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Old 01-16-2014, 12:30 AM   #1
sleepymonkey
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Default Need help with my pumpkin beer



Hi, all. I could use some help with my pumpkin beer. I was really pretty exited about it and it ended up with a good smell and taste up front but a huge alcohol bite at the finish when you swallow. I know a lot of people will jump right to the 'ferm temp must be too high' conclusion, and I'm not ruling that out, but I've fermented a LOT of other beers in this very same way with the same yeast without this problem- so I'm wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction with my next batch. Well, without further ado- here is a link to the recipe I used : http://brewtoad.com/recipes/nicks-pumpkin-ale .

I put this together after looking through a bunch of recipes. Here is one thing I've been wondering- this beer had an FG well lower than predicted, and I've heard that having simple sugars in your beer can cause this 'alcohol bite' taste and I've had that problem anytime I tried putting sugar (like corn sugar) into a beer. Now when I was putting this together, it seemed everyone agreed that the best way to make a pumpkin ale was to put pumpkin in the mash. Some cooked it but most places seemed to agree that you could put canned pumpkin right in. Up to 6-8 pounds of it. So I did. More like 9 (which REALLY brought the mash temp down, had to boil and add a lot of water to get it back up, then sparge less). Now I know I could leave out the DME addition at the end, and I will in the future I really didn't think my OG was gonna be that high (1.077 - abv was 8.3%). But here's what I'm wondering- could the simple sugars from the canned pumpkin in the mash have caused this crazy FG and rocketfuel taste when swallowing the beer? If so, what's my workaround for the next batch? Would cooking the canned pumpkin first help somehow? Would it be better added to a secondary?

Also, how about adding milk to the boil with these beers? Anybody try this?

Lastly, does anybody have any suggestions for saving my 5 gallon keg of Pumpkin Rocketfuel? I hear you all saying "I'll help!". Trust me, if you were here I'd let you, but you might change your mind after a glass or two. Any ideas on how to make it drinkable? Can I boil some milk and add it in? Any help appreciated ya'll. Thanks.
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:39 AM   #2
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Why milk?? How about blending with another beer in the glass?

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Old 01-16-2014, 01:22 AM   #3
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Never add milk to beer at any point in the process of making beer. It will end badly. Milk stouts do not have milk in them.

Pumpkin ales can be tricky. My best advice at this point would be to set the beer back and allow it to age for another couple of months. Extended aging can mellow out a brew quite a bit.

I've had the rocket-fuel effect you are talking about before. It was almost always in a beer that was not fully conditioned when I opened it. I made a bracket beer once that was so foul after 3 weeks of bottle conditioning that I almost poured out the whole batch. A member here advised me to wait it out and give it time. After 8 more weeks of bottle conditioning the beer was much better. After 12 more weeks it was amazing.

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Old 01-16-2014, 01:26 AM   #4
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i brewed a wee heavy at 58 degrees, and had that rocket fuel blast too.. a month later it is smooth with no alcohol heat. best in two more months, but it wont last that long.

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Old 01-16-2014, 01:45 AM   #5
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@ericbw, I was thinking the milk as a lot of people add lactose to these pumpkin beers (via milk I'm guessing? anybody have input on this?), so I was wondering if adding it now might mellow it out and mask the rocketfuel taste. And yeah, I've had a couple of batches I've had to add something else to to palate it. I've called those "Crap on tap". This is Crap on Tap Version 3.0., but I'm hoping to save it as I put a lot into it and I'd like to see it drinkable and awesome!

@Chadwick and @te-wa - yeah, I think I'm going to take you guy's advice. I think I'll visit the LHBS this weekend and pick up another corny and unhook this one and put it in the closet for a couple months.

Also, why no milk? I was thinking of doing this with the next one if not to try to make this one drinkable. Is this not what's used when people talk about adding lactose to the boil? No milk in a Milk Stout? Please enlighten me. Thanks!

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Old 01-16-2014, 01:48 AM   #6
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If your ferm temp was reasonable, I'm with everyone else -> big beers need some conditioning time. How long has it been since you bottled/kegged?

The lactose is added as a powder .

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Old 01-16-2014, 03:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepymonkey View Post
@ericbw, I was thinking the milk as a lot of people add lactose to these pumpkin beers (via milk I'm guessing? anybody have input on this?), so I was wondering if adding it now might mellow it out and mask the rocketfuel taste. And yeah, I've had a couple of batches I've had to add something else to to palate it. I've called those "Crap on tap". This is Crap on Tap Version 3.0., but I'm hoping to save it as I put a lot into it and I'd like to see it drinkable and awesome!

@Chadwick and @te-wa - yeah, I think I'm going to take you guy's advice. I think I'll visit the LHBS this weekend and pick up another corny and unhook this one and put it in the closet for a couple months.

Also, why no milk? I was thinking of doing this with the next one if not to try to make this one drinkable. Is this not what's used when people talk about adding lactose to the boil? No milk in a Milk Stout? Please enlighten me. Thanks!
Yes, as mentioned above, lactose is added in its pure form as a powder. You don't want to try adding the lactose by putting milk in the brew. Milk has a great deal more in it besides lactose. Most destructive, milk has quite a bit of fats in it. Also, all milks naturally contain a certain degree of bugs that you do not want in your brew. Basically, the same thing that happens to milk if you leave it out for 7 days will happen to it if you put it in your brew as well.

Most any LHBS should have pure lactose if you want to add that sweet milky flavor to a brew. If you cannot find it locally, just about every online HBS shop can sell it to you. Lactose isn't a sugar that yeast can ferment, so keep that in mind when using it. The sweetness imparted by this sugar will not ferment out.
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chadwick View Post
Yes, as mentioned above, lactose is added in its pure form as a powder. You don't want to try adding the lactose by putting milk in the brew. Milk has a great deal more in it besides lactose. Most destructive, milk has quite a bit of fats in it. Also, all milks naturally contain a certain degree of bugs that you do not want in your brew. Basically, the same thing that happens to milk if you leave it out for 7 days will happen to it if you put it in your brew as well.

Most any LHBS should have pure lactose if you want to add that sweet milky flavor to a brew. If you cannot find it locally, just about every online HBS shop can sell it to you. Lactose isn't a sugar that yeast can ferment, so keep that in mind when using it. The sweetness imparted by this sugar will not ferment out.
The only time you should add milk to beer is if you're making a beer shake. But that should be ice cream, really. (And, totally off topic, sherbet in Zima was interesting, back when Zima was around.)

Like he said, lactose is what you add to make a "milk" stout. But if your problem is that it's hot and alcohol-y, I don't think sweet will necessarily balance it out.

I think time will help. I did a pumpkin dubbel in the fall. After 2 weeks in the bottle, it was ok but not great. After a few more weeks, it tasted different. I would let it sit for a while. OR blend it with something dark and malty like a stout. Or use it for black and tans.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:58 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies- very helpful. Yeah I only brewed this 3 weeks ago so I guess I need to let it sit. I've decided to go by my LHBS this weekend and pick up another corny keg so I can stick this one in the closet with a note reading "Try again in April" lol. And I may pick up a bit of that powder as well. Thanks again, you guys rock!

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