I was really hoping for a stronger, spicer aroma. But the smell is actually quite pleasant. The bready, roasty notes mix well with the pumpkin.

Taste: Would you be surprised if I told you this tasted like pumpkin? It definitely does, but that roasty characteristic very strong. It’s a toast-like character that blends in with a bit of bitterness from the hops and bit of zest from the cinnamon. I’m not picking up too much maple syrup flavor, but it could be lost amidst the pumpkin sweetness. There’s a bit of a clove characteristic as well that I’m assuming is from a stressful fermentation. Overall it is a pleasant taste and unlike anything else I’ve ever drank before, which is something.

Mouthfeel: This is the mouthfeel I want in a pumpkin beer. This is super creamy. It’s not as viscous as a stout or porter, but it is strong bodied. Not quite a dry finish, but it doesn’t finish sweet or cloying either. The bitterness and roastiness balances it out and that’s what lingers on the front of the tongue.

Final Verdict: 3.5 out of 5. 

It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I am pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out. There’s a lot of refinement I’d make to this beer, but the finished product is rather enjoyable.

Symphony of Decay - Finished Product 2

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