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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > How to Use Pumpkin in Homebrew
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:30 AM   #1
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Default How to Use Pumpkin in Homebrew

I looked at some recipes for pumpkin ales. It was unclear how to use pumpkin in a recipe. Do you just toss it in with the malted barley in the wort? Does it go into the fermented?

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Old 10-12-2011, 06:25 AM   #2
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pumpkin is a lot of starch. it needs to be converted by the enzymes in a mash. if you are using fresh pumpkins it's good to use baking pumpkins and actually bake them a bit before scraping out the meat and mashing with it. otherwise you can use canned pumpkin.

and then there's a school of thought that you don't need pumpkin at all, since it's arguable that it contributes much to the beer anyway. this school of thought sees pumpkin beer as a spiced beer. both can produce good beers, the spices-only version is much easier, though.

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Old 10-12-2011, 06:36 AM   #3
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some mash, some boil.

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Old 10-12-2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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... And some secondary. I don't think that there is really a consensus "best" way; it'll vary from recipe to recipe.

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Old 10-12-2011, 03:40 PM   #5
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... And some secondary. I don't think that there is really a consensus "best" way; it'll vary from recipe to recipe.
Secondary with pumpkin? Huh...
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegerm View Post
pumpkin is a lot of starch. it needs to be converted by the enzymes in a mash. if you are using fresh pumpkins it's good to use baking pumpkins and actually bake them a bit before scraping out the meat and mashing with it. otherwise you can use canned pumpkin.

and then there's a school of thought that you don't need pumpkin at all, since it's arguable that it contributes much to the beer anyway. this school of thought sees pumpkin beer as a spiced beer. both can produce good beers, the spices-only version is much easier, though.
This is incorrect. Pumpkins are low in starch. It is true that most say you don't need it at all. The pumpkin spice is where you get all the "pumpkin" flavor from. And from what I have read in Brewing Classic Styles, as well as, on HBT, the preferred place to add the pumpkin is in the mash. I have also read sweet potatoes are great to add to the mash as they have more flavor and are high in starch.
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:44 PM   #7
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A. Do you brew all-grain, or extract?

-If All-grain, hands down the best way to use pumpkin is in the mash. The pumpkin will impart flavor and color, but the sticky pumpkin mess will be left in the mash tun.

-If extract, the best way to go is to steep the pumpkin in a grain bag in 150* water for 30min. Again, you'll get the flavor and color, but pull out the sticky pumpkin meat

If you don't want to do that, you can add it directly to the boil, but be prepared for EXTREMELY cloudy beer. You'd definitely have rack to secondary, and possibly a tertiary to get the beer to clear.

As for canned or fresh. Fresh pumpkin you need to bake first, then scrap out the meat. That will bring it to the same consistency as canned pumpkin. You can then use it as is, or spread it out in a baking dish and bake for another 60 minutes to caramelize the sugars for additional flavor. I used canned pumpkin, bake for 60 minutes, then add to my mash.

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Old 10-13-2011, 07:15 AM   #8
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when adding it in the mash, how much is common to use? Also, how does run off go? Would it be a good idea to add rice hulls at end of the mash to help facilitate run off?

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Old 10-13-2011, 01:04 PM   #9
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I followed Yuri's Thunderstruck recipe and used 120oz for a 10 gallon batch.

Definitely want some rice hulls as the sparge can get gummed up...

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Old 10-13-2011, 03:10 PM   #10
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when adding it in the mash, how much is common to use? Also, how does run off go? Would it be a good idea to add rice hulls at end of the mash to help facilitate run off?
I used two 29oz cans in a 5.5G batch. I used 0.5lbs or 1lb of rice hulls. I didn't have any problems with runoff in my 10G Rubbermaid MLT with braid. If I did it again, I'd still use the rice hulls.

I used the spices pretty liberally, but it still came out underspiced to me at kegging time. I added another 1.5 tsp of pumpkin pie spice into my keg and then racked on top of that. Pretty happy now.
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